I spent a lot of time at church as a child. Other than home or school, probably no other place has more memories for me. Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and when there were revivals, those too.
One unwritten rule in our house was that you always wore a dress to church. Today, things are much different – at least at our church. I still wear a dress or skirt (I admit to wearing pants a few times if it’s really cold, but I do feel a bit sinful doing it …). However, I’m almost an oddity. All around me are women wearing nice pants, but also lots in jeans. In summer, the congregation “goes casual,” with the congregants and even many of the staff donning shorts and T-shirts in a seemingly desperate effort to appear with-it and feel comfortable.
And – I hate it. It just seems wrong. When I was a child, Sunday mornings did see most women wearing dresses, but not all. And I vividly remember clucking inwardly on Sunday nights, when numerous members of the youth choir departed the choir loft after singing wearing shorts! Short shorts, no less! This was truly shocking.
I know that it’s a big deal nowadays to be “relevant” – to “reach people where they are” yadda yadda yadda. It’s even been said that it’s elitist to expect people to dress up for church “because some people don’t have any dressy clothes!” That argument rings false to me. In our consumer society, there are really people out there pining to go to church, but feeling held back by their lack of appropriate clothing? Show me such a person.
One thing I really enjoyed about my two years living in Birmingham, Alabama, was that people did dress up for church there. Heck, you even had a lot of women wearing hats to church. It was just nice to see people respecting God and looking different than the folks you’d see in Wal Mart.
Do you remember “Sunday Best” being dressier when you were young than it is now? Or maybe this whole phenomena is just part of the non-denominational, mega-church trend that we’re caught up in …