Wednesday, September 27, 2006


It's no secret that New York City has a large Jewish population--from those who embrace their Jewishness merely as a cultural identity to orthodox believers recognizable by their yarmulkes, to the stricter sects such as the Hasidics who's public displays involve both dress and grooming.

Jews are, of course, not the only religion represented when walking down the streets of New York. Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, and others have, as part of their religious practice, clothing and ornamentation that sets them apart, that signifies their beliefs in a glance, that proclaims without a word exactly what it is that they adhere to and stand for. There is no ambivalence. There is no confusion. It is not something they could hide if they wanted to. Indeed, their appearance itself is a form of evangelism.

And it got me thinking...

What if Christians had to do the same?


Anonymous nate said...

You have the perfectly pressed jeans with the center crease and the pleated khaki shorts. That should suffice.

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Deletha said...

I have certainly seen certain christians do the same.................for women............long hair teased and piled high on top of the head, no make-up, no jewelry, wear only long sleeve clothing........noting the Pentecostal demonination. I'm sure you've seen it. Also, the Mennonites with the plain dresses, hair in a bun and it is covered. Beard for the men. Just thought I'd give you a few examples, and I am sure there are many I left out.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Sure, there are elements of Christianity that do it. Priests and nuns would be a very obvious example. But Christianity doesn't have a overarching, inclusive "dress code" if you will. (And a cross around the neck doesn't count!)

I guess I bring it up because people always act differently when people know who they are and what they stand for. Anonymity comes from being able to blend into the crowd and hide. When you lose that anonymity, and you know people are judging you and watching you as a representation of whatever faith you choose to portray, you act accordingly.

I wonder how differently some Christians would act if they had to dress the part?

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Deletha said...

I agree. but we do know that one's dress does not a religious person make. Just go to the post office and look in the book of the FBIs Most Wanted. You will find Hasidic Jews in their garb wanted for major crimes. Again just an example.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Absolutely, you're right. Clothes hardly "make the man" or affect the heart. But when worn as an outward manifestation of the heart, they are a powerful symbol.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Deletha said...

I agree.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous nate said...

I demand acknowledgment of my pithy quip.

7:40 PM  
Blogger c_neil said...

As a Christian, I feel a constant pull between acting on the spirit's power through faith and setting up rigids standards of righteousness. The latter might look good on the outside and help keep you out of a nominal amount of trouble, but it does little to renew the inward man.

If we Christians had a dress code, it would just become one other standard that enabled us to judge the outward appearance of others and feel a false sense of righteousness.

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Jon Fibbs said...

When I was home last year out-processing from the military I had an opportunity to attend church at Neighborhood with pastor Vanderhaughf. I discovered that I had not packed my dress clothes before departing Okinawa and ended up going in a Hawaiian style shirt and shorts. I was completely embarrassed and after service when I had a chance to talk to Ken I apologized to him for my inappropriate attire. He just gave me a hug and said, "Jonathan, it's the most unimportant thing." as if he hadn't even noticed. I was really struck by what he said and I realized how true it was.

I know what you mean when you wrote this entry, but I can't help but disagree...profoundly. This would just become yet another legalized issue with all the appearance of holiness, but no substance. In fact I often wonder just the opposite: what would Christians do if they didn't have their little crosses, fish bumper stickers, or even ornate cathedrals? I'm not saying there's anything necessarily wrong with any of that, but if there's no substance beneath it, it just the trappings of religion.

Not to get "super-spiritual", but recall what God said to Samuel when he surveyed the many sons of Jessie, man looks at the outward things, but He looks at the heart. Looking the part doesn't make it so, nor does not looking the part mean the opposite.

I'm not suggesting we all go run out and adorn ourselves with animal skins and eat locust and honey, just to start looking a little closer at the things of real value and substance.

Again, I know full well you wouldn't disagree with any of that, but I just thought I'd throw my 2 cents in (and for once it was actually only 2 cents instead of a buck twenty).

11:48 AM  

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