Sunday, November 05, 2006

Professor Gary Dorrien: Academic and Fashion Exemplar

Originally uploaded by Peacebang.
Darling and devoted readers, I am back from the Big, Bad Apple. What an inspiration it was! Fashionable people everywhere walking little dogs in plaid sweaters! Autumn splendor and marathon runners sporting spandex! A little trip to Heaven by Amtrak.

Although I was in Manhattan for a most serious religious conference, I did manage to get a little bit of shopping done, including at Sephora and at Boyd's Pharmacy on the Upper West Side. I came away with just armloads of samples, and I've been slathering my face and body with all manner of concoctions just for YOUR edification! Because as you know, PeaceBang will gladly risk eye infections, skin rashes and anything short of permanent scarring to bring the best beauty recommendations to you, my lovelies.

But before we get to product recommendations, let's talk for a moment about the absolutely lovely human being featured in the blurry, dark photo up there. It is none other than the brilliant and prolific Gary Dorrien, preeminent theological historian of our time, whose work you must know if you're at all interested in American liberal theology.

Dr. Dorrien is the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and I actually met him this past May in his apartment at my friend Rachel's Ph.D. champagne toast, but I was too shy and intimidated to introduce myself then. Yes, imagine that! PeaceBang shy!
I'm sure you can understand my reticence when you study that photo and realize that not only is Professor Gary Dorrien a hugely important intellectual presence in the study of religion (you've at least read The Remaking of Evangelical Theology, right? Or a few of his articles in the Christian Century, which is where I first became enamored of his work? Not to mention his astounding three volume series on American liberal theology, the third volume of which you can order for Christmas!), he is a dreamboat.

Please let me assure you that I did get permission from Dr. Dorrien to post his photo here, and I am trying to be very respectful in my gushing about his intellectual prowess and handsomeness. Since you're undoubtedly already familiar with his academic contributions, I'd like to review a few details of his appearance, which is just flawless and which you should definitely consider emulating, fellas.

1. First of all, and it has to be said: Gary Dorrien has fantastic hair. You probably can't see the details in the terrible photo, but he has beautiful chestnut brown hair cut beautifully to enhance its natural curliness-- and I hope this isn't too irreverent -- he's wearing some kind of hair product that makes it shiny and defines the curls. Boys, take note. This should convert, for once and for all, any hold-outs to the scraggly look. I'm not saying you have to get a perm, I'm just saying that a little pomade and a decent cut won't kill you. Investigate.

2. Secondly, this man is blessed with perfect, glowing skin. Which I know I shouldn't have noticed, rapt as I was over his wonderful lecture, but how could I not? Which simply begs the question, "Dr. Dorrien, what's your secret?" Union seminarians, could you work this question into your next session with the good professor? I'm not sure how one would accomplish this, but perhaps working in a reference to Clinique in a discussion on the crisis in the liberal church would provoke a response about skin care in academia. I don't know, but I have faith that you can figure it out.

3. Little spectacles, pristine, clean and clear, not smudgy and hanging off one ear. De rigeur for academic royalty, and they're perfect on him.

3. What a beautiful outfit. Note the whimsical pink tie, the interesting shirt, the dark jacket pulling it all together. Impeccable, comfortable, communicates respect for himself, respect for his work, respect for his image, respect for the people he's come to address. This man exudes respect and respectability. He is a gentleman and a scholar, and I don't care how cliched that is.

And I don't even care if you've figured out that I have an enormous crush on him.
If I was Gary Dorrien and had people asking me very serious questions about liberal theology and empire and ethics all the time, I think it would be nice to know that someone was appreciating me not only for my scholarly genius, but for my gracious spirit and extreme handsomeness.

I wish him every happiness.

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Blogger Caroline Divine said...

AND he's an Episcopalian :-).


One of your Anglican fans

P.S. Speaking of which, you know "hat-head"? Well, our new Presiding Bishop had "miter-head" after the first time she took off her miter at her investiture liturgy (which I watched on webcast on Saturday). Not that anyone was preoccuppied with such things at this auspicious event (though one right-wing Episcopal blog has spent inordinate amounts of energy trashing KJS's vestments' colors and the liturgy in general including the Native American smudgers and drummers from her diocese of Nevada, who opened the liturgy perfectly beautifully, and whom the nasty blogger refers to as "the smudgeons" -- really hateful stuff)but still, there was a Hair Issue. Have a look at the photos on the website, though mostly they are with miter and not without. (We have all manner of ritual taking on and off of headgear.)

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Philocrites said...

Here's one of the pictures I took of Professor Dorrien.

8:37 PM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Caroline, I did go and have a gander at the lovely bishop and her miter. And in the interest of "If you don't have anything nice to say..." I'm going to keep my admiring mouth closed. For this once! Someone, take note! PeaceBang isn't going to comment!
However, she would like to read the right-wing Episcopal blog to see if our opinions mesh.

P.S. I couldn't find an image of miter-head, but I looked.

9:27 PM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Philo, what kind of camera do you have? It is clearly fantastically superior to mine, even before mine was a rubber-band-held-together-semi-broken mess. Great photo of Dr. D. and the interior of 4th U. The man is a smokin' hottie, let's face it.

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Bay Bridge Episcopal said...

Now, now. Don't be knocking my new Presiding Bishop -- after all, how many other denominations have had their grand leader named a Glamour Magazine "Woman of the Year"?

I was lucky enough to attend the investiture and it was truly moving. The service really begins when the new PB, standing outside the massive National Cathedral (which is packed with 150 Bishops and more than 3K people), symbolically breaks down the doors by knocking her crozier (staff) against the doors three times. The Bishop of Washington and the Dean of the Cathedral then open the massive doors, and, in sum, invite her to take charge of the service, the cathedral and the denomination. As she makes her way down the aisle in a grand and colorful procession, the mostly male Bishops -- seated the length of the aisle -- bow their heads in respect as she passes. For any woman cleric who has run into the stained-glass ceiling, it was a breathtaking moment, and this is one remarkable woman.

As for the cope and miter, well, it looked better in person, but that's all I'm saying.

12:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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10:00 AM  
Anonymous madgebaby said...

I don't know what you do about a meiter--it is just a problem for the hair. The dignity with which she carried herself throughout--and her warmth, passion and generally Holy Spirit infused rocking self--made me not notice so much the hair.

Perhaps some thinning shears would help provide a more meiter friendly haircut. Were I wearing a meiter, I would consider that along with some Brilliant pomade by Aveda.

I just watched the webcast but I thought her vestments must be glorious in person if a bit non-traditional for us Episopalians.

And as far as the Native American element--she just came from NEVADA. The conservative bloggers need to get over it.

My kids thought I was having a fit, but when she knocked on the doors and processed down that aisle I sobbed like a baby, never so proud of my church.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Caroline Divine said...

Hey, I didn't knock her! I'm a fan. I watched the whole thing. This is a beauty blog, remember? And PeaceBang has commented on her hair before, or I wouldn't have said anything.

The nice people at the Episcopal News Service spared us any but the nicest views, and lovely they are. No miter-head. For the record, I think miters look silly on everyone, and probably give everyone miter-head if they have any length of hair. The whole liturgy was incredibly moving -- though I must say that for me the great event will always be the ordination and consecration of our very first woman bishop, Barbara C. Harris, in Boston in 1989. I was there, though I wasn't an Episcopalian yet, and I will never, ever forget it. It was also the most racially diverse Episcopal crowd in a long time, and Li Tim Oi, the first-ever Anglican woman priest (Diocese of Hong Kong, during World War II) was still alive and she co-presided, as did a couple of the Philadelphia Eleven (Philadelphia, U.S., first women Episcopal priests, summer 1974) so it was an amazing event. The preacher was African American, the bishop (Barbara) was African American, and it was a most amazing church event -- "like a Pentecost" said one of my RC friends.

I haven't had the stomach to look at the most widely read of the traditionalist blogs, which is but apparently the main blog refrained from disparaging comments.

The one I was referring to, which trashed the smudgers (I thought, by the way, that those trashing comments were horribly racist in addition to the blogger's lack of ecclesial, liturgical, and cultural understanding of why they would be there, but don't get me started or I will rant all day)was the Nov. 4 entry at and by the way, this is a woman writing, as far as I know.

But the blog where I first learned of PeaceBang (because there was a link -- it was "What To Wear in a Crisis" as I recall and it was during the Episcopal Church's General Convention last summer, and I laughed till I howled, agreed, and figured out who PB was and that I had met her -- that's PB as in our PeaceBang, not as in Presiding Bishop, though I have also met her) is one of the progressive blogs, written by a woman who is a priest in NJ: See HER November 4 entry. (And others, she has some very moving ones.)

By the way, good Anglican stuff of all kinds may be found at the Anglicans Online blog at
and also at Thinking Anglicans (run by one of the Anglicans Online people) (That one has a lot of good news links if you want to read a diversity of opinion.)

Now back to the important stuff: how to look beautiful ;-). And three cheers for Gary Dorrien.

Peace out,

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Philocrites said...

My camera is a Nikon Coolpix 7900. (Here's the manufacturer's page about it.)

12:29 PM  
Blogger Purechristianithink said...

Hmm. The Niebuhr Professor of Ethics back when I was at UTS wasn't nearly such a snappy dresser. Of course, I was heavily into the theolgical student urchin look myself in those days . . .

2:43 AM  

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