I still remember the first time I watched the popular TLC reality show called What Not To Wear. You’ve probably heard of it. People nominate their friends that they think need a serious fashion intervention. They call in the fashion police – two silky smooth fashion geniuses who finish each other’s sentences and never age a day. The nominee is often mortified by the abundance of premeditated voyeurism which has taken place over the past few days in an effort to prove them guilty of the heinous fashion crimes for which they’re charged. Their penalty is to accompany the fashion geniuses on a trip to NYC for a week-long shopping binge with the goal of revamping their entire front-end reality. At the end of the week (usually after much pushing and pulling between the fashion geniuses and the mortified nominee) a whole new being emerges. This new person is well dressed and confident. They’re ready for that big job interview or romantic rendezvous. They feel refreshed and renewed – ready to take on the world. The person inside is finally set free – and all it took was a pair of $300 heels.
The goal of this show is to prove that the way you present yourself determines your general outlook on your life as well as the way others might perceive you. It determines your “tone” as a human. At first glance it’s easy to categorize that position as a vain attempt at self value. After all, people are more than their clothes, right? I mean, come on – I know people who literally do not think about the clothes they wear. To them, it has no bearing on who they are or what their day will be like in light of the outfitting they’ve chosen that morning. It’s like one day they woke up in the morning and just decided, “That’s it, I’ve made up my mind – I’m going to wear a plaid flannel button up tucked deep into the waist of my Wrangler jeans with the accompanying cowboy hat and boots every day for the rest of my life.” But let’s think about it, could there be any truth here? Have you ever assumed you had someone’s personality or life situation pegged due to the way they presented themselves? Did you try to determine their demeanor and self worth? Was the message loud and clear? Would you assume the Wrangler jeans and cowboy hat guy a city boy? If not, then there’s got to be some truth here.
I spend most of my life sitting in a church office. My job is to dream up media applications for grand ideas in an effort to represent a school of thought, a belief system, a theology, a living, vibrant and holy God. Many people think my job consists solely of ample time praying, kneeling, pondering with arms lifted high, raised right-eyebrow time deep in spiritual self-examination, a little bit of music and media preparation and a good deal of thumb twiddling. Some of this is true, not most of it. I usually spend most of my time trying to fully grasp the world I live in. One of the primary purposes of my job is to come to a realistic understanding of the culture I’m surrounded by. The message that I’m tasked with communicating is something desperately needed by that very culture. As such, the presentation has a high chance to make or break the sale. Is the presentation everything? No. But it is the tone. It’s the approach. It’s the way in which it will be heard. It’s way the church would be ok to be assumed as saying. It’s the cover of the book, which, even though we’ve all been taught not to judge autonomously, still has an effect on the way we encounter the book. Presentation is always loud and clear whether for good or bad. In my mind, it’s vital. Many churches need a list called “What Not To Wear”.
I plan to talk about this type of content here. Not all the time, but probably a good chunk of it. The rest of this blog will be spent by me twiddling my thumbs and sharing culture. Feel free to join me. Hopefully it will be fun and meaningful – especially if you raise your right eyebrow.