Pastors who dress like hobos (with $3,500 shoes) are going to be treated as unserious men, not as cultural leaders. See Fashion Statements: Cultural Decadence and Pastoral Leadership for a more detailed breakdown, but the basic point is quickly grasped.
If you want to be seen as a success, be a success.
Wealthy pastors should go ahead and buy that Armani suit for the pulpit next Sunday, so their congregation can aspire to be an actual leader.
As opposed to pretending to be something they are not… with a sneaky sneaker shouting about how smart and superior you are to the congregation.
Envy-fearing Status Seekers
I dislike cowards.
I can still find it in myself to sympathize a little, if a man is weak or easily scared. We all have our flaws and our sins, after all.
But cowardice from a leader? One whose hobo clothing boasts about his ties to the poor… except for the shouty sneakers?
I am confident that this behaviour from the pulpit does not represent God.
Give me my successful pastors in Armani suits: at least such a pastor has some level of basic integrity.
He is exactly what you see.
And that’s a lot more useful to God, than some visual liar.
Pastors need to stop their slumming: rick kids playing poor for a day.
And their wealth signalling: the twin brother of virtue signalling. Both being all about how superior you are to the commoner trash…
I have no problem with rich people openly flaunting their wealth. It might even have a useful purpose, if they link that wealth to obedience to God and service to Man: please the customer, keep your promises, do your work on time, put in the hours to hone your edge, etc. “You might not get a great silk suit, but you can pay off the house and get a steady income!”1
If you are going to be a preacher of the poor, than do that: wear the used sneakers and the worn jeans, live in the shack, etc. Get the addicts off their poisons, teach the boys to hold on to a steady job, hook up the single mothers with each other, lead a homeschool circle so the kids can get the useful education they’ll never get from the public schools. Set up mutual support networks, so poor men have something they can fall back on when times get even harder then they are now.2
But stop insulting me by playing and posing and signalling.
And if churchmen really want to give a hand to the poor and the weak – finally! – they can read and apply Bringing In The Sheaves: Transforming Poverty Into Productivity and In The Shadow Of Plenty: Biblical Principles of Welfare and Poverty by George Grant.3
1The Good Guys are expected to win in history after all. As a general rule of thumb, those who love and obey God grow wealthy and strong, with expanding families ready to take the future: those who hate God grow poor and weak, increasing sterile both literally and culturally.
This is routinely true for nations and peoples, and often (if less predictably) true even for individuals. The Gospel is geared for the salvation of nations, as well as individual men.
2So, you thought that I would cry out for more government money? As if the free government money hasn’t smashed up enough poor families?
Or cry out for more government health care? Instead of poor people caring for poor people in mutual aid societies, doing what’s in their best financial interest… regardless of the approval of their Betters, and outside of their control?
3These books are from the 80s! Why did the Church waste her time with Moral Majority/Christian Right politically-fixated nonsense, when they could have spent the last 40 years building an actual moral majority, of poor-turned-working & middle class supporters?
Because feeling superior is more important than winning. That’s why.
Ask the fake-hobo pastor with the fancy sneakers for details.