For me, sporting a bow tie to Sunday services has been a recent development. I find myself enjoying the traditional neckwear, which some consider to be ostentatious and indicative of the pomposity of its wearer.
I believe it imperative to explain to the reader why this misconception is based on faulty, socially inspired assumptions and why those that criticize it suffer from an ill they do not recognize in themselves – the profanation of the sacred. It is with some authority that yours truly writes on the subject, due to the fact that I suffered from the same delusion. Hopefully, my story will encourage a change in the thinking of readers who are bow tie averse (or despise any kind of formalwear) and induce in them an appreciation for overall decorum.
During my adolescence, I dreaded formalwear. My ignorance was such that I indiscriminately adopted the pop culture mantra that teaches that convention, tradition, high culture and things associated with them – like elegant attire – are marks of authoritarianism and vanity that emanate from elitist circles. (This isn’t to say that some persons can’t be and aren’t both.) Yet, in my blindness I couldn’t see that secular society was guilty of what they accused higher culture of – and then some.
This shouldn’t be surprising to many, considering that modern pop culture’s standard operating procedure is to inspire rebellion against that which is honorable and good. Let’s call it, Rebel Without a Cause taken to its logical (or rather, illogical) conclusion.
Think upon it, dear reader: secular society’s typical irreverence for the divine and sacred is performed with utmost hubris. It brags about implanting hatred against rules of etiquette, manners, solemnity and those that observe said things and then classifies them all as burdensome, heavy shackles that need to be thrown off by all society at once.
In other words, virtues and sound behavior, the glue and sustainer of a people, are to be seen as needless impositions, rules meant to be broken in order to combat against the established order – “the man”, as it were. Is this not the goal of most pop music, movies and other assorted entertainments? Is it any wonder our youth are in a constant state of revolt and without reason?
It becomes trendy and even imperative to rebel against institutions which instill and provide order, respect, honor and decency in any culture. This was the stated goal of the hippie movement and Generation MTV. Social Justice Warriorism (more accurately known as Cultural Marxism), which has visited the West like a plague in the 21st century, wanted in on the act as well and is continuing their dreadful legacy.
The end result is disloyalty and disrespect (yet, ironically, total adherence to the concepts of secular rebelliousness), pride and condescension, all inspired by a lack of veneration towards what is orderly, righteous and as a result, elegant.
I did not understand any of these implications in my youthful obliviousness and outright stupidity. Thankfully, I was lifted out of this condition after an enlightening and convicting conversation with my parents.
One day, whilst driving to church, my father rightfully reprimanded me for underdressing for our services and suggested I sport more appropriate attire for the occasions. As soon as he mentioned the matter, I respectfully launched into a diatribe as to the reasons why such a demand was illogical and an imposition – something about wanting to dress “like myself” and “God not caring what I wear”. Needless to say, none of these flimsy psychobabble defenses were my own. I was echoing the words of the causeless rebels of our age. However, my tongue was about to be silenced.
Immediately, my parents asked me rhetorically, “Why do we dress elegantly for important occasions, such as weddings and funerals?”
I replied, “Because we are recognizing and honoring a solemn event, thereby demonstrating respect”.
My mother then asked, “Why should it be any different when we meet at the house of the Lord in order to worship Him and learn from His Word?”
Needless to say, any rebuttal was futile. In a moment of deception-destroying truth telling, the irreverent ideology I had embraced and its glaring contradiction became clear at once. I cannot lie to the reader and state that I began to wear more appropriate clothing for church overnight. Still, my stance had changed and with it, a clearer understanding of the dangers of secularism.
Soon enough, proper slacks and dress shirts hung and now hang from my closet. Eventually, I developed an appreciation for the bow tie due to its eccentricity and propriety. Hence, I frequently wear them to commemorate an important occasion – including arriving at the House of the Lord. Actually, the following admission might seem unchristianly to some: as I wear bow ties, I carry myself with a slight air of hubris. The reason? I consider it a form of apt insurrection against a world that seeks to bury respect and honor.
Come to think of it, I’ve become a rebel with a cause – all demonstrated by wearing a garment many consider to be too “highbrow”. To the undiscerning, such a simple act doesn’t mean much. Yet to the judicious, the deed is intentional and meaningful.
I implore readers, if they haven’t done so already, to ponder what I’ve written here, especially if they haven’t given much thought to the subject. What one wears can certainly say plenty about what one values and its importance. Surely, one shouldn’t be vain, as is the case with many who dress in a certain manner. Those persons are attention seekers and live for public opinion. Instead, let us dress with the intention of demonstrating respect and veneration for what matters, foremost the things of the Lord.