Pastors and ministry leaders have their hands (and hearts full) these days.
On top of their usual responsibilities around preaching, discipling, counseling, ministering to the sick, baptizing, burying, and marrying people, they must deal with a host of cultural concerns.
The pandemic brought controversies, politics added more, and social division added a new urgency to lead people to choose love over hate, truth over lies.
But now, these over-burdened shepherds of God’s flock are being instructed to look in their mirrors. Not to remove the log from their eyes, but instead, to question their style of jeans.
The specific controversy is over skinny jeans in the pulpit.
If it’s wrong to wear yoga pants in the pew, surely it’s a mistake to wear skinny jeans on stage, or so says a certain member of Pastor Adam Weber’s South Dakota congregation.
The Christian Post reports:
“Weber, who says 99% of the letters and messages he receives about his ministry are ‘wonderful,’ recently shared an anonymous letter he received from the offended Christian on Facebook, but insisted that ‘I think I’ll keep wearing my skinny jeans. Even if they’re … sexy.'”
“In the letter written in red ink, Weber’s critic called his choice of fashion for preaching ‘completely offensive’ and ‘morally wrong.'”
“‘As head pastor do you really think it is appropriate to wear skinny leg jeans to preach? Since when do men wear skinny leg jeans? Where is your common sense? This is an outrage! You are a representative of Jesus Christ!,’ the anonymous critic wrote before taking aim at the church’s worship team.”
This anonymous member isn’t alone in feeling pastors shouldn’t preach in skinny jeans. Some purport jeans shouldn’t appear anywhere on the pulpit.
In a blog post on The Tulip Driven Life, Thomas F. Booher admits he’s risking being called a legalist in articulating his position that pastors shouldn’t preach in jeans, with skinny jeans being especially targeted.
The crux of his argument being, “Since the pastor represents Christ to us, exercises authority and wields the sword as a minister ordained by God, he misrepresents God and His majesty when he dresses casually.”
He illustrates by pointing to various positions in our country where people where suits and ties or dress clothes on a regular basis as an indication that their work is important and carries societal weight. Those who dress casually are making a statement, too, about the “casualness” of their work. This shouldn’t be the point leaders make from the front of the church.
While there is some levity to the skinny jean conversation (jeans that recently were declared “on the way out” by many fashion outlets, so trendy pastors will need to update their wardrobes), there is a greater conversation about conformity to culture and how we communicate our reverence for the authority of God.
In a day when many Americans reject authority and defy God, what considerations do Christians need to make about the message we deliver, not necessarily with our jeans, but with our lives?