Monday, May 15, 2006

Dusting Off the Cap and Gown

Two years ago I graduated from Abilene Christian University with my doctorate in ministry. I purchased the required academic regalia for the ceremony. These are by no means the most practical articles of clothing I have ever owned. The hood, for example, is emblazoned with the colors of your school and your field of study. It wraps around your neck and hangs down your back. I cannot fathom how this piece of clothing can be called a hood. Maybe it would serve well as a hood if my head were three feet in diameter. Likewise the cap is not the sort of item I could wear out on the lake or during cold weather. At least our caps as doctoral grads were the eight-sided tams. They have more style than the weird skullcap with a square attached to it. Who would ever design a hat like this. If we didn't immediately associate this cap with graduation I swear that this hat would look like something from the wardrobe of a bad science-fiction movie.

So after I wore the cap, gown, and hood for my graduation two years ago I thought I would never wear them again. Why would I? My answer came about a month ago when I was asked to lead the invocation and benediction for the University of Arkansas Fort Smith graduation. Strangely, I didn't feel out of place in my sci-fi attire because it was the fashion of the day. It was an honor and privilege to serve UA Fort Smith at graduation. West-Ark Church of Christ and UA Fort Smith are becoming good neighbors and that is a blessing for us.

I will don my attire in a few weeks when I serve as the graduation speaker for Webster University. They have just five graduates this year and they all insisted on wearing the funny caps and gowns. I guess there is something about this silly attire that gives one a sense of achievement. I will be happy to honor the graduates of Webster by wearing my regalia also . . . and I also want to get my money's worth from it.

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