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Probably daft questions ....

(18 Posts)
plaingirly Sun 24-Mar-13 14:13:35

I don't have a Christian family, my friends aren't believers, and I am church hunting so I end up with all these questions in my head about all sorts of things. It is starting to stress me out a bit ( I am a worrier!!) as I don't know if these are important things or if they just feel bigger because I am focussing on them.

I have tried praying (I don't feel any clear guidance) and reading the Bible (can't seem to apply it to modern life on this) so am struggling.

* Is wearing a cross important?

I don't but I don't really wear jewellery but I remember some stories in the papers about people fighting for the right to wear them at work.

* Is having long hair and not wearing trousers relevant to women nowadays?

(And isn't long hair a woman's pride and joy? For it has been given to her as a covering. Corinthians 11:15)

(Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3: 3-4)

* Are there rules on makeup and things like that?

I like messing about with my hair and trying out makeup but I worry about what impression it gives. I don't want to look like a scruff OR to focus too much on how I look.

(Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire. 1 Timothy 2:9)

I don't know what denomination I am either - not sure if that is important! I just don't seem to be getting any closer to having answers. I am just driving myself crazy!

hiddenhome Sun 24-Mar-13 14:32:49

Very few Christians these days dress in a particular way - long hair, skirts, head coverings etc. I like to wear a cross, but it's a matter of personal choice.

We tend to concentrate on what lies within - our relationship with God and Jesus - and how we conduct ourselves towards others - than what we look like smile

Perhaps, rather than reading The Bible, you could choose a guide to Christianity first, so that you can identify the basics of the faith as The Bible is a large collection of books and it's easy to become lost and confused. However, try reading Matthew - the first book of The New Testament and just stick with that to begin with.

How you identify which church is best for you is your choice and is generally referred to as 'church shopping' grin Try doing some reading on the internet regarding what the main differences are.

I'm a Catholic which is the 'original' Church and the one that St Peter (one of Jesus' disciples) founded.

Christians believe in The Trinity - ie, that God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit are all One. The Holy Spirit helps us with our faith and leads and guides us. It gives us strength during bad times and hope during the good times (hopefully smile)

How have you come to the decision to become a Christian? Remember that the three most important things when you become a Christian are: To ask Jesus to come in to your heart and ask Him to forgive you your sins, to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbour as yourself. Don't stress about anything else smile

Tuo Sun 24-Mar-13 14:37:52

Hi plaingirly. I'm not sure that this is the sort of answer you're looking for, but it seems to me that you're getting worried about issues which, if they matter at all (and I'd tend to say that mostly they don't), are really not important things. The important things, for me, are the fundamental Christian beliefs summed up in, say, the Nicene creed.

Whether you want to wear a cross or not, wear make up or not, cut your hair or not, is entirely up to you. There are no 'rules' about these things, except perhaps in some more fundamentalist denominations (where you might also find rules about women speaking in church, covering their heads and so on).

I wear a cross sometimes, and quite like the fact that it's a reminder of my faith. But for me it's a personal thing, not something that I feel I have to do. I know women priests who wear make-up, and all the women priests I know have short hair (NB this is not a scientific survey...! wink).

It sounds to me a bit as if your experience of Christianity to date has been very 'rules-based', and that your search for a church might do well to start by looking for a church that connects you a bit more to the joy of worshipping God, in whatever style suits you (I know that my style isn't for everyone...).

Please don't think that I am dismissing your questions. My answer is that I genuinely don't know, since these are things that really don't bother me or impinge on my beliefs at all. Someone else may be able to answer them in a more 'biblically focused' way if that's what you're looking for. Good luck!

plaingirly Sun 24-Mar-13 14:56:01

I have been a Christian for about 4 years and I am pretty much okay with the fundamentals. I feel close to God and am doing my best to live my life well - exampled in Colossians 3. I have had a few wobbles over the years but that was more to do with finding it tough to stand out and my parents and family aren't believers and my dad has always been really against faith.

I just worry because in my circle of friends I am the token Christian and my faith is important to me so I don't want to be giving a bad example of Christians in general. I feel like I need to represent my faith and that I want all the inner work to show though.

I like the term church shopping! I have tried Methodist and even looked into JW but am looking into a local CofE and a New Life church.

These questions are just things that I never even thought about when I was starting out. I just focussed on praying and reading God's Word. I blame the Amish fiction I have been reading!! grin Almost like if these things are so important to some Christians then I need to at least give them some thought.

IndigoBarbie Sun 24-Mar-13 15:58:28

Is it really important to you that you belong to a particular group? Reading back the notes you have written re the long hair etc, it seems you might be a little too focussed on fitting in and being their 'model' image of what you think is required.
Are you listening to your true inner feelings about what you want to do?

plaingirly Sun 24-Mar-13 17:01:11

I don't mind what sort of church I join - so long as it is God focussed and friendly!

Preferably with some younger people and some activities other than just the Sunday service. Bible study groups or community activities would be good.

There are two churches in town that are on my to try list - CofE and New Life. I was Christened a Methodist so tried those first but really wasn't keen.

I just want to be around people who are as excited about God as I am! grin

Tuo Sun 24-Mar-13 17:17:27

Good luck with your search, plaingirly. Remember that in any given denomination there will be a wide range of different types of service, so don't write off the whole of the CofE (for example) if the first church you try isn't to your taste. Maybe come and have a chat on the 'Religion Chat' thread, where you'll find people from a wide range of denominations and traditions within those denominations, who'll be able to tell you what their church is like. The prayer thread on here is also a good place to chat, virtually, with other Christians, also from a range of denominations.

Gingerdodger Sun 24-Mar-13 17:18:03

My advice would be to go as you. My experience of churches is that nobody gives a monkeys about what others wear or look like, which is entirely as it should be (bikini and wellies combo might raise a few eyebrows....)

A lot of churches do courses for new people, these might help to give an overview of the church to see how it chimes with you. Also churches vary even within one denomination so even if you try one and don't like it you could give another a go.

I start off prayer with reflecting on what is going on and trying to make sure.it becomes a conversation rather than a want or to do list, sometimes that is hard but it helps if I have questions to ask in prayer.

Good luck with it, it sounds exciting.

nightlurker Sun 24-Mar-13 23:00:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Italiangreyhound Mon 25-Mar-13 21:29:00

Hi Plaingirly

Hope all is well.

Can I jump in and say a few thing, please?

As you want a church that is quite young you may like to see how lively and outward looking they are.

Lots of churches do Alpha courses to attract people in and these sometimes do signify an outward looking and seeker/new church person friendly atmosphere.

You can see which churches do Alpha by asking local ones if they do or visiting www.alpha.org/

As to your particular questions and comments:

"I have tried praying (I don't feel any clear guidance) and reading the Bible (can't seem to apply it to modern life on this) so am struggling."

I pray in the bath and I love it, I also find I pray in the car (with my eyes OPEN) and at odd times in the day.

I think Bible study notes like Daily Bread are really helpful, they give you a very small passage to read and explain it, you don’t have to do it every day, and it’s just called Daily Bread.

Book shops might sell them but you are more likely to get them from a specific Christian bookshop such as Wesley Owen.

www.wesleyowen.com/

Also you asked?

* Is wearing a cross important?

Not in my opinion, it is just a fashion item but I do wear one so that if people want to ask me about it then can. You can also get a necklace with a dove to represent the Holy Spirit or a fish (an ancient symbol) of Christianity. The only problem is they are often just made of ordinary metal and not silver, (you can buy them at Christian bookshops).

* Is having long hair and not wearing trousers relevant to women nowadays?

Not at all for most Christians.

(And isn't long hair a woman's pride and joy? For it has been given to her as a covering. Corinthians 11:15)

The reference to hair is (I think) cultural.

(Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewellery, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3: 3-4)

* Are there rules on makeup and things like that?

No, not these days, I think those references to braiding etc had cultural meanings.

I like messing about with my hair and trying out makeup but I worry about what impression it gives. I don't want to look like a scruff OR to focus too much on how I look.

Don’t worry about it, look smart or scruffy, however you feel comfortable. There might be times when it is culturally relevant to look smart for a church, many black led or black majority churches you will find men in suits and ladies in hats etc and if I visit one of these I try and look smart out of respect for the people there but I do not feel God is worried about that type of thing.

Also you said "I just worry because in my circle of friends I am the token Christian and my faith is important to me so I don't want to be giving a bad example of Christians in general. I feel like I need to represent my faith and that I want all the inner work to show though."

I hope your friends will like you for who you are and not try and make you feel small if you ever do things that you are not proud of, which of us does not make mistakes!

Making some new Christian friends might help you to feel more relaxed in your faith and also might help you to see that Christians are normal people who make mistakes!

Can I ask how you came to be a Christian if your family are not (not that that is unusual I became a Christian 30 years ago as a teenager and my parents did not go to church, it was through the influence of a good friend at school and a Christian youth group)?

All best wishes.

Italiangreyhound Mon 25-Mar-13 21:36:01

PS you said "I want all the inner work to show though."

I am sure your good works and kindness will shine through, God does indeed make us into new people through our relationship with him. But ultimately for me it is about knowing God and feeling close to him, however you achieve that (and I find prayer, just informal chat, especially when I am troubled, has been the thing that has really helped to usher me into his presence - so to speak!). Also a good time of worship or fellowship with Christians has also helped.

God is interested in you and loves you, not just the good things you do. I know you know that, I just wanted to say it because it is wonderful, we do not have to be good enough for him, he loves us and starts right where we are.

I normally DO NOT quote scripture left right and centre, honest, but this passage from New International Version of the Bible seemed very relevant ...

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

tuffie Mon 25-Mar-13 21:48:13

Hi plaingirly. All good advice on here. Just relax and enjoy all the great things Christianity brings to your life. Please don t worry that you'll be a "bad example". The very fact that you want to be like Christ will ensure that you are not. You sound like a lovely person.

sashh Tue 26-Mar-13 05:25:26

I think you are worrying about the icing on the cake rather than the cake IYSWIM.

Some people do value wearing a cross, particularly if it has been given to them to mark part of their Christian journey such as baptism.

Very few churches/Christians take the view a woman should not wear trousers, some will say it is OK unless it is in church.

What are you comfortable with? Do you want to wear a cross?

On the hair thing, I'm atheist so my hairstyle is not dictated by faith.

But I donate my hair to a charity that makes children's wigs. So I grow it for 2 - 3 years and then it is cut really short. Pics on my profile.

I do it because I think it is an easy way to help out. But as a Christian do you think it is better to have long hair or to donate to a child who has none?

It's not something that is going to save a child's life, and many would say it is a 'first world problem' for a child to wear a wig.

Which ever is better for you I think is your answer.

Italiangreyhound Tue 26-Mar-13 08:12:18

Wow sashh what a lovely thing to do. My hair would be grey is not dyed so I am guessing they would not want my hair (?).

I think you are right about the icing on the cake. For most Christians it is not important about hair or clothes, only very strict Christian groups (in the UK and USA that I know of) worry about hair cutting and clothes.

Plaingirly I hope this is helping you. I wonder what type of church you have been to?

tuffie Tue 26-Mar-13 18:13:38

By the way, I forgot to say, you mentioned about not being able to apply the Bible to modern life.
Well the best thing for me has been UCB Word for Today.
I have it delivered (costs about £3.00 a month) and there are short words of wisdom to read each day. I read it before I get up each day. It gives a different Bible passage each time and then applies it to how you should lead your life that day . Brilliant ! Lifts me every morning!

sashh Wed 27-Mar-13 08:26:24

Italiangreyhound

Thank you. The charity is 'the little princess fund', but they do boys' wigs too. They will take hair that is coloured and hair with up to 10% grey and they take anything from 7" to longer.

Someone on mums net has a daughter who got a wig just before starting school.

www.littleprincesses.org.uk/

OP sorry for the hijack.

Italiangreyhound Wed 27-Mar-13 10:28:22

Thanks Sashh I found the website, thanks.

Plaingrily How's it going?

plaingirly Fri 29-Mar-13 16:08:35

Thanks everyone! I think I have just fallen into over thinking and getting distracted by little things - something I do often. Bit of a worrier really!

I think if I had Christian friends I could just mention my worries and they would tell me not to be daft but, because I don't, I spend too long worrying about them.

I never expected to become a Christian - school had Harvest festivals in church but that was about it and RS lessons were mostly about other religions. Over the years I just felt like something was missing in my heart and life and it turned out that what I was missing was God. Took me a while to realise that though given that I don't have a believing family or friends!

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