The Story: The Houston Chronicle notes that Ed Young, a best-selling author and megachurch pastor in Texas, has launched a website—PastorFashion.com—to “motivate and empower pastors and church leaders to not only set the standards in faith, but the trends in fashion as well.”
The Background: The website, says the Chronicle's Ken Chitwood, provides “fashion tips for the faithful, videos on how to tie a tie and answers to vexing questions about pant rolls and hoodie etiquette.” For instance, the most recent video on the site deals with “skinny jeans, testosterone and how to deal with both.”
“This is a site where pastors can go to get tips on looking their best,” Young told the newspaper. “Pastors represent and communicate the message of Jesus, we ought to look as good as we can,” he said. “When you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, you stand up and stand out in the world.”
Young says the emphasis is on “relating to the world, being 'in' but not 'of' it, and seeking to set the trends as a means of connecting with, and changing, culture.”
Why It Matters: When I first stumbled across PastorFashion.com in February I assumed that it was obviously—obviously—an elaborate parody of pastors who confuse what it means to be in, but not of, the world. But, no. This is for real. Young's focus on fashion provides a prime example of Carter's Law of Pastors and Prepositions: As the celebrity of an evangelical pastor increases, the risk of confusing the prepositions “in” and “of” rises exponentially.
Should pastors care about their clothes? Of course they should. As Abraham Kuyper said, “In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare,'That is mine!'” C.J. Mahaney, in applying Kuyper's claim, says, “there is “not a square inch” of our lives—including our closets—with which God is not concerned.” But as Mahaney adds, “Even more, he cares about the heart behind what you wear, about whether your wardrobe reveals the presence of worldliness or godliness.”
The line between worldliness and godliness isn't always apparent, though it becomes clearer when we spend more in the Word than in the pages of GQ. For while it's not a sin for a pastor to arraign himself in Armani, it's infinitely more important that he adorn himself with the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11).