Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Judging books

Every now and then, I’ll wage this little war with the teens here at Cornerstone Church. All I have to do is say that, in most cases, I can tell what students are like, and what they think of themselves, by the way they’re dressed.

Then I’ll hear a barrage of protests. “You can’t judge a book by its cover!” they’ll say.

And I’ll respond by saying, “Oh, yes you can. We do it all the time.”

It’s worth noting that in the publishing world, companies spend a lot of time and money designing a compelling cover for a soon-to-be-released book. Why? Because people will judge that book by its cover. Fair? Maybe not, but that’s the reality.

1 Samuel 16:7 acknowledges this fact. While establishing that God examines man’s heart, the verse recognizes that man looks at outward appearances. My point to the teens listening is that it behooves them (I don’t really use the word behooves – they’d mock me) to pay attention to their style of clothes, hair, makeup, and general demeanor because, like it or not – fair or not – it will affect how people view and treat them.

Agree? Disagree?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great point. I'll tell you what, you are a great writer.

Ven said...

I'm torn Kip...

Part of me says, "Dress to the extremes, get treated extremely". Example... Dress like a hooker, get ogled at. (sorry about the dangling preposition)

Another part of me says, "This sounds like blending in is the key and I don't like that idea".

I guess the spirit of this is true, but not necessarily the letter. Make sure your teens get one message and not the other.

Pastor Kip said...

Good point, Ven. I like the "dress to the extremes" quote.

I'm not much of a blender-inner myself (I often preach in jeans and Crocs), but my point is that you will be (at least initially) judged and treated by the way you present yourself. It's your choice as to what that is . . .

Anonymous said...

You're a joke dude! You'll try anything to get away with judging! Grow up and stop trying to make yourself feel better about you. You're not the smartest kid in town just because a few follow your ingnorance. Why do you people to look, dress, speak and live like you? Joke?

Pastor Kip said...

Whoa, Anonymous . . . you're sounding a little judgmental there! I knew this post would draw you people out!

At the risk of sounding defensive (which I guess is the proper response when one is under attack), I never said anyone had to be like me. All I said was that it "behooves" (big word - look it up) teens to pay attention to their appearance because it will affect how people treat them. What argument could you possibly have with that?

By the way, people will also judge you by the misspelled and missing words in blog comments, so be a little more careful next time.

Anonymous said...

What if I agree with your thought that people will be treated on how they dress?
Is it like being treated or thought of differently if you drive an elementary school bus?

Someone or a group of people will always be looked at lower than others. I see people that go to church and their leaders do it more than non church people. So don’t give the kids something else to worry about while trying to be accepted. Let them find out for themselves. It’s part of learning. Oh, I’m sorry it slipped my mind Mr. Behoove-You. You’re trying to make your clones. You might call it mentoring or discipleship. Did your Jesus ever tell anyone to check shirt before they walked outside? I can almost guarantee you would’ve turned your nose up at Jesus. Are the kids there because they want to or because they have to?

It really makes you feel better about yourself to point out the mistakes of others. It could be clothing, speech or writing etc... Are you the one on stage that thinks he’s the best worshipper in the world? It may behoove you to inquisition (Ooo, big word - ask the kids on the bus they’ll help you out) your heart. :))

Come on fire back. You love to attack. Try to point out how intelligent you are. Great writer? I don't know maybe? Prideful heck yeah!!

Pastor Kip said...

My, my, aren't we bold when we hide behind the label "Anonymous". But, just as I thought, the heat from my earlier response has caused the ugly bitterness in your heart to rise to the surface.

You seem to think that discipleship is nothing more than ecclesiastical manipulation (I know I'm putting words in your mouth, but you needed a little help), but nothing could be further from the truth. We are commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ to "make disciples" and teach them to "observe all things" he commanded. I'm just trying to do my part as best I can. What are you doing in this arena?

I believe that you're just a blog-rat who tries to disrupt thoughtful discourse with mindless insults and pointless rambling. I'm afraid I will be forced to remove your future comments if you can't rise above middle-school mentality. And I suspect you'll find that very difficult . . .

BTW . . . school bus drivers rock!

Anonymous said...

I am sure you are all about the censor. I am anonymous but you know I am your deep conscious that you will not admit. Do you think your mission as a big tough teacher of the gospel is to point out the flaws of others?

Can you take a hint?
Can you blog differently?
Can you blog on how you look at yourself?
What are the flaws in your life? You do have them.
Then maybe, just maybe, we will learn something.
Stop pointing out other peoples flaws you have plenty.

The reason is because if you continue to point our flaws and do not deal with yours you come over as a pretentious jerk.

Here is the meaning so you don't have to look it up.
pretentious:
1. full of pretense or pretension
2. characterized by assumption of dignity or importance
3. making an exaggerated outward show; ostentatious

Pastor Kip said...

Believe me, Anon, I know my faults all too well – and so do those closest to me. I can say with David, the psalmist:

Psalm 51:3 NIV
(3) For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

One of my faults is allowing myself to get caught up in childish name-calling – I find it hard to resist a war of words. For that, I apologize (when I read her our little exchange, the wife chewed me a new one). I should’ve paid more attention to the following passage:

2Ti 2:23-26 NIV
(23) Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.
(24) And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
(25) Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,
(26) and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

My bad.

Now to you. I don’t make it a practice to point out the flaws in others. I present the Word of God and let the Holy Spirit do the convicting. I sense that something I said, either here in this blog, or in the pulpit (have you ever heard me preach?) struck a nerve with you. Instead of attacking the messenger, maybe it would be beneficial to check the Scriptures for yourself and see if God is trying to get your attention.

Anonymous said...

I love the scripture.
Truce. Good Job!

Mountainmom said...

Well, let's say you manage the local Chick-Fil-A, or PetsMart, or whatever. Which teen are you more likely to hire, all other credentials equal? The clean-cut young man wearing nice jeans and a polo shirt, or the one with his pants falling off, drawers hanging out, and hair covering his eyes? The young lady modestly dressed in a skirt and blouse, or the one with a skin-tight tank-top, underwear straps showing, and pants that leave little to the imagination? If you'd make the same choices I would, then why?
Lori C.

Pastor Kip said...

Excellent real-world example. Obviously, I'd hire Richie Cunningham and Nancy Drew, as would any conscientious manager.

I would not hire Slacker or Tramp because their appearance tells me they don't respect themselves or others. I wouldn't think they would take the job seriously.

Are there exceptions? Sure . . .

Maybe Slacker and Tramp would make great employees (although their appearance screams "NO!"), but they will not be given the chance to prove themselves because of their appearance.