Like most West Indians, I grew up in the chruch. The Anglican church. We were quite active in the church and community. Sunday School, morning service, then back again on Sunday night, In the week, there was either youth group, confirmation classes or some other kind of church activity. Now mind you, we weren't perach the Holy Ghost, fire and brimestone church people. It was a village lifestyle and hanging out in the church for us young people was the place to be. For one thing, it got you out of the house. All you had to do was mention anything to do with the church and mom and pops would glady let you attend. Plus they figured that Ms So-n-so was going to be there to keep a stern watch over you and report any wrong doings (yea right!) So off we would go to church. Sunday nights was the best for us, because it was our chance to go see the lil trossle (boyfriend) and get he to walk you back home, along wiht the other teens of course and he in turn would get a little touch or if he was good sneak a kiss.
Of course going to church came with some standard rules, that you dare don't break. For example. Yuh don't get to church late. The girls had to wear loose fitting skirts, down below the knees and stockings or socks. Boys had their obligatory, black pants and white or blue shirt. No sneakers, jeans, or none and dem home clothes looking types. It was church clothes. We had special clothes for church, outings and parties/fairs (what few parties they were). Next thing, you don't eat or drink in church. A mint was the limit to your eating. Chewing Gum was a grounds for being banned from the church. No playing or reading or dooling. Yuh had to sit and sit still and listen to the sermon even if yuh ein understand a word the Rev saying, and at our young ages, we din understand a word. We were just there. We accepted these rules as we grew up and that was that. We didn't dare question or try to break them.
Now chruches are a whole lot different, the rules have change and changed quite a bit. Take for example my church. It's a small non-denomination church. It has a unique mix, as it's one of the few english speaking ones in Caracas. The membership is around 250 and there are about 25 different nationalities represented. The program of the service tries to offer a bit of all denominations, to reach out to all invited. At the same time the dress code is very relaxed and when I say relaxed, I mean releaxed. People come in jeans and T-shirts, sneakers and tank tops, shorts, low rider jeans and crop tops and even slippers..yes, the rubber shower slippers.
It is said to rendereth your heart to the Lord and not your garments.. but My goodiness....I've seen it all in our church. You can tell the catholics, Anglicans, Methodists and evangelicals. The most conservatively dressed are those who come from a catholic or Anglican background and the least are the evangelicals or other more charasmatic religions. I see people in the froont pews drinkking water, soda and juices. I mean people sitting right in front of the pastor. Not only are they drinking, but throwing back their heads so the water or juice and go down flowingly. I've even seen them eating snacks. When does it end. Where are the church ethicts?
The young girls, especially the spanish ones, come in low rider jeans, and tank tops, with the boobs all hanging out. Some the jeans are so low, you can see the pub hairline. Is there no such thing as decency in the church anymore. Don't get me wrong, I like the relax dress code, because for one thing it's hot down here and another, some mornings you just not in the dress up and stocking or suit and tie mode. As a matter, hardly any of the men wear suit or ties. I've worn jeans to church once, but it was complimented with something more conservative. For the record. I never wear stockings and most women here don't either, even at evening galas. So I'm all for the casual relaxed look, but there is a limit to how far you go. As for the eating, the most I do is chew some gum, lordee if my Anglican reverend would see me or Mrs So-N-So. or I'll suck on my traditional mint. I save any other eatig for afterwards.
Another thing that blows my mind is the public display of intimate affection. One couple we know are pros at such display. This couple married for more than 20yrs and if you see them you would think, it's young love now budding. They sit upfront, hugging, snuggling, rubbing, smooching, giggling, whispering ect. the list goes on. Today, I watched in amusement as she massaged his neck down to his back for a good while and then played in his head the whole time throughtout the service, then as we were standing singing the hymns, they were hand in hand and leaning on each other and swaying. Although how nice the gesture and affirmation of their longstanding love. Do they have to have such intimate disyplay in the front of the church? Call me prude of something, but the most me and the hubby do, is hold hands while praying but not much else. Where is the church ethics these days? Are we willing to accept anykind of behavior just to get people to the church?