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Perhaps We Should Wear Jeans to Church...
and no this is not a satire!
Do wish you could just go to church casual? Comfortable? Without that suit and tie, without that dress? Well, maybe we should attend church in what our society considers casual dress. Not so that we can be comfortable and casual, but so that friends that we or other church members invite may feel comfortable, may feel that they belong...
I believe that it is good for us as members already to treat the Sabbath as special and perhaps the formal time and place to worship and commune with our friend Jesus. I can't really see dressing down to meet with the King and Master of the universe at His appointed time and place.
But I also believe that Jesus wants to have more friends gathered around his feet. He sends us out to witness and bring others to eat and drink with him at his Sabbath home. John 6:27,55 (NLT) Revelation 19:9 (NLT) Revelation 22:16-17 (NLT) When we think of it like dining or like eating and drinking then casual could come to mind. Most of us would resist going out to dinner weekly with friends if they required formal attire each time. Even if they paid each time and for us it was a free meal. Such regular formality for most of us connotes lack of a genuine relationship.
But we as Seventh-day Adventists already talk and visit with Jesus daily via the inter-terrestrial phone service called prayer. Don't we? So we have our casual time with Jesus. We can afford to dress up on Sabbath morning for a SPECIAL occasion. But for many of our friends who seldom if ever go to any church it's different. They don't want to go somewhere they even might feel uncomfortable. They have a million excuses...
So why should we give them another excuse? All it takes is one excuse to keep them away. If we have wrestled all the other excuses then we should perhaps make this one about what to wear just go away. "I am made all things..." 1 Corinthians 9:22 (NLT)
But we can't do this by ourselves. If we dress casually, probably in jeans, we might get our friends to the church parking lot. But NOW we have to get them out of either our car or their car. They might not say, "you misled us with your jeans" but all at once they will remember additional excuses. Or thay may drag themselves inside to be nice to us, but they will not return next Sabbath.
So now, unless we phone all of our church friends and successfully beg them to dress in jeans this Sabbath, just the one Sabbath, we and our friends look out of place.
What's the solution? We could dress in jeans almost every Sabbath. And as I've heard, fashionable jeans don't come cheaply. In fact, cheap jeans at Walmart seem to cost at least a few dollars more than business pants at Walmart. I've never bought expensive jeans. I don't even like jeans! I'm not slim. I'm not especially young. I've never liked wearing jeans. I guess that may be because I never bought expensive jeans. I wear the same business pants around the house even when I'm doing chores. I do change pants to paint... But other than remove my tie when I get home from work in an Information Services department, I don't change clothes. Since my VP doesn't approve of his staff wearing suits or sports coats at work (too formal and intimidating to others), I do dress more formally when I go to church wearing my grey silk jacket or my maroon suede coat or my pale teal jacket in early spring.
No I don't wear jeans to church. No one else wears jeans to my church in Michigan. (Well I have seen jeans on Sabbath morning but only on rare occasion.) I'd feel uncomfortably out of place wearing jeans in my church (for me, especially uncomfortable!). BUT I BELIEVE that I THINK that we should ALL wear jeans to church most Sabbaths.
Paul says that we should become the unconventional Christian to use all possible means to save others. See 1 Corinthians 9:22 (NLT) where Paul tells us to wear jeans to church to make our visiting friends comfortable and want to return another week, along with the visiting friends of other families in the church.
This is not meant to provide us with an excuse to wear jeans to church. It is instruction to put aside what we may have always been taught is right. To put aside what seems to us to be right. (Jesus is a King after all, isn't he?) This is not to benefit us. I might actually have to buy a $90 pair of jeans to follow Paul's advice. At $90 I'd surely not wear them to work. And I wouldn't wear them to garden or to wash the car. Or to fry freshly sliced potatoes. I'd carefully hang them up in the closet after church each Sabbath. I much prefer to casually wear the $20 to $50 business pants that I put on each morning before work and keep on until going to bed. Black, brown, or blue business pants are just pants. I like to spend money on suede jackets. But I'd rather not spend $70 to $100 for a pair of pants that I don't want.
You might actually like wearing fashionable jeans to church. Or clean jeans at least. If so, then why not influence me to wear jeans to church. When most or all of us wear jeans to church then certainly I will wear jeans to church at least once a month. And I believe that we will see our churches frequented more often by people who see us going in to church dressed like they are always dressed on the weekends. I've seen people buying a suit for a funeral or wedding who obviously feel awfully uncomfortable. They seem so embarrased to be trying on a suit. They sound embarrassed and pained. They look embarrassed and pained.
People who feel uncomfortable in a suit won't come to church except for a funeral or a wedding. Invite them to your church by wearning what they can imagine themselves wearing to church. And if casual attire seems like acting like so many other church goers in churches of some other denominations... So what? Must we keep people out of God's church so that we can pride ourselves on being different? There is "nothing unclean of itself". Romans 14:14 (NLT) .
Paul may not say the word jeans. But if you extend Paul's discussion regarding the apartness or self-righteousness of Paul's day you will see the word jeans in this chapter. Paul would wear jeans every Sabbath to church if he thought it would bring others to Jesus. And especially if he thought it might bring a few more percentage of our own young family members to church after they no longer have to come simply because we say to come... What do you think?
Marcie Ford 9/1/01
Stop! and Do