By Justine Namara
At first thought, fashion and Theology might appear to have little to do with each another. Fashion and the Church is a massive subject that is always intentionally sidestepped because many people have come to think some fashion trends denote immorality.
Probably because the world of fashion has been dominated by skimpiness and body revealing attires.
On December 16, 2020, Kristiana Nakato Kayanja, daughter to Pastor Robert Kayanja of Miracle Centre Lubaga, unveiled her fashion brand, Kristiana.
The 23- year- old showcased on the runway with a number of models all kinds of men and women fashions for all events like weddings, casuals, corporate wear and bitenge among others.
In her speech, Kristiana explained that each of the clothes is distinctive, individual and uniquely put together, drawing all her inspiration from the color of nature. “I want everybody to look like a breath of fresh air, a beautiful bird or a blossoming flower,” she said.
Her father, Pr Kayanja, was present at the function to show full support for his daughter’s dream.
But one would wonder why a visible mega Church leader would allow or support his own to venture into fashion; well this is because the traditional Christian style dorkiness is long gone.
These days, Christians equate fashion to looking good. And you will severally hear some say, “I look good because God is good”.
What the Bible teaches
Pr Ben Odongo, a student of Master’s degree in Divinity at Uganda Christian University says God says virtually nothing regarding how we should dress when we come together to worship Him.
1 Peter 5:5: “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Pr Odongo says if we clothe ourselves with humility, if we count others more significant than ourselves and look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others, then no matter how we dress, we will honor and reflect Christ.
Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing from factional motives through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance.
Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves.”
He further explains that if our hearts are wearing humility, what will matter to us is whether God is glorified and others are loved.
But if our hearts are wearing pride, we will disregard God’s glory and others’ spiritual health in favor of our personal preferences and freedoms.
Deuteronomy 22:5: “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” Pr Odongo says this scripture is usually taken out of context. He says the instruction in this was based on the peculiar experience and circumstances at a time.
“The children of Israel were given that command because they were going to the Promised Land, which had Jebusites, Perizzites and there were homosexuals; so there was need for them to dress according to their sex,” Odongo says.
The Spirit or the law
Christine Beinomugisha, a youth leader at Uganda Martyrs’ Church Namugongo says the Bible talks of the body being a temple of God and therefore encourages decency, that is; long dresses, simple hairstyles and generally calm dressing code. She believes that Christians should cover up their bodies in respect of the presence of God in Church, and also be decent enough not to disrupt the opposite sex during mass or service.
She says: “I personally support traditional Church on dress code rules, being in Church you are in the presence of a King, assume you went to meet the Kabaka or president, you would dress respectfully.”
She adds that perhaps these days Churches are laid back about the manner in which the congregation should dress because times have changed and the priests are young, compared to the early Church, and have also adapted the ‘dotcom’ era.
Beinomugisha also says people should understand the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit is prudent enough to even direct us how to dress.
John 14:15-18: “If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you”.