I received the following email from a Resurrection attender last month. I have included my response below and some additional thoughts. They have each been edited for anonymity.
Has Pastor Adam ever broached the subject with the congregation on appropriate attire when attending church? I imagine that this is a rather sticky subject, to say the least. When I was leaving church yesterday, I noticed two teenage girls walking out in front of me. Even though it was cold outside one of these girls had on extremely – and I mean extremely – short shorts that bordered on vulgar. WHERE ARE THE PARENTS???!!! I hope you don’t think I’m a prude because I try to be open-minded and accepting of other people……as I think about it, though, maybe that’s why teenagers wear clothing that’s inappropriate for the occasion because we’ve all tried to be so accepting. Go figure.
Thanks for your email. To my knowledge, Adam has not talked publicly about public attire while I have been here at Resurrection. I understand your concern. I agree that some clothing may be less appropriate for public. In this and other issues, I think that there is a balance between accepting people where they are and holding them accountable. My hope is that as a congregation we are holding each other most accountable to their journey of knowing, loving and serving God toward becoming a deeply committed Christian. How this journey applies to clothing style, as you witnessed, is interpreted differently by different persons.
I have found that the question of attire is not limited to teenagers or those for whom parents may still feel responsible. I feel that the question of the interaction between parent and student is another issue.
As I have thought more about what is appropriate to wear to church, I am not too excited about having a dress code for what is allowed and what is not allowed from someone that is a part of the worshipping congregation. I think that one’s standards for dress while worshipping should not be less than standards for dress in any other public space. Whether they should be higher or different in some way is an open question for me.
What do you think?