My little brother is one of my favorite people. He is patient and gentle and considerate and funny. (Although I would never tell him that.) He is in his last year at Westmont College, my alma mater, and for the past few years has been putting his music composition major to use by playing in the band at a local church on Sunday mornings. He enters into worship with a grateful heart and works hard to cultivate a space where other people can do the same.
And he does all this without wearing shoes.
He just doesn't care. He's always been an incredibly casual dresser, wearing shorts and flip-flops all through the freezing months of winter in the Midwest. So showing up to church barefoot and in a T-shirt is not only normal for him, but to dress in anything nicer would, to him, be a violation of conscience in the eyes of the God who bids us come as we are.
Last month, Duane Litfin, former president of Wheaton College, wrote an interesting op-ed for Christianity Today called "Clothing Matters: What We Wear to Church." In it, Litfin makes the case for a thoughtful approach to dressing for public worship services. Framing his argument in terms of offering God our best, our first fruits, that which is sacrificial, Litfin suggests that we display an attitude of awe and reverence when we enter into communal worship. He cites Scriptures like 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 and Romans 12:1, where we hear about our bodies being living sacrifices to God. The most convincing part of all of this, though, comes when Litfin says "I do wish to raise a question about the notion … that when it comes to public worship, our clothing doesn't matter."
In a great post on the Cardus blog, Kyle Bennett calls fashion "an exercise on virtue." Fashion is relevant ...1
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