Monday, July 25, 2005

Flip Flop Flap

I haven't heard so much about flip-flops in the news since the 2004 presidential election. As most of you are aware, the Northwestern University women's national champion lacrosse team has been the subject of a lot of discussion lately because of the footwear choices several of them made for their recent visit to see President Bush at the White House. A few of these LAX gals dared to wear thongs . . . on their feet (no, not the Monica Lewinsky type).

The uproar over these flip-flops, however, hasn't come from the West Wing; it's been the mainstream press making most of the fuss. (I keep expecting the ever-diligent White House press corps to start grilling White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan over it: "Scott," asks Helen Thomas, "is it true that the president admits to a foot fetish, and that the first lady owns at least two pair of designer flops?") Even Leonard Pitts Jr. took on the topic in his column today, which was carried by our own Greensboro News & Record and is available online through The Miami Herald (free registration required).

Pitts remarks:

. . . Even I know you don't wear flip-flops at the White House.

That a perfectly decent group of young women does not kind of says it all about the informality of the age. We have elevated personal comfort to virtually the status of a constitutional right. But in the process, maybe we have lost the capacity for a sense of moment, a sense of occasion, a sense that there are things you respect. And that one of the ways you show respect is by dressing up.

Pitts has a point. People today dress down for everything from job interviews to weddings and funerals to Sunday worship services. To me that can convey a lack of respect for your potential employer, the betrothed, the deceased and God.

I know, the times are a-changing, and maybe I'm just bit jealous of all you casual types because my boss requires me to wear a tie every day, but have we gone too far? Frankly, I don't mind "dress" casual so much, but many have seen the acceptance of casual attire in formal settings, especially at church, as a license to be just plain sloppy: T-shirts with slogans (some very inappropriate for Sunday worship), shirttails hanging out, frayed and faded pants, ratty old tennis shoes, etc. Sometimes I think these folks dress better to go to Target on Saturday afternoon (or at least to dinner out on Saturday night) than they do for church on Sunday morning.

So what do you think? Should we have a "sense of occasion" and wear our Sunday best to honor God on Sunday morning? Or should we chuck all our neckties and neatly pressed clothes and go casual, or even sloppy, because we think God doesn't care how we look when we worship Him?


At Tuesday, July 26, 2005 8:55:00 AM, Anonymous Gr8ful Coach said...

Casual is fine for Sunday worship, but sloppy has no place as far as I'm concerned. I think the acceptance of casual on Sundays has helped bring people to church, which is a good thing, right? But the casual clothes should be clean and pressed. Businessmen in California stopped wearing ties 20 years ago, we can drop the idea of a necktie as "respectful attire" also.

At Tuesday, July 26, 2005 8:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I'm going to a traditional service, I'll dress more traditional. If I'm going to the contemporary service, as hot as it is, I'm wearing shorts!

I don't recall Jesus ever saying anything about "coming as you are-but pressed." Still, you can dress casual and still dress nice.

The good news is that our church has a lot of 98.6's. The bad news is that when it is hot in there, there's a lot of 98.6's. I don't now that being tormented in long sleeves and ties does anything for Him.

the Heckler


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