Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Ok, let's have it out right now: are leggings pants or aren't they?

In my sermon last Sunday, I asked the congregation what question they would ask Jesus if they had the chance.  After hearing a few questions (including "Why did mosquitoes make it on the ark?"), I said something like, "No doubt many of you would want to ask Jesus, 'Are leggings pants?'  Let me take this one, Jesus.  No, leggings aren't pants."  Within 24 hours, an angry mob showed up at my Facebook wall with pitchforks and leggings.  I knew I was in trouble.  An argument ensued.  It was about as serious an argument as you can have when you're talking about leggings.

Ryan Gosling got in on the fight via meme (actually arguing both sides, which is pretty disappointing):


Someone else suggested that leggings aren't pants and hotdogs aren't sandwiches.  Things reached a fever pitch as one person added, "You can have my leggings when you pry them from my cold dead hands."  (Leaving us to wonder the obvious: why aren't they on your legs?)  In what may be the most curious moment of the raging debate, one person began considering her wardrobe for the next year of choir rehearsals...all leggings, all the time.

I said it, and I'll stand by it: I don't believe leggings are pants.
Sky And Golden Egyptian Pharaoh Tight Sexy Leggings
Not. Pants.
Maybe I shouldn't have taken away Jesus' opportunity to add His voice to this debate when I answered for Him on Sunday morning.  What would Jesus say?  Are leggings pants?  Let's go to the scriptures.

Matthew 7: "Do not judge so that you may not be judged."
Jesus says you can call them pants if you want.  You may be right, and you may be wrong, but nobody should judge you for your opinion.

John 8: "Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”
Your decision to wear leggings to your cousin's formal wedding may be questionable, but most of us have, if at no other time than our birth, made questionable choices with respect to our clothing.  So go on your way...and do not wear leggings to your cousin's formal wedding again.

John 21: That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea."
If we consider what clothing the disciples are likely to have worn during this period, we can conclude that when Peter put on some clothes, he was likely putting on neither pants nor leggings but more likely a tunic of some kind.  Regardless of whether leggings are pants, one would have to conclude that we should not, when anticipating encountering Jesus, wear leggings or pants.

No, none of these actually answer the question.  See, this putting words into Jesus' mouth (or also Ryan Gosling's) is tricky business.  If we were to ask Jesus if leggings are pants, he would most likely say, "What are leggings?"

But this is exactly what we do a good bit of the time.  We imagine Jesus saying all kinds of things, usually in support of our own opinion.  We start with a sincere effort to apply His stories and sermons to our lives.  But so frequently we wind up giving in to our human desires for status and simple answers--and as a result we wind up twisting Jesus' words to say exactly what we want them to say.  We're in.  They're out.  We win.  They lose.  We're right.  They're wrong.

Jesus didn't say any of that.  He boiled it down this way: love God, love neighbor, love self.  We don't need to concern ourselves with anything else.  Jesus wouldn't have an opinion on leggings...unless it is that we should not judge people who choose to wear them...or choose not to (or of course those who erroneously maintain that leggings are pants when they clearly aren't).

Part way down the argument, one person said this, "I'm just grateful that as people of faith who are divided on the most controversial issue of our afternoon, we are able to keep this conversation civil and kind. Well done, friends."  Yes.  That would be Jesus' opinion on leggings.


  1. It seems to me that leggings look an awful lot like tights, and some women look good in them, but others should not even be thinking of wearing them! ... Steve D.

  2. My American grandmother (R.I.P.) believed that women should wear NEITHER leggings nor pants. To her, this debate would have been totally pointless. Arun J.

  3. With these you can do all the yoga poses your heart desires in these and not have to worry about these leggings riding down in the back. The cut of best workout clothes fits bigger booties and hips- and patterns are even more vibrant and beautiful in person.