Sunday, January 10, 2010
I Wear Jeans
Almost everyone in the Sunday morning pews dress nicer than me. It's not because I don't like to wear nice clothes (I do). It's not because I can't afford it (I own lots of suits and ties). It's not because I'm lazy (well, maybe a little bit).
I wear jeans and a sweater most Sundays. In the summer, I wear shorts. By contrast, almost all of the men at church wear collared shirts, if not a jacket and tie. We are a rather traditional congregation in the fashion sense, filled with people - young and old - that tend to wear their "Sunday best" to church. Several women rock bonnets from time to time. The ushers are expected to wear suits. Dresses (or skirts) and high heels are common for women. I must say, we're a good-lookin' group of Christians.
I have no problem with people who choose to dress this way. In fact, the rest of my family usually looks rather dashing while we're in worship.
So why the slacker mentality when it comes to attire?
About two years ago I realized that most visitors who didn't have a previous church home were showing up in casual clothes. In fact, I recall a conversation with a would-be member who apologized several times after worship for being under-dressed. I was sad to know that she felt she had done something wrong by not showing up in a nicer outfit. I envisioned her walking into the sanctuary and surveying the room, as any visitor would do. She'd look for people she knew, what the stained glass window meant, where the organ was, and why the pastors had robes on. When it was time for communion, she saw a congregation filled with well-dressed people; and she wasn't one of them. As she walked up to the front to receive the sacrament, she wasn't focused on Christ's body and blood poured out for her...she was worried what people thought of her ensemble.
I'm not convinced that Jesus had a dress code or that Christian worship requires fine clothing. I think it's great if some prefer to look really nice for worship, but it's also alright for people (especially visitors) to feel comfortable. So if someone comes to our church in casual clothing, they will likely find at least one other person looking the same way...but with redder hair.
What about your congregation? How do the fashion choices of the worshipers convey certain assumptions about Christian worship? What kinds of clothes should people wear to church?
at 7:19 PM