Girls Write Out
Tuesday, July 31, 2007

We sit at the curb of a traditional-looking church in Seattle inside our rental car watching members enter the building.

"There's someone in jeans," our middle son says.

"That's just a little kid," our teenager says.

No we're not stalking Sunday worshippers, we're scoping out a vacation church. You know, that opportunity to drop in on a congregation and experience . . . well, you never know exactly what.

I did a little research online. Only problem is, their "casual" and our "casual" don't quite match up.

"There's a lady in a dress," someone says.

I look down at my jeans and T-shirt. "She's probably the misfit of the church. Everyone talks about her and wonders why she doesn't get with the program and slip on a pair of jeans." My fiction-geared mind has not gone on vacation. I muse out loud about this woman's plight until my family begs me to stop.

"I'll bet they have a piano," our teenager pouts.

"And an organ." This from my youngest who probably doesn't even remember when we attended a church with an organ.

"The website said 'contemorary music'," I insist.

"The website also said 'casual dress'," my husband reminds me, watching another suit go by.

The clock is ticking. "Should we go in?" I ask.

"Let's do it." My husband bravely reaches for the door handle.

Grumbles arise from behind me as everyone exits the car, and I can hear my teenager mumbling, "I don't wanna die, I don't wanna die".

Inside, the first thing we see is a baby grand piano displayed in the foyer.

"What did I tell you?" Someone whispers.

I have a rare moment of optimism. "That's the piano they removed from the sanctuary to make room for the band."

As we enter the santuary, we discover my optimism is justified. A talented worship team plays a familiar song as we slip into our seats. Friendly people greet us and, as it turns out, we are not the only ones in jeans.

The music is worshipful, the pastor's message is relevant and Bible-based. We have survived--and even enjoyed--another vacation church experience.

* Girls Write Out does not necessarily endorse the church style views of this blogger.
Colleen Coble  
posted at 8:45 AM  
  Comments (13)
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At 9:17 AM, Blogger Tracy Ruckman said...

Denise - I so relate to this post, not just for vacation but even finding a new church home.

We recently moved, and found a wonderful new church home. But we can't seem to "find a spot" to sit during church without taking someone else's regular seat! ??

Oh - no one says anything specifically, but we get these "looks" - and people make a point of sighing or grunting when they walk past us. A couple of people have hinted "that's where so-and-so usually sits but they've been out sick..."

It's really odd - and makes me feel unwelcome, although I know we are. This past Sunday - when we made a point to sit in a spot I'd NEVER seen anyone sitting - the comments and eye-rolling made me wanna scream - "JUST GET OVER IT!"

I hope I'm never so glued to a seat that Jesus can't sit there should He come to visit.

The same with jeans or "dress to fit." We SHOULDN'T have to worry about all of that - but we do.

I'm glad you had a good experience.

At 10:28 AM, Blogger Jaime Wright said...

LOL, Denise!! I loved this post!! And I'm proud of your family for just walking inside in your jeans, even if you were to be shocked by black ties and formal wear. I love the fact there's not a dress code for Jesus and that we can worship with our whole hearts. And, I'm also pleased to hear how the Body of Christ welcomed you, jeans and all, that's how it should work.

Now me? I purposely dress in my rock climbing t-shirt and capris just because I want to reach out to all the punk haired, rag-tag college bunch that comes in from our nearby lake and camping area. It's a common bond and helps to create a welcoming atmosphere, I hope.

Tracy - we tease this one family in our church that we're going to get nameplates engraved and bolted to the pew since they were so possessive of it. I think that shocked them and now they try to mix it up a bit! LOL

At 11:29 AM, Blogger Julie Carobini said...

We sit in the balcony a lot because Elementary Girl's class is upstairs. I hadn't realized it, but yes, many people sit in the same spots--I can see them from up top. Funny!

At 12:48 PM, Blogger Tricia said...

We camp a lot and are often in a campsite on Sunday instead of our regular church. We camp with other family members, and we have decided there are enough of us to have our own Camp Church. It is really fun. We sing and read a passage of scripture and then talk about it. Nothing big. However what is fun is all the people we have invited to have Camp Church with us.

Sometimes they give us a blank stare and nod, then run away. But sometimes they join us. We’ve had a Jewish family join us. We’ve even run across other homeschoolers and had them join us. (Homeschoolers are pretty easy to spot. We’re the only ones in the park on a Tuesday with all our kids with us. :o)

This last trip we were invited to join in with a Biker group. I don’t mean peddle bikes; I’m talking Harley riding, leather wearing, bikers. My husband found out that they were a Christian Biker group.

I would have loved to experience worship with these guys! Sadly they did it after we had to be on our way.

I love to worship at a campsite. We often end up singing to the Lord and reading His word with people who probably would not be sitting next to us on our regular church. I love it.

And no matter how much they grumble, it is good for kids to experience different types of church.

One day they’ll thank you Denise!

At 1:31 PM, Blogger Kayla said...

Denise, I think you went to my church, just across the country! Some people love to dress up, others don't. We have a baby grand in the narthex (what we call the foyer, I guess) because we have 3 keyboards onstage in the sanctuary.

Most everyone sits in roughly the same area, but I don't know anyone that sits in the exact same place every time. We don't have pews...we have comfy chairs. And I've never seen a hateful glare when someone sits down.

I go back to playing in the band this Sunday after a break for a few months...I CAN'T WAIT!

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

Yeah, pew ownership is a common thing in church, unfortunately. I wonder if we sat in someone's pew . . . I never even thought of that.

At 5:44 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

I think you're safe on the coast, but one never knows! I feel completely comfortable in my church and uncomfortable when I go in jeans to my Starbucks, in which you are nothing unless you're driving the latest Mercedes (no Beamers, simply Mercedes -- a Compressor is the one everyone wants apparently). They're all dressed to the nines on a stinkin' weekday in clothes that were obviously dry-cleaned!! Forget church, I have to dress up to get espresso. LOL

At 6:58 PM, Blogger Julie Carobini said...

And don't forget another bene of church by the coast--flip flops! Although I do wear my very best ones ... ;)

At 7:25 PM, Blogger Pamela S. Meyers said...

LOL, my church in suburban Chicago has an organ. A huge one, and a baby grand too. But we also have a worship band who play for the contemporary service. Even in the sancutary service though people are dressing down. Fewer and fewer men wear coat and tie to church and I've seen jeans, capris, and shorts there too. The most tension though is in the worship style. Pick up the tempo and some think it's a contemp service and wonder why those people aren't in the gym where the contemp service is. Oy veh. Can't we just worship?

At 12:32 AM, Blogger Kayla said...

Argh, the whole thing about worship styles irks me to no end. WHAT DOES IT MATTER if your heart is for God?! Personally, I looooooove crazy black gospel stuff...but I didn't a few years ago. I don't like hymns as a rule, but sometimes when my choir sings them the presence of God brings me to my knees.

*shakes fist*

At least if anyone tells me that my church's style of music isn't right, I can just point to Psalm 98:6 and hold up my trumpet and shrug. Hehe :)

At 12:15 PM, Blogger Kay Day said...

This is our life every week as we are looking for a church in our new community.
I really don't like it. Hope we find our fit soon!
But around here, dressy churches are very rare. So we are pretty much set on the dress code, but everything else is in question.

At 1:50 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

LOL...we go to the "casual" service at church where clothes range from shorts to capris to jeans to dresses. I don't think I've ever paid much attention to what someone was wearing.

At 8:42 PM, Blogger Debbie said...

I'm a second generation Seattlite (which is a badge of honor in these parts). We're known for our casual attire... grunge was created here!

Though Sundays can be a bit different :) most places of worship are very laid back. But, it would have really been funny if you'd walked into Mars Hill Church where the average age is about 30, many from the Christian rock community (uplifted arms are often covered in tattoos)!

Rock on for Jesus!


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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