Is this appropriate clothing for worship?


Good morning,

Can you come to worship dressed like this?

Over here it happens, but we are not in Africa. We are in Europe. This person has been a member of the congregation for decades and has his citizenship here in this country. His African tribal costume leaves a part of his chest completely bare; moreover, his legs are uncovered; under the cloth with which he has wrapped himself, he wears a pair of shorts. On his feet, he wears somewhat elegant slippers.

Can you come to worship dressed like this? In Europe? I told him that his behavior scandalizes me, but he and his wife were aggressive in their reaction. In a Catholic place of worship, the priest would never let a person enter, who is dressed like this. The members of this congregation told me to be quiet, be patient, and tolerate his behavior.

What would you do in my place?

Thanks for your advice. But you must know that that person has a provocative attitude and will never back down from his behavior. He will continue to give scandalize me.

My best regards.



The type of outfit worn is called a Kente. It reminds me of several other ancient styles of clothing, such as those worn by the Israelites, as recorded in Egyptian records. The ancient Greeks also wore similar clothing, though they seem to prefer solid colors.

Drawing of the Beni Hassan mural. Notice that Hebrew men tended to have beards and wear patterned clothing. Tunics were more favored, but some men only wore kilts.


There are two aspects of clothing that have to be considered. First, does the clothing properly hide the nakedness of the wearer? In these examples, the answer is "yes." From your description, the person went a step further by wearing shorts underneath the kente.

The second question is whether the outfit calls attention to the wearer. Here we agree that it does because it is an unusual outfit in the region you are in. I assume the man is choosing to wear this to put his heritage on display; yet, for Christians, we draw attention to ourselves by who we are (our character) and not merely by what we wear. "Your adornment must not be merely external -- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God" (I Peter 3:3-4).

Your argument that his dress would not be accepted in a Roman Catholic Church is meaningless. Denominations don't set the rules, God does.

While I would probably quietly discuss the person's choice and go over the passages regarding modesty with him, you seem set on making a spectacle out of this. "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient" (II Timothy 2:23). You sent me a picture of the person, which would have embarrassed him if I had published it. Other brethren warned you about your inappropriate approach to the matter. While you have a point that should be considered, your hostile approach ensures that few will listen. Where is your love for this man? Are you aiming to help him reach heaven?

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