DRESSING, ORNAMENTATION AND THE CHRISTAIN IN A MODERN WORLD (I)

Have you noticed that in today’s world your style of attire speaks of your economic status, social circle, sophistication level, morality and mood? How you dress can say, “Poor” or “well-to-do,” or “boring,” “handsome,” “beautiful,” etc. Right or wrong, clothes often generate judgments about a person.

Fashion designer Bradley Bayou says “Consciously choose clothes that make you feel authentic, that say something about your personality before you even say a word. Align your clothes with your personal goals. “Use your clothing as a form of social communication. The clothes you wear can change the attention you get, the kind of people you befriend and even the kind of dates you attract.” True enough!

But that is the world speaking! The Holy Bible teaches that our clothing should be humble and modest. Beyond that, the Lord desires us to adorn ourselves with Christ-likeness. Being dressed in the righteousness He gives and being dressed in His character is how we daily bring honor to Him.

I have always maintained that dress and ornaments are not merely external coverings; they touch the inner self. Recently I have become worried about: the trend of fashion in our country in general and our places of worship in particular, the compromise of decency in the process with almost complete disregard to the attendant effects and also the pursuit of vanity symbolized by this trend. I have sat and thought on how this trend impacts on the spiritual growth of the Christian and have discovered to my dismay that in fact there is a direct relationship between the fall in spirituality and dressing and adornment.

The above fact becomes even more worrisome seeing as it is increasingly becoming difficult to distinguish some of our churches from night-life hot spots, since suggestive clothes – even the so called party wears – find their way into our churches. Men and women, the old and the young, the married and single, all dress today in ways and clothes that serve more to excite prurience with reckless abandon rather than encourage worship.

It is now common sight in many Christian congregations, unfortunately, to see some members wearing miniskirts, low-cut blouses, casual slacks, and heavy makeup. Painfully enough, many who do these things, believe it or not, sincerely believe that Christians can do all these things without hurting anyone. They think there is nothing wrong with it because each worshipper in church is expected to ‘mind their business’. A blatant falsehood!

There is a sense of helplessness hovering over the increased use of jewelry, cosmetics, and immodest clothes in our Christian congregations and, bowed by this helplessness some ministers of the gospel have often conceded that this permissive trend is here to stay and there is not much that can be done instead we might just as well learn to live with it. However, on the other hand, I think such a cowardly position by Christian ministers leaves a lot of Christians vulnerable.
Once upon a time, it was impossible to wear clothes that exposed one’s ‘privacy’ to the public and not be alone in the crowd. Those good old days are gone! Now we see women and men dressed in attires that do not inspire confidence whatsoever and those who wear them seem to have no qualm of conscience. At times this becomes so bad that it is difficult to distinguish between sane and mad people since both of them wear rags.

In our day and age when sex sells above all else (a kind of an age of Sexual Revolution), the gospel of modesty increases in sensitivity daily. Since there is hardly any pew in our churches on which a nauseatingly-adorned lady or gentleman is not seated at every convocation of the saints, and since most men and women of God are more careful not to ‘offend’ their congregations for fear of losing them to less rigid church owners (and they are eagerly waiting) than they show real passion for the salvation of the souls of these congregants (no matter how they pretend otherwise), they hardly say anything against these worrying trends in order to admonish these people and so this practice, hitherto alien to the church, is being granted accommodation among believers. That is why it is good to speak and lend a voice to the debate because so many people are wrong not because they want to be wrong but because they are sincerely wrong, as no one has ever told them in the light of the gospel, that dressing has a point where it begins to work against the believer instead of for the believer.

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