Friday, September 9, 2011

How Casual Should We Go?

Deacon Says Hooters Shirt Too Casual For Church, Raises Awareness On Appropriate Attire

Hooters Church Attire

Deacon Greg Kandra couldn't believe his eyes when a woman approached the altar for communion wearing a Hooters shirt. Kandra, is a deacon in a Forest Hills, N.Y. Catholic church. Church attire has undoubtedly become more casual throughout the years, but many pastors and/or church leaders are now beginning to wonder how casual is too casual?

Have we gone to far in our "dressing down" as we gather with the body to worship our holy and majestic God? Many churches across America are "wrestling" with this question as they are beginning to contemplate the necessity of dress codes for worshippers. Have we come to that point?

I do not think the issue of dress centers around such things as freedom vs legalism; personal comfort; or personal convenience. I think the issue of dress centers around four important areas:

Character - What are the affections of the heart truly set upon. Colossians 3:1-3, "If then you have raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is...Set your minds on thins that are above, not on things that are on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."

Our minds should not be set on the latest fashion, how an article of clothing highlights or emphasizes our body. Our minds should not be set on ourselves to the point where our own "comfort" dictates what we wear rather than the occasion. 

Decorum - This idea or concept seems to have died a slow and agonizing death. Decorum means "dignified propriety of behavior, speech, dress, etc. It also includes the idea of "the quality or state of being decorous" orderliness; regularity." Finally, decorum usually, is an observance or requirement of polite society. 

As we have "dumbed-down" the bible, the gospel, and the church, it reasonably follows that we have "dumbed-down" our ideas or understanding of what is appropriate dress for the gathering of the body in worship of God. 

I don't want to preach a sermon at this point on this point, but we could certainly say a lot about this concept. Who are we worshipping? Do we really have the concept right concerning the weight, worth, majesty, holiness, and righteousness of the God we claim to know, love, and worship?

Understanding - For the most part of American or Western ideas of individualism and independence has killed the realization for the consideration of what we wear as the body gathers on the Lord's Day. 

As we make "religion or faith" more private, individualized, and/or personal we fail to comply with things like "commitment to one another," caring for one another, the building up of one another, thinking for highly of others, and the overall sacrificial benefiting of one another. Now the focus on "church" is colored by consumerism, what is in it for me? What can I get out of it? Faith is personal to me and it simply boils down to me, me, me.

Therefore, the tank top which emphasizes or reveals ample breasts, or shorts that highlight gorgeous legs, and sandals that show off perfectly manicured toes makes you feel good about yourself, but does nothing for my spiritual benefit. Your casualness and comfort may go along way to exercise my flesh but adds nothing to my walk with the Lord.

Modesty - although we touched very briefly on this, this word seems to have been stricken not only from the unconverted pagan's dictionary, but also from the Christian women's dictionary. Both men and women can be guilty of being immodest. Although lust seems to be a greater problem for men since God created them as visual creatures, both sexes need to constantly guard their hearts against the lusts of the flesh which include sexual desires. 

What is the solution? Deacon Kandra wants first, to bring an awareness to the problems connected casual dress. Secondly, he, like, many in the church, is toying with the idea of a dress code for worship. Is that the answer?

I don't think so. I don't think you can ever legislate righteousness. Do I think God is more pleased and honored when you are in a suit or an uncomfortable dress that covers you from neck to toe? No I don't. Do I think shorts, sandals, and T-Shirts make you less of a Christian? Again, no I don't.

So, what is the answer? I am glad you asked. I think the answer lies in making much of the character and nature of God. The more we make of Him, the more we know of His glorious character the more we will want to respond properly. A part of proper response includes how we dress as we gather to exalt the Savior, edify the Saint, and even evangelize the Sinner.

What do you think?


Ma said...

I don't have a problem with casual dress at church so long as it is modest. The Hooters shirt may be a bit over the line.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Does God care who wears what to church? As long as they're at church for the right reason I say wear what you like.

Have a great week-end Gregg.
Take care.

Persis said...

I don't think a dress code is the answer. I agree that the answer is an increased knowledge of God, which will lead to our own sanctification which should impact how we dress.

LD Masterson said...

I will admit there was a time in my life when I skipped Sunday service because I didn't want to get all dressed up. The church I attend now has a traditional service where people wear mostly "dressy casual" (no ties but no shorts) and a contemporary service which brings in the jeans and t-shirt crowd.

Keena said...

I agree w/ Ma.

Petra said...

The one question that keeps popping into my mind is: Whom are we worshiping when we dress for personal comfort or convenience? I wouldn't wear a hooter's shirt or short shorts and yet my own question convicts me because I'll wear the comfortable shoes or the shirt that doesn't pinch me. Great article!

IanH said...

It bothers me as I am of the old school where you dressed up for church. Having said that, I would rather see the young people in church gaining knowledge of our Lord than hanging around the corners.
I guess there is a balance, but I don't know how to reach it without offending, and besides are we not to judge? That is God's job.

Arlee Bird said...

I don't know that having official dress codes is the best idea. It would seem an issue of common sense on how to dress, but apparently many are lacking in that trait. There are guys my age who I've seen coming to church in shorts and rock & roll t-shirts and I think they look ridiculous. I don't dress up, but my personal rule is to dress in clean casual clothes--never t-shirts or shorts.

Maybe if people are youth leaders or some official face of the church, a request should be made for certain types of dress--not necessarily suit and tie, but not disrespectful dress either. These people are examples and representatives who should be striving to set a good image.

We should dress no worse than we would for a job interview. I would not hire a person who came to an interview in shorts and t-shirt. I think dress reflects character.

Tossing It Out

Trisha said...


And,I don't think we can even suggest wearing clothing to church that we'd wear to work because even those standards have declined.

Encourage someone to dress modestly, and the legalism card will quickly be played. How we dress if often the most visible display of the selfishness that rages in our hearts....we want attention, we want glory, and we could care less about what honors God and what honors others.

"As we have "dumbed-down" the Bible, the gospel, and the church, it reasonably follows that we have "dumbed-down" our ideas or understanding of what is appropriate dress for the gathering of the body in worship of God. "

Amen to this, Gregg!

There should at least be the boldness to address these issues in a church. Yes, God looks on the heart, but how we dress is very much a manifestation of what's in our hearts.

anthony stemke said...

To me it is simply a matter of respect. If it were the only garment you had, then ok; otherwise it shouldn't be tolerated.