Dressing for God

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Christian naturists believe that the human body is God's greatest creation, and that covering it with textiles is actually encouraging sin, rather than the generally accepted opposite. And while most organized places of worship have not gone nude, they have dramatically scaled back any dress codes.
At Unity on the Bay Miami, for example, there's no dress code and ''what would be considered inappropriate at another church is not looked at as inappropriate here,'' said Gema Valdes, director of communication and marketing. ``They wear anything from their Sunday best to shorts and flip-flops. Unity is a come-as-you-are type of church.''

So is Flamingo Road Church in Cooper City, where even lead pastor Troy Gramling dons ''jeans and comfortable cool shirts,'' said pastor Heather Palacios. At one of the church's satellite campuses -- Regal Cinemas at Sawgrass Mills -- you can't tell the parishioners from the movie-goers.

Jodie Kolipinski, 30, usually wears a sundress and nice sandals or flip-flops to Flamingo Road. Recently, she visited a friend's church when she left work, dressed in her nurse's scrubs. ''I felt out of place because everyone was dressed up,'' she said. 'Guys were in suits, women were in high heels and hats and little boys wore dress shirts, nice pants and shiny black shoes, but everyone smiled. They were very welcoming. I wish my friend had said, `Change your clothes before you come.' ''
Jodie's experience is a prime example of how clothing can actually act as a barrier between people, and creates a false image. While authorities are actually arresting people in Florida for baggy pants, it's refreshing to read that some people are coming to the realization that our society's obsession with fashion and clothing is significantly less important than the people who wear them.

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