This photo is from the on-line gallery of Phillip Toledano
(thanks to fellow Scriber, Ben
Sit with that photo for a minute. Allow your emotions to bubble up and give them names. Let them have their own stories just for a moment or so. See what those stories might be, if you don't just shove the emotions down or wave them aside or tell them what to do.
Now, think for a moment about how intimidated you feel when standing in the presence of someone who is dressed "to the nines." How intimidated you feel when you walk into a room or space and suddenly you realize ... you are not dressed the same as everyone else there. You'll never be able to dress like everyone else there.
Now you have the sense of modesty that Paul was trying to instill in Timothy
when he wrote, "
I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes,
but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God." His concern was not for sexual purity, but that the women would set a tone of hospitality and welcoming.
Our clothes tell people something about us. They tell a story about who we are before people ever get to know us. When we use those clothes to engage in power and manipulation to subdue others in our presence ... by whatever means, we are negating the power of the Gospel in the very space that the Gospel is to be transcendent.
So ... how should we dress? Well ... that's up to you and your particular dance with the Holy Spirit. See, none of us is the same. The rules are all the same, yet they're all different. All we can do is ask questions of each other ... where do you live? How do your neighbors dress? What are the local standards? What is welcoming amongst them? How do you create a welcoming environment in your space, where you are free to proclaim the Good News to people so they will hear it from you?