The Ann Arbor News has a balanced article about the casual trend in church attire. The piece includes both the pragmatic and anti-legalism pro that God cares more about the heart, as well as the traditional con that dressing up shows respect for God and is a carry-over from more formal days gone by.
What you wear to church seems like a pretty silly issues, but it’s caused many Sunday morning fights as families struggle to get out the door.
Personally, I’ve never understood the mandate to dress up. My mom always frowned when I tried to wear jeans (“But mom!” I’d exclaim, “They’re holy!”), but today I gladly relax in jeans, though usually opt for something better than a T-shirt. Wearing a suit at my church actually makes you stick out so bad you suddenly revist the awkward feelings of adolescence. Except for Easter. Then it’s okay.
Clothing and attire is such a funky issue for the church. Culturally there’s this tradition of putting on your Sunday best. And I can understand a desire to show respect for God. But where did we get this idea that we have to polish ourselves up for God? It seems pretty clear that God is interested in something else:
“Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me … Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:13,16-17 NIV)
When will churches reflect the reality to come as you are? When will churches reflect the importance of our hearts and our consistency over a single act of supposed righteousness?