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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 (1,006 Responses)
  1. Vic

    ♰♰♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰♰♰

    Happy Easter Everyone

    Matthew 28:6
    "6 He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying." (NASB)

    The Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ
    Matthew 28
    Mark 16
    Luke 24
    John 20,21

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY0EGfghw6o&w=640&h=390]

    April 20, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
    • blessed137

      Thank You Vic. Same to you and everyone!!!

      April 20, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
    • Reality

      Simply more "thum-ptations" that fail rigorous historic testing !!! There was no resurrection and there never will be.

      April 20, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
      • justpro86

        Many anchient historians disagree with you

        April 20, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
        • sam stone

          anchient?

          April 20, 2014 at 9:30 pm |
    • tallulah131

      Every time I read "he is risen", I flash back to bread recipes and want to continue with "Then he was punched back down, covered with a towel and set in a warm place to rise again."

      April 20, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
  2. hearthetruthonline2014

    http://www.Hear-The-Truth.com

    http://i.imgur.com/PJVX7Ee.jpg for the full photo gallery

    April 20, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
    • igaftr

      You really need to look up the difference between belief and truth. There is no truth on your website. Stop stealing advertisement space.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
      • justpro86

        There is no truth in your words

        April 20, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • igaftr

          According to you, but you have proven countless times you have the same problem differentiating belief from truth, so there's that.

          April 20, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
        • justpro86

          NO its not I have plenty of proof more than you have ever given... YOur a fool

          April 20, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
        • bostontola

          pro,
          When you cast an insult, it's best to get the spelling right, don't you think?

          April 20, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • justpro86

          LOL

          April 20, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
        • igaftr

          Considering the source, your name calling is quite ineffective.
          You claim proof, yet all you do is plagarize creatioist websites, attempting to use the smoke and mirrors on those sites. They do not have scientists, since the hypothesis of creation is not a branch of science.
          They make up a lot of stuff, which goes along the same lines as the writers of the bible...they made up a lot of stuff too.

          So who's work are you going to post as if it was your own today?

          April 20, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • justpro86

          I do have proof and I quote from REAL scientists who refuted evolution and debunked that crazy theory... I seen countless Atheists in the field make incredable discovery's with their work and finally come to their senses and awknowledge that the universe needs a creator. DNA cannot encode it self its is so complex that many scientists have tried replicating it and failed. The scientists I use in my studies don't make stuff up but follow Science to realize how truthful the bible is...

          April 20, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • jbhollen

          Sure bud. Give me a list of your creationist scientists and i'll give you a list evolutionary scientists. Since you probably like things expressed in parables.....If 99% of the bridge engineers in the world told you a bridge was unsafe to cross but you found that 1% thought it was safe (because they had supernatural "proof"), would you drive across it with your family?

          April 20, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
        • justpro86

          If I give you a list of creationist scientists I am going to need a lot of pages to cover and I don't think CNN will allow that.

          April 20, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
        • jbhollen

          Yea. Great reply. From the other large posts it looks like you should be able to give me the top 50 without hitting a post limit.

          April 20, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • justpro86

          Fazale "Fuz" Rana discovered the fascinating world of cells while taking chemistry and biology courses for the premed program at West Virginia State College (now University). As a presidential scholar there, he earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry with highest honors. He completed a PhD in chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry at Ohio University, where he twice won the Donald Clippinger Research Award. Postdoctoral studies took him to the Universities of Virginia and Georgia. Fuz then worked seven years as a senior scientist in product development for Procter & Gamble.

          April 20, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
        • jbhollen

          It didn't take long to find the site you cut and pasted your post from (www.reasons.org). You said you had too many scientists to list and you give me one guy whose scientific approach is that if we haven't figured something out yet, it must be magic. This approach has worked great in the past until discoveries proved the earth wasn't flat, the sun doesn't revolve around the earth, etc. Next time you enter a battle of wits – come armed.

          April 20, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
        • igaftr

          Justin
          "The scientists I use in my studies don't make stuff up but follow Science to realize how truthful the bible is... "

          Which "scientists"? There aree no actual scientists that have concluded any such creator is needed nor exists, so by all means, who are these "scientists"?

          You like to plagarize them, but how much do you comprehend? Those creationist sites are a joke to actual scientists, like myself.

          April 20, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
        • justpro86

          Love it when atheists discredit Creation scientists I read papers from more credible scientists than most atheist scientists please LMAO I don't plagarize LOL

          April 20, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • jbhollen

          Give me your top 50. Put up or shut up.

          April 20, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
        • justpro86

          John Ankerberg
          Gleason Archer
          John Battle
          Michael Behe
          William Jennings Bryan
          Walter Bradley
          Jack Collins
          Chuck Colson
          Paul Copan
          William Lane Craig
          Norman Geisler
          Robert Godfrey
          Guillermo Gonzales Hank Hannegraff
          Jack Hayford
          Fred Heeren
          Charles Hodge
          Walter Kaiser
          Greg Koukl
          C. S. Lewis
          Paul Little
          Patricia Mondore
          J. P. Moreland
          Robert Newman
          Greg Neyman
          Mark Noll
          Nancy Pearcey Perry Phillips
          William Phillips
          Mike Poole
          Bernard Ramm
          Jay Richards
          Hugh Ross
          Fritz Schaefer
          Francis Schaeffer
          C. I. Scofield
          Chuck Smith Jr.
          David Snoke
          Lee Strobel
          Ken Taylor
          B. B. Warfield

          April 20, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
        • jbhollen

          It will take a while to look into each of these. Can you save me some time and tell me where you copied the list from?

          April 20, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • justpro86

          Why so you can find some reason the discredit them like many evolutionists TRY to do... Seriously creationism is Science there is not supposed to be discrimination in science... That is what atheists want... Why its not taught in our schools is because like when Blacks were not allowed near Whites back in the 60's Atheists pushed the same on creationism... Not hard too understand...

          April 20, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
        • jbhollen

          You are really sad. The first one I looked into was a theology professor born in 1851. The second is a Christian apologist author. I an not wasting my time on the rest. You should stop and consider that your point of view is so bankrupt for facts that a good christian boy like you has to to misdirect and lie to stay in the conversation.

          April 20, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
        • justpro86

          Nope what I post are real crediable scientists.... thats where you are wrong... Once again no matter what atheists will TRY to deny the credibility of many prominent scientist who believes in creation because they refute their belief... Guess what get over Evolution is ONLY a theory that has been debunked but evolutionists I do give credit that they keep fighting a winless war regardless the stupidity of their theories...

          April 20, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
        • jbhollen

          The two I looked up were not even scientists. I am not wasting my time looking up the rest. You are either deluded ( more than is apparent on the surface) or just posting because you live in your moms basement and have nothing better to do. You make apologists look even less sane than they are.

          April 20, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
        • justpro86

          LOL your a fool if you THINK they are not scientists I know thousands more... Once again you are the deluded one

          April 20, 2014 at 8:21 pm |
        • igaftr

          Justin
          "debunked that crazy theory..."

          No one has ever "deuinked" Evolution...ever. They may have attempted it ( and failed) but likely claimed some sort of victory.
          Please site your source ( don't just steal from the sites, please)

          April 20, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • justpro86

          Evolution has been debunked on a lot of occasions please...

          April 20, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          pro, Or to save space you could provide links to these lists.

          April 20, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          pro, Or you could provide links to the peer-reviewed science of these creationist "scientists".

          April 20, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          pro, Then why is evolution taught at all major universities and creationism is not?

          April 20, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
        • igaftr

          justin
          "Evolution has been debunked on a lot of occasions please... "

          Not actually, by peer reviewed data, it has never been successfully "debunked". It has been confirmed millions of times.

          Those people at those creationist sites are NOT scientists, not when it comes to the origins of the universe.
          The Answers in Genesis site ( one of the places you plagarized just last weeK), clearly states that the bible is true and everything that goes against the bible must then be false. That is the most unscientific bias one can have. That IMMEDIATELY throws all science out the windows, and replaces it with blind ignorance, yet you steal from them.
          Hilarious.

          April 20, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
        • igaftr

          Justin from kansas

          "I don't plagarize"
          LIAR
          you did on several occasions, Here is one.

          See the article about Jesus wife fragmment, YOUR post on page 9 from april 11, 12:59 pm.
          You posted DIRECTLY from the God and science creationists smoke and mirror site without noting the source.

          You are a liar, and a theif. PROVEN.

          April 20, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
        • justpro86

          NOpe not proven... Its proven that you are a troll which kills your credibility... Nice try nobody cares

          April 20, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Justin, if you are not a troll, you are a flat-out liar. It's the easiest thing in the world to simply google your statements and discover from where they are stolen word-for-word from other sites. So your denials are hollow and childish. Man up. Grow up. Admit to your theft. Perhaps if you behave as an adult, others will treat you as an adult.

          April 20, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
        • justpro86

          I don't need to admit anything and I don't lie... Lying would be saying there is no God when everything around you explains that there is GROW UP

          April 20, 2014 at 8:22 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @justpro86, RE: creation scientists

          ... but how many are named Steve?

          http://ncse.com/taking-action/project-steve

          April 20, 2014 at 7:33 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Justpro.....regardless of how many creation 'scientists' you list, there is still overwhelming evidence that the earth is more than 10,000 years old. The simple fact that you ignore absolute proof and instead, insist on following a silly myth is systematic of a person that is mentally challenged. Believe what you want, but please do not try to pass myth on as fact...it just makes you look uneducated. Sky fairies with magic wands simply do not exist.

          April 20, 2014 at 7:51 pm |
        • justpro86

          I don't pass myth as fact I am saying fact is fact... GOd is real and science as it gathers more and more evidence together shows that there is in fact a God..The earth is roughly 4.6 million years old... God created everything in 6 different time periods. Also Astronomers can actually see and tell the universe has a beginning... You keep believing in a childish "super Universe" Thats all you got... Lets see I prefer intelligence over Stupid anytime.... Thank you

          April 20, 2014 at 8:26 pm |
        • ssq41

          justpro,

          Are you claiming these names are a list of scientists?

          April 20, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
        • ssq41

          Well, here's 18 that you lied about...all names I recognize just from my "walk" with God...juspro, how do you live with such liars tongue (they do have a vaccine for that...fyi):

          John Ankerberg…apologist/evangelist/”TV presenter” (loved this guy when I was a Christian) NO credentials

          Chuck Colson…convicted for Watergate/Author NO credentials

          William Lane Craig…apologist/NO credentials

          Norman Geisler…apologist/NO credentials

          Robert Godfrey…president of a seminary/NO credentials
          Hank Hannegraff…apologist/NO credentials

          Jack Hayford…really nice guy/NO credentials

          Charles Hodge…d. 1878 pastor/NO credentials
          C. S. Lewis…REALLY JUSTPRO?/NO credentials

          J. P. Moreland…apologist/NO credentials

          Robert Newman…Paul Newman’s brother?/Need more data justpro

          Mark Noll…Christian Historian/Actually a good read/NO credentials

          Hugh Ross….(LOL)

          Francis Schaeffer…Evangelical philosopher/great books/discredited by other Christians…you should read what his son says about him (has a blog on Huffington Post)/NO credentials

          C. I. Scofield…bible printer/NO credentials

          Chuck Smith Jr….pastor/NO credentials

          Lee Strobel…repeatedly laughed at author (Read: The case against the case for the resurrection…great book)/NO credentials and NO credibility

          B. B. Warfield…famous Christian prof. of Philo…died 1921/NO credentials

          April 20, 2014 at 8:46 pm |
  3. jmcondreay

    I'll honor God with my words, my thoughts, and my deeds. I don't need a suit, nor a tie to do that. He is Risen!

    April 20, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
    • whippstippler7

      No – he's not risen! He's pinin'. Pinin' for the fiords. Beautiful plumage. The Norwegian Jesus prefers kipping' on his back.

      April 20, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
      • justpro86

        He is Risen your a fool to deny that

        April 20, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
        • Akira

          It is 'you're', as in 'you are'.
          An insult that is misspelt actually looks quite foolish.

          April 20, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          No! He's pinin'. Beautiful plumage, eh?

          April 20, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
  4. word696969

    If God cares how we dress, we are really, really, really in trouble. Aren't their children suffering and dying some place?

    April 20, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
  5. ericwarfel

    Mr. Blake, let's focus on recruiting more people to attend church instead of criticizing the people who are already there. That community, those people attending, regardless of attire, are your friends in God. The church has enough enemies already. Let's not judge those who are there in church with you. There exists a backwards mentality of which your article seems to fall victim to. The mentality is appearance. Man is superficial, but let's remember that God, and the son of God, are not. We dress to impress in our courts and our workplaces yet these are not holy places, and they are merely man's requests. Christ wore modest clothing. To think that wearing one's nicest and most expensive threads to a house of worship would be recognized over how one conducts there life and how one worships is foolish. Befriend your fellow church-goer, do not judge. They are there with you, and they want to be your friend.

    April 20, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
  6. terriebittner

    Those people posting that God doesn't care what you wear are entirely missing the point. It isn't that God says, "Don't come to church unless you're dressed up." It's about us. If God is so unimportant to me that I can't put on a dress and nicer shoes, it suggests that my church-going is little more than a tradition. My church asks us to come in our Sunday best, which does not mean expensive–in fact, we're not supposed to show up in expensive clothing. It means to come in the nicest thing we own. I would not dress less nicely for God than I would for a book-signing, a nice date, or a job interview because God is more important to me than any of those things and I am showing my love for Him by caring enough to put some time into my preparations. If you'll dress up for a job interview or a date, but not for God...the message is clear. While I welcome anyone who walks into my church, no matter how he or she is dressed, because that person is a guest of God's present at God's own invitation, I personally choose to say, "Coming to church is a special occasion because I'm visiting someone I love–I will dress accordingly."

    April 20, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
    • igaftr

      So you are dressing to please yourself, not god, or any others.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
    • sam stone

      if god was unimportant to them, they would not have shown up at church in the first place. and, how is dressing up for church NOT a tradition?

      April 20, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
    • verdugo71

      Are you saying going to meet God at a building is a once a week special occasion? Is that the only place you meet with Him? If you were really dressing up to meet with God you'd be dressing up before every prayer as well, right?

      April 20, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
    • flightfromfrostmtn

      This to me is akin to dressing up to go to Burger King – the King and God are in the same class.

      April 20, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
    • ericwarfel

      Let's focus on recruiting more people to attend church instead of criticizing the people who are already there. That community, those people attending, regardless of attire, are your friends in God. The church has enough enemies already. Let's not judge those who are there in church with you. There exists a backwards mentality of which your article seems to fall victim to. The mentality is appearance. Man is superficial, but let's remember that God, and the son of God, are not. We dress to impress in our courts and our workplaces yet these are not holy places, and they are merely man's requests. Christ wore modest clothing. To think that wearing one's nicest and most expensive threads to a house of worship would be recognized over how one conducts there life and how one worships is foolish. Befriend your fellow church-goer, do not judge. They are their with you, and they want to be your friend.

      April 20, 2014 at 11:14 pm |
    • ericwarfel

      Re-replied to with grammar corrections. Nobody's perfect right?
      Mr. Blake, let's focus on recruiting more people to attend church instead of criticizing the people who are already there. That community, those people attending, regardless of attire, are your friends in God. The church has enough enemies already. Let's not judge those who are there in church with you. There exists a backwards mentality of which your article seems to fall victim to. The mentality is appearance. Man is superficial, but let's remember that God, and the son of God, are not. We dress to impress in our courts and our workplaces yet these are not holy places, and they are merely man's requests. Christ wore modest clothing. To think that wearing one's nicest and most expensive threads to a house of worship would be recognized over how one conducts their life and how one worships is foolish. Befriend your fellow church-goer, do not judge. They are there with you, and they want to be your friend.

      April 20, 2014 at 11:40 pm |
  7. dukeofistria

    For.all those preaching Islam on this highest of Christian holidays I have just one question. Did Mohammed resurrect from the dead? Well, Jesus did. Jesus is God.

    April 20, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
    • igaftr

      Along with around 10,000 other gods.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
    • samsstones

      duke....
      Do you know why Lazarus and Jesus jumped up and down for a few minutes after being resurrected?

      April 20, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
    • sam stone

      duke: you can claim what you want. can you back up your claims?

      April 20, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
      • justpro86

        Its in the Bible which is truth...

        April 20, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • igaftr

          no justp...the bible is what is making the claim, so cannot be used to verify the claim.

          So who's website are you going to be plagarising today?

          April 20, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
        • justpro86

          NO one can debunk the bible and no one has that is TRUTH... I don't plagarise

          April 20, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
        • igaftr

          justp
          I caught you on several occasions printing verbatim from creationist websites without giving credit. That is plagarism. Plagarism is theft. You have also shown you don't understand that which you have printed.
          Also, there are MANY things in the bible that have been PROVEN false, such as the myth of Noah. ( and that is just ONE of many).

          Tell me, what will you say to Quetzlcoatl when you are hanging upside down before him, and he asks you why you worshipped the wrong god all those years?

          April 20, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • justpro86

          Not true at all

          April 20, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • igaftr

          Justin, 27 year old male from Junction City Kansas.

          You are a flat out liar.

          See the article about Jesus wife fragmment, YOUR post on page 9 from april 11, 12:59 pm.
          You posted DIRECTLY from the God and science creationists smoke and mirror site without noting the source.

          You are a liar and a theif. You just proved it beyond doubt.

          April 20, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
        • justpro86

          No not at aall there you got our info wrong

          April 20, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
        • igaftr

          Its there justin, 27 male from junction city kansas. It is in a response from original post from bostontola at 12:48.
          It is there, you are busted, a liar and a theif.
          You don't even have the guts to say what religion you are on your dating sites.

          Jury, This man stands accused of lying and plagarism. I have presented my evidence, he has presented his "no I didn't".
          Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, what is your verdict, for the lonely man from Junction City?

          April 20, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • justpro86

          Once again you only prove that you are troll and know nothing... I am not on any dating sites and you are wrong LOL Besides why are you even post on "belief" blogs if you don't believe? More proof your a troll and your credibility is tarnished try again have a nice day

          April 20, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
        • justpro86

          By the way I don't live in Junction City nice try

          April 20, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
        • igaftr

          considering I've already busted you for lying, I do not believe you.
          Are you trying to say there is another justpro86 out there using your name?...LOL.

          April 20, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
        • justpro86

          You did not bust me out of anything... LOL funny

          April 20, 2014 at 8:23 pm |
    • jbhollen

      Well, Muhammed rode a white buraq to the gold and silver stairway to heaven. I think the mormons believe that jesus bounced higher and higher on a jeweled pogo stick until he got to heaven. All these myths are just as legitimate as the other.

      April 20, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
  8. yoshu36

    Think the guy in the article is too worried about appearance and not the people of his congregation. Of those people whom are entering the church dressed as such, how many are doing it for comfort vs that is their Sunday best? If they are being lazy, he has a point. If that is all the person can afford, who is he or we to judge?

    Instead of judging, he should be taking the time to talk to them. There is no need to just walk up and ask them if that is their Sunday best or being lazy. But a simple conversation should be able to tell him those answers. We all should be a bit more questioning about situations, instead of just judging people as we see them. We may be surprised and make new friends simply by showing some compassion and an interest in our neighbors. It is not easy to do, but most things that are easy to do are not as rewarding.

    April 20, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
  9. rshewmaker

    Stop giving god so much money and maybe that'd change Rev. John's point of view.

    April 20, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
  10. madwummun

    Whoever said that Sabbath is observed on Sunday anyway?

    April 20, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
    • freedomnurse

      The papacy admits to "changing" the Sabbath: Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 153. “The church after changing the day of rest from the Jewish Sabbath or seventh-day of the week to the first, made the third commandment refer to Sunday as the day to be kept holy as the Lord’s day.” http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04153a.htm

      Note that in holy scripture the Sabbath is NOT "the Sabbath of the Jews" but says "[T]he seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God..." Exodus 20:10.

      This was predicted before the coming of Jesus, Daniel 7:25 states "And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time." Since the Sabbath is the only commandment that is both a time and a law, the one who speaks great words against the most High must be the papacy.

      April 22, 2014 at 4:55 am |
  11. mbutler91c

    Exactly what I remember Jesus Himself preaching "Come to Synagogue in your finest, richest robes for only then can you receive the Kingdom of God and Salvation!" What? No one else remembers him saying that to the Pharisees and Sadducees? Weird...me either.

    April 20, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
  12. authorjr

    I think dressing up to church should still be a routine, but wearing what you want to church is also valid. Church is not for a fashion statement, it is for a reflection moment with your creator, and lets not forget, according to church goers, God knows it all and see it all, so dressing up is kind of pointless.

    April 20, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
  13. hutter87

    I think this pastor should not be concerned with what his congregation is wearing and should be grateful he has a full congregation. If he is watching people step into God's house, and going to CNN and complaining about peoples attire he should step down. Respect and honor God by wearing a certain outfit? He is obviously judging his congregation by what they wear. Disgusting. Maybe he should worry more about his sermon..

    April 20, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
  14. rosadelgado77

    While I remain as respectful as possible with my wardrobe choices when attending a worship service, my choices are limited. Due to the failing economy we live in and barely being able to feed and provide for my family, i certainly do not have money for church clothes. Does that mean I should not attend?

    April 20, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
  15. gshake

    No Shirt
    No Shoes
    No Salvation

    April 20, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
  16. shipwreck73

    Wow people still go to church.... People still believe in this myth... Weird!

    April 20, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
    • mbutler91c

      Wow, people who don't believe continuously make snarky comments to those who do? Weird...

      April 20, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        What would your reaction be to people worshipping that pink unicorn orbiting Saturn?

        April 20, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
        • rosethornne

          Well, so long as you wear the obligatory corset and clown shoes, it's perfectly acceptable.
          No ties, though. Unicorns don't approve of ties. Why would anyone voluntarily bring their own noose when they haven't even been sentenced to hanging yet? Even if it's a tasteful pinstriped silk noose.
          Now now, no snarking.

          April 20, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
  17. kabimima

    Wow, this blog really touched some nerves out there. I don't think that the Reverend was attacking the poor or those who do not have nicer clothes. Some people fit church in before a child's baseball game or whatever and don't have time to change. However, I do think he was correct in that how you dress can show a certain amount of respect or lack thereof for those around you and the places you visit. You are visiting the house of God, are you not? Would it kill you to make some effort to dress respectfully? You don't have to wear a dress or a suit to do this. But not wearing pajama bottoms and a t shirt that doesn't cover your navel with flip flops would be a good start. Years ago people did dress up to ride an airplane or even to attend a baseball game. I don't think that fits with today's society, but making some small effort for church isn't asking that much. Civility and showing respect to others seems to have fallen by the wayside in our society and we are so much the poorer for it.

    April 20, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
    • Akira

      Let me tell you a story that happened.
      I knew a young adult who started attending services. She wanted to dress up, but only had one skirt; it had a matching jacket and was quite stylish. The hem was a few inches north of her knees.
      After wearing this for a few weeks, some of the church "ladies" took her aside and told her that the hem was disrespecting The Lord. As she was new, she was puzzled, but said ok...
      The next few weeks she showed up in her everyday clothing. Jeans, shirts, casual wear. Nothing tight or skeezy.
      Well, sure enough, the Fasion Police took her aside again. And told her the same thing.

      The congregation is dwindling fast, and not getting the lifeblood it needs to maintain itself: younger adults. I wonder why?

      The young lady has since found a place of worship that is actually about worship, and not about what Cindy and Susan is wearing.
      She is much happier...and is puzzled as to why people would go through such great lengths about something that was totally irrelevant to Jesus, being as he hung out with the outliers of society, such as lepers and the poor.

      I have never once seen a person wearing flip flops in church, nor navel bearing clothing in church. Ever.

      April 20, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
      • hesavedave

        Same thing happened to my niece. Only she ended up never attending church again and instead lives a life apart from "religion".

        April 20, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
    • shipwreck73

      Well put

      April 20, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
  18. colin31714

    10 Commandments that every child should be taught.

    1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a Catholic priest, Jewish rabbi or Islamic Imam tells you that you must. They can’t all be right.

    2. DO NOT think that claims about magic, miracles and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.

    3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.

    4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is. Only those selling junk cars want to prohibit you from looking under the hood.

    5. DO detach morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and angels and believing in any of them does not make one moral.

    6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever holy book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should you believe them in what they say? How many translations has it gone through? Do we have originals, or only edited copies of copies of copies– the latter is certainly true for every single book in the Bible.

    7. DO realize that you are only a Christian (or Hindu or Jew) because of where you were born. Were you lucky enough to be born in the one part of the World that “got it right”?

    8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of God,” “God is outside the Universe” or “God moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief. A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered fool.

    9. DO understand where your religion came from and how it evolved from earlier beliefs to the point you were taught it. Are you lucky enough to be living at that one point in history where we “got it right”?

    10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing.

    I sometimes think that, if we first taught our children these simple guidelines, any supernatural belief would be quickly dismissed by them as quaint nostalgia from a bygone era. I hope we get there as a species.

    April 20, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
    • kabimima

      Those are valid as well as:
      1. DO NOT look down on those who do choose to believe as if they are feeble minded and lack your knowing perspective.
      2. DO realize that many people who belong to a church or religion do not lock step believe every single teaching and aspect of that church/religion. Many take the gems that make sense to them and leave the rest and allow others to do the same.
      3. DO respect that some people enjoy the traditions and rituals that gave them comfort from childhood to adulthood.
      4. DO learn that there is a difference between tolerance and respect and that the beliefs of others, even if not shared by you, can offer insight into your own beliefs and prejudices.
      5. DO realize that most people do not want or need to be converted to your own beliefs/viewpoint, no matter how logical or well thought out you believe them to be.
      6. DO seek to find value in people who DO NOT share your point of view. It is by seeing the point of view of the other side that allows us to either solidify our views or change them, as appropriate.
      7. DO try to lead a morally principled life. Search for knowledge and growth and support that in those around you.
      8. DO stand up for your beliefs once you have defined them and keep in mind that these definitions can and most likely will change as you move through life.
      9. DO NOT choose to believe or not to believe based on some else's direction or manipulation. Be of strong mind.
      10. DO GROW UP TO BE KIND, SHARE YOR GIFTS AND SHOW RESPECT FOR OTHERS. HELP THOSE LESS FORTUNATE AND TRY TO LEAVE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE. IT IS ALREADY BETTER BECAUSE YOU ARE IN IT.

      April 20, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
      • shipwreck73

        I only have to acknowledge your belief, I don't have to respect it.

        April 20, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
        • usmc2000

          you could show a little respect for your fellow man though. not their religion, but the people themselves. you'd be surprised how good it feels to do that.

          April 20, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
        • kabimima

          Actually you don't even have to do that. However, whichever you choose says something about you and you get to make that choice about how to act. I just do not see the point in acknowledging others if you can show them no respect.

          April 20, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        With respect to No. 9:how did you learn about a god and specifically the christian god if not from someone else's direction or manipulation – most likely close family or friends. It's not a conclusion a reasoning and educated person would reach if it were not for the existing superstitions.

        April 20, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
  19. lookatuniverse

    Quran says (Islamic Scripture)

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    “It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” [19:35]

    “No soul can carry the sins of another soul. If a soul that is loaded with sins implores another to bear part of its load, no other soul can carry any part of it, even if they were related. ... [35:18]

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “Recall that your Lord said to the angels, "I am placing a representative on Earth." They said, "Will You place therein one who will spread evil therein and shed blood, while we sing Your praises, glorify You, and uphold Your absolute authority?" He said, "I know what you do not know." [2:30]

    “They say , "We live only this life; we will not be resurrected. If you could only see them when they stand before their Lord! He would say, "Is this not the truth?" They would say, "Yes, by our Lord." He would say, "You have incurred the retribution by your disbelief." [6:30]

    “We have honored the children of Adam, and provided them with rides on land and in the sea. We provided for them good provisions, and we gave them greater advantages than many of our creatures.” Quran [17:70]

    “O children of Adam, when messengers come to you from among you, and recite My revelations to you, those who take heed and lead a righteous life, will have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.” Quran [7:35]

    “O children of Adam, do not let the devil dupe you as he did when he caused the eviction of your parents from Paradise, and the removal of their garments to expose their bodies. He and his tribe see you, while you do not see them. We appoint the devils as companions of those who do not believe.” Quran [7:27]

    “Losers indeed are those who disbelieve in meeting God, until the Hour comes to them suddenly, then say, "We deeply regret wasting our lives in this world." They will carry loads of their sins on their backs; what a miserable load! [6:31]

    ‘Say, "We believe in God, and in what was sent down to us, and in what was sent down to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Patriarchs; and in what was given to Moses and Jesus, and all the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction among any of them. To Him alone we are submitters." [2:136]

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to visit whyIslam org website.

    April 20, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
    • colin31714

      Thank you, but I read everything I need to know about Islam in the NY Times on September 12, 2001.

      April 20, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
      • mistressthing69

        Snap! Perfect response!

        April 20, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
      • coreene123

        Terrorists did that, buddy, not a religion.

        April 20, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          How so very wrong you are.

          April 20, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
        • coreene123

          No Sungrazer, but you keep on thinking that.

          April 20, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          They did it due to holding such a firm belief in their god, so yes religion is at the root of it. Stop listening to the conspiracy theorists and see it for what it is-religion, once again being at the root of yet another disaster.

          April 20, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
      • jondoe88

        And when Bush attacked Iran and Afghanistan, we learned all we needed about Christianity. Millions of innocent people were killed, kidnapped, terrorized by our misguided wars. Or, do you feel there ARE no innocent Muslims???

        April 20, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • colin31714

          Afghanistan was justified, Iraq was not. 99% of Muslims do not sympathize with terrorists, but 99% of terrorists are Muslim.

          April 20, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • Akira

          And he did it by claiming God spoke to him...so he, himself, hid behind God to do his deeds. He is just as bad.

          April 20, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
      • reldra

        What a ridiculous reply.

        April 20, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
  20. steelontarget

    What ever happened to "we are all naked in the eyes of the lord"? I guess that was just to much of a smack in the face to American consumerism. Hence the need for a silly article on church fashion sense.

    April 20, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
    • Akira

      It is absolutely ridiculous, I agree.

      April 20, 2014 at 12:14 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.