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Fether

What is “Sunday Best”? (Style/symbolism/culture)

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I don’t like the way I look in a suit. Nor do I like the way I look in slacks. I think the traditional black leather church shoes look bad.

I much prefer to wear my khaki / grey jeans with a white shirt and a tie. I have some great looking cotton canvas shoes with a red and blue rustic striped pair of socks and a really good looking watch. Very much a millennial look. I think I look the best in that outfit than any other... but is that the point? 

Is the traditional black suit inherently more appropriate for church? 
 

what decides “Sunday best”? Culture? Personal preference? What it symbolizes? Some magic combination of clothing that summons the spirit?

Edited by Fether

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I would say it is mostly culture and tradition (cue Tevye and the people of Anatevka). I find that we are somewhat uncomfortable conceding too much to personal preference, but I sometimes think personal preference ought to have more sway. Part of me would say that God's opinion ought to have the greatest impact on what we choose, but I sometimes find it difficult to really find God's will amidst the much louder voices of culture, tradition, and personal preference.

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2 hours ago, Fether said:

what decides “Sunday best”? Culture? Personal preference? What it symbolizes? Some magic combination of clothing that summons the spirit?

It's 100% culture.

A combination of the local secular culture, church culture, and of course your personal culture.  

The purpose is to put the Lord first, and honor Him.  All fashion statements of how we do that is 100% reflection of your culture.  

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Sunday Best is about you (and each individual) choosing to Respect and Honor God, on his day, and while partaking of his Ordinances.  Thus our Focus should be God Centered.  Part of this also about not distracting others as they also attempting to Respect, Honor, and having a God Centered Focus.  Now some might rightly say hey I have enough problems of my own I can't concern myself with what others might be thinking or how they might react to what I wear.  While this may be true... its never been God's way, and it is not what he wants of us.

So it is not about us (nor is it a place for us to ) expressing our individuality.  But rather about our willingness to be one with our fellow saints, as God commands.  And that is were the culture of various types take hold.  That  culture is what defines what that Oneness looks like when it comes to clothing and actions. While God likely really does not care about the dictates of our culture, he has commanded us to become one.  Thus while one might fight against a culture, we need to be very careful about breaking oneness with the Saints, because while the first might not be a sin... the second most assuredly is

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3 hours ago, Fether said:

I don’t like the way I look in a suit. Nor do I like the way I look in slacks. I think the traditional black leather church shoes look bad.

I much prefer to wear my khaki / grey jeans with a white shirt and a tie. I have some great looking cotton canvas shoes with a red and blue rustic striped pair of socks and a really good looking watch. Very much a millennial look. I think I look the best in that outfit than any other... but is that the point? 

Is the traditional black suit inherently more appropriate for church? 
 

what decides “Sunday best”? Culture? Personal preference? What it symbolizes? Some magic combination of clothing that summons the spirit?

I would say “Sunday Best” is whatever conveys your best intent to the Lord, your humble willingness to submit your will and desires to His, and your respect for the holy ordinance of the Sacrament. It is an offering to the Lord for the period of time spent in His house on His holy day (some extend this principle to what they wear at home). This is largely assumed by cultural norms, and within the faith community subset, the example of leaders and the feelings of fellow worshippers. The “widow’s mite” counts, so I do not think it is acceptable to the Lord to compare oneself to others with a spirit of shame or enmity over clothing, and modesty would prevent drawing attention to oneself for their own satisfaction.

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It does depend on local culture. In Europe and North America it's the horse. The ox and ass are day laborers and on Sunday it's all about transportation. Groom the animal properly the day before and you're good to go. Of course, in South America the Llama might be more appropriate, but back in North America it would be too exotic and detract from congregational worship. I'm told that Australia has not domesticated the kangaroo, so they ---

Sunday Best ---

Never mind. I misread the title.

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I live next door to a major military base.

The way the US military works, they reserve the right to reassign people between duty stations as needed based on their rank, military specialty, and other qualifications. Such reassignments often happen quickly, with people sometimes having days to pack up and relocate somewhere. Yes, my dad is retired Army, and we made such a move ourselves once, having to relocate over the course of Christmas break. 

The military also sometimes requires people to work on Sundays. 

These factors, combined with other specific local issues, lead to things being a bit more casual when it comes to Sundays. 

Many brethren will, indeed, go the full route of "suit, shoes, tie", but others take a far more casual approach to life. 

For example, I work for a small local-level newspaper. News can and will happen on a Sunday. That means Velcro athletic shoes, J. C. Penney slacks, a dual-pocket thick cotton J. C. Penney button-up shirt, and whatever tie I grab from my collection. This is enough to look proper for Sunday, but not so much that I can't get right to work. All I have to do is take off my tie, or even white shirt as needs be (I generally have a t-shirt on underneath), and I'm on the clock while still looking presentable. 

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On 1/10/2021 at 12:03 PM, Fether said:

I don’t like the way I look in a suit. Nor do I like the way I look in slacks. I think the traditional black leather church shoes look bad.

I much prefer to wear my khaki / grey jeans with a white shirt and a tie. I have some great looking cotton canvas shoes with a red and blue rustic striped pair of socks and a really good looking watch. Very much a millennial look. I think I look the best in that outfit than any other... but is that the point? 

Is the traditional black suit inherently more appropriate for church? 
 

what decides “Sunday best”? Culture? Personal preference? What it symbolizes? Some magic combination of clothing that summons the spirit?

1) Do you dress differently for a job interview than you would in every day life?  Then why are you willing to do that for man, but not for the Lord?

2) It isn't about "a piece of fabric".  It is that a "uniform" tends to put us in a different mindset.  In our martial arts class our instructor told us that a pair of sweats and a T-shirt would probably be more functional for many of the things we do.  But we wear a uniform because we're not just training the body, but the mind.  The uniform tells us  "This place is different."

  • Our focus is to be different here.
  • Our purpose is different here.
  • The cares (and temptations) of the world do not exist here.

3) We don't dress like who we are.  We dress like whom we want to become.  And the particular styles and fabrics, etc. will vary with culture.

Edited by Carborendum

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