Church People

Whatever happened to a type of church attire? More specifically, whatever happened to “wearing your best for the Lord” on Sundays? Why has the church gone the way of business casual to just casual in some circles? I think the reason is partly because the church in very real ways whether she knows it or not is taking her cue from the “world” (again) via good ole corporate America.

Here’s the correlation: as soon as corporate America started gravitating toward business casual to just casual, all of a sudden the church started doing the same thing. Coincidence? Probably not…and I find it even more interesting that the Black church is starting to do the same thing in some ways, though, not as much as many white churches.

Here’s the (X-socio-)rub: if corporate America is mainly dominated by Anglos and they make up most of the evangelical church population, could it be that culture trends in corporate America are affecting many churches since that same group is predominate in both? Could it also be that black churches are following the same predominately white paradigm unknowingly? I’ll let you draw your on conclusions from that one.

4 Objections:

Now I know some of you are going to try to spiritualize this by saying (1) what is really important is the person’s (Christian’s) heart, not their attire. And you know what? I would happen to agree with you. (2) Another reason for the more informal dress is because some say we don’t want our formal dress to be a hindrance to others who don’t have such attire. (3) Or some may believe we should dress down because dressing up or wearing our best could be a distraction and turn into a fashion show. (4) Better yet, many folks would say that dress clothing is too uncomfortable.

4 Responses:

1. But I do wonder why our heart/beliefs and attire correspond to one another in different occasions, just not in the church anymore. For instance, we usually dress up for interviews; why…because we believe it is important. And duh…that is the protocol, you might say! So I would like to know why couldn’t there be a type of protocol for the church as well since worship is EVEN more important? When you go to an interview, you normally go out of your way to dress up for it. So I believe the protocol thing isn’t going to work here. Because the point is if you believe something is important, your actions will generally reflect that (i.e. heart/beliefs corresponding to your attire or behavior in this case).

2. The people (usually unbelievers) who might be hindered by the formal dress in church…for the sake of clarification, are these the same people who would still dress for up an interview? Are they being “hindered” by the formal dress requirement in an interview setting now, even though, they dress up anyway? If so, let’s be honest, is it really that much of a hindrance? Because if it were, then they really wouldn’t dress up at all if they really believe that and decided to live up to their convictions. But oh, I forgot. A job interview may be more important than corporate worship!

3. If dressing up could be a distraction, why dressing down is not? Can’t someone be distracted by folks running around with flip-flops or big fancy writing all over their shirt? Particularly, could it also be by having some big name brand label or saying on the back their shirt is even more distracting to the people behind them. And who’s to say that the fashion show potential is minimized? If anything, now we just have more an informal fashion show. Who can wear the best informal gear now. So the same problem in different wardrobe!

4. This one is easy. If your dress clothes are uncomfortable, then buy some new ones that fit you silly. You don’t walk around with uncomfortable informal wear, but maybe you do. And if that is the case, then my point is made again (because you can do the same with dress clothing).

So here’s the nail in the coffin for me. The same folks who would give all 4 objections and more or even less are the same folks who would dress up for a funeral. But if dressing up really isn’t that important, then do not dress up at all even for a funeral. Can we be a little consistent, even out of respect for the dead? Oh, and speaking of the dead…why in the world would we pay more respect to a DEAD person (who cannot see us) by dressing up than to Christ Jesus (who can see us) on Sundays who has raised from the DEAD and has conquered death and now LIVES? What kind of sense does that make?

Co-Founder Xavier Pickett