Friday, September 29, 2006

Your Clothes Tell A Story About Your Ministry

I have a colleague who has a wonderful look.

She tends toward overly-long skirts that engulf her slim frame, nubby textured tops, and beautiful paisley shawls. None of these are particularly "in" right now, but she seems very fashionable nonetheless.

She is slim and pale and has long, fiery red hair. She wears not a stitch of make-up. She is soft-spoken and has a gorgeous singing voice.

What I love about her look is that it is an expression of something deep and real about her. Her clothing tells me a story about her ministry. The story is tells me is of a person who has a romantic embrace of the world, who wants to flow with things, who treasures warmth and richness and pattern, and who isn't smooth-edged but multi-textured. She wears solid clogs, and boots. But they always gleam and she moves gracefully in them. She is not ornamented with much jewelry (not even a wedding ring, if I recall correctly), and she is rich in her simplicity.

This is a spiritual leader who has either intuitively or intentionally learned how to express essential aspects of her inner life by her exterior appearance. Her look is beautiful, consistent, extremely attractive, flattering to her, and communicates a knowledge of self that is very confidence-inspiring.

What story are your clothes telling about your ministry?



Blogger jadebluestocking said...


Often I feel a bit odd answering your questions, since I am not a minister. To me, though, librarians often fill many of the functions (ask me about the homeless transgender patrons, sometime), and perhaps public service is a ministry in its own way.

I tend to combinations of shaped knit tops or dressier Tshirts with dress slacks and heeled boots, or knee length tailored skirts with tailored shirts or sweaters. I have a narrow range of colors, and I usually wear one bold piece of jewelry (other than the permanent, that is).

Overall, I'd say the look is professional and put together without be overly formal. I hope what it says to my patrons is that I am approachable and different, but still able to do my job well.

8:00 PM  
Blogger Abbey of the Arts said...

Oh PeaceBang, I am so very relieved to read this post. I love your blog, but alas I also love loose flowy clothes of which you often speak so disparagingly (and remember I even had a dream where I met you and was embarrassed by my flowy linen skirt!). But as I read your description of this woman, I see myself in her (except for the slender part!) and I feel like I have found a place here in your blog again. :-) I am not a pastor, my ministry is spiritual direction, teaching, writing, and bringing the arts and spirituality together in all of the above. So I think my clothing reflects that, there is a loose freedom to them, but I also adore beautiful scarves and silver jewelry. I wear Danskos mostly, but they are the nicer looking ones. I get compliments on my clothes and jewelry quite often, so I hope they reflect my own sense of style and artistry! Thanks again for your great ministry here and a great question.

11:50 PM  
Anonymous Lorna said...

loved this post :)

I'd be afraid to meet you in real life I think ... in case my clothes are ... dare I say it ... frumpy? ... but I'm very short, and petite doesn't exist in Finland so I stock up when I visit the USA / Canada ... and comfort beats fashion every time. And I'm so glad that here in Finland women can wear trousers to every situation and function. It's probably why I stay here :) though I do have a few 'nicer' and more conservative dresses and jackets ...

maybe my clothes say that I'm comfortable in my ministry, rather that my ministry is the latest fashion. I dunno.

but I do like your blog :)

3:12 AM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

NO ONE should ever be afraid to meet PeaceBang! I am a short, fat, rolicking good time who would LOVE you and give the utmost compassionate attention to your appearance and comment ONLY IF YOU INVITED ME TO. If you ask those who have had a PeaceBang Assessment in person, they will tell you that it's all about my seeing the Superstar in you, and trying to help you bring that out.

Sacred Center, that goes for you too! My beef about the "flowing" thing is that it has become such a default look for us, and has approached cliche, that I want us to consider other ways of adorning ourselves. I think that that kind of look broadcasts a lot of things about female clergy (nurturing, Earth Mamas, serene, non-confrontational and all-embracing) that are totally inauthentic for a lot of women. I don't want to contribute to stereotypes in my own dress, nor do I want to join many of my fat sisters in insistently covering up my body in huge garments. My point is: if it's your LOOK, go forth and be beautiful! If it's not an authentic LOOK that communicates one's actual identity and persona, consider other options. Glad you brought it up.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Patti said...

I am a teacher. I spend 3/4 of my workday on my feet, and the remaining 1/4 on the floor with kids. But I am starting to yearn for a more pulled-together, professional look. My wardrobe says about my *ministry*... "she could walk a mile, climb a ladder, run after a bolting kid, crawl on the floor and carry a heavy burden in that outfit." I do that and more each day, which limits my choices.

1:32 PM  

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