Pastor's Pen
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August 23, 2013, 11:02 AM

Words from Rick



You Are What You Wear

Well, for most of our reading area, the schools are now open and students are back in class, in the gym and on the fields. Those students, who can afford it, have new $100.00+ shoes and the brand clothes to match. For those who don’t “have it”, just to get a sharpened pencil and the promise of two school-offered meals a day is gracious. But, as we begin another school year, I have some opening thoughts (don’t know if teachers or administrators ever read this article) on “you are what you wear”. Here are some questions of great importance to students: “Who am I?” “Do I fit in?” One way students cope with anxieties about identity and belonging is by dressing in ways that signal their desire to be a part of a group! At times, what they wear identifies who they want to be and with whom they wish to spend their time. You see students who drove to Dallas or Oklahoma City to buy the best advertised items for the new school year. Some students wear black from top to bottom to show their own individuality, and still others wear what didn’t rip from last year and made it through the summer, even wearing big brother’s or sister’s tennis shoes. I always thought it amusing to see preschoolers with top dollar logo golf shirts on, some they will outgrow in six months (please, only amusing not judging). When I teach a confirmation class to students, usually in the six grade and up, I ask an array of questions about identity and one goes like this: “Would you rather eat stinky cheese or mushy vegetables?” We all belong to something, even if it is temporary, like the “stinky cheese” group. One of the most basic human needs is the need to belong, to be with other people. We were created to be in communion, with God and with one another. I believe that our baptism offers a true and lasting alternative to this struggle for identity in students’ lives. Some students may not be baptized yet and may think they missed out on something. All of them should know that no matter when they are baptized, “...they were all chosen by God in Christ before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). Baptism gives us a new identity and tells us to whom we belong, no matter what, no matter what we wear. 8.25.2013

Dr. Rick Baggett is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Ardmore (the church with the bells) and can be reached at:

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