Monday, January 21, 2008

Our Sunday Best

I’ve been wanting to post on this topic for a long time. Actually, it’s something that fascinated me long before I even had a blog. That something is Black folks and how we dress for church.

I believe (I’m sure someone has written a thesis on this or something...) that Black folks traditionally dress up for church because during the times of slavery, Sunday was the only day our ancestors were allowed to wear what they wanted to wear. So attending church wasn’t solely to worship. It was a time to fellowship, catch up with folks and show off real personal style since most were very limited in what they could wear Monday through Saturday. Those people did what they had to do in order to make it through the unthinkable. Nothing short of genius in my opinion. And the fact that there are traces of this still present today is simply remarkable.

My maternal grandmother even had special handkerchiefs just for church. I am not implying that Black people did or do go to church for a fashion show. (Perhaps some do.) But, I truly believe that, for better or worse, we have passed this act on from generation to generation for the reasons identified above. During service yesterday, I took particular notice that an increasing number of people wear jeans and even sneakers to worship services at my church. I happen to attend what some people might describe as a "mega" church and many of the members are in their teens and early 20s. Even I wear pants to church now (my mother would have NEVER allowed me to growing up) and my work and church clothes often overlap. But I still make an effort to "dress-up" when I attend a church service on Sunday. Hey, it is what it is and I’m being honest.

There is no "kicker" for this post -- I just needed to get this off my chest. Do you guys still (consciously or not) dress up for church? Talk about it. C.J. - what’s your take on this?

Happy MLK, Jr. Day!

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