What Not to Wear; Church Edition

Maybe, we should all worship naked.

Now before you get all offended on me, hear my rationale. This past Sunday I had the privilege of preaching. I always love it when I get the opportunity to share what the Lord has been doing in this messy life of mine and I think it occasionally even encourages a few folks to draw closer to Jesus.

At FBC, the first service bears the label “traditional.” What that means is we get to hear a dapper-looking choir in matching robes, we sing hymns and listen to organ music mixed with piano. Neckties are important, suit coats are pressed and hairdos are puffy. It’s a good-looking crowd.

The second service is labeled “contemporary.” Praise bands play guitars, bass and drummers drum while we sing the latest in Christian music. More than a few coffee cups can be spotted sporting their Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts logos and older people wonder if younger people are experiencing a shortage of combs because their hair has purposely been made to look somewhat chaotic. Neckties are few and far between and jeans are more the norm for the men.

The same message is preached to each crowd.

I play dress-up for the first service. I put on a suit and tie even though it makes me feel somewhat like a poser. For the second service I change into my comfortable clothes and feel more at home and able to breath. What puzzles me is the way people react.

I had one woman pretty upset with me when she saw that I had changed out of my suit and tie after the first service. “Don’t you want to give God your best?” she asked. For her, my suit was “my best” and my jeans and argyle sweater were dumpy.

I didn’t get drawn into debating clothing but I did toss her question around in my head a little. The reality was my suit outfit cost me less than $150 at an S&K Warehouse sale while the jeans, shirt, sweater, belt combo cost more than that. By her standards, I think I gave God my best in the second service … if clothing has anything at all to do with it.

“Good to see you in a tie,” one guy told me before the first service. I asked him why ties were important to him. He linked it to respect. We are good enough friends that I challenged him to do a little tie research in the coming week. Historically ties have been a sign of wealth, power and status. I wonder when they made the leap to being a sign of godliness for so many.

After the second worship service one woman was very upset that one of the guitar players had a tattoo. Her view was that he should have covered it up during the service. I don’t even know where to go with that.

Adam and Eve were naked. Then they did what we all do; they went their own way and pushed God’s way aside. As soon as they took the bite, the first thing that changed was their attitude about clothing. From fig leaves to togas to suits and ties, it has been a big deal ever since.

No, we can’t worship naked. No matter what we wear or do not wear, it will always be an issue to some in this family of ours. I wonder if anyone heard what I said Sunday? I think it was good stuff.

What does God want us to wear? I think it’s pretty clear in Colossians 3:12-14

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.(The Message)

About Scott Linscott

Living life to the fullest, walking in the dust of my Rabbi, creating art through photography and written word, speaking words of hope wherever and whenever the opportunity arises.
This entry was posted in Christianity, dress code, how to dress for church, Jesus, legalism, love, What Not to Wear. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to What Not to Wear; Church Edition

  1. Robert K. Leaverton says:

    At my church where I am a pastor most of the men wear jeans. I even wear jeans – albeit, black and they are hidden under an alb and chasuble. I don’t care what they wear. If they want to hear the the Word and strengthen their relationship with God through Christ Jesus, that works for me.

  2. Jan says:

    I guess we all have our little peeves about that is right and what is wrong to wear to church…if you would not wear it if Jesus physically walked in the door do not wear it otherwise.

    I do stuggle w/ shorts though….esp. tight ones, short ones, sport ones to the floor instead of the knees…and it doesn’t matter if it is male or female wearing the inappropriate attire…fix it…put some more appropriate pants on PLEASE…jeans, slacks…and PLEASE ladies…NO halter/tube tops…

    I do not like to see cleavage on any age woman…excuse me but I have breasts of my own and I do not need to see yours and neither does my husband, son, and now grandson.

    How do you think people would handle Jesus if He appeared today as He probably appeared when He actually walked on this earth…there would be people loosing it!!!!!

    If it takes a suit and tie, dress/skirt/blouse/hose/heels for you to be comfortable at church…..go for it….but remember…it may take someone else just jeans/t-shirt/blouse/capris/sweaters/vests to be comfortable. Just as long as God is given the glory, honor and adoration!!!!!

    Our church has coffee and a roll available in the fellowship hall of our church and it is a time of fellowship for all who wish to partake…and yes some coffee cups get brought into the service…
    Remember to offer Jesus a cup if He shows up!!!!

    Blessings to all….worship God w/ a pure heart of all! and the other should fall into place.

    Signed a FIFTY-TEN something aged person

  3. Wendy says:

    I go to a Catholic church and we go through the dress code issue every summer because some people take it to the extreme. In Catholic churches, there is no specific dress code, but raunchy is just raunchy no matter where you go. I was taken aback and quite offended when our Senior Pastor asked me not to wear shorts in the church because I didn’t find them to be inappropriate or immodest. It definitely threw me for a loop. I believe that Jesus Christ would want us to come as we are. However, what you said about the coffee cups in church does bother me a little bit. My brother went to a mega church in Pittsburgh and I saw that. He’s not Catholic, he’s non-denominational. They actually had a cafe’ in the lobby of the church and sold coffee, cookies, muffins, etc, between services. That disturbed me so much I had to leave.

    I suppose everyone has a comfort level for what they find acceptable in their worship experience – thus the traditional and the contemporary services. However, if one doesn’t like what you are wearing during the contemporary service, maybe they should just come to the traditional service. That’s my take on it!

  4. Barb Double-Finger-Wag says:

    Did you know Jesus also prefers Easter hats and socks with pretty lace around the top? Just ask Holly Groom about getting this tomboy into a dress.I do think it is unfortunate that clothing, hair, makeup, tattoos, etc. can be such a distraction from the purpose of worship and can be a division in the church. It is always something: that tattoo on a musician, the style of music, powerpoints vs. song books, which translation to use… Wouldn't it be nice if we could focus on God a little more (or a lot more) and outward appearance and minor details less? Or focus on what we know to be true. Like the dress code that you outlined, or maybe that Jesus' ministry was one of love and focused on the heart, rather than the exterior. Hmm…

  5. Ms. DeLuca says:

    I am a jean wear-er in the "first service" environment. I say I do it to make visitors feel welcome… when really it is my rebelion coming through- encouraging people to question my holiness 🙂 That's probably not right either…

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