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. Mike Ford

    I understand his point, but ministers should be more concerned with the heart people wear to church than the shirt they put on.

    May 7, 2014 at 8:42 am |
  2. toadofsteel

    If anything, dressing up is more distracting than anything else for me. I don't feel like I'm worth any more when I wear a suit than when I wear something casual. I still dress up when it's for the benefit of others, such as jobs/job interviews, weddings/funerals, and the like, but the only sentiment I feel with a suit and tie is "I can't wait to get out of this thing". I don't feel like the very act of wearing a suit magically confers extra respect to anything at all. Suits are quite possibly the most uncomfortable clothing ever created for everyday male usage, not to mention the half-hour it takes just to put one on. The extra time and effort only conveys itself towards animosity, not respect.

    Now, with regards to how casual BEHAVIOR is getting in places of worship, I can fully agree. But I see people in suits on easter letting their kids (in mini-suits) run around and generally cause distraction just as much as the ones in jeans. The current and upcoming generation sees respect as being entirely of demeanor, rather than clothing. "Clothes make the man" is a dying philosophy. I'm much more interested in seeing who someone is on the inside now, and i'm not alone in that.

    May 6, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
    • toadofsteel

      As for what I actually wear to church, it's generally of the business-casual level. I do try to at the very least clean up a bit, but again that's solely for the benefit of other people, not my own personal feelings on what should be considered "respect".

      May 6, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
  3. Brent S.

    The logic in the article seems straightforward. We dress nicely to show respect for people. We should show respect for God. Therefore, we should dress nicely for church. However, I find this argument unsound because I disagree with the major premise. People do not dress nicely to show respect for other people. People dress nicely to impress other people. There is a big difference.
    Suppose that I were granted an audience with the Queen of England. Would I dress up? Of course! Would it be to show respect to the Queen? No, it would be so that the Queen would think that I am a respectable person. So I would dress up not for her sake but actually for my own.
    If we should dress nicely for church in order to show respect to God, then does it not follow that we should dress nicely for our private devotional times with God? Don’t we meet with God then also? The fact that people are only concerned about dressing nicely when they worship God together with other people demonstrates that their dressing up is done not out of respect for God but rather out of a desire to impress other people. This perspective leads to an entirely different conclusion concerning how people should dress for church.

    May 2, 2014 at 10:27 am |
    • starkiller99

      I wouldn't dress up for the queen or the pope or anyone else. If they aren't paying me enough to buy new clothes, I wear what I have and jeans and t-shirts is all I have,

      May 4, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
  4. Christine

    Ya know? It doesn't matter that I put on my best dress, in a modest length, no bare shoulders, do my hair nicely because it STILL isn't good enough for the people wearing dresses I couldn't afford if I won the lottery! Esp. the Baptists. They still look at me slightly distastefully as if, "well you'll do...I suppose." They make me feel inferior and lacking. Not to mention, these ladies doing this (and some men) are way older than me and are used to wearing those expensive tailored clothes! Last time I looked acceptable to people w/ their noses stuck in the air, I was 6, wearing crinolines, w/ little bitty white gloves, a little bitty purse and a hat w/ an elastic that was cutting into my chin. Even my Grandma approved. In my opinion, it's what's in your heart, not what you're wearing and a church that glares at me like that, loses me in a NY heartbeat! Don't BE thinking it's all that rare either. I still wear my dresses to these "come as you are" churches, but at least it pleases people. Where would YOU like to go – someplace they look and speak to you kindly? Or some place they glare at you and won't deign to talk to talk to you because you're just so GROSS!

    That's alright tho, I've found a home, it's called paganism and they REALLY don't care how you show up! I don't mind Jesus at all and we still talk all the time, it's his fan club I can't stand! THESE are the people who are doing what Jesus asked them to do?? Feed the poor, clothe them, visit the sick and dying and those in prison? They might get a run in their stockings, are you kidding me?? Pffft!

    April 26, 2014 at 3:40 am |
  5. Jon

    Who cares if you wore your hats or bonnets to church. The rule of thumb is this: If you can't go dressed like "that" to work, you probably can't wear "that" to church either. For goodness sake, even the men and women at the Walmart checkout counter are dressed appropriately.

    Make sure you carry your Bibles when you go to Church!

    April 24, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
    • kenmargo

      More importantly, don't forget your wallet!

      April 24, 2014 at 6:26 pm |
    • Reality

      Walmart customers dress appropriately? Might want to Google or Bing that.

      April 25, 2014 at 7:16 am |
  6. kahlers12

    Reblogged this on thewaythetruthandthelife and commented:
    “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.”

    April 24, 2014 at 10:03 am |
  7. kermit4jc

    THAT was a stupid and dishonest answer and conclusion.....the words CAN be trsuted..that's why we are to STUDY the Bible..and use CONTEXT (WHy does not ANYONE address the issue I keep beinging up that the Bible was NOT originally written I USA using the Modern English??) one CAMN study and use concordances, Greek and Hebrew dictionaries!

    April 23, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
    • kenmargo


      April 23, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
    • The Ministry Of Bad Opinion says...

      Idiot. The NT wasn't written in Hebrew. And before you say you never said you did, yes, you did, on the story about Heaven.
      There's many translations. Pretending that you are an expert is hilarious.
      Grow up and take responsibility that you are wrong on some things.

      April 23, 2014 at 7:01 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        rxcuse me..I KNOW it wasn't written in Hebrew..Don't call me the idiot...the confusion is on your part....I have studied the BIble over 25 years...the NT not being in Hebrew is most basic....so stop your whining and name calling...and reread my posts

        April 24, 2014 at 1:59 am |
        • TruthPrevails1


          Angry at being shown you're wrong again? Geez kermi, if you're going to portray yourself as being superior at least try to show that you made it past grade 1 or stop the hypocrisy. You only claim to know stuff because sadly admitting you're wrong is not something you'll ever be capable of. Go back to school and don't drop out this time...stop pretending to be educated when it is obvious you're not!

          May 7, 2014 at 9:03 am |
      • kermit4jc

        BTW I MAY have made a mistake in my rush and said HEbrew...in any case..I already knew for the last 25 years that it wasn't written in Hebrew ok? so knock off the carp ok?

        April 24, 2014 at 2:01 am |
  8. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Where does God stand on packing heat in church?

    Georgia governor signs gun law


    House Bill 60, or the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 - which opponents have nicknamed the "guns everywhere bill" - specifies where Georgia residents can carry weapons. Included are provisions that allow residents who have concealed carry permits to take guns into some bars, churches, school zones, government buildings and certain parts of airports.

    Are some guns in church tackier than others?

    Do you have to conceal and carry, or would God rather his worshippers openly wore their sidearms. Perhaps there will be Georgia churches that literally hold shotgun weddings?

    Book of Armaments, Chapter 1, please Brother Maynard.

    April 23, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
    • kenmargo

      God doesn't care either. The more people kill, the more available for "heaven"

      April 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
      • Alias

        Considering we are all going to die, your comment seems shallow.

        April 23, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • kenmargo

          After every killing the preacher/family always says "they're in heaven now" God loves victims of gun violence. Tthe bullet holes makes the victims more aerodynamic thus, making the trip to heaven quicker and smoother.

          April 23, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
    • kenmargo

      I'm glad you mentioned the gun issue. I'm against guns period. They serve absolutely ZERO purpose. Guns are just like illegal drugs. We can't get rid of drugs because there's too much money involved, the same goes for guns. Over 10,000 people die from gun violence and over 100,000 are affected by gun violence. Yet PRO LIFERS (aka preachers) say absolutely nothing about ease of which people can get guns. WHY? Because they don't give a S#lT.

      April 23, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
    • Reality

      One assumes that said law also includes proper training, testing and licensing of said gun akin to that required to get a driver's license. If not, one might want to stay out of the state of Georgia.

      April 23, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
      • kenmargo

        I live in NY. The states I REFUSE to visit are Florida, Virginia and now Georgia. If you're for REASONABLE GUN CONTROL the best way to make your point is to keep your money away from these states.

        April 23, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I'm still wondering if Georgia preachers will now be wearing a brace of silver plated, pearl handled revolvers when they preach about 'loving one another'.

      April 23, 2014 at 7:10 pm |
      • kenmargo

        They probably should wear a bullet proof vest.

        April 23, 2014 at 7:36 pm |
  9. nojinx

    What does the dress matter? No one is practicing animal sacrifice, which is the only acceptable method of worship in the OT and why followers went to the temple in Jerusalem (the only place where sacrifices to God can be made). Modern churchgoers haven't properly worshiped God even once in their life.

    April 23, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
    • bnb7


      What do you mean by your statement, "Modern churchgoers haven't properly worshiped God even once in their life."

      Sacrificing is no longer necessary today, due to Christ's death upon the cross, so I am trying to understand what you mean by that statement?

      April 23, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
      • nojinx

        Most of the reference is in Leviticus (1, 23) and Numbers (15, 28, 29).

        April 23, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
        • Alias

          Haven't you heard?
          They wrote a new book called 'ACTS' that makes it much easier to follow the rules. They had to to convery others into their religion.

          April 23, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • nojinx

          Matthew 5, Luke 16, John 1, 7, 10, 2 Timothy 3

          April 23, 2014 at 7:19 pm |
    • The Ministry Of Bad Opinion says...

      You're clearly not a Christian. Okay. Carry on.

      April 23, 2014 at 7:03 pm |
  10. cattdogg

    IMHO, being prepared for church is more than just clothes.

    Unfortunately, my lifetime in church has shown me quite the opposite – people being more concerned about what you wear to church than if your heart is prepared for church. If your heart is prepared for church....and for life...by a close, daily walk with God – you will WANT to do the right thing, whatever that is.

    Just like we can't put God in a box, we can't put people in a box either. For instance – I am a woman – but I HATE dresses! I've tried to like them, bought several – even tried "comfortable" ones, even spent several years in a Fundy church that required them....but I was so uncomfortable it was almost a hindrance to me wanting to go. I'd think of going to an extra outreach activity....and I'd think of clothing – to me that wasn't right.

    Now I am in a church that is more casual....tried to dress really casual, but I still feel a certain restriction when it comes to clothing out of respect for God. I dress for church how I dress for work....like a business casual. I tried the dressing up more, and I was uncomfortable and it took away from my fellowship with God....I tried dressing really casual/comfortable and it just felt wrong – so now I do a balance, not too dressy, not too casual.

    But who am I to tell the enthusiastic kid wearing flip flops and cutoffs in the front row whose arms are reaching up to God in complete abandon that he looks tacky..... not my place, if he truly is sold it for God – God will change him, and He's the only one that should!

    April 23, 2014 at 10:39 am |
  11. dukeofistria

    Always give God your best. Dress your Sunday best at church for it is His house. Give God your best in everything you do.

    April 23, 2014 at 10:11 am |
    • bnb7


      It is not His house:

      "Wheresoever two or more are gathered in my name, there I am also.” the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 18:20 NIV

      "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies". 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV

      "To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." Colossians 1:27 NIV

      "“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands." Acts 17:24 NIV

      April 23, 2014 at 10:37 am |
  12. ultima09

    What a shock, the churches are unable to adapt to culture changing. Surprising eh?

    What i'd like to know is with attendance falling across the board, why complain at all when someone shows up? Priests should be excited to have a full house, regardless of who is sitting in the pews. The arrogance shown by this guy, criticizing people's attire over their beliefs is astounding.

    April 23, 2014 at 5:10 am |
  13. bnb7

    Ah, the ol' "putting God in a box" post.

    I am finding many of the comments are coming out of legalism and tradition.

    Ask yourself the following questions.
    What about Lazarus? Do you think Jesus was concerned about his clothing upon being raised from the dead? What about the little children? When Jesus called for them to come to him when He would meet with the crowds of people, do you think He asked them to wash their clothes and take a bath before approaching Him? What about the prost-it-utes Jesus hung out with? Do you think Jesus cared how they dressed? Did not David dance naked (or nearly naked, as some will say) before the Lord? What about the guy on the cross that Jesus welcomed into His Kingdom? Did Jesus say, “Sorry, dude! You aren’t dressed well enough to be in my presence?”
    Now, I know, I know. Some of you are going to use the “situational circu-mstances” argument for most of my examples. And you would be right … and you would be putting God in a box.
    As Raschke cites, consider who dressed up in the O.T. and N.T. The priests, Pharisees and Sadducees and any other “sees” that I am forgetting. Addressing the Pharisees and Sadducees and anyone else I am forgetting, we know that Jesus had some pretty language to describe them. They all had a religious spirit and were extremely legalistic. They dressed fancy and did other things to show the world that “they were so much closer to God than you are…” Looking through the N.T., we find that Jesus had a few harsh words to say about that.
    Your thoughts on what you think God thinks about a person’s appearance, limits Him. You therefore are putting Him in a box. “Looking our best” has become a part of our societal traditions within the church. It is a man-made tradition, not a God-made requirement, plea, or request. We are the one’s concerned about our appearance. We, the egotistical man, have put the need to look good to impress others, above God. It is so steeped within the church, it has become an idol.
    Let’s get back to Scripture. Let’s love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. Nothing else matters, especially how we dress.

    April 22, 2014 at 11:00 pm |
  14. kenmargo

    See how divisive religion can be. We are disagreeing over clothes! You can question god, but for goodness sake, now we're questioning clothes!

    April 22, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
    • bnb7


      April 22, 2014 at 10:42 pm |
  15. bnb7

    What is the deal? Why are my posts not showing?

    April 22, 2014 at 9:19 pm |
    • kenmargo

      I can see your posts. Time to see an eye doctor.

      April 22, 2014 at 9:43 pm |
      • bnb7

        What is weird is that I am trying to post a several paragraph comment that won't post at all. I am trying to figure out what is triggering it from not posting...

        April 22, 2014 at 10:03 pm |
        • kenmargo

          There's a "magic" word in your post that the editor will not allow. Pronounce your words. If a syllable is a forbidden word, the post won't post.

          April 22, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
        • otoh2


          Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN Belief Blog/WordPress automatic filter:
          Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
          You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
          ar-se.....as in ar-senic, coa-rse
          co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
          co-on.....as in racc-oon, coc-oon, etc.
          cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
          ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
          ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
          ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, sopho-more, etc.
          ho-oters…as in sho-oters
          ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
          inf-orms us…
          hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
          jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
          ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
          koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
          ni-gra…as in deni-grate
          o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
          pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
          p-oon… as in sp-oon, lamp-oon, harp-oon
          p-orn… as in p-ornography
          pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
          ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
          se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
          sm-ut…..as in transm-utation
          sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
          sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
          ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, t-itle, ent-ity, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
          tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, salt-water, etc.
          va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
          who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
          There's another phrase that someone found, "wo-nderful us" (have no idea what sets that one off).

          There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.

          April 22, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
    • bnb7

      Thanks otoh2. It finally worked!!

      April 22, 2014 at 11:02 pm |
  16. kenmargo

    Whose responsibility should it be to enforce "proper attire" for church? Should the preacher do it and possibly offend someone? Should members of the congregation do it and possibly alienate one of their neighbors? Should a sign be put up out front and make the poor feel worse because they're "not up to the church standards"? Churches have enough problems getting people to come to church as it is. Sometimes you have to swallow your pride, say thank you and look the other way if you want to keep the money flowing. That person you consider "tacky" might be the most generous!

    April 22, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
  17. aliciamgray

    I have to agree with this post- I am a 31 year old woman who makes a point a point of wearing something dressy to church. This not something that my church is concerned with AT ALL. It is a personal feeling of mine that I should take care of my appearance when entering the house of God. For me, it's a token if respect. Just as the article states- I wouldn't show up to meet the Queen of England wearing jeans.

    April 22, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
    • kenmargo

      What may be "dressy" to you, may be "tacky" to someone else. This is another losing position for the church. Just be thankful people show up (with cash in pocket). Who are you paying attention to, the preacher or the patrons?

      April 22, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
    • Akira

      That's nice. Not everyone is as fortunate as you to have a wide array of clothing to be able to choose "dressy" on certain days.
      You are indeed fortunate. Don't look down on those who aren't.

      April 22, 2014 at 7:59 pm |
    • aliciamgray

      There were no veiled judgements in my comment.

      April 22, 2014 at 8:10 pm |
      • Akira

        Apologies. I merely thought that since you agreed with an article that was judgemental in tone, that you were.

        April 22, 2014 at 9:49 pm |
        • kenmargo

          Akira........This is a taboo subject that should be left alone. As been proven, people can mistake someone's "well meaning" It's like guessing a woman's age or buying clothes for a woman. You are wrong no matter how good your guess is!

          April 22, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
    • freetoairphoenix

      Yes! It is about respect. No one respects anyone or anything anymore, hence the slobby way of dressing. It's a marxist mentality, really. Traditioninaction.org has a lot to say on the subject.

      April 23, 2014 at 2:56 am |
      • Akira

        Lol. Sure...it's a Marxist mentality.


        April 23, 2014 at 11:09 am |
    • lewcypher

      "I should take care of my appearance when entering the house of God"

      what does a god need with a house?

      which god?

      April 23, 2014 at 7:35 am |
      • fintronics

        He likes A-frames.

        April 23, 2014 at 11:49 am |
  18. jaimelemer

    Totally disagree with this. I think that people should come as they are. I am an elder and I wear jeans to church – and yes, I'm sure it makes the older, more traditional members cringe, but I am not there to impress people. I'm there to worship the God I believe in. To each their own. If you want to dress up, great! If you want to wear shorts, great! As long as your heart is present, who cares what you look like?

    April 22, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
    • bnb7


      April 22, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
    • Akira

      I agree completely.

      I would think God looks past the outer covers to judge what's in the celebrants heart.
      And that if they are sincere, it doesn't matter.

      April 22, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        however, lot of times, whats on the outside reflects the inside..if they are sloppy on the outside (on purpose-never mimnd the homeless who walks in off the street) then are thry really sincere on the inside? ok...I am not to judge people on that..but it is something one should consider when preparing for Church

        April 22, 2014 at 5:25 pm |
        • bnb7


          God judges the heart, not the clothing. David danced naked before the Lord. Read up on that story...

          April 22, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          nearly naked..yes....and the outside mirrored the inside....I know God judges in te inside...but again as I said..there is a connection on the outside with the inside...IM not saying we have to dress up in suits and ties for men and dresses for ladies..Im referring to the sloppiness. and I mean intentional sloppiness...David wasn't being sloppy in doing such....

          April 22, 2014 at 5:34 pm |
        • Akira

          If you are implying that God doesn't know what's in your heart, I disagree.
          And if you think God and Jesus judges the sincerity of one's faith and belief based on their clothing, I disagree.

          April 22, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          IM trying to make myselfmore clear..there is a loose connection there...if you dress sloppily..are you really sincere? and yes..I did address the judging others...its up to the individual really....if they dress soppily (intentionally) are they really being sincere? That is something one must ask themself

          April 22, 2014 at 5:48 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I mean if you really think about it...my outside is not seperate from my inside..its all the bigger part of me.....IMnot two intenties..and outside and an inside...im all one part of the human being that I am

          April 22, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
        • Akira

          Plus I would tend to think that is you making that judgment, not God, kermit.

          April 22, 2014 at 5:45 pm |
        • Akira

          Well, I think if they are in church in the first place, they are sincere in their desire to hear God's word.
          Their attire shouldn't be part of the equation.

          April 22, 2014 at 6:09 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          that's true..they made an effort to go..did they make an effort to be ready? you know..people do have connecitons with how they feel with how they dressed...you married? ever see your wife feeling very depressed or lazy....the clothing reflects the inside as well....IM married..I see it all the time...

          April 22, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
        • Akira

          I think implying that people who are not dressed as you would wish must be depressed is a stretch. And even if it were true, which I disagree with, piling on guilt when they're already depressed is counter-productive.

          If they're in church, they are there for reasons God knows, and the people tsk-tsking about their attire need to remember why they're in God's House. If it's to comment judgementally on the state of one clothing, they themselves are there for the wrong reasons.

          April 22, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
        • Akira

          Kermit, although you have a valid point if they had always dressed one way and suddenly started showing up disheveled and unkept. That would be cause for concern.

          April 22, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
  19. crittermom2

    I have to mention one more thing that's driving me nuts. People don't "dress tacky." They may wear tacky outfits, or, I suppose you could say, dress tackily.

    Adverbs, people! Different from adjectives! Arrgh!

    (I feel better now.)

    April 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
  20. stonecold643

    When people consider themselves "Saints" or "members" of a certain church. They should uphold a certain standard for the God they believe in. I'm talking about christian faith of course. All throughout the bible God shows through implicit teaching and explicit set of standards on how he wants his people to appear.

    This is called holding up the Standard.

    Holiness Standard – Comes from the term Jehovah Nissi.
    Meaning The Lord is my Banner. The Church standard is the sign to the
    Spiritual world that God has the victory. (Exodus 17:9-16)

    Now in Hebrews 12:9-5 it commands the christian to follow all holiness. Without it, no man will see the Lord.

    The other then disobedience defining sin in the bible. There was something else that was important attached to it, "nakedness". God gave the covering in Genesis 3:21 meaning in hebrew it means he fully covered them. God gave the standard of dress. Not man. So it's very important what we wear not only in church but also outside of church.

    April 22, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
    • lewcypher

      more club rules in order to see the man behind the curtain.

      April 22, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
      • stonecold643

        There are always rules in your life. No matter what you're part of. Mr. Lew you've also agreed to the rules of the blog in order to post here when you've made your blogspot on this forum. So I don't understand your disappointment in rules, period

        April 22, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
        • Akira

          Some rules are just plain ignorant, stone. Because it's a rule doesn't mean people should just swallow it blindly without question.

          April 22, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
        • fintronics

          " doesn't mean people should just swallow it blindly without question."

          Kinda like belief in god.

          April 23, 2014 at 11:59 am |
    • Akira

      Are they not covered in church? Yes, they are.
      Are people not dressed up enough for the tongue-wagging snobs? Apparently not.
      When one starts making value judgements on what someone else wears to church, maybe they're not getting the point of Jesus's teachings, which decidedly was not this. And it it bothers them so much that all they do is check out what other people are wearing, they probably aren't getting anything out of the service and should probably stay home.

      April 22, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
      • stonecold643

        What the preacher explained was his people that not only show up for a holiday service but the regulars that are members of the church. Should dress a certain way. Not only for decency but for the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth. New comers should come as they are, because that's not important. What's important is for the people who are considered Saints dress the standard.

        Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. (1 Chronicles 16:29, Psalm 29:2, Psalm 96:9)
        WORSHIP – “shachah” – bow down, do obeisance, stoop, prostrate one self – SUBMIT TO
        LORD – “yehovah” – the self-existing One, the inexpressible proper name of God -JEHOVAH
        BEAUTY – “hadarah” – holy adornment, glory, comeliness, ornament – EXTERNAL
        HOLINESS – “qodesh” – apartness, separateness, consecrated, tabooed – SEPARATION

        “Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness and in holy array” (Amplified Bible)
        “Bow down to Yahweh in the adornment of holiness” (Emphasized Bible)
        “Worship the Lord in holy attire” (New American Bible)

        In other words submit to Jehovah in external adornment of separation of the world. Which is Holiness.

        April 22, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
        • Akira

          I would think God looks past the outer covers to judge what's in the celebrants heart.
          And that if they are sincere, it doesn't matter.

          I've been to churches where they look down their patrician noses at you because your clothing is obviously not designer label, and the women wear cologne so strong it triggers attacks of nausea, but who's to say they're more sincere than the guy wearing a t-shirt and a pair of Van's?

          Is it better that these people don't show up at all because it might offend someone's delicate sensibilities and fashion sense?

          Rubbish. These people should either offer to purchase a suitable wardrobe , because that would be the least hypocritical thing to do, or shut up.

          April 22, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
      • stonecold643

        Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?

        April 22, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • igaftr

          Since no one can show such a thing exists, no one can truly claim they have "received the holy ghost".
          You can claim you had and experience, but since you have not excluded all other possibilities, to claim you know what it was is dishonest. For all you know, satan inspired the bible and you received him.

          There are likely many things you attribute to your god, but unless you have excluded all other possibilities, to claim it IS your version of god, is simply dishonest. You can honestly claim you BELIEVE it is, but you really have no idea.

          April 22, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • fintronics

          I learned at a young age that there are no such things as ghosts.

          April 23, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
      • stonecold643

        Your quote:
        "Some rules are just plain ignorant, stone. Because it's a rule doesn't mean people should just swallow it blindly without question."

        I agree, we should know what we are following. If we are a christian or of any faith. We should dig into why God wants us to follow a certain way. If you believe in a Divine God. He will make no mistake for you to follow. For example the Bible is there for us to learn what he wants for us to follow and how to look. Why? so we can be light unto the world for the purpose of God's kingdom.

        2Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

        April 22, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
      • stonecold643

        Akira, it does matter what you wear if you are a saint of God. I never stated that you must be in designer or high fashion but what the bible says to be is in modest and moderate apparel "if" you are a saint of God.

        However, new comers should come as they are. They should not be held to a standard when they've never received the Holy Ghost yet.

        April 22, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • Akira

          Stone, I do not know what denomination you are, but that hardly matters.

          I disagree, and those who put their clothing ahead of the teachings of Jesus appear petty.

          The Holy Ghost doesn't impart a brand new wardrobe.

          Jesus didn't care about the types of clothing worn. He ministered to the sick, the poor, the outliers. How sad that some put style over substance, and attach a pretty label to the better dressed in validation. This is certainly not what Jesus taught.

          People dress as they can.. How sad that it seems to be fine for Jesus, but not good enough for some of His "followers".

          April 22, 2014 at 5:21 pm |
      • otoh2


        "Should dress a certain way. Not only for decency but for the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth."

        What makes you think that he's there (or everywhere? or anywhere?)?

        April 22, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • stonecold643

          Do you believe that Jesus is an omnipresent God?

          April 22, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          stone: I guess this part of what otoh said was not comprehended by you: " (or everywhere? or anywhere?)?"-that should have clued you in to what his/her stance is on god.
          See what you fail to comprehend is that clothing doesn't dictate much and it is very shallow for you to think it does.
          Your god's existence is highly unlikely and this is a thankful thing. Especially if your god would be as shallow minded as you to put outward appearance over inward appearance.
          To answer your question about your non-existent god, Epicurus summed it up nicely:
          "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is not omnipotent. Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is He neither able nor willing? Then why call Him God?"

          April 22, 2014 at 6:01 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.