Saturday, February 27, 2010

Items You Will Not Find in the Bible (But will in church!) Part 3

Uniforms.

Well.. you will not find uniforms in the New Testament Church, unless you count the Roman Soldiers.  You will find uniforms in the Pharisees and Saduccees.  They have uniforms that are based in the Old Testament though.

Here is a picture of a priest in uniform during Jesus day.

The dress of many clergy today, with the collars and hats and the like, do not have its roots in the Old Testament.  Rather, its roots inthe Greco-Roman world.  In a great little book called Pagan Christianity, the authors write Clement of Alexandria argued that the clergy should wear better garments than the church members.  He said the clothes should be simple and white.  This was the color of clergy for centuries.  Contrast that with the dark blue suit and tie of many ministers today.

Then under Constantine differences between, bishop, priest, and deacon started.  In AD 330, the clergy dress began to match the dress of their secular counterparts in the Roman government.  But, as we know, fashion is never stable.  It always changes with the whims of man.  Later on, the flowing garments of the Romans gave way to the short tunics of the Goths, but the Romans refused to change their style!  Kinda like how parachute pants of the 80's gave way to ripped jeans in the 90's!

The clergy continued to wear these outdated garments and began to believe this was the "holy" style.  They believed this so much so that when laymen adopted a new style of dress the clergy said it was "worldly" and "barbarian."

In the protestant era, black became the color of clergy symbolizing his spiritual authority (Did they forget about the white?).  I guess preachers can go goth!  When this started black was the color of doctors, lawyers, and other professionals; just like the dark suit today is the choice of politicians and professionals.  The clerical collar goes back to 1865.  It is not a Catholic invention.  The Anglicans started this fashion trend.  It was invented so ministers could slip it on at anytime so that people could recognize them as "men of God." 

With all this talk about style I can't help but think what Paul wrote in Colossians, "As God's chosen people, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience."  (3:12 NIV)

Good advice.

1 comment:

tamara davis said...

Wow! How interesting to see where the "priestly" fashions came from. I do believe that you've got the right fashions!