If you haven’t been paying attention to the news today, then you don’t know how controversial this photo has been. Why is it controversial? I someone doing something innapropriately in the photo? Is some girl wearing something scandalous? No! Girls are wearing flip-flops to the White House. Now, I probably would not have noticed this unless it was brought to the media’s attention, but now that it has, it raises some interesting questions. If you are wondering whether or not I made up this issue, check out this news article, which is one of many.
Now, when I was growing up in Phoenix, AZ, my brother and I used to get up every Sunday morning, and get ready for church. When we were younger, and our parents dressed us, we were usually matching, and we wore suits and ties to church, and dress shirts, ties and shorts in the summer time. I mean, it’s difficult to wear a suit when it’s a 120 degrees in the summer, let alone to keep it intact on an active little boy.
When I became older and was usually able to dress myself, I tended to get a little more casual, but I still knew it was important to look somewhat nice at church. Which for me, that usually meant, button up shirts, or courderoy pants, or slacks, sometimes ties, etc. So it was somewhat of a shock when I was sophomore in college and my college roommate from Santa Cruz, CA was wearing Reef flip-flops to the Sunday service. I was somewhat shocked by this type of dress, but was assurred by him that it was quite normal to wear to church where he came from. Eventually he got me into some Reef flip-flops, and I started wearing them to church. And now….well, that’s about all you will see me in these days.
How did I go from someone who usually dressed up to church, to someone who rarely dresses up? Now the usual wear is jeans, button up shirt, and flip-flops. That seems to be the typical wear at my church, and in my community. And I don’t know what is happening? Because now that I’m here in CA, the typical church dress is nothing like it was in AZ where I grew up. But now when I go home, it seems that CA is influencing them more and more. Then I go to church at times in my birthstate of Texas, and the dress is a little more formal.
Is it geography? Is it an age/stage thing? I mean, if you come to the 9am service at my church, most people will be in suits, ties, dresses, etc. But if you come to the 11am or 6pm service, you might be shocked at what people wear. In fact, I would be safe in saying, that you might see more skin on Sunday at my church, then you would any other day of the week. But it seems to be typical, and the dress seems to be a little more risque in the summer.
Everyone has got their positions though. Flip-flops don’t bother me, and it seems like everyone wears them. But sometimes I see someone in a ripped t-shirt, and some girl is showing more clevage than the cover of a beauty magazine. Is this okay dress for church? Are we being judgmental when we look at someone’s dress? Is it how we were raised? Is where we live? Is it based on our community?
Some would say that the decline in proper, and classy dress on Sundays is indicative of the rest of the decline in our culture. That was the gist I got from the dialogue on the Dennis Prager show this morning. What do you think?
I’ve been to the White House when the President spoke, and I was very conscious about wearing a suit and tie. Not wanting to be improperly dressed in that situation. But I don’t think about this when I go to church. Should I? Should I not preach in jeans and a t-shirt, sometimes with a hat on?
I went to a seminary where dress was not an issue, even when I preached. And I have friends who go to other seminaries who are required to wear suits, ties, etc, especially when they preach. There is this issue about the Word of God and the respect you give it by the way you dress. I just don’t know if God is that concerned about it, or is He?
I do know this though. I will wear something different to church here in Los Angeles, than when I go home to Arizona, or when I go visit my brother in Washington D.C. Each culture, and each community has its own rules about what is and isn’t acceptable, and sometimes I wonder if what is acceptable is declining more and more, even though I tend to take advantage of it myself.
What’s your take on this issue?