Kathy's UPC Experience
Dear Sister Gibson,
I have been looking over your web site the past few weeks, and want to say thank you for presenting these facts and biblical truths in such an unbiased manner.
I have struggled with the hair and makeup issues for quite some time. I could not see where the bible taught "uncut" hair and after much prayer finally spoke to my pastor. He advised me that this was a "teaching" the UPC ministerial board adopted to keep uniformity and that if I was going to cut my hair, asked that I be modest since I held a position of authority in the church and others would follow my lead. My hair is layered to give me a little height and coverage on top.
My hair had been falling out (and splitting and breaking) from health problems and although very very long, it was NOT attractive, nor was I able to feel good about myself. I had been raised under a very strict and domineering woman minister and felt such awful shame and guilt when I would disagree with ministerial teachings. (now this does not mean I didn't love her dearly) I was so fearful of being lost if I did cut my hair. One day I finally realized, if I am to be judged by the Word of God, why would God condemn me for something his word does not say?
As for my use of makeup and the reactions I receive, is actually pretty sad. I was in a disfiguring accident as a teen resulting in years of facial surgery to remove scars. At the present time my mouth is quite uneven with the lip on one side being all but invisible. I have been told that it's not that bad and I shouldn't worry about it. Easy for them to say, everyone who has said this to me has had a flawless complexion and perfectly formed lips. I wear a lip liner to fill in the area until I can afford my next surgery and a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen to even out the skin tone from laser resurfacing on the area around my mouth.
In March our youth group went to Youth Convention 2000 and had an absolutely wonderful time. We felt such a refreshing presence and anointing of God. On the last night, a woman who sat in near our group for the entirety of the convention came and took me, and the other adult female in our group, by the hand when the minister said, "take some young person by the hand that God is leading you to, and bring them to God."
Okay, first of all I'm 45, a young looking 45, in spite of all the surgeries, but 45 none the less. (the other female is 34 and also has layered hair, so we should not have been mistaken for "young persons") We allowed ourselves to be taken to the altar and after allowing her several minutes to pray that God would deliver, direct (and I believe restore) us, I kindly told her that we both had the Holy Ghost, and we needed to be praying with our youth group, then thanked her for her prayer. (we both truly wanted to, and I believe we did, have a right spirit and attitude about it) She looked startled and said, "Oh!" During the convention we had two young men receive the Holy Ghost and one renewal, and one young lady who closed the placed every night seeking God.
I was raised UPC, have an uncle who is a UPC Pastor, two cousins and a brother-in-law who are ministers in UPC, my best friend is my pastor's (UPC) wife and she is the daughter of my district (UPC) superintendent, and my husband and I were in Prison Ministry for a while, so I do know just a little about the thinking and attitudes of our churches, pastors and saints from all across the nation and I am not throwing stones. I simply want to see us focus on what is really important - Jesus Name baptism, One God, in filling of the Holy Ghost and the loving acceptance of our brothers and sisters. I know it will take much prayer and study to overcome the erroneous convictions and teaching I have taken on through the years, but I must feel good about myself to be the positive influence I want to be in the lives of others, and to do that I must feel that I look my best.
I didn't mean for this to turn into such a long letter, and I apologize, my desire was to simply encourage you and thank you for straight forward facts. Too often we Christians condemn, offend, and turn away those whom we have judged inadequate, unworthy or in some way flawed. We have forgotten that one stands or falls to his own master We should be encouraging one another and living as Jesus said, "by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:35)
Thanks for listening, I hope you'll have time to answer.
Posted June 2, 2000
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August 23, 1997
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