By Jonathan Mbiriyamveka
Do you want to see a thigh-revealing mini or a figure-hugging tube in its rightful size and colours?
A visit to your nearby parish will not disappoint. Not in this era where uniforms, conservative formal dresses and waist-cloths, popularly known as Zambia, have been elbowed out by mini-skirts, skinny jeans and figure-hugging apparel.
Such is the fashion craze in churches today.
Men are also not to be outdone.
They are donning eye-popping short trousers, vests and jackets with short sleeves and spotting Mohawks. Churches now resemble fashion shows where congregants have replaced Bibles with iPads, iPhones, iPods and tablets.
Tithing is now being done via EcoCash, WhatsApp and Facebook. The congregates are now in the habit of reading scriptures loaded on their phones, iPads and what have you.
These electronic gadgets have become handy since pastors can now send the scriptures way before the service unlike previously when defacing Bibles with handwritten notes was the order of the day. Nowadays church-goers simply log on their tablets and click on the Bible verses with much ease.
Indeed, so much has changed that in other churches they have themed dress codes to suit a particular event. Ever heard of the African wear, Sunday Best, all-white Sunday and formal Sunday, to mention but a few of these themed days?
Somehow things have gone haywire with women now dressing in mini-skirts, net laces and pantyhose with legs criss-crossed while seated in the front rows. Others have a penchant to flash their body piercing and tattoos.
Oddly enough, in the midst of all this are women and men of God are not tempted when they see these beautiful women with long eye-lashes saying Amen to every word they preach.
Ever imagined how the pastors feel about these revealing dresses when they are busy preaching about sanity and morality, which came about after God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah having been incensed by the levels of immorality in that land.
What boggles the mind of many is why do women who dress skimpily opt to sit in the front row?
Primrose, a member of a local Pentecostal church, said there was nothing wrong in wearing a mini so long as one was abiding to other Christian principles of good morals, faith and serving others.
“You should not judge me by what I wear, but the services that I give to the house of the Lord and how well I serve my community in addition to being a child of God based on my Christian virtues,” she said while dressed in a black short dress that left nothing to the imagination Dr Goodwil Shana of Word of Life said the Bible admonished women to dress modestly.
“If you ask me what it means to dress modesty, I believe there should be a balance in church since a church is an open place for everyone. Drunks come to church and so are the prostitutes because from the beginning Jesus was accused of preaching to sinners.
“So while the church should be open to anybody, all those that believe in Jesus Christ and have seen the light should dress appropriately. However, I cannot prescribe what women should wear but whatever it is that they want should exemplify dignity. We are not supposed to judge a church by its people.
“If you read 1 Timothy 2 vs 9 and 1 Peter 3 vs 3 you will see how women should dress. They should respect their bodies since it is said the bodies are the temples of Holy Spirit,” Dr Shana said.
Pastor Godwin Chitsinde of Spoken Word Ministries said it was not right for people to dress skimpily.
“I believe people should dress in modest apparels and I don’t think a mini-skirt is modest. Suppose anybody visits our church seeking help and they are dressed skimpily they will be the odd ones out.
“We don’t accept that because every occasion has its own dress code this is why even in some hotels they are strict on dress. There is a reason why some churches have uniforms which they wear on different occasions.
“But maybe you need to interrogate further to see why some women are now wearing mini-skirts.
“You will be amazed to see that it is the wives of pastors who are at the forefront. The question is if the pastors’ wives wear mini-skirts what do you expect from the whole congregation when they are supposed to dress modestly and respectfully?” Pastor Chitsinde said.
Pastor Ruth Musarurwa of Christ Embassy said indecent dressing was not accepted in church.
“The word of God encourages people to dress decently. It’s very wrong for women to come dressed in mini-skirts because that would distract other people from worshipping.
“At our church we have lessons on how to dress and seat in public. However, since our main thrust is to win souls we obviously don’t preach against anyone’s dressing.
“Once they accept Jesus Christ as their saviour then they start dressing in a Christ-like manner. We are aware that people come to church for different things some to look for men or women others to get money but at the end of the day we want people to be saved and hopefully they transform through the Holy Spirit,” she said.
Bishop Trevor E. C. Manhanga aka “Muranda waMwari” said the form of dressing by women in the church today was a cause for concern.
“Indecency has now become the order of the day in the name of fashion. While I have no problem with women dressing fashionably there are certain norms that need to be observed.
“The word of God advocates for modesty and that is what women should aim for in the way they dress. Over-exposure of the breasts and thighs of women coupled with very tight or close-fitting attire is not something that women should wear to church.
“While I do not absolve men from their responsibility to maintain clear thoughts women must understand that men are primarily turned on sexually by what they see and in that regard the church should not be a place where men have to fight with wandering thoughts,” Bishop Manhanga said.
However, Bishop Nolbert Kunonga was of a different opinion saying church uniforms were of no theological significance.
“It is not an important dimension and it is of no theological significance. However, those who wear uniforms at church do so because they want to differentiate themselves from other denominations or because they want to look the same.
“The dress code does not impact on people’s salvation but rather just there to show that one belongs to this or that church,” he said.
Bishop Kunonga said church uniforms from the Anglicans or Catholics were common in Africa but it was not the case in the countries where the denominations originated from. The Herald