Just to let you know, Cynthia and I had a delightful time for our anniversary.
We stayed at the Chicago Hilton on Michigan Avenue. Between Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning—I delivered Cynthia to the Shorewood Bible Church-South’s Women’s Luncheon Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at the Lake Shore Ramada banquet facility on south Lake Shore Drive—we walked over 10 miles. She has this little devise that keeps tack of how far she walks. There is so much to see and do in downtown Chicago that we barely scratched the surface. We just enjoyed the time by ourselves looking and enjoying the beautiful days on the world’s most magnificent lake front.
One reason we walked so far was making the trip up Michigan Avenue to Garrett's popcorn shop--only to find it closed!! What!!! The building is going condo and everything is gone for reconstruction. Well! But not to worry. They now have four other stores--one only a block from our hotel. So we got the caramel corn we lusted after--and also a blister from the needless journey up and back the crowded sidewalk.
Thursday evening we went to see Jersey Boys, but I must say we were not overly impressed by it. The language was way over the top and the music, although quite good, often left you wishing for more—with only portions of several hit songs actually being sung. We sat next to a couple who were celebrating their 38th anniversary—made us feel like real senior citizens (although Cynthia still won’t accept the Sr. discounts at restaurants!!!).
One thing we took note of was the casual—well, actually, I should say, careless—way people were dressed for such an evening’s event. Cynthia thought I was dressing down by wearing a sport coat instead of a suit—she let me off the hook because we were living out of a suit case! It turned out that less than 10% of the men in the crowd had on a coat and tie of any type.
We got to talking about how “times have changed.” At her nieces wedding last May, we actually noticed the same thing. It was a big-time-formal-affair, and yet numerous attendees were so causally dressed they could have been going/coming from bowling or a ball game.
This exemplifies an aspect of the age in which we live, the Age of Stupidity. Only in an age that rejects wisdom could most people believe that clothing is unimportant. In fact, even many “Bible believing Christians” have come to the conclusion that it is entirely unimportant what people wear even to church — after all, God sees people's hearts, not their clothing, right?
Clothing has come to have no other purpose than providing comfort to the wearer. Fewer and fewer people appreciate how much what we wear affects both us and the people around us. Every elevated civilization has placed great emphasis on what people wear. And by the way, while you’re quoting the Bible, remember that it was God Himself who made the first clothes.
What we wear communicates what we think of ourselves, but even more so, what we think of the world around us. When guests dress up for a wedding, they do so in order to honor the bride and groom and to proclaim how much they honor the marriage ceremony. When parents and others attending a high school graduation show up in shorts, T-shirts, Hawaiian flower shirts and jeans, they are saying to the students that this night is no more significant than any other time they wear the same clothing. Just ask students how they would react if all the male guests wore jackets and ties and all the women dressed equally formally.
And our modern era has adopted “cool and casual” as the persona of its clergy. The business world went through a phase where “casual Fridays” were the “in” thing. They soon discovered that Friday was the least productive day of the week and have largely stopped the practice for obvious reasons. But with many preachers, the lure of being everybody’s buddy has caused them to shed any semblance of what might appear to be any sense of their high calling. The fact is that “cool dude” is far more common among them than “man of God.”
How has this devaluation of clothing come about? As usual when explaining the origins of the Age of Stupidity, one answer is secularism. Secularism not only induces stupidity, it also de-sanctifies almost everything. In the radically secular age in which we live, nothing is holy. Liberal secular society has two primary concerns before wisdom — health/comfort and equality/sameness.
What interests me is how this secular mindset has so engulfed believers—yea, even grace believers (perhaps I should say, especially grace believers). The inability to discern the difference between carelessness in dress and the wise use of liberty doesn’t demonstrate the wisdom that grace imparts; it demonstrates the dysfunctional self-absorption grace is designed to destroy.
I’m not interested in setting up fashion police. Nor am I on a campaign for a certain style of clothing. I’m simply commenting on what we all know: there is a style of dress in every culture that demonstrates respect and value; there is in that same culture a style that reflects casualness and even care-less-ness. Wisdom knows when each is appropriate. Maturity doesn’t need “thought/dress police” to select its wardrobe. It is capable of doing that on its own. And it is also recognized when it does so.
But like I said, Cynthia and I had a great two days in Chicago. We also had a great Sunday at Shorewood—and I can’t even remember what folks were wearing!!