This is an essay that I wrote a bit ago for my literature class. The subject could be expanded on more if desired. I will try and get a post out on the film festival soon. Grandfather has the whole 200 something pictures that we all took though. Maybe we can get some of those up soon. I look forward to your comments!
"Clothing can suggest, persuade, connote, or indeed lie and apply subtle pressure while their wearer is speaking of other matters." A quote by Anne Holander. I do not know Anne Holander, but I do know that she was very right when she said this. In this paper, I'll go a little deeper than just the issue of clothing, for it is not just what you wear, it is your entire countenance from which people will form their opinion of you. From cell phone rings, to the brand of your shirt, you are reflecting something. Your uniform in manner and attire show who you represent; and are major factors in people's general reaction to you.
Let us begin with the clothing you wear. Imagine this: you are walking through the mall one day and you see a group of young people. Their attire and accessories are all of the latest "in" items, from hair to toe-nail polish. What do you think of them? I will tell you what my thoughts would be. "My, I bet the read the latest magazine", or "it's just another group of preppy glamour girls". In only a matter of seconds, I formed an opinion of them in my mind and should I get to know these parties better, I will build on that original opinion. Now, could I have just walked past and ignored the fact that these people are self-stereotyped? (more on that later) Yes. But I did just what society frowns upon. I started to form an opinion of them, or "labeled"them. This group of people was wearing a "uniform", and that is what I identified them by. People say "you can't judge a book by it's cover". I will disagree with them for the most part. A cover does not just carry a picture. In fact there may be no picture at all. Maybe just a background color that may appear offensive or not. But a book will always have a title. My point is that what you wear shows what you represent. For instance, even if you just dress like a "skater", but do not skate, you appear as a skater representative. So generally, your allegiance appears to lie with the skater crowd. In this case, it is not necessarily your manner (though representing something can over time mold you to it) but your appearance.
The way that we carry ourselves and our manners that we use are a big factor in how we will be judged.It is the same principal as the clothing we wear. Some people may dress respectfully, but their actions are less than good, according to the Biblical standards. Another interesting thing is that the world generally knows when a Christian gets caught in a mess. Look at all of the attention that conservative and respectable people get when they make a mistake. It would appear that they are held to a "higher" standard...even by those who do not use those same standards for their own behavior. Do you not think the world is watching you just as much? I submit that they are. People look to other people for examples. Someone is always watching you. They look to the things you do as a model, good or bad. Someone to mold their actions after. That is just a fact. But as Christians, how should we act? A smile full of joy, and not deceit, is a beautiful thing. As followers of God, we should reflect the joy that we have in Christ. I believe that is one of the first steps to having a Christian manner. As long as our manner is reflecting Christ, we are representing our God correctly. But since we are human, and human nature is to sin, we are not perfect. So repentance becomes a key action in our "uniform" that we wear. If we go around sinning, and act as if we did nothing, we give out fellow Christians a bad name. We are labeled "hypocrites". But if we repent, we can redeem ourselves. I do not believe anymore is needed here, being as the Bible gives us all the insight we need on this subject.
Earlier in my paper, I mentioned "self-stereotyping". In our current culture, stereotyping is a bad thing to do. We aren't supposed to judge people by the things they wear, or even by certain characteristics that they carry. But when large groups of people get together, they start to separate into other groups that they prefer, creating semi-cultures within cultures. Certain groups were "popular" and other were not. It seems to me that people started seeing benefits of being labeled with a certain name, so they would imitate what they wanted to be. Altering their entire uniform just so that they could be labeled what they wanted and receive the benefits. Such as being popular, getting that boyfriend that they wanted, etc. Thus, my generation becomes a "self-stereotyped" generation. I personally think that it is wrong to pretend to be something you are not (and should not be) just to get attention. It is not God's way at all. Now, as Christians, what should our stereotype be? Or, is it even worth being stereotyped Christian anymore? In John 15, verse 19 it says this: "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." That should sum things up for the Christian. We should not be of the world. People should not be able to call us things of the world and be telling the truth. If anything, we should be called radical Christians who have hearts for the Lord. Because anything but radical might be lukewarm, and God wants our best.
Non-Christian people look to other people for answers. That is just a fact. They are unlike Christians in the fact that we look to God and His word first and foremost for answers, yet we also value the wisdom of other people. Christians might see this as a dis-advantage, because the non-Christian people looking only to other people will find weakness, frailty and sin, because it is human nature. But we can use this to our advantage, because if we put ourselves forward in such a way that our light's shine (Matt. 5:16) they will look to the Light. We need only to be there so that they can look to us, and not the world. But when they look to us, we need to make sure that we are representing out Father in a way that is honoring to Him. If the crowds see anything else, they might doubt our faith. Now that I have reassured you that the world is watching, what uniform are you wearing? Remember, we all wear one. Your uniform in manner and attire show who you represent, and are major factors in people's general reaction to you. In closing, your uniform can bring someone closer to God, or just as easily push them away.