Tag Archives: art

Justifying Fashion for the Church

Often in Christianity we have to categories. Those things that are sacred, and those items that are secular. Recently I have been seeing more and more how this dichotomy is dangerous and even harmful to the Christian church. There are many perfectly good enterprises that are given up in pursuit of a life that is only sacred.

                God created a world for us to enjoy. We are called to follow Christ wherever we are at. Are plans are to be committed to the Lord whatever they are so long as they are in the character of Christ. When looked at this way, there is a great deal of life that is free to be enjoyed that is normally considered secular.

                Fashion for example. I have had the past had a great deal of difficulty spending money on anything related to clothing. I am more than my clothes and none of it will fit me for very long anyway. I never knew what to do with my friends who invested in a hundred dollar pair of pants, or three hundred dollar shoes. We are very quick to judge this as a waste of money that could be given to the poor.

                But, even a slight comparison to our other judgments will find this lacking. Do we judge the individual who spends three hundred dollars on a ski trip? Or buys a car with leather seats and A/C instead of a minimalist design with no power windows or air conditioning. Do we judge the one that remodels their kitchen? I have never heard of that. These are all things that are ‘expected’ as normal and good. But the judgement is arbitrary.

                Furthermore, I categorize fashion and clothing as one of the arts. How we dress and present ourselves can be as much as a form of art as a canvas. Matching colors, styles, seasonal clothes all with your particular body type in order to convey an image is an art. Especially if that dress conveys an image of your personality in line with who you are. I would be curious to see a fashion guide based on personality.

                Finally, how we present ourselves is important in ministering the gospel of Christ. Just as overtly expensive clothes can make those who are less ‘fortunate’ feel bad, so too cheap of clothing can cut off certain peoples. If you want to minister to the wealthy or LA and Hollywood culture, you had better dress like it. Clothing can also spark conversations.

                Use your money wisely, and follow Christ. In some cultures, it is considered rude not to wear your best. We are the ones that have to look at you all day, not you.


Over-stimulation of Imagery

Using images and symbolism in order to engrain a new way of thinking into our heads is one of my favorite approaches. It works better than just telling yourself to do something. It also is a lot more interesting and can become very creative. For example, imagine a samurai, in full garb and sword drawn surrounded by enemies. He is however next to a koi pond and cherry blossoms are flying through the air. He is not in a tense fighting stance, but standing calm and relaxed, and smiling slightly. Now that is peace in the midst of chaos. Be the Samurai. Don’t stress, don’t prepare once the battle has started, just do.
Depending upon your ability to imagine, and your familiarity with the concept of peace in chaos, this could be a very good image to bring to your mind in the middle of stress. Pictures carry a lot more weight than words at times, and bring in one more of the senses in order to try and connect the person we want to be with the one that is.
Images are also used for creating passwords. Imagine a tree, next to a boulder, next to an oddly bent light. The password is ‘tree.photon?’ where the light is shaped like a question mark. Now this could be made as complicated as you like.
However, this method is becoming weaker and weaker. As you go throughout your day you are going to run into countless images. Many will be normal, billboards with a face on it, but others will be odd drawings or graffiti. The problem that poses for us is that it makes each individual image more difficult to remember. The brain naturally partitions things as important or unimportant, as standing out or plain. The more images you have running through your head, the less any one of them can take up significance or stand out.
Using images to spur us on towards success, becomes less and less effective. I have no application, just an observation. I am sure the over stimulation of images has other affects, but I can’t think of any at the moment. Do you have any ideas?