August 5, 2008

Do They Know it Came from the Outlet Store? The Ethics of Worship and Shopping

Today I was listening to Alistair Begg talk about women and their adornments. (1 Timothy 2:9) While its one thing to dress "nice" for church, he suggested it is no place to "dress to the nines." Of course there is a bit of relativity in this, but he was trying to make the principled point that worship is about attending ourselves to God and not doing or wearing anything that would be a distraction. He spoke primarily of over dressing for the occasion or dressing in a way that only our husbands should see and appreciate.

I frequent many websites and blogs of womens speakers and one in particular grabbed my attention recently, Begg's sermon bringing it back to my mind. Her focus in the particular post I was reading was advice on how to buy expensive label clothing without the cost. These would be the labels that are sewn in to the clothing and sold in Saks Fifth Avenue and elite boutiques, where a pair of sandals cost as much as my car payment.

At first, I thought it was cool advice...scour Goodwill, look for damaged items in the stores (to repair yourself) and shop the outlets. How exciting it is to look and feel as if you spent a million dollars on yourself! Think again.

What is the testimony of the million-dollar-look? While it may have literally cost you only pennies to own, it can cost you a lot more. The motive in obtaining expensive labels at discount prices is to give the impression that you spent a lot of money and that your outward appearance is worth such an expenditure. Is that really the impression we want to give? Granted, there are casual items that can be purchased, even at Saks, but today's image-driven culture knows exactly how much was on the original price tag.

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