I wore pants to church yesterday.
(I like pants. I own lots of pants. I wear them a lot. Actually, I wear them almost every day and often at night. Funny how it can suddenly be hard to find pictures of pants when you are looking for them. I evidently I also like crouching down in this position while wearing pants!)
Normally I wear a skirt or a dress to church, but I finished a case in the OR earlier than expected. I changed out of my scrubs and into my dingiest jeans (which I just happened to be wearing on my way to the hospital that day). I figured I could catch the tail end of church but it meant I would have to wear my jeans if I was going to make it. I didn’t worry about what people would think. I didn’t feel like I was making a statement. I put on the best of what I had hoping to receive a little spiritual pick-me-up. I felt a little bad about what I was wearing, but only because of how dirty my pant legs looked after trudging around in the melting snow outside. Not because the fact they were pants…
This reminded me of a post I started a few weeks ago but never finished. Maybe it is time to post it…
There was recently a bit of a stir in the Latter-day Saint community. Strangely enough, it had to do with something that most people do without a second thought: wear pants to church.
Okay, that needs some clarification, WOMEN wearing pants to church.
(To clarify, these are my own opinions. I don’t mean to sound judgemental or self righteous or like I have all of the answers. I don’t feel threatened if you disagree with me and I actually probably understand your point of view, maybe agree with you at least partly. But here are my thoughts on the subject weeks later, hopefully after some of the emotion died down.)
Unfortunately, there are evidently a number of women in my church who feel they aren’t “allowed” to wear pants to church. Sure, there are no rules that state you can’t wear pants to church (in fact, I don’t think there are any official rules about what clothes are worn to church, as long as they are worn), but the culture has overwhelmingly been one of women wearing dresses or skirts. I don’t find this strange or alarming as women in the US often wear dresses to events where they are supposed to look nice (prom, weddings, funerals, …the oscars). I may not choose to wear pants to church regularly but I certainly wouldn’t feel bad if I did.
Evidently there is a feminist undercurrent that feels the women in our church are discriminated against or treated unfairly. I know this is a common perception of others on the outside looking in. I think this has a lot to do with the large number of stay-at-home moms and a more traditional family view in our church which may seem “old fashioned” and for some perhaps even “oppressive.” I have heard a lot of comments from others wondering if women are forced to stay home or why more women don’t work. This certainly appears strange to some but it is usually (or at least hopefully) something the couple has decided together. It also has to do with the fact that the Priesthood (what we believe is the power of God on earth to perform His work) is only given to men in our church. However, while I have had my fair share of wondering my place with God as a woman (especially after reading the Old Testament), I feel very strongly that I am in equal standing with the men in my church. There are surely examples of bigotry and prejudice in any congregation but in my experience I have found and hope these to be fairly isolated.
It seems so few men these days want to grow up. There are articles all over the internet and the news about the Peter Pan complex complex of boys who want to remain forever in Never Never Land. Men who play “Call of Duty” all day and live in their parents’ basement. Men who aren’t willing to take on the responsibility of work and a family. With this in mind, I don’t feel threatened by a church that asks men to GROW UP. To be a man and to look outside of himself and to help others. I am proud that my husband has extra opportunities to be nurturing and to serve others which is what the Priesthood requires and I don’t think I need to take that role away from him to feel better about myself.
In an age where women “can have it all” and do/be whatever she wants without a man (including in some instances make a baby with test tube sperm and no real man in her life—something that in the past always “took two”), I am happy to hit snooze on Sunday morning while my husband is up early performing his “Priesthood duties.”
No one wants to feel unimportant and unneeded and I think letting the men have one job that we don’t get to take away maybe isn’t such a bad thing after all.
And maybe when I get up, I’ll put on a pair of pants.