“Much Ado About Nothing”

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Shakespeare obviously had a knack for carving out words and expressions that have lived on through the ages. For example, how many times have your heard: “all the worlds a stage”, “tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow”, “for goodness’ sake” or “much ado about nothing”? I opted to take a lot of English courses in college. Somehow that seemed like a better fit for me than physics or algebra. I took both those courses during my Freshman year. Unfortunately by the time I was assigned to register, physics and algebra were the only science and math courses available. I had to have both for my degree plan.


As it turned out, I took college algebra more than once. If I had been required to take algebra a third time, I probably would have opted to drop out of school. When it comes to literature, I can connect the dots. When it comes to numbers, well I guess you could say: “2 + 2 doesn’t always equal 4”. As far as math is concerned, I am more at a loss than breaking even. Simply stated: “I can’t do the numbers game”.


Fortunately my degree plan required a lot of English. I also took Greek, but those courses have subsequently been about as useful to me as algebra. However, the word game resonates with the stuff that comes naturally.


My little brother, who is an oil baron in Oklahoma (tongue-in-cheek remark), took a lot of Greek in Seminary. At one time, he even envisioned he would one day teach Greek. He subsequently set those dreams aside to make money in the oil business. I guess it has served him well. No, truthfully, let me modify that: “It has served him very well.”


In my blog yesterday, I made a passing comment about people who look for work without ever leaving their homes. I’ve known several folks across the years who made a job of looking for a job. Unfortunately the pursuit didn’t pay anything, but the benefits were better than second to none. They were none. Whether rightfully or wrongfully, in yesterday’s blog, I made the statement: “They continued the same methodology and made a career of looking for work without taking the time to “dress for success” and pound the pavement.


My little brother likes to yank my chain, so he opted not to let that go. Of course, I guess you could say: “I baited the trap”. Either that or I’m “dumber than dumb”. My little brother will probably clarify which of those is more accurate later today.  I’ll be really disappointed if he doesn’t wax elegantly in response to today’s posting.


So in response to my blog yesterday, my little brother responded: “Oh yes, you are ‘the dress for success’ man. I do believe in face-to-face relationship. Nobody has ever asked me for a resume or a copy of my transcript. Somebody who knows me has always (miraculously) employed me. No, I don’t wear suits or ties. They are outdated in the oil & gas industry (and at church for that matter). I don’t think Jesus ever wore a coat and tie from Dillard’s”.


Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Fortunately, my dear friend, the wife of my former pastor from my college years, came to my rescue. She “rightfully” (my opinion of course) sided with me. Coincidentally, she grew up in Oklahoma and is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University. She responded: “I am old I know, but I was always taught to wear the very best you had to church. I still like the pastor to wear a suit and tie in the pulpit and people to dress nice. Not what you wear to the beach. I am sure Jesus never wore a suit and tie but he had a robe every one wanted. Just saying”.  If you missed the implication of “everyone wanting his robe”, the Scripture tells us that at the crucification that they cast lots for his clothing and subsequently cut it into pieces so several could take a piece.


Although my little brother didn’t specifically quote Shakespeare, he made it pretty clear that from his perspective, “dressing for success” is “much ado about nothing.” He went on to say as a personal word intended for my betterment: “I, also, suggest to you, sir, if you are the only person in your church who is wearing a coat and tie, you might relate better to your audience if you dress like they do. Hey, I’m just saying!”


Of course he later provided his motivation for attempting to reshape my thought process. How did he phrase it? “Oh yes, I remember now”. He wrote: “I’m just ‘trying to shape the minds of America’s seniors’.” That orchestrated a chuckle from me. Earlier this week my little brother mused: “One day soon we will be on the other side”. I attempted to help him hit the reset button on that concept by suggesting he drop the “soon”. And then he has the nerve to say: “he is trying to shape the minds of America’s seniors”. That’s really funny!


In an essay entitled: “Clothing Matters – What We Wear To Church” the author states: “What’s more, our worship services have become increasingly relaxed and informal affairs. You can see it in what we wear. Church for today’s worshipers is not a dress-up event. Whatever is clean and comfortable seems sufficient. Christian students in particular have been taught by their seniors — or has it been the reverse?— that when it comes to church, attire doesn’t much matter. They understand there is nothing particularly spiritual about a dress or a coat and tie. God is scarcely impressed by such things”.


Frankly at some level, I know that my little brother’s “much ado about nothing” concept has merit. Doesn’t the Scripture say: “Man looks on outward appearance, but God looks on the heart?”


Like my pastor’s wife from college, I too, was taught to “wear the very best you have to church”. My little brother grew up in the same household.  I’m not sure had he missed that message.  It may not be Biblical, but neither was my mother’s mandate to “be neat”. Yet despite the lack of theological precedence, I’m going to keep wearing the best I’ve got.


Since  my little brother yanked my chain yesterday, turn about is fair play.   I’m going to yank his chain today. He stated empathically yesterday: “Suits and ties are outdated in the oil and gas industry”. Maybe that is a misnomer? Is it possible that he has been in a relaxed area of Oklahoma for so long that he doesn’t understand that oil and gas people In Houston still “dress for success?” I was in Houston last week and it is still very much a coat and tie neighborhood and network. “I’m Just Saying!”


All My Best!



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