14 May, 2008

Man Wears Suit to Church

Santa Monica, Ca - Almost everyone at Shepherd of Hope Church is still talking about it. It happened this past Sunday morning when young church member Christopher Lowe showed up at SHC wearing what some are calling "radical attire." Lowe came to the church's regular 11AM Sunday worship service wearing a sports jacket and grey dress pants replete with tie, black dress shoes (including matching black socks with small grey stripes) and a black leather belt with a gold-colored buckle. In addition, Lowe's hair was neatly combed and he had removed all of his facial piercings, even shaving off his almost permanent five-o'clock shadow.

"I just wanted to express myself, to be my own person for a day," said Lowe. "I think a person should be able to wear whatever he wants to worship without fear of being judged for it or looked down upon."

But not everyone shares Lowe's sentiments. After the worship service several people expressed their displeasure to one another about Lowe's apparent attempt to "draw attention" by wearing such strange and unusual clothing.

"I don't know if he was trying to prove a point or something," said Marcus White, a long-time member of SHC who normally sports a pair of shorts, flip-flops and a Hawaiian shirt to church along with his prized crucifix lip ring . "To me it seemed rather pretentious, like he was trying to just get people's attention and make some kind of statement. I just don't think that's right."

But despite some of the comments of displeasure, Lowe does not seem dissuaded, stating that he's not out to make any kind of statement, but simply to wear what he likes and what feels comfortable.

"I'm not trying to rock any boats here," stated Lowe. "I'm just doing my own thing. I'm not saying that I'm going to start ditching my earrings and Birkenstocks every Sunday, but once in a while I just might feel like doing something different, something kind of crazy just to be different and not go with the flow. If people can't handle it that's not my problem."


Mike said...

Yes. I've always thought it hilarious that the "rebellious" types will dress up in the most outrageous attire they can find in order to make the point that they are different. Just like their friends, who dress the exact same way, to make the exact same point.

Patrick Stefan said...

This is a hilarious article! However, I still think it misses the point of one's "Sunday Best." This article makes it seem that attire in church has changed because 'style' has changed and so now the way to stand out is to go back to the traditional days. I would argue though that attire has changed because religion has changed. Churches today are more focused around the individual and his/her tastes than they are around God and His commands.

I (24 years old) wear a suit and tie to church every day not because I want to be different but because I ask myself the question "how should I prepare myself to enter the throneroom of God?" I think it is very sad that most people will set themselves aside in attire for a funeral, wedding, or job interview, but when it comes to the worship of the all powerful God they treat it as any other day.

Our attire often reflects our beliefs inside. If we dress everyday in flipflops and shorts we probably tend to be "laid back," etc. So shouldn't our attire on Sunday reflect our inside preparation for the worship of God?

Please be quiet! said...

Actually, Patrick, look around at a funeral or wedding these days. People often don't dress up for those, either. I've been at weddings where a number of the guests are in shorts or jeans, and it's getting more and more common to see tee shirts at the funeral home.

Jerry Boyce said...

The question is this : Do the same people that flip-flop it to church do the same elsewhere?

Patrick Stefan said...

I am not arguing that a suit makes one "holy." You are right Jerry, the question is do they do it elsewhere? And if they do the same elsewhere my question is why they don't set apart the worship of God as a special event? Should we approach God in public worship the same as any other day, or should we set ourselves aside for it? Our culture is getting much more relaxed (starting on the west coast) and I don't think there is anything necessarily wrong with this. However, we still see it fit to wear a suit and tie to "special events." If a flip-flopper were to have a job interview with NASA or Boeing do you think he would wear flip-flops? Dress is very often indicative of attitude and we should come to church to worship God with an attitude of reverence.

Patrick Stefan said...

Please be quiet,
I do see your point that some people don't see it necessary to wear nice attire to weddings/funerals. However, as someone who performs military honors at funerals on a weekly basis I would disagree with you that it is becoming more common to see t-shirts. 99% of funeral attenders wear a nice outfit. I think this serves as good case example actually. We do this out of respect for the departed family member, friend, etc. However, some people see it as simply tradition and thus 'rebel' against it.

I think this is the same with one's Sunday Best. It was once assumed that you would wear a nice outfit for church; however, some people didn't see the purpose for it (reverence and respect) and instead labeled it as mere tradition.

With church, you could simply come in your regular attire and pull the "don't judge me" card (which of course we shouldn't judge our fellow believer who doesn't wear their best on Sunday). Ultimately God is our judge and knows our heart. A funeral however makes this much more difficult to do because the departed's closest family is there staring the disrespect in the face. This is why I believe the departure from the 'suit and tie' has not occured at funerals while it has at church.

Jim Pemberton said...

Apparently Lowe didn't read that part of the Bible about eating meat offered to idols.

As for corporate worship being a special event, I think this is a common problem. Too many people think Sunday morning is for worship and the rest of the week is for real life. Worship never stops. Sunday morning is just when most churches agree is a good time to bring our worship together. Nothing special. I would argue that if we're going to wear suits on Sunday, we should consider wearing suits every day of the week because we shouldn't stop worshiping just because we got to the benediction.

As such, decent clothes are appropriate in church as they are an any gathering. The difference isn't in the clothes but that when Christians gather anywhere it should be apparent in the collective demeanor. If we meet to paint a barn and wear old nasty clothes, it should be apparent that we all worship God in the process.

caleb said...

I think we are getting into the argument that Paul talks about, whether Sunday is more holy then the rest of the week, or whether every day is holy because we are always close to God.

My church, in the buckle of the Bible belt, is a bit different then most. Our pastor usually wears something along the lines of dress pants and a nice shirt-suit and tie. Our music pastor normally wears jeans and a dress shirt. I usually wear sandals and some type of dress shirt. Sometimes I wear shorts. That is what we normally wear in our daily lives (well, our pastor works construction, and what he normally wears is inappropriate for the public). The congregation varies in between.

I care more that someone has a relationship with God then what they wear. If it is not obscene, what does it matter? Be comfortable.

Unknown said...

I think, if you go to church to really worship the Lord, you have to mind how will you go dressed, and you dont care who is going dress up or not, we lost so many time in stupid things and the world is lost out there, if he went that way couse he want to use a little style and if he goes in jeans, is that another staiment??? what Jesus think of our "troubles" when he died sent us to love each other and reach out for the lost, what would we think if we see how Jesus dress in thouse times??