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. schnebly

    "An ounce of pretension is worth a pound of manure."

    April 20, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
    • transuranic

      I especially love the pretentiously casual... I'm casual cause I have this whole church thing figured out, unlike those stiffs that dress up... the irony is priceless

      April 20, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
      • lean6

        Like those maniacs who make it a purpose to drive a hybrid or fuel efficient vehicle instead of unnecessarily driving as a single occupant in a gas guzzling 8-passenger SUV. Those losers! (sarc)

        April 20, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
  2. Jim Creston Poetry

    I think it's hilarious this is front page of CNN. Typical cheese from this entertainment network.

    April 20, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
  3. pavitrasarala

    I see both sides to this argument. Like someone else said, if you can dress up for church, do so. If you can't, I don't think God will judge and I don't think we should either. I do think the standards for what passes as nice has changed, a bit for the better and a bit for the worse. I think jeans are okay as long as they're clean with no holes or rips – I saw a man at Easter Mass this morning with blue jeans and a tan blazer. It worked really well. On the other hand, I also know some people will be heading off to a job where their uniform or the fact that they're going to get filthy dictates that they can't dress up as nicely, and of course there's the argument that some people don't have nice clothes because they can't afford them. Again, I don't think God would judge, and I don't think we should either.

    April 20, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
    • transuranic

      My only impatience is with those that seem to act as if they're more "enlightened" by not needing to dress up... more mature than those that are still silly enough to dress up for church. The casual dress code has an element that's becoming *cough* religious in and of itself...

      April 20, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
      • lean6

        People are enlightened or informed about a lot of stuff these days. We are not the same species that we were even 20 years ago. Oops...sorry for the evolution reference there! There are enough elements of religion that require faith or observance of traditional values. Unfortunately, not all that is traditional about religion has been proven to be spiritually sacred or above reproach. Churches that expect to be rigid with regard to something as subjective as attire might appear to be weak...fragile...reliant on subterfuge...substanceless.

        April 20, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
  4. justpro86

    Too be honest people need not to worry about what people wear (unless they wear nothing at all) You don't need to specifically wear a suit and tie or a dress or slacks to go to church and celebrate the day. God don't care what you wear on the outside but what you wear on the inside.

    April 20, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
    • jbhollen

      ...then you are screwed.

      April 21, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
  5. transuranic

    Particularly if you have the ability to... people in these comments keep indicating "accept the poor as they are"... The point of the article is about those who have the ability to dress as if it were special (at least based on the cost of the cappucino they're carrying into the service and the SUV they dropped the kids off front in) yet treat it as no different than a trip to Walmart. Ironic that the poorest neighborhoods have the best dressed congregations (in general)

    April 20, 2014 at 11:49 am |
    • 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.

      April 20, 2014 at 11:59 am |
      • transuranic

        Agreed... it's a personal choice. We can either dress like we're going to walmart or dress like it's something different. It doesn't make the heart pure (or not) but it does reflect something in many cases. Of course, it's cultural, ever been in a church dressed up when everyone is casual and gotten the "you're too shallow and materialistic" look?

        April 20, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
        • Akira

          So if it is a personal choice, why are you complaining? I'm sure some folks check out their Sunday tank instead of the one they wear to wal-mart.

          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?

          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 20, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
  6. edlf2014

    Gone too far, went too far. To me, maybe a minority of one, men wearing coat and tie is a sign of courtesy and respect. Seems to me when going to church is a time for such courtesy and respect I also wear coat and tie to funerals and weddings. I most certainly would not want to suggest what women should wear. In the 'good old days' there was an expression of wearing your Sunday's best. That would be incomprehensive, a joke, today.

    April 20, 2014 at 11:41 am |
    • transuranic

      Agreed... this is about when people have the choice, not about the poor. Ironically, the poorest dress up for church in America at least.

      April 20, 2014 at 11:47 am |
    • ninersblogger

      If the pedaphile priests are going to get all dressed up shouldn't you too?

      April 20, 2014 at 11:58 am |
  7. really321

    What really bothers me is CNN giving a platform for someone to make Christians look idiotic. Jesus never cared how any of his followers dressed – it was all about relationship not religion and rules. Attending a church that has a bunch of rules should set off alarms while if you can find one that is focused on a personal relationship with Jesus, where the Bible is used to teach, and people care about other people, it's probably a great start...

    April 20, 2014 at 11:40 am |
    • Akira

      The people complaining are Christian.

      April 20, 2014 at 11:46 am |
    • steelontarget

      ". Attending a church that has a bunch of rules should set off alarms"
      Uhhh, you seem to be unfamiliar with religion and how it works. They all have rules and Christianity is chalk full of them.

      April 20, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
  8. rinn979

    It's Easter Sunday, how about whether you're religious or not, if your family celebrates with eggs and bunnies, Jesus, or all, go do something to improve the world, rather than us all sitting around here like a bunch of jerk -faces talking about church fashion, judging one another based on appearances, talking a whole bunch of rubbish about reverence without knowing that dressing up for church didn't start until the 19th century in England to show class status, and getting into the obviously coming atheist vs. religious individual arguments. Red Cross, Kiva, the park to pick up trash. Something people, but not this. I'm going to go make coffee.

    April 20, 2014 at 11:38 am |
    • transuranic

      I like this response as well... notwithstanding my venting elsewhere in this thread...

      April 20, 2014 at 11:40 am |
    • Joeseph Eclaire

      Don't forget to roll a fatty while you ponder your idealism.

      April 20, 2014 at 11:48 am |
  9. Joeseph Eclaire

    What a good many are missing here is not whether Jesus/God cares the way you look but rather you care enough of how you look before God.

    We file that notion under having 'respect'.

    It's not a matter of the casual church goer or the one time drop in but rather those who have made going to church on a regular basis dressed like slob. So then what is it, can we assume your daily life is a mess or can we assume you only go to appear you are a believer/impress the neighbors.

    How is it we can go to a funeral or a wedding or a job interview dressed appropriately but not before God.
    No, God does not care how you dress, but you should have enough decency to care yourself.

    April 20, 2014 at 11:33 am |
    • In Santa We Trust

      Surely an omniscient, omnipresent god would see all in all states of undress anyway.
      Did you ever consider that dressing up for weddings and funerals is for the couple or deceased?

      April 20, 2014 at 11:38 am |
      • transuranic

        Exactly, it's respect for the couple and respect for the deceased... and dressing like a slob at church when one has the choice either way is another way to show respect... wait, it's not showing respect. Never mind, my bad.

        April 20, 2014 at 11:42 am |
      • Joeseph Eclaire

        But why should we care about them anymore then they would care about God, I mean in the grand scheme of things who the h-ll are they right.
        We are all but mere c-ckroaches subject to be squashed under foot at anytime.

        Mankind is a disgrace ! The earths greatest curse.

        April 20, 2014 at 11:46 am |
    • transuranic

      Particularly if you have the ability to... people in these comments keep indicating "accept the poor as they are"... they miss, the point of the article is about those who have the ability to dress as if it were special (at least based on the cost of the cappucino they're carrying into the service and the SUV they dropped the kids off front in) yet treat it as no different than a trip to Walmart.

      April 20, 2014 at 11:38 am |
      • Akira

        People also have the ability to not judge. Doesn't happen very often , though.

        April 20, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
  10. steelontarget

    What a stupid article. Stay tuned next week when we discuss what the big book of BS says about which end to crack your Easter eggs open on.

    April 20, 2014 at 11:30 am |
    • totot57

      I don't find the article stupid at all. (and I am an atheist). When I visit churches or go to concerts in churches I and my family dress up, often with tie and jacket, oh, and polished shoes.
      If people want to be taken seriously about their faiths, then they should demonstrate respect to the place of worship, the other believers and themselves. God will take them one way or other I am sure (if there were a god), but I question the mindset of the flipflop and shorts wearing attendees. Seems if you wave around god, the bible and your beliefs in other people's faces, then you should put some dignity behind it. Why else should I take you seriously.

      Oh, about what side to crack easters eggs open? You crack them open by using the pointed side to tap against the pointed side of your easter egg opponent. The owner of the cracked egg turns the other side, another tap. The one whose egg is cracked on both sides first loses the egg to the winner. Easy!

      April 20, 2014 at 11:52 am |
      • steelontarget

        The Lilliputians disagree with you.

        April 20, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
      • transuranic

        Love your response on both aspect, respect for what one is doing... and a great game regarding easter eggs!

        April 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
    • otoh2

      Yes, toto, you have good points.

      We do that egg-cracking game too - it came down from the German contingent of the family in our case.

      April 20, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
  11. tallulah131

    How petty. How utterly petty.

    April 20, 2014 at 11:29 am |
    • Akira

      Isn't it, though?

      Well, I suppose it was inevitable. They want to regulate everything else.
      They actually should be glad people 'saunter' into church at all. Not everyone has clothes provided for them.

      April 20, 2014 at 11:43 am |
  12. marsinsect

    The obesity rate for religious fanatics is staggering !! for " GODS" sake please keep your clothes on !!

    April 20, 2014 at 11:28 am |
  13. ellabulldog

    churches are just happy anyone shows up, so they can't kick you out for dressing down or they would be empty, same with restaurants, they need the business too, planes are now like buses, no big deal, no reason to dress up.

    April 20, 2014 at 11:20 am |
  14. igaftr

    Let me ask those who are judging others clothing a question.

    Does the message change at all if everyone in church were completely blind?
    If the service is no different for a blind man than a sighted one, why is this an issue?

    April 20, 2014 at 11:15 am |
    • truthisbest

      The basic reality is that those who are able to dress up for church (not all have the means) should be doing so out of reverence and respect for God, not for other humans. People who go to the White House to visit the president tend to dress nicely, not to impress the other people that might be traveling with them, but out of respect for the person and place they are visiting. If the same is not true when it comes to visiting God's house of worship, evidently they lack such respect and reverence when it comes to their worship.

      April 20, 2014 at 11:41 am |
      • igaftr

        So in your opinion, showing respect means wearing a fancier costume.
        Tell me, where does the bible teach you that you need to wear finery to show respect to your god?
        It is for appearances only. requiring others to put on a more expensive costume is not respectful of others.
        If you think it is a sign of respect, then go ahead, but why should others, if they show up with their heart open wanting to hear the message, what difference is it to you? If you were blind, would it matter then?

        You are far too concerned with frivilous, shallow things such as what costume you are wearing.( or someone else is wearing)

        April 20, 2014 at 11:49 am |
        • truthisbest

          Showing respect means dressing appropriately as much as one is able. The Bible actually warns against dressing too fancy, since the purpose should be not be to draw attention to one's self. As already explained, the choices one makes regarding their appearance directly reflects how much they care about where they are and who they are meeting. If one cares, the choices they make regarding dress will invariably reflect that. Being blind would not change any of that. If the president was blind, would you go to visit him in the White House a dirty T-shirt? Why or why not?

          April 20, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
        • igaftr

          "Showing respect means dressing appropriately as much as one is able"

          Really? That is YOUR definition of respect, but not your gods. Not judging others is, at least according to your god, how you show respect.

          Your material possessions are insignificant.

          April 20, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
  15. dukeofistria

    The answer is simple and straight forward. Since day one Christians have celebrated mass/liturgy as if one is attending the Lords last supper. I would only wear a suit and tie, my Sunday best, if I were ever so fortunate to be invited to feast with our Lord and partake of his sacraments! If you are a man, wear a suit. If you are a woman, wear a dress. Dress your children accordingly. This is how to show respect and reverence to God.

    If you go to a church that does not serve communion or practice the sacraments then go to one that does. This is how the very first Christians worshipped!

    April 20, 2014 at 11:14 am |
    • igaftr

      Does what you wear change what is in your heart?
      Apparently you think it does.

      April 20, 2014 at 11:17 am |
      • transuranic

        Actually, having the ability to dress up as if you are doing something special, and treating it the same as picking up fish sticks at WalMart DOES say something about your perspective on it... Totally different thing if one can't afford to dress up, come as you are... But I'd hazard to guess that the espresso guzzling crowd in the pews probably could have the money to dress as if worshiping God with the body were something different than every other day...

        April 20, 2014 at 11:34 am |
        • igaftr

          so the strength of the message is tied to ones financial worth...how sad you think that.

          April 20, 2014 at 11:39 am |
        • transuranic

          No, hence the word "ability".... having the ability and not doing it does communicate something. Implicitly, someone not having the ability is excluded from my statement. Furthermore, this is most prevalent in places where the espresso machine is running non-stop pre-service, while the most financially depressed areas (IE inner city) are still dressing up more. Reading is fundamental.

          April 20, 2014 at 11:44 am |
        • igaftr

          So you think that someone who has the "ability" to wear more expensive costumes, then they should as if that is a sign of respect?

          How does that change the message?
          If you were blind, would it matter?
          Who are you REALLY trying to show respect to, or is it more a matter that you are trying to garner more respect for yourself, from the others, and it really has nothing to do with your religion at all.

          What one wears is the most trivial thing, and according to your god, believing and acknowledging him is the ONLY important thing.
          You are far too concerned with material things.

          April 20, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • transuranic

          True, thanks for the revelation. At my next funeral I'll greet the family in flip-flops. They'll surely appreciate that it's a good showing of how unimportant material things are and that the life of that person was really important to me.

          April 20, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • igaftr

          In my family, the fact that you showed up, is all the respect that is asked of you. The person is what is important, not the packaging.

          April 20, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
        • gma85253

          igaftr, I appreciate your point about being blind. If I were blind, I would use my other senses to judge the level of self respect from those I encountered in life. For example, do they smell pleasant? When I shake their hand, is the hand cared for? A blind person can perceive posture and gait by the way a person holds themselves – proudly or slouchy. And the voice. Is it strong or weak? Well spoken or mumbled? thanks for making me think

          April 20, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
        • igaftr

          " to judge the level of self respect from those I encountered in life. "

          Why is it your business to judge others? Didn't your god tell you that is his job and NOT yours?

          Wouldn't your god be happier if you let your 3 year old cut your hair and give the money you would have spent on frivilous things to charity?

          Why do you think it is YOUR job to go around judging others? Doesn't your god teach you the OPPOSITE of that?

          April 20, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
      • truthisbest

        so the strength of the message is tied to ones financial worth...how sad you think that.

        No, only a common troll would presume that, so surely you mistyped. As already explained, if one has the means to dress nicely but specifically chooses not to, that decision is a direct reflection of their lack of concern and respect for what they are doing. As Jesus demonstrated in the example of the poor woman who could only afford to offer two small coins, doing what one is able to do is what is most important. Are you able to appreciate that?

        April 20, 2014 at 11:52 am |
        • transuranic

          Thanks for getting it... most people have a choice. The most affluent communities dress down and the poorest dress up, ironic isn't it?

          April 20, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • igaftr

          " that decision is a direct reflection of their lack of concern and respect for what they are doing."

          That is YOUR perception. If I were completely nude, or wearing the most expensive costume I can buy, how does that change the message. How is one showing more respect than the other?

          You are showing that you are more concerned with material things, than what your god is allegedly trying to teach you.

          If all in the congregation were blind, would your material do-dads matter at all? If not, then they also should not matter to a sighted congregation.

          You think it is a sign of respect to wear more expensive clothing, Your god seems to think it is a sign of respect to not judge others.

          April 20, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
        • truthisbest

          "That is YOUR perception. If I were completely nude, or wearing the most expensive costume I can buy, how does that change the message. How is one showing more respect than the other?"
          If you were completely nude in a church, your message would be that you were in need of psychiatric help. If you were trying to dress more fancy than everyone else in the room, your message would be that you think very highly of yourself and/or really, really need attention (and yes, there's no reason that wouldn't apply to the clergy as well). However, if you dress appropriately within your means, not too nude and not too fancy, you should be able to demonstrate exactly how much respect you have for the place and occasion without going overboard. And if everyone in the room is blind? God still observes your efforts.

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

          God does not care about the clothes. God cares about the sincerely of your heart.
          You are going to church for a specific reason, it seems; to show off your clothing. God. Doesn't. Care. You do.


          These people ARE dressing appropriately to hear the word of The Lord. What on earth are you going for?

          April 20, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
        • igaftr

          is best.
          Considering what your god is trying to teach you, it would seem that god prefer you show up in a burlap sack, and donate the money you would have spent on your finery for some purpose other than trivial cosmetic packaging..

          April 20, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
        • dukeofistria

          In Croatia the standard of living is not nearly as high as it is in the US but people still manage to dress with reverence and respect for God. The same was true in the USA. The standard of living in the US was not always as high as it is today but people managed to have good clothes to wear on Sunday. I am not wealthy. Nearly all my clothes were purchased at Goodwill, even my shoes. But I managed to find a couple of nice suits that fit me well and I wear them to church with a tie.
          It is not about wealth, status or showing off for other people. It is about reverence and respect for God. And even if we were all blind, God still sees.

          April 20, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • igaftr

          So to you, it is showing respect to change the packaging, not the person.
          How is putting on different packaging a sign of resepct?

          You live your life, and wear whatever you have to or need to throughout your life, then when you go to worship your deity, you wear things you noramlly do not wear...how is that showing respect for god?

          you do it for yourself, and for what others think of you, not anything to do with your god.

          April 20, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
    • steelontarget

      You have a very weird god you believe in. Apparently your god has a fashion conscious swish in his step.

      "Since day one"
      That's a pretty humorous statement. You should try learning a bit more about your religion and it's origins.

      April 20, 2014 at 11:26 am |
    • marsinsect

      Crap !! I don't have a nice tux to worship your God... I guess he will toss me in the hell hole !

      April 20, 2014 at 11:38 am |
    • ukerlayer

      Yeah, because the 12 were dressed in suits and ties at the last supper.

      April 20, 2014 at 11:44 am |
  16. squarleton

    Maybe the issue goes deeper than this, mighty John DeBonville. I would submit to you that real followers of Jesus are tired of people like you. You can't see His kingdom.

    April 20, 2014 at 11:14 am |
    • marsinsect

      another judgmental christian ?? haha... bless your heart ! your so tired of people , and these people your so tired of will never see the ole mighty kingdom !!! news flash buddy ... your wasting the only life you will ever have kissing gods ass!

      April 20, 2014 at 11:43 am |
  17. marsinsect

    As long as you give the " preacher" his money he does not care what you wear !!

    April 20, 2014 at 11:11 am |
  18. Glenda

    Do you think when Jesus did his sermon on the Mount that he looked at what everyone was wearing and only allowed those with clean clothing to listen, no I don't think so, he was spreading the word and it did not matter to him that men were sweaty and women were dirty or hand no sandals on their feet, he preached Gods word so that those in faith would be uplifted. Today's modern world is what dictates this dress up rule, all though "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" should also be observed.

    April 20, 2014 at 11:11 am |
  19. davery1968

    Hmmmm......according to the bible he created us with no clothes and now all of a sudden he cares about what is worn? Or is it the vanity of the preacher worried about what his audience looks like and how it might detract from the "right" kind of audience?

    April 20, 2014 at 11:11 am |
  20. Tim

    Explain to me how this is news? Who really cares how people dress to go sit in a building and all talk to their invisible friend together?

    April 20, 2014 at 11:04 am |
    • adrieltavel

      I wish I understood how the different news corporations decided what stories they end up airing or putting on their websites. There are people being slaughtered in The Sudan, Syria, an Ebola outbreak in Guinea, dozens of schoolgirls were kidnapped in Congo (I believe) last week... virtually none of those stories ever even zipped across CNN's headlines this week. If Lindsay Lohan gets a do tonight, though, they'll talk about it for the rest of the week. Anyone get the impression that the media in this country is meant to distract us from the more horrible realities in life so that we will largely remain carefree and just keep on as good little over-consumers of all different kinds of goods. If Americans actually knew that there are real problems out in the world, including some that have the potential to affect us, then people would stop paying attention to the sales at Banana Republic and The Gap.

      April 20, 2014 at 11:13 am |
      • jon.mcclay

        Thank you both for leaving truly reasonable comments on such trivial trash populating the internet. This is not news.

        April 20, 2014 at 11:42 am |
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About this blog

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.