Saturday, January 20, 2007

Take yourself more seriously

In a class I once took, we were divided into groups to complete a project and present it to the rest of the class.  One group was made up of (what appeared to be) all younger students-- guys who apparently came into seminary right out of college or shortly thereafter.

What was interesting about this group was how the presenters presented themselves.  One guy had on baggy jeans, an untucked shirt and a well-worn baseball cap.  The next guy wore sweatpants and a hockey jersey.  The third guy was wearing an oxford shirt-- but it was untucked and unbuttoned, revealing his printed t-shirt underneath.

This was in stark contrast to the instructor, who wore a coat and tie every day, and most of the other presenters who at least wore ties or sweaters.  In other words, most in the class were neatly, respectfully, and appropriately dressed.

I realize that there are a lot of different cultures who would not approach such a situation with such "formality"-- it wouldn't be necessary to dress as nicely as a tie or jacket to be respectful.  (I received some strong comments proclaiming exactly this in response to a previous post.)  Still, I would think even in the most casual culture, there is a sense of propriety that would require at least a certain level of neatness.

Candidacy-- and ministry-- require respect and propriety, even with regard to dress.  If you are visiting a church for a candidating interview, you must dress appropriately!  No one will take you seriously if you don't take yourself seriously.  This means learning to dress appropriately for every occasion-- including presentations in a seminary class.

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