I remember when going to church meant listening to great music, a moving sermon that you could take something away from, and contributing tithes when you had them to give. Those were the simple days. Nowadays, or at least at some of the churches I’ve attended, I’ve noticed that for some people (young and some older), going to church means wearing attire more appropriate for going to the club rather than going to the altar. People are also spending a lot of time in the pews checking out fellow congregants, chattering about insignificant things (like who is wearing and doing what) and doing the absolute most. So what’s happening?
A few years ago, I joined a relatively small church. It was a different denomination than what I grew up in, but the format was similar enough to what I was used to. But I quickly noticed that the girls collecting offerings and serving us for Communion were wearing shorts that looked like they weren’t finished being made, and I even noticed a few wearing halter tops from time to time. They were teenagers, so I tried to chalk their attire up to typical adolescent clothing and the typical way of doing things in this day and age. Even though I had a feeling their clothing choices were inappropriate for church, I assumed that I had caught them on an atypical day and that those revealing clothes were not going to be seen again. I was wrong–it kept happening.
Week after week, the number of young ladies wearing skank-a-fied clothing increased. I was used to seeing non-church clothing on churchgoers as the time of Easter suits and wearing stockings with everything has come and gone for most, but when the skimpy outfits crossed over to those serving in the church more and more, the word inappropriate took on a whole new meaning. Their lack of clothing left me no choice but to consult with one of the elders of the church. I outlined my concerns with the way the girls were dressed, hoping our discussion would spark a change in their outfits. I informed her that their clothes were distracting in service and that they were wrong to wear in the House of the Lord. I could tell that she was uncomfortable with our conversation and offered little insight into curtailing the teenagers’ revealing attire. Once I realized that nothing was going to change, I decided that it was time to switch churches since I didn’t want to continue to feel like I was in a nightclub every Sunday morning.
I loved the next church I visited. The sermons were awesome, the people were friendly, and their choir was one of the best in the city. I think I loved the church so much that it hadn’t dawned on me immediately that the place seemed to resemble the last church in many aspects. Short and too tight clothing were a constant presence at this church as well as people doing the Bankhead Bounce and also some of the new dance crazes. I saw one man moonwalk across the floor, a woman jump so high I wondered if she was listening to Kris Kross’ “Jump” in her head and not “I Will Bless The Lord,” and a man performing a mix of the Cabbage Patch and Tootsie Roll. Their rhythm was so coordinated yet all over the place that I started thinking that folks were high off of more than just the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t just the previous church I had been to after all. It seemed that many congregations were getting a little to relaxed in their attire and behavior.
I used to find these type of antics harmless and somewhat entertaining, but now it’s just sad. Church is one of the only places I go to find peace. I go to church to learn more about and praise God, not to learn about the latest outfit or the latest dance craze. I find it disturbing when people look me up and down to check out my outfit, my hair, or other accessories I may or may not have going on and do that when they should be paying attention to the Word. I expect that type of behavior out in the streets, but not at church. I also find it disheartening to see young women in church dressed similar to something out of a music video. Since elders are supposed to serve in a teaching capacity, it would be nice to see more try to teach others about what’s appropriate vs. what’s inappropriate in a polite manner instead of trying to avoid sticky situations as much as possible and letting people run around and do whatever. Maybe then more people would revert back to appropriate behavior so that church can go back to what it used to be and the focus can stick to God and not the length of somebody’s skirt.