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Stop dressing so tacky for church
Remember when people used to dress up for church? Casual Friday has now morphed into Sloppy Sabbath.
April 19th, 2014
08:00 PM ET

Stop dressing so tacky for church

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - If the Rev. John DeBonville could preach a sermon to lift the souls of churchgoers across America, his message would be simple:

Stop dressing so tacky for church.

DeBonville has heard about the “come as you are” approach to dressing down for Sunday service, but he says the Sabbath is getting too sloppy.

When he scans the pews of churches, DeBonville sees rows of people dressed in their Sunday worst. They saunter into church in baggy shorts, flip-flop sandals, tennis shoes and grubby T-shirts. Some even slide into the pews carrying coffee in plastic foam containers as if they’re going to Starbucks.

“It’s like some people decided to stop mowing the lawn and then decided to come to church,” says DeBonville, rector at the Church of the Good Shepard in Massachusetts. “No one dresses up for church anymore.”

Church leaders like DeBonville have harrumphed about declining dress standards for Sunday service for years, while others say God only cares what’s in someone’s heart.

But which side is right? What does the Bible actually say about dressing properly for church? And does Jesus provide fashion advice anywhere? Wasn’t he a homeless, Galilean peasant who wore flip-flops?

The answers to these questions are not as easy as they may seem. The Bible sends mixed messages about the concept of wearing your Sunday best. And when pastors, parishioners and religious scholars were asked the same questions, they couldn’t agree, either.

Wearing ties on first dates

There was one point on which both sides did agree: People are dressing sloppier everywhere, not just church.

Take a trek to the supermarket on Saturday morning and you’re bound to run into a sleepy-eyed woman in slippers and rollers at the checkout counter.

Pajamas in public: The battle of 'appropriate' vs. 'comfy'

Or take a walk outside and you’ll be greeted by teenagers slouching around with their jeans sagging over the butt-cheeks.

Even corporate America isn’t immune. Casual Fridays has morphed into casual every day and even tech tycoons like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wear bland T-shirts during public presentations.

It’s a sharp departure from another era in America before the 1960s, when people wore suits, dresses and white gloves in public.

The Rev. Gerald Durley, a sharp-dressed civil rights activist in Atlanta, recalls taking his future wife, Muriel, on their first date. When he showed up at her house, her father opened the door, looked at him, and took him aside gravely, “Young man can I talk to you for a minute.”

“He told me, 'If you’re going to take my daughter out, you can wear one of my ties,'” says Durley, a retired Baptist pastor.

Jennifer Fulwiler, who wrote an article for the National Catholic Register titled, “Why Don’t We Dress up Anymore,” says her great-grandfather would put on a coat and tie just to go grocery shopping.

The reasons why people stopped dressing up could fill a book. Yet Fulwiler offers one explanation that’s seldom mentioned – lack of gratitude.

Fulwiler’s revelation came one day as she watched scruffily dressed people board a plane. She flashed back to a black-and-white photo she had seen of her grandparents boarding a plane in the 1940s. Most of the passengers were dressed in suits and ties and dresses because air travel was such a privilege at the time.

“We dress up for what we’re grateful for,” she says. “We’re such a wealthy, spoiled culture that we feel like we have a right to fly on airplanes,” says Fulwiler, author of “Something Other than God,” which details her journey from atheism to Christianity.

Church is like air travel now – it’s no longer a big deal because people have lost their sense of awe before God, Fulwiler says.

Yet some of these same people who say it doesn’t matter how you dress for church would change their tune if they were invited to another event, Fulwiler says.

“If you had the opportunity to meet the Queen of England, you wouldn’t show up in at Windsor Castle wearing jeans and a T-shirt,” she says.

The church customer is always king

Shouldn’t people have that same reverential attitude when they show up at church to meet God, some ask? After all, doesn’t your dress reveal the importance you attach to an occasion?


Just what do you mean, 'dress festively'?

That sentiment, however, is seen as hopelessly old school in many popular megachurches across America. Casual Fridays has morphed into casual Sundays.

And many of the popular megachurch pastors are middle-aged men who bound onto the stage each Sunday dressed in skinny jeans, untucked Banana Republic shirts, and backed by in-house Christian rock bands. They’ve perfected a “seeker-friendly” approach to church that gets rid of the old formal worship style with its stuffy dress codes.

But there’s a danger in making people too comfortable in their clothes on Sunday morning, says Constance M. Cherry, an international lecturer on worship and a hymn writer.

Some churches have embraced a business-oriented “the customer is always right” approach to worship that places individual comfort at the center of Sunday service, says Cherry, author of“Worship Architect: A Blueprint for Designing Culturally Relevant and Biblically Faithful Services.”

“Many young people and boomers judge the value of worship service based on personal satisfaction,” Cherry says. “If I get to wear flip-flops to Wal-Mart, then I get to wear flip-flops to church. If I get to carry coffee to work, I get to carry coffee to church. They’re being told that come as you are means that God wants you to be comfortable.”

What the Bible says

The Bible says that’s not true – people had to prepare themselves internally and externally for worship.

In the Old Testament, Jewish people didn’t just “come as they are” to the temple in Jerusalem. They had to undergo purification rituals and bathe in pools before they could enter the temple, says Cherry, who is also a professor of worship at Indiana Wesleyan University.

Both Old and New Testaments suggest that people should not approach God in a casual manner, Cherry says. Psalms 24 urges the faithful to “ascend the hill of the Lord …with clean hands and pure hearts.”

When Jesus taught in the synagogues, he also observed the rules and decorum of being in God’s house, Cherry says.

Cherry isn’t calling for a restoration of first-century cultural norms, such as women covering their hair in worship, or a rigid dress code. She says churches should meet people where they are, and make even the poorest person feel welcome.

She just says that preparation for worship should give less thought to people and more thought to the divine.

“There should be some sort of approach to God that will include certain steps to honor the God that is not our buddy but fully The Other,” she says.

Others back up Cherry’s call to keep the Sabbath special. Dressing up really makes a difference on Sunday, they say.

“It puts you in a different mindset,” says Tiffany Adams, a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who grew up wearing jeans in church. “It actually sets the Sabbath apart from every other day.”

And there are still pockets of church culture where no one has to persuade people to look sharp on Sunday.

The African-American church is one such place. Many of its members still insist on dressing up on Sunday because of the historical struggles of blacks. Sunday morning was often the only time in the week that a black person could assert their dignity, says Durley, the Atlanta civil rights activist who also is a retired Baptist pastor.

“On Sunday morning, when you put on your tie, your shirt and put your palms together and slicked down your hair, you were no longer the hired help, you were a trustee, a deacon or you chaired this board and you dressed accordingly,” Durley says.

What would Jesus wear?

There are others, though, who say God cares more about the person’s soul than their style. No one wears a bracelet today asking, “What would Jesus wear.” Clothes just weren’t important to Jesus or the early church, they claim.

The early church was anti-hierarchical and adopted a “come as you are” approach to worship, welcoming outcasts and the disenfranchised who often couldn’t dress in fine clothes, says Carl Raschke, a religious studies professor at the University of Denver.

Raschke cites Mark 12:38, where Jesus mocks the fine clothes worn by the Pharisees, a group of elite Jewish religious leaders of his day.

Others cite James 2:2-4, where the writer of the New Testament book criticizes early Christians for discriminating against poor people visiting the church in dirty clothes and favoring the man “wearing a gold ring and fine clothes.”

“Adopting a dress code would not only be suicidal for American Christians who are swimming against the stream of casual secularism, it would be antithetical to what Christianity sees increasingly as its abiding mission – to reach those who are marginalized and ‘don’t fit in,’ ‘’ Raschke says.

Some people, though, remain convinced that casual Sundays are getting too sloppy.

“The casualness of Sunday church attire has gone too far,” says DeBonville, the pastor of the Massachusetts church. “It’s about respect and honoring God.”

When DeBonville looks across the scruffy fashion landscape of America, he sees only one profession that’s holding the line against tacky dress.

It’s not the preachers or priests, though. These people belong to another profession whose members aren’t exactly known for respect and honoring God.

“The last ones wearing shirt and ties are the politicians,” DeBonville says.

Easter is supposed to be about the renewal of hope, but when asked if the spread of sloppy Sabbath can get any worse, DeBonville sounds gloomy. Yoga pants in the pews, pajamas near the altar – will everyone soon start showing up at church dressed like “the Dude” in the film, “The Big Lebowski.”

Nothing would surprise DeBonville anymore.

“There’s growing casualness everywhere,” he says. “I don’t know if it can get much worse.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Church • Easter

soundoff (997 Responses)
  1. terrytypes

    Reading through the comments, people who purport themselves to be believers seem to have hangups in attending church, dressing "appropriately"when attending church, and have other irreverent things to say. There is a dress protocol for entering fine restaurants, courtrooms, schools (that require uniforms), corporate positions, etc. Why should it be any different when we gather to worship and praise before the King of Kings?

    July 21, 2014 at 1:34 am |
    • thesamyaza

      there are no kings in America.

      July 21, 2014 at 1:49 am |
      • terrytypes

        It's protocol for a kingdom not of this world. Just reverence. If you're not a believer, that's your hang-up, not mine.

        July 23, 2014 at 5:13 am |
    • cynthiagee

      Because this is the CHURCH, and not the world:

      1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

      2 Corinthians 5:2 "My brothers,[a] show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?"

      8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors."

      July 22, 2014 at 10:49 am |
  2. Fred_the_Dog

    Seeing as how church attendance is dropping, I don't think people should be shamed for what they wear if they go.

    July 20, 2014 at 6:30 pm |
  3. justincl123

    This is an interesting topic... something I've been hearing a lot about lately.

    I'm a freelance writer, I have a question for John Blake, the writer. Where did you get the inspiration to write this article?

    July 3, 2014 at 3:19 am |
    • voxomega

      Christians who DO NOT attend Church WILL NOT be saved. Anyone sitting at home on their butt saying I believe in god WILL NOT be saved and WILL NOT have eternal life. The parable about the person who is hid their talent in the ground is for Christians who imagine that God is going to overlook their sitting at home doing nothing. The scripture in revelation where Jesus can ERASE their name from the book of life is written to the Church.

      July 6, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
      • emergingclarity

        Voxomega, I have a question for you. What about the housebound or those who have no way to church? What about the chronically ill? Are you saying they won't be allowed in heaven?

        There are people in our world who have conditions that preclude their attending church on a regular basis, or even at all. Some are bed-bound. Others use wheelchairs for mobility and living in a rural area leaves them with no way to get to church. I have a chronic condition that makes being in a group of people very uncomfortable. Many smells - like cheap cologne, hairspray, aftershave, scented laundry soap, fabric softeners, and lots of flowers - make me physically ill to a point you don't want to hear about. Loud noises give me migraines that leave my head feeling like it will explode. Other sounds – some make sense, others don't – are simply intolerable for my brain and nervous system. Now I was okay until about 9 years ago and then, all at once, I got sick. I had to stop working, go on disability, and at the same time it became difficult to go to church on a regular basis, and sometimes at all. There were times I went in the building and had to leave 5 minutes later because the smell of someone's laundry soap gave me dry heaves. Other times the sound system was managed by someone who turned it up so loud I felt as if my head would explode. In those instances I have had to content myself with worshipping from home, sometimes along with a TV show; other times I listened to a DVD or CD, reviewed notes from Bible College, or spent time in intercessory or other kinds of prayer.

        I feel that if you are able-bodied and you don't go to church, you are doing yourself and the body of Christ a disservice. However, painting us all with the same brush is rather narrow-minded. Some people just can't be in church as we see it today; however, they live as believers, praying and worshipping and getting fellowship where-ever they can. Your statements sounds rather narrow-minded and allows no room for the humanness of people and their frailties. I pray God will open your eyes and help you see that a bit of understanding among your brothers and sisters would be very helpful. God bless you.

        July 7, 2014 at 1:00 am |
        • Meredith W.

          emergingclarity, I have some of the same health issues. Personally, and from what I understand theologically (both through my own study and the knowledge of others with more advanced degrees), you are doing nothing wrong.

          July 9, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
      • Meredith W.

        voxomega, I'm not sure where you get that idea. Christianity is based on the belief that we are saved by Jesus' death and resurrection, not that we get to heaven because we go to church.

        July 9, 2014 at 10:51 pm |
      • Fred_the_Dog

        Believe and be baptized is what I was told growing up. Nothing about actually going to church.

        July 20, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
  4. emergingclarity

    From the time I was a child I loved dressing up for church on Sundays. It was like time with the children of God, in the house of God, was a special thing. During the week as a child we wore school clothes and play clothes, but Sunday was for wearing our good clothes (and just FYI, I was one of 6 kids so my best wasn't fancy - mostly homemade stuff, but a dress and nicer Sunday shoes.) Then, as an adult, I worked as a nurse, which required me to wear scrubs and then I hung out in whatever during the rest of my off time. On Sunday, though, it was a process. It was a mindset that came with the clothes. We prepared ourselves to meet Jesus by taking a bath or shower, putting on our best clothes, and gathering with other believers to praise God and thank Him for salvation, redemption and new life in Jesus. It wasn't about showing off or showing status or making others feel bad; it was a chance to do something special for the One who gave me the chance to be freed from sin and to live eternally. I never felt better than anyone else and I never wanted to do so. Yes, there were folks who made a show of it, but that happens everywhere.
    I look at dressing up for church as taking a little extra time to do my best for someone I love, respect and honor. Yes, He knows me at my best and worst, but as His child my goal should be to become more and more like Him. "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:18

    June 30, 2014 at 3:27 am |
    • bayareaangel

      This is what it's ALL about. You elaborated fully. One does not need to have lots of money to 'dress' decent. One can always pick up a nice pant suit at the second hand store, send it to the cleaners and have it altered if one desires to wear a suit. If not clean pants and a nice clean shirt. Leave the shorts and flip flops for the beach, and have some RESPECT for God in HIS house. emergingclarity I applaud your answer.

      July 8, 2014 at 10:13 am |
  5. 19covenant19

    Great MIRACLES have been discovered in the Book of PSALMS.
    It will change the World forever!

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com
    BIBLICAL EXCELLENT MIRACLES 1 & 2

    June 22, 2014 at 6:30 am |
  6. smitty031205

    let me ask this. why does it matter what you wear? i mean i know i think some people should maybe wear regular pants and not pajama pants but this is why people don't go to church because who are you to judge what someone is wearing or not wearing? i was raised to wear dresses, skirts, nice pants outfits to church but i don't always want to get dressed up to go to church. your clothes are not going to change the message that is given or change the way you receive it! stop being so judgemental and remember why you are in church!

    June 21, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
    • christianguy17

      You asked why it matters. Let me ask this question...if you were going to meet someone you highly respected, someone possibly in authority, such as the president (assume for arguments sake it's a president that is well respected, although even though I do not like our current president, as president he should be respected) or queen of England...would you wear pajamas or dirty jeans or would you rather dress nice! I would assume most people would wear something special and very nice for the occasion. But when we go to church...we are meeting our Lord, our King, our Creator and are in special communion with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. "Where two or three are gathered together, there am I in the midst of them. I think our dress gives insight into how much importance we place on where we are and what we are doing.

      June 22, 2014 at 11:02 pm |
      • bayareaangel

        Nicely said.

        June 23, 2014 at 12:43 am |
      • reeync

        That's not even logical. Yes, I know about the verse that you mentioned, but how does that work when in Joshua 1:9 says "...the Lord your God is with you wherever you go" and Matthew 28:20 "...and, behold, I am with you always" and 1 Corinthians 3:16 "Do you not know that you are God's temple and God's Spirit dwells within you?"

        I was always taught (and believed) that God is with us all the time and sees and knows all that we do. So, why would I dress up to "meet" the God who is always there with me?? He sees me in my pjs, in the shower, when I'm sick and look like crap, when I'm sleeping with my mouth hanging open and drool on my chin...in fact, God made me. Surely, there's no one else I can so totally be myself with the way I can with God.

        So, if I dress up for church, clearly I'm dressing up to impress other humans or to show them how much I '"respect" God by wearing my best clothes instead of the grungy nightshirt God saw me in an hour before or because someone at some time said that's what I ought to do because that was their opinion of what God likes or doesn't like.

        God doesn't care what other people in the church think of me or the way I dress. Only God judges, not the congregation or some self-appointed fashion expert. Until God specifically tells me I need to dress up a bit more for church, I'm not going to worry about some mere human's notion.

        And I think it's a very good thing that people even go to church. What they wear is of little consequence; just being there is fantastic. Why not see your fellow humans more in the way God does? Look less at their clothes and seek more the reflection of God in their eyes and hearts.

        June 23, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
        • christianguy17

          "The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob". -Psalm 87.2

          Thanks for your response, I hope we can discuss this rightly as fellow christians, even if we may disagree. I too believe in God's omnipresence as it is taught in scripture. However, there is a big difference between our daily activities in the presence of God and coming into the Lord's house for worship. The Bible beginning from the O.T. until the N.T. gives us instruction on how we should approach God in worship. The temple and tabernacle were set apart, and separated for a holy use, by the special express command of God. (Deu t. 7:13) The holiest of holies, the different courts (jews and gentiles), and all the religeous rites, etc., demonstrate the importance God, and thereby we, should place on worship, particularly public worship. In fact, God has set aside the whole Lord's day to be kept for public and private worship. Works of mercy, and commands no work or pleasure should be done on that day. The book of Hebrews is particularly important here because it shows the connection between the worship of the Old Testament and the worship of the N.T. and also because it draws attention to the uniqueness of our worship as the New Testament people of God. Hebre ws 12:28-29 states: "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire".

          June 24, 2014 at 2:23 am |
        • christianguy17

          I must earnestly disagree with you in your use of scripture to attempt to prove that God is not specially present with His people during public worship. First, note that Matt 18:20 is set in the context of public worship and directions given to the church and it's government. The context is crucial. Also, see the intimacy of his presence: Mat. 18.20, 'Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.' He says not, I am near them, or with them, or about them, or even observing them but in the midst of them; as much intimacy as can be expressed. And so he is described, Rev. 1:18, to be in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, in the midst of the church; there he walks and there he dwells; not only with them, but in them. When the public worship of God is taken from a people, then God is departed, his presence is gone; as when the ark was taken from the Israelites, they cried out, 'The glory is departed.' And why, but because the Lord, who is the glory of his people, is then departed? Did God leave the Israelites truly? Obviously not, but in a special sense...He did. Public ordinances are the sign, the pledge of God's presence; and in the use of them, he does in a special manner manifest himself present.

          June 24, 2014 at 2:25 am |
        • christianguy17

          That being said, I am not saying a suit and tie are in order. Different strokes for different folks. Because the issue IS about the heart and not the outer garments. Someone wearing jeans and a t-shirt, with a right heart, will be more pleasing to God than a "whited sepluchre" wearing the fancy clothes. But think of Luke 6:45. We cannot help but act out what is in our hearts and what I am saying is our speech, our body language and even our dress could reflect our sinful hearts showing a lack of reverence and respect for God, or could even show proper awe and respect. It is something each of us should reflect on. I am not saying we are to act as the "clothing police", EVEN IN OUR THOUGHTS toward others. If someone is dressed less formally than I....I don't care. It's not my business and we don't have the right to believe they think less of God's house than we do. So I agree with you, clothing doesn't matter....unless it belies our lack of respect for God's ordinances...but only God knows.
          Note, Script ure does address clothing in 1 Timothy 2:9, "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array". Modesty and self-restraint. I am sorry my response was so long, the topic of worship is massive.

          June 24, 2014 at 2:31 am |
        • christianguy17

          Also, observe the demeanor He teaches us to have in referrence to His ho ly wors hip: Ps 27:4, and Ec cl 5:1-2. Again, being in Go d's house for wors hip is different and special than at ANY other time. So I still think our dress CAN ("can" but not necessarilly "will") give insight into our heart as to how much importance we place on where we are and what we are doing. This has nothing to do with public perception but as a tool for gauging our heart.

          June 24, 2014 at 2:45 am |
        • christianguy17

          Good links to further study on worshipping God:

          http://www.the-highway.com/worship_Godfrey.html
          http://www.churchsociety.org/issues_new/doctrine/anglican/iss_doctrine_anglican_RyleWorship.asp

          http://headhearthand.org/blog/2012/08/30/12-reasons-why-public-worship-is-better-than-private-worship/

          June 24, 2014 at 2:54 am |
  7. obarryon

    Chairman: Item six on the agenda, the Meaning of Life. Now Harry, you’ve had some thoughts on this.
    Harry: That’s right, yeah. I’ve had a team working on this over the past few weeks, and what we’ve come up with can be reduced to two fundamental concepts. One, people are not wearing enough hats. Two, matter is energy. In the Universe there are many energy fields which we cannot normally perceive. Some energies have a spiritual source which act upon a person’s soul. However, this soul does not exist ab initio as orthodox Christianity teaches; it has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved owing to man’s unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia.
    [Pause.]
    Max: What was that about hats again?

    [For the satire-challenged, I'll point out that most, probably all, of Monty Python were atheists. :)]

    May 27, 2014 at 9:57 am |
  8. claveazul

    You should also avoid overdressing. When I go to Golden Corral on a Sunday, I often wonder if the circus has rolled into town.

    May 25, 2014 at 9:29 am |
  9. steward

    The dress code is in 1 Cor 11: Guys can't wear hats, women must wear hats. Doesn't say anything about dresses... and anyway, in Roman Catholicism, the priest wears a dress while conducting Mass anyway.

    May 23, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
    • kermit4jc

      actually..if you read on...they were not required to wear hats or keep short hair..or such...Paul says in this is a non issue

      May 23, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
      • christianguy17

        That is not true, you are mistaken sir. The bible commands women to have their heads covered when in church ("praying or phrophesying). And we know her hair is not considered the covering because Paul says if she will not cover, "let her also be shorn". And in v16 paul confirms head coverings by saying if any man would be contentious about this matter, "we", Paul and the apostles, AND the church, have no such custom or traditional behaviour of being contentious of headcovers. They are obedient to the express commands given in verses 1 Cor 11: 1-15. Notice the reasoning behind headcovers. Man (vs7) is the glory of God. A woman is the glory of man because she came from man's body and was designed as a "help meet" (vs9). God's glory should be manifest but the glory of man should be covered when we approach him in a special manner in worship. So God in verse 7 states men are to be uncovered as God has a particular glory in man in his station, and verse 11, because the angels are present in our worship to God, and to see the glory of man equal with that of the glory of God would be a shame. V13, "Judge in yourselves:is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?" The problem is, men and women rebel against this verse because they see this as male domination and implying male superiority. That is far from the case, verse12, "For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God". We are all created by God, and are His creatures, and are not inherently better than one another in God's eyes. But He has set up the authority structure, if anyone has a problem with this...your problem is with God and Paul says not to be contentious, aka rebellious.

        June 24, 2014 at 11:59 am |
    • kermit4jc

      BUT..IM still all for showing some sort of respect for God in the way you present yourself (I don't necessarily mean a suit and tie for the guys and dresses for the women)

      May 23, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
      • rahere

        It's men getting above themselves. Why only going to Church? God is everywhere and observes everything you do. Go reread Matt 5-8 and ask yourself what this reply says about your behaviour.
        Going deeper on that, you talk about showing respect. That's pretty superficial, if you had real respect from a deep and loving relationship then it will show, it cannot not show, without being considered superficially. The problem with failing faith is that the world sees the outside and does not address the inner problems. God does, and so what you wear most of the time should be part of what you are, and what you are is what you should show your brothers in the faith. If you don't have the courage to be yourself in communion, then you are not being truthful and so harming the communion.

        June 1, 2014 at 2:43 am |
        • Christine

          Hear! Hear! *applauding*

          June 1, 2014 at 4:30 am |
      • reeync

        Frankly, I'd rather show my respect for God by following his commandments, by trying to live the way Jesus did...without jugging or condemning, by accepting people for what's inside rather than the outside, by reaching out to help the needy, the lonely, the frightened. That's the best way to respect God, at least in my book. The clothes we wear are window dressing donned to impress each other. What you wear won't get you to Heaven. Worry more about your soul than your wardrobe.

        June 23, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
  10. thesamyaza

    we pagans have solved this people with a simple "clothing optional",.. think about it

    May 19, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
  11. jammer25

    Common sense IS what everybody thinks. If not, it wouldn't be common, would it? In the Roman Catholic Church, the Mass is a memorial of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ. If someone invited me to their last meal, I would want to go as if it were a special occasion. It would be a once in a lifetime event. All the more when God takes the form of man and dines with man for the last time. I think it all boils down to respect. There is not a lot of respect for things in society, that once commanded our respect. National Anthem, rules of the road and church are just a few of the things our society has lost respect for. The Greatest Generation had the respect we lack. They are almost all gone and the term with them. How sad.

    May 19, 2014 at 1:30 am |
    • Christine

      Thing is (and I have no argument for your point) the Catholic Church doesn't get all balled up about the QUALITY of those nice clothes you're wearing. A dress or a nice pant suit (for me) was fine and no one minded that it came from K Mart and not Sak's 5th Ave!

      Smaller churches (and my experience is w/ Baptist churches, even ones larger than my home Catholic Church ever was) seem to demand exquisite style, high prices style, not the thought that went into keeping my dress nice (and clean) fixing my hair, applying a modest amount of make-up, etc. I never saw such a bunch of pretentious snobs as some of these Baptists I've met!! The Pentecostals were fine so long as it was a modest dress, below the knees, little or no jewelry, (most of mine being the dime store variety anyway) and the same for make-up. They were cool, I think they have the better idea about things all-in-all when it comes to dressing. Standards but not fixations on price tags.

      Catholics, even tho my Church was a RICH, RICH Church, didn't mind so long as you didn't stink up the place. (And truly? I don't think they cared if it was modest or was all ripped up so long as the priest doesn't get a buncha complaints on you!) So long as you weren't part of the service (choir, reading, helping w/ Communion, etc.), Catholics are there for the ritual or engrossed in what's going on, not what someone 3 pews over is wearing. They had their priorities straight.

      May 21, 2014 at 12:45 am |
    • rahere

      If you want to learn something, go to Synagogue for schul on Friday evening. They have exactly the same hangups, the services are virtually identical, even down to a communion after the service itself. Sure, there's a difference in the Confessional, but the same holds true between Rome and the other Communions, some of whom are very close indeed to the older creed – it depends on how far they are removed from the personal.

      June 1, 2014 at 2:57 am |
      • Christine

        With all due respect – and I mean that – is your comment FOR mine, AGAINST mine, or just neutral?

        I figure you're right, and rightly so. Whether it be Temple, church or Church, folks should be minding their conversation w/ G_d, not comparing themselves to others! G_d wants respect, not fashion model shows! And that goes for men too. My husband flat refuses to go to church anymore (and wouldn't have anything to do w/ Church on account he was raised Pentecostal) but the sneers and unspoken put downs he has endured for the sake of coming to a church w/ me, because he's a BIG man and we don't have a thousand or two to sink into a suit that we're not even going to be buried in, that's their problem, not mine. He goes, cleaned and pressed, showered and shaved, just like I do – because K Mart dresses are cheaper! LOL – and he'll never wear a suit that we bought to impress someone else.

        And he won't be buried in it cuz we're getting cremated and who wants to spend most of eternity cooped up in a suit a man can't stand, ya know? We're both going in comfy, favorite clothes, not all dolled up when our coming Messiah is going to give us even better clothes (robes) in the end anyway! Poor sorry folks who think any form of worship has to be a fashion-plate runway, it's not, it's a conversation between us and G_d. And like someone said – go pagan, they worked out that clothing problem LONG ago! hehehe!! I think that's just TOO funny...

        June 1, 2014 at 4:25 am |
  12. 19covenant19

    Garet,
    yes, you are completely and absolutely missing the whole point. Get a look at it again
    only after you get some real good sleep first!

    Time of AWAKENING has come!
    GOD absolutely exists, and Most Powerfully Reigns!

    Great MIRACLES have been discovered in BIBLE (=in Genesis & Deuteronomy & Psalms & Matthew & ....)!

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com
    BIBLICAL EXCELLENT MIRACLES

    May 18, 2014 at 6:50 am |
  13. davidscomment

    I believe it is called respect. Why not the Creator answer the question rather than our opinion?

    (Malachi 1:6-8) 6 ...“‘A son honors a father, and a servant his master. So if I am a father, where is the honor due me? And if I am a master, where is the fear due me?’ Jehovah of armies says to you priests who are despising my name. “‘But you say: “How have we despised your name?”’ 7...“‘By presenting polluted food on my altar.’ “‘And you say: “How have we polluted you?”’ “‘By saying: “The table of Jehovah is something to be despised.” 8 ..And when you present a blind animal as a sacrifice, you say: “It is nothing bad.” And when you present a lame animal or a sick one: “It is nothing bad.”’” “Try presenting them, please, to your governor. Will he be pleased with you or receive you with favor?” says Jehovah of armies.

    We may not be offering up sacrifices in the form of animals but we are offering ourselves. How would our personal presentation be viewed?

    Jehovah of armies is a term given to the Almighty indicating his supreme position and power.
    Even visiting dignitaries to various international functions must follow specific dictates which includes respect for the person and office and this is carried through in their dress code.
    We're talking about the greatest, most important dignitary we can think of.

    People can say "God loves everybody no matter what". This is a correct statement but...Giving God the best we can is the way to show that we really love him.
    Therefore if we are in the position to show this honor and love by dressing appropriately it would be appreciated by this individual that was willing to permit the death of his son for us to approach him. Lets give him the dignity he deserves.

    May 16, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
  14. marmitey

    I would have thought that God would like to see your heart first. Because that's exactly how He sees it. So lets see if I have this correct, does this mean that if I don't fit into the dress sense that some individuals have, that I will not be accepted. How sad.
    You can end up pretty insecure if you spend your time trying to impress everyone around you. If you are truly open to Him, then He will guide you to change your ways in His time, not yours. Meanwhile it maybe nice to dress up for church and by the way, I'm certainly not against it but I'm certainly not on this earth to appease everyone else with my dress sense. I'm going to church for the Lord and to praise Him because He sees my heart and not the way that I'm dressed and if some people don't like the way that I dress and accept me for who I am, then they may need to examine themselves and their own hearts before they have a crack at anyone else.
    I'm not a suit and tie person and I do scrub up good for church but that doesn't mean in any way shape or form do I have to follow what everyone else is wearing. Common sense will always prevail. Not what everyone else thinks.

    May 16, 2014 at 4:31 am |
    • rahere

      Right on.

      June 1, 2014 at 2:48 am |
    • atlwmn

      There's a whole lot of grey area between "dressing up" for church and dressing like a slob. The problem nowadays is that there are no social mores for attire. People wear pajamas on planes, stained workout clothes to the office, and everything in between. You don't have to impress other people, but respect the public enough to dress appropriately for what you are doing. This whole "I don't care what anyone thinks" mentality that this country has adopted truly is detrimental to a respectful, peaceful society. But that's another topic, which extends way beyond clothing.

      June 11, 2014 at 5:43 pm |
  15. smondaine

    If someone is in the middle of mowing their lawn and they hear the voice of God telling them to go to church and they drop what they are doing to run to church one would think the pastor would be happy to have them there? This pastor is probably going to straight to hell.

    May 15, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
    • bayareaangel

      So you're saying, no one should take the time to clean up at least Once per week before entering the house of God for worship? how ridiculous you sound...really

      May 20, 2014 at 11:45 pm |
      • rahere

        Shouldn't be a once-a-week tidy-up.

        June 1, 2014 at 2:47 am |
  16. relmfoxdale

    How you dress is an issue of your culture, not your religion. Follow your culture or don't, but it has nothing to do with god.

    May 15, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
  17. rlfj

    Or, just stop going altogether.

    May 13, 2014 at 10:33 am |
  18. tshorey2013

    Should be happy they show up at all.

    May 12, 2014 at 7:38 am |
    • bayareaangel

      I would be happier if ya'll cleaned up and shaved, took a shower for once if you're going to sit next to me.

      May 20, 2014 at 11:46 pm |
      • tesmith47

        why not do as the pagans?, come in what god gave you, your naked skin!!!!!!

        June 1, 2014 at 12:21 am |
        • djangoboy

          Well, maybe not EVERYBODY!

          July 13, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
  19. 19covenant19

    Great MIRACLES have been discovered in the BIBLE.
    You can unmistakably witness it with your own eyes
    now here.

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com
    ==BIBLICAL EXCELLENT MIRACLES==

    May 11, 2014 at 7:00 am |
    • Garet

      yeah, i took a look at your sight mr 19 guy... what is up with your math? on the first slide with equations you're saying what exactly? that everything equals 19?

      sorry but, even in ancient arabic math philosophies.. that doesn't seem to make any sense. either you need some more operators with those equations to explain or they are just waaay off. am i missing something?

      May 15, 2014 at 7:29 am |
      • Garet

        er i mean *site, sorry lol, gotta get some sleep soon.

        May 15, 2014 at 7:30 am |
      • djangoboy

        "everything equals 19?"

        Ha, everybody knows that the answer is 42.

        July 13, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
  20. meatheist

    Big hats for Jesus.

    May 9, 2014 at 11:28 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.