Wearing a Tie to Church

Can you believe I get flak over wearing a jacket and tie to church on Sunday?

And I’m the organist!

Give me a break.  Of course I’m going to wear a jacket and tie to church on Sunday.  I would do it if I were sitting in the pews, most likely; let alone as the organist.

Let me deal with the silly question, “Why can’t you just be comfortable?”

Two points.

One:  I am comfortable in a jacket and tie.  No, really.  Move on.  I won’t deal with the comfort cops or the projection police.

Two:  The underlying assumption is that clothing exists solely to “make me comfortable.”  And further that “comfortable” means dressing like a mope or a pre-schooler:  sneakers with no socks, baggy shorts with big pockets, T-shirt, and a cap that never (I mean never) leaves the head, indoors or out.

In other words: dressing more or less like Baby Huey.

My assumption about clothing is different. I take clothing to be a social sign, an indicator of group membership and social role.  It is there to make other people comfortable, too.

It is appropriate for me to dress with dignity when I’m doing the work of church leadership at the organ bench.

In that light, dressing down is what smacks of self-absorption–not dressing up.

When I dress “up” a little bit, I am calling forth respect both for myself and the people I am dealing with.

On a related note, shirts with buttons down the front are now being called “button-downs” even though that term refers strictly to collar buttons.  I guess, for some, ignorance is comfy.  Personally, I find it to be the ultimate monkey suit.

About Jonathan B. Hall

Keyboard artist, sacred musician, teacher, writer, working in New York City and State. Many interests include music theory and history, literature, astronomy, genealogy, philosophy and theology, gardening, and good food. Cat lover, too.
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