So let me tell you a little about myself. I am a second generation member of the LDS church. I am a seventh generation native Floridian, and outside of mostly my immediate family, I am surrounded by a family full of Methodists, Presbys, and a sprinkling of Baptists.
My small town has the usual "four corners" that every southern town has: A big Baptist church on one side and a medium Methodist on the other, both here for a hundred years or so. Every Sunday I fly down the road in between them (usually rushing to get to church on time) and I see the many rows of cars parked on each side.
When I cross the bridge into the next town I pass the Really Big Baptist Church on that main road, with usually a man helping a little elderly woman across the road in her Sunday finest. Next to it is the Presbyterian, across the street the Methodist. All beautiful, about a hundred years old or so.
My favorite church to pass is next; the African American church. I don't know the denomination, but I do know those women KNOW how to dress for church. No denim skirts or flip flops in sight. These ladies are head to toe in their Sunday finest; high heels, stockings, pastel-colored suit, and topped off with a hat in a matching color. Their little children flock around them, sons in three piece suits and girls in frilly petticoated dresses with tights and shiny black shoes. The women are usually congregating by the front door, waiting for the men to come around with the cars. They are busy laughing and chatting; the sight always makes me happy.
The last church I pass is a "casual worship" church. The patrons enter, barely clothed in ratty shorts and t-shirts, tennis shoes and flip-flops. Here I grimace a bit. I can't help it, I am the daughter of an etiquette teacher and I come from generations of a proper Southern family. This is just simply unacceptable. I know what you want to say, At least they are at church, right? But as my great-grandmother, a staunch Presbyterian would say, We get six days a week to dress however we want. We give him only a few hours one day a week (obviously she never had a calling in the LDS church!!), so we give Him our best out of respect for Him, but also out of respect for ourselves and all He has given us.
I drive five minutes more into our parking lot. I scurry my children out of the car. Smile, and wave at those I know. Straighten bows, tie sashes, pull up stockings, hurry hurry we are going to be late, don't you dare jump in that puddle! and we enter the hallway to the noises of organ music, the other ward's primary session, and the greetings of those I have come to know. All is well, and as we bunch together on the pew, I am grateful to be here, can't imagine being anywhere else, even though it would have been nice to sleep in.
Wait, is that toothpaste on my daughter's cheek? Ugh!