Wednesday, April 20, 2011

#232-The People who noticed there was something "different" about you...

This post will be brief...And no it is not the post I promised in my previous post about "the Fortunate Son," but that's because I know some of my limits, and one of those is not to write about your target when you are angry....

One of the staples about an Apostolic defense of Holiness is the classic line about how a certain Apostolic woman was out and about, and some random stranger walked up to them and asked either A) if the woman was Apostolic or B) Pointing out that there was something different to said Apostolic Woman....

Now, the first previous response on my part is that what really stinks about such a testimony is that I, as a male, am excluded from such a delightful experience....Nor have I ever met an Apostolic Man who has testified of some onlooker noticing the "holiness" within the male...

Apparently God is a feminist who only lets woman enjoy the fruits of holiness and separation....

But there is something that isn't talked about amongst the people who testify about the random stranger at the store who noticed the "difference" of the Apostolic Female...

Does that observant stranger ever "get saved?"

Of course, I am sure there have been such instances of "Salvation" by clothing, but I would argue most of the instances I have heard of, wherein an Apostolic is noticed for their holiness...there is no "follow-up" testimony of the observant stranger going to church...

So what the Apostolic separation "difference" tends to result in is the observant stranger politely saying, "I see what you're doing, and I want you to know that I know that you are oddly dressed."

Don't believe me?

My sister, who has never cut her hair and always wears skirts to her public school has been the source of this revelation....

She has gone over countless instances with me through the years of how people have certainly noticed the Apostolic Difference, and then after finding out that aforementioned differences are a result of her dedication to God and her beliefs, the person gives a polite grin and not-so-slyly remarks about how that's either "really cool" (which really means "I will tolerate you") or more aptly says something to the effect of "oh, I would hate to be apart of your religion." (mind you these are high-schoolers, so such offensive remarks are the norm)

So these separation that is supposedly intended to "draw" people to God offends my sister of having any witness whatsoever....

This is quite similar (but on a wider scale) of my experience in high school wherein I would wear gym pants to gym class, and get called "pants" throughout the class and laughed at for my strange beliefs. It would be beneficial to note that while everyone wore shorts in my gym class, I was the one who was frequently "pansed" in class which basically means someone would come up from behind me and proceed to pull my pants down in front of the whole gym class to get a laugh out of my "holiness."

Now people normally would say that what me and my sister experience was the burden of holiness, and the cost of being different. I understand this. But for the life of me, I cannot recall one person being lauded to offend people out of wanting to come to church because of their holiness standards in the Bible....

To clarify, my dilemma is not against Holiness standards. It's simply a rant against the testimony that some Apostolics get noticed in public because of their holiness standards.....while it can be a good thing, it seems to be publicly received in my experience as a deterrent towards my witness...

And my last question is, are standards the excuse for some of us not to witness...since our witness is in our clothing?


  1. And they aren't noticing Jesus in you, or your Glory, or the Spirit, they are observing how odd you look! Always loved the women that others would remark on their Repunzel hair, never-been-trimmed, hanging to the grown, covering a long denim skirt. The people look their way, obviously noticing them, and they put their head up and say "these people notice my glory and that there's something different about me." Well, the last part is true for sure.

  2. I have been thinking about this a lot as of late. The way we are different should be in attitude. People should be drawn to us for who we are. The life we live that is different...different in a way that matters. Different in our love, giving and kindness. A skirt is not holy. It doesn't matter how you slice it. You can say you are keeping the sexes separate but don't call it holy. Holiness is within a person and it is God given. Holiness is not modesty or separation of the sexes. These are three totally different concepts.

  3. Some are in danger of being like the Pharisees, I fear. Some people are so proud of their "holiness" that I think they have their reward. It does bother me immensely that the first thing people notice about me is my clothing. I'm pegged before I ever open my mouth. I want people to see JESUS in me, and not see my clothes. Which is, unfortunately, what happens. I get asked far more often "do you ever wear pants?" then I get asked "tell me about the peace you always seem to have" or "tell me how you're always in a good mood" People do say those things to me (I'm often nicknamed Pollyanna lol) But it's more likely that I'm asked about my clothes. Sigh.

    People are DYING out there...they want an answer, they want God. Yet there are people who want to make sure my skirt doesn't show my knee when I sit down.

    I just realized it's time for church and I forgot to eat dinner. Double sigh.

  4. Unfortunately, a majority of the time women believe that they are a living example of Jesus through their attire, rather then their heart being the example.

    People are more concerned with how they look when interacting with others because they themselves are not as secure with their beliefs, causing them to rely on their skirt or long hair, which consequently leads to a lack of witnessing.

    Although the stigma is true, focusing on the negative aspects simply discredit’s the apostolic women, whose attire has positively drawn people to God—which realistically should be the only thing we are concerned with.

  5. To strictly answer your question -- I would say, following standards is likely not an excuse for not witnessing -- or more plainly, people who follow standards but don't witness are most likely not walking around thinking, "Well, I may not be witnessing, but my long dress and long hair and long sleeves are witnessing for me, so I am ok."

    More likely for these folks are the following:

    1) habit (Let's see, I've worn a skirt every day for the past 20 years, I think I'll wear a skirt today)

    2) conformity (to the culture in which one has been raised)

    3) laziness (do you know how daunting le pants section appears to someone who has NEVER WORN PANTS?)

  6. I would say that 90% of the reason I wear skirts is #1 and #2 of the above list. Mostly's habit. Also, the only time I find myself wanting to wear pants/shorts is when I'm running. I ran a 5k and my skirt kept riding up so that all you could see where the shorts I had on underneath. It truly would have been more modest if I'd worn knee length shorts instead of a skirt.

  7. So true Amy, I have resigned to that fact that in some situations, it is definitely more 'modest' to wear pants than a skirt. I am okay with that. I am not going to risk showing my womanly bits for the sake of tradition and pleasing a group of people whom, I feel, care little about me even after 25 years following this way.

    And swf...oh my word you are so right, pants section...daunting.