Much has been said over the last several days about what is and is not proper attire for the Oval Office. President Obama has said that he wants anyone in the office to wear a shirt and tie out of respect for the Oval Office and all that it represents. Some have criticized Obama for this, saying that his dress is too casual and that he and others should not only be wearing a shirt and tie, but also a jacket.
The whole thing seems somewhat amusing to me since President Obama seems to be trying to honor the office by his conduct and dress code, but it does remind me that the same type of thing happens at churches. A precedent is set by a generation of church-goers and when a younger generation comes behind and acts a little differently, things can become uneasy and conflict can arise.
Don’t believe me? How would you feel if your pastor showed up Sunday morning and was not wearing a suit and tie? What if he left his jacket at home for the week? What if he did not even have a tie and was only wearing a collared shirt? You may not think much of it. In fact, you may even prefer it if you are a little younger, but how do you think the rest of your fellow church-goers would react? I come from fairly traditional churches in my past and I know from experience that a collared shirt is not acceptable.
What does a pastor and others need to wear to church in order to show proper honor and respect to God? Should a pastor be expected to wear clothes that are different than the rest of the people in the congregation? If so, why? Aren’t we all called to show the same respect, or do pastors have a greater responsibility in this area? I agree that we should seek to show honor and respect in our dress when we go to church, but who decides exactly what this means? Who decides the proper dress code for church?
There are many newer churches that have younger congregations that have pushed against the whole idea of suits and ties. The pastors of these churches often wear a simple shirt and jeans when they speak. Would it be fair for those on the outside to say that they need to dress better because they do not honor God properly with their clothing?