Grapevine pastor Ed Young is employing a new tactic for sharing the Christian message. Though this time, he’s scaling it back a bit–at least compared to previous tactics involving, for example, having a caged lion or his Ferrari join him in the pulpit at Fellowship Church.
In February, Young launched PastorFashion.com, a blog devoted to helping “men and women of God set the standard for the rest of the world in fashion as well as faith,” he explained in his first post. Though some may wonder how the two could intersect, the pastor believes that having “swag” (taught by his “swagger coach,” pictured above) is all part of God’s plan.
He told ABC News, “If people take a step and think about it they would see it. God created color, God created design. He created things that look nice and we’re simply doing what he wants us to do. Being a follower of Christ should be cool because God is cool, God is hip. We should live that out.”
Young “has loved fashion since he was 2 years old,” and, according to the Houston Chronicle, he gets his fashion sense from his mom. His blog posts include several instructive videos in which he discusses fashion faux pas like “how one more roll of the jeans can make or break your style.”
Young has also created a list of “10 Fashion Tips for the Faithful.” Quoting, presumably, himself, he imparts gems like: “‘Never have more than one button of your shirt unbuttoned unless you are Bono!’” and, “‘Never wear square-toe shoes. Square toe shoes are from the Devil.’”
The crusade to help fellow believers see that “looking godly is not looking goofy,” as Young told the Houston Chronicle, has gotten mixed reviews. Reverend Matt Popovits from a church in Katy told the paper, “When I see a pastor making a video about fashion I think to myself, ‘there are people dying and you are teaching us how to tie ties,’ please tell me how Jesus wins and Satan loses in that situation.”
Brentney Hamilton at the Dallas Observer was also suspicious of Young’s connection between material concerns and Christianity. Directed at Young, Hamilton wrote, “You’ve got a private jet, dude. It seems just a little disingenuous to marry faith and fashion without regard for those who have bigger problems than a mere ‘swagger’ deficiency.”
But Young maintains that looking good is a necessary for spreading the Christian message. “While you can’t judge a book by its cover, Young states, ‘You need to make the cover as good as possible so people will read the book,'” ABC reported.
This is certainly not the first time Young’s unorthodox teaching methods have gotten people’s shorts in a twist. Animal rights groups–not to mention Grapevine police–voiced safety concerns over his furry Easter guests, a lion and a lamb. Conservative talk show host and Fellowship Church member, Mike Davis, did point out that the backlash was “not the product of theological discord but rather animal rights sensitivities.”
Young’s lessons on sex–broadcast for his congregation and chronicled in his book, Sexperiment: Seven Days to Lasting Intimacy with Your Spouse—garnered attention and won him a Bum Steer award from TEXAS MONTHLY in 2009.
Learn a bit from the self-ordained high priest of fashion by watching some of Pastor Ed’s videos (in the one below you’ll have the honor of meeting ‘Swagger Coach’ Owen “OG” Goff who feeds Ed Young a bowl of “Swagger Jacks”):