loren Eric Swanson: Evangelistic Apparel

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Evangelistic Apparel

Last Saturday a few friends and I helped build a trail on Davidson Mesa overlooking Boulder as part of National Trails Day. It was a first-time experience for all of us but a good way to build community as well as get to know some of my neighbors. It was the hottest day of the year (95+) and we were working wheelbarrows down hill and up. The work gave me great sympathy for any who built the ancient works (Great Wall, Pyramids, Roman Road, etc).

I wore a T-shirt with picture of Olympic wrestler, Dave Schultz, who was killed a few years back by John Dupont. Don, a city counsel man, saw my shirt and asked me about wrestling. He wrestled for Northwestern University and once I told him I was a grappler as were both my boys, we became fast friends...over this common ground. During the day we joked around and even locked up once or twice (you have to be a wrestler to understand this one). By the end of the day I was able to tell him some of what my passions are--about engaging the church in the needs and dreams of the community. He's on the board of the Y and is looking how to engage the faith community in their work. Imagine that?

I also wore my Cal hat and later on in the day another man stopped me to ask if I (and Don Wilcox--my buddy from Cal) went to Cal. When we affirmed we did, we connected around things only Cal people get excited about..."the Play," Tedford's contract, refurbishing Memorial Stadium etc--again the common ground. Now notice what is happening...people are approaching me...to engage with me about what they also think is interesting and engaging.

I think how different it may have been had I worn a t-shirt with "His Pain, Your Gain" or a hat that said "WWJD." Most likely it would have been hard to get someone to look me in the eye. So which type of clothing is more evangelistic? Which kind of apparel draws people to you? I think I'll wear my 2005 College World Series hat that I picked up this week at the Series in Omaha today...just to see what happens. Who knows who I might meet...


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