Fashion is the tail that wags the dog. By that I mean that fashion sense is the least important of all of the senses. A sense of purpose, a sense of community, a sense of balance, heck, even a sense of humor – these are all more important.
Recently a woman approached me after a worship service and said, “Pastor, I have a fashion challenge for you.” Always up for a challenge, I said, “What’s that?”
“Wear some other color than blue.” I guess I thought no one noticed that I only wear blue shirts (sometimes grey), and never dreamed that it would matter. It did to her. “It’s summer,” she continued, “consider a warm color like red or salmon.”
I told her salmon was just another word for “pink.” That’s where I draw the line. Pink is for girls, right? Challenge accepted! That doesn’t mean, though, that I care a whit about wearing the “right” color.
A little background. I am the “Fashion King” in my family. I think the title originated after several years of me wearing Olympia t-shirts. It’s a cheeky title, of course. I’m the last one who should give fashion advice, but I do offer these thoughts about the intrusion of “fashion sense” into our lives…
The Way You Dress
You can say what you want about beauty being skin deep, but most people don’t go there. They skim the surface of your clothes, your make-up and your accessories.
But it’s not always easy to predict what will be “cool.”
Consider the story of Hush Puppies. In 1995 they were your dad’s comfort shoe, fading fast, a thing of the past. Then some kids starting wearing them because no one else would. They were not cool. Pretty soon resale shops appeared, the famous designer, Isaac Mizrahi bean sporting them, and other designers followed suit.
The moral of the story: Be yourself, buck the trend, and who knows, you might just be a trend-setter.
The Way You Work
Some of you have no choice. You punch a clock or own a work space.
I still hold a grudge toward Leroy Jethro Gibbs for telling Bishop to get up off the floor and sit at a desk like everyone else. I hold a grudge toward Bishop for doing it!
Maybe it’s because from the time I was in college I’ve never been able to work in a “normal” environment. I did all of my reading, research and writing in the coffee shop, not in the library. Today I do all of my reading, research and writing in the coffee shops, not in my office.
Don’t make me.
The Way You Play
Expectations die hard. Blue is for boys and pink is for girls. My son taught me differently. When he was Happy Meal age, he would always choose the Barbie rather than the boy toy.
Got a problem with that? I don’t anymore. People play differently. The important thing is that we play. For me that means drinking coffee at Starbucks, walking around downtown Portsmouth (NH) and playing guitar.
Deal with it. That’s the way I roll.
The Way You Think
We’re almost at the point of “No Thinking Required.” The thought police will do it for us.
We talk the party line
We topple monuments
We discourage achievement
We give awards for participation
We tolerate everything, stand for nothing
This is all so 1984.
Conformity has replaced identity. I’m not comfortable with that, are you?
The Way You Worship
And don’t tell me, “I don’t worship.” Everybody worships. If it isn’t God, it’s someone or something else, or yourself.
That woman at church reminded me that even worship is not a fashion-free zone. If what I wear in some way distracts her from why we’re together (to worship God), then maybe I should reconsider.
Here’s what I learned: my blue eyes and skin tone demand that I wear the warmer colors of the rainbow (I draw the line at pink). What does that have to do with worship? Something, not everything. I’m not a shirt and tie kind of guy, but somehow I think tattered jeans crosses the line.
The Bible says, “…man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”- but somewhere there’s a line.
So, this Sunday I will step outside of my comfort zone and wear red.
But next week it’s back to blue. It’s who I am.