Nice pants

Cross-posted from FnCCollege Ministries

In retrospect, it seems a little silly, but we thought it was a good idea at the time. You see, at men’s small group a few weeks ago, we hatched this scheme to wear suits to church. We would appear as fine Presbyterian gentlemen and would greet people and look just like everyone else… then the music would begin and we would worship God with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul, and all our strength. We would dance and raise our hands, singing boisterously to our God. We would, by our very actions and appearance, challenge the rest of the congregation to worship in kind.

And we did, to some extent. I was sitting in the front and Brian was in the back, and he said that when I started worshiping, he could see a ripple effect behind me. People turned their heads and froze, confused by my actions. Some appeared to be disapproving while others just found it intriguing. Some were apathetic or accepting. I suppose we accomplished our goal, and Brian would like us to do it again, maybe next Sunday.

But I was all kinds of uncomfortable. Suits don’t bother me—I competed in Speech & Debate in high school, and did Model UN from my junior year of high school through my sophomore year of college. I wear suits all the time, and the clothing itself doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is that I felt like a poser, like a phony.

I suppose people are used to the idea of wearing their “Sunday best,” of dressing nicely for church for… whatever reason their parents told them, I imagine. I wasn’t raised in church, and I’ve never really cared much about dressing nicely. I know that God doesn’t see my outward form, as such, and doesn’t care what I wear to church. So I dress in what is comfortable and I worship no matter what I’m wearing. For whatever reason, I felt like I was… phony on Sunday. I wasn’t sticking by my philosophy, and I don’t think my motivation was appropriate. Maybe it did some good, challenged people to worship or reconsider their stereotypes, and wearing a suit wasn’t inhibiting to my own time of worship. But for whatever reason, I felt uncomfortable physically like I never have before in a suit, and I was equally uncomfortable emotionally and spiritually.

I felt like I was dressing up, pretending to be something other than I am. I’m not a conservative, button-down, tie-wearing guy who happens to worship like a Pentecostal preacher. I wear a tie 5 days a week, but on my day of rest I prefer loose khakis or pajama pants and a baggy t-shirt. I suppose the contradiction of the situation was just unsettling to me. Here I was, pretending to be something or someone I wasn’t, in order to challenge people to become someone more honest in their worship before God.

It was just clothes, I know, and shouldn’t be this big a deal, but something about Sunday just didn’t sit right with me. I’m not going to change the way I worship, and I’m not going to stop honouring God. But I think I need to continue doing it my own way, recognizing that God doesn’t care what I wear, and that I shouldn’t care what other people think either. It might challenge them more to see me in a suit than in jeans and a t-shirt, but I can’t ignore the state of my heart either. If I’m going to wear it on my sleeve, out for everyone to see while I dance, I want that sleeve to be one I’m comfortable with.

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