Just when I thought that the world could get no more crazy, a priest-friend of mine told me of the review of her personal appearance on the website Beauty Tips for Ministers - whose strap-line is: Because you are in the public eye, and God knows you need to look good.
I am not kidding.
The priest concerned is a very attractive and stylish woman, theology doctorate under her arm, publications to her name and many radio appearances to claim credit for. She is also one of the nicest people in the world and yet despite being a good deal younger even than me (yes, I am rather young), laboured hard to teach me New Testament Greek when I was at theological college. It seems though, that the trivialities of one's achievements and personal qualities pale into insignificance when placed against the needs of:
Don’t fight the collar.
Try not to wear it at all until you’ve come to terms with it.
This isn’t to say that Rev. Helen looks uncomfortable in her collar — she doesn’t. She looks very comfortable, very priestly and very approachable. I just think that she’s being upstaged by her wildly dramatic jacket (which I love and totally want to steal) and I appreciate that her photo has given me a chance to reflect on far more troubling examples of “I chose this outfit ‘cuz I really want to offset the bummer collar situation.”
Let’s see what you think.
Style first, substance last? I will let you be the judge.
The author of the site, one Rev. Victoria Weinstein, also known as PeaceBang (no, really) is, I am sure a wonderful and delightful person. But I am wondering what this is all about? I confess, I am fighting hard not to launch into my normal Vernacular Invective-with-Rictus-Grin and state in no uncertain terms why this may well be the most preposterous thing I have ever seen in my life, ever. I am trying hard, dear reader - really really hard.
But I will resist. I shall approach this from another direction. The thing with public ministry, priesthood or any other accredited ministry is that the 'office-holder' is second to the office. The idea of priest wearing black, or ministers wearing white albs, or surplices, or whatever - is to make the person invisible and the ministry visible. PeaceBang in her interesting efforts seem to want to reverse that in what I consider an unhelpful way. The minute ministry becomes about the minister ...
... too late.
Anyway - for your delectation, a moment of my own primping. Enjoy. I need to go away, find a darkened room and take a brandy to calm my frayed nerves.