"And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:17 NIV)
Most of my teenage years were spent in High Point, North Carolina - a medium sized city which used to have several large hosiery mills in addition to many furniture manufacturing plants. These industries provided jobs for many people in the community and surrounding area. High Point was also the home of a large furniture market that continues to attract wholesale buyers from around the globe - even though many items are now manufactured offshore and assembled in America. There were literally two towns - the one where the workers lived and the one across the tracks where the owners lived.
Friendships made in school and in sports made it possible for young people whose parents did shift work to become friends with young people whose parents owned the factories, suppliers or the financial companies. Some unusual fashion things appeared for young people and it put a lot of pressure on the kids from poor and borderline families.
The well-to-do teenagers from the Country Club neighborhoods bought much of their clothing tailor-made at a local shop on Main Street. Mr. Beck, the owner was a very good merchant, and catered to the fashion demands of these youngsters with money. He made attractive displays in his windows and my brothers and friends would usually walk by there on the way home from school in the afternoon. We would stare at those fancy duds and imagine what it would be like to be decked out like that.
Looking back, the clothing that became highly popular for boys is now very comical. The trousers were cut from the finest cloth in the shop and the legs were cut to taper off at the bottom giving a peg-leg look. The cuffs were only a half-inch which further contributed to the coolness. There were flaps on the back pockets and the front pockets that were decorated with pearl buttons. This craze was reputedly out of California. However, now that I think back, it must have been Mr. Beck's invention.
One pair of trousers caused me to look twice and I began to go back for more looks. I could stand it no longer, and summoned up the courage to go in and speak to the professional tailor. He spoke to me as if I was an adult with money. He laid out exactly how much this gold colored pair of trousers would cost. He even sensed that I didn't have all that much money. So, he suggested that I bring back in a 50 percent deposit and they would start on the job. Then, before I picked up my order, I could finish paying for those fancy duds that were all the rage. This took me two months of throwing papers and caddying. I would go by the store and make my little payments and he would look up with a big smile and point to my order under preparation.
Finally, I had enough for the last installment and went to pick up my treasure. Over the years I have made many purchases, but nothing has brought more satisfaction than those tailor-mades from Beck Clothing. As soon as I got home, the first order of business was to try-on those gold pants and see how my family reacted. There were lots of snickers from my sisters and guffaws from my brothers. They were just carried away with laughter. The first thought was that they did not fit me right. Mom caught on to what had happened with me and the tailor. She asked me, "Honey, what color did you think you bought?" "Gold," I answered - realizing that my colorblindness had probably gotten me into trouble again.
Even though I seldom wore those bright orange pants, and never got up the courage to ask Mr. Beck to change them, I was always satisfied that I also owned a pair of tailor made trousers like the "blue-blood" kids.
The magnetic power of a good brand is well known. Millions are spent on the latest brand icon by poor kids who want to appear as if they are part of what is hip in society. The rich and famous spend their billions on brand name limousines, sports cars, country club memberships, stocks, computers, and the latest fads in perfumes, purses, shoes and clothing.
Churches now pay consultants to help them come up with a name that has the sound and appeal of the mega-churches and will attract more people to their oversized parking lots. New Testament names like Church of God, Church of Christ, The Church, Church of the Living God, Body of Christ, and Church of the Firstborn do not seem attractive enough these days. One popular sounding moniker for many modern churches is the overuse of the word "community" in their signage.
Soon after the days of the apostles, various human traditions developed into dogma that divided the Body of Christ. These departures from the true faith of our Lord Jesus Christ were predicted. The apostles warned the early church, "Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." (Acts 20:30) Often the argument is heard, "There is nothing in a name," or "one name is as good as another." If that is true, then why did God give Abram the name Abraham? Why did God change Jacob's name to Israel? Names are important when shelling out the big bucks for one of the luxury German sedans or one of their almost-as-expensive Japanese knock-offs.
Jesus Christ referred to the church simply as "my church" when speaking to Peter and the apostles. Local churches that want to honor their founder and living King should gladly and unashamedly refer to their congregation with one of the names found in the Bible that reflect our relationship with the Savior. Followers of Christ need not look for a better brand name in religion than simply to be called Christians.
The name Christian far surpasses all other names in religion because it refers to people who have given up the world to follow Christ Jesus as Lord. Never be ashamed of this noble name in favor of a denominational name that reflects the modern divisions among those who profess to follow Christ. The name Christian has come through centuries of persecutions and remains the dearest.
You are invited to all services of the Church of Christ at the corner of 3rd and E Streets. Write me with any questions or comments. David Binkley, Sr., PO Box 186 Cedar Key, FL 32625. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit our web site at www.cedarkeychurchofchrist.com