Saturday, July 01, 2006

Only the LORD Can Get Between You And Your Calvins

Precious ones,
let's not wear jeans to church on the Sabbath, okay?

Even if they're stylish, and even if we're scheduled to spend the morning with the squirts down in Sunday School.

See my response to Judy, for which you'll have to scroll down a bit:

Calvin is fine.
Calvins are not.

Professors of Walking

I am a big fan of walking, although I don't do much of it in my real life. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that he and his daughter Ellen were "professors of walking," and I have this romantic vision of myself sauntering all over my parish by foot and making pastoral visits with a walking cane in hand, but who am I kidding? I drive everywhere.
I drive everywhere because when I try to walk anywhere, I invariably wind up making a spastic leap into the nearest ditch when aggressive drivers get too close. Which they always do.

That said, Hafhida Sofia commented recently (in the post about Crocs, those fugly new additions to the Comfortable Shoe Market) that she used to walk 4-5 miles a day to work and now she doesn't, because she can't find appropriate shoes that will work for both the walk and for the workday.

We can't have this!

Hafhida, my dove, take a look at this page and see if anything excites you:

Granted, most of the offerings are a bit on the frumpy side, but those Keen Mary Janes could be very cute on you, and there are some clogs that might work as well. They have support, they're cute ENOUGH, and you can wear them with skirts.

PeaceBang would like to say that although she is a deep and abiding believer in the power of Cute Shoes, she is an even more deeply abiding believer in the power of good health, which walking does promote even more than Cute Shoes.

That is, unless you have to scramble for the nearest ditch every thirty seconds as some caffeine-poisoned suburbanite screams by in her SUV.

I Did Not Make This Up

Do you see this?

chickenbag (2)


Do you see my colleague defensively cuddling his CHICKEN BAG? Do you see the accusing finger pointing at his CHICKEN BAG?
That finger doesn't even belong to me. It belongs to one of my flying monkeys whose job it is to spy for me, and to report back on things like CHICKEN BAGS.

Don't go telling me that this minister is young and cute and hip and he can get away with it. That isn't the POINT!!

It's a BAG shaped like a CHICKEN! He had things IN IT and was WEARING IT over his SHOULDER in PUBLIC!

I REALIZE that I was once seen on the crosstown bus in Washington, DC with Boy In The Bands wearing a stuffed monkey around my neck that screeched when you pressed its tummy, but that was on MY DAY OFF.

Croc-Free Zone

NO, you may not wear Crocs:


Not unless your title is Minister of Landscaping or Lead Pastor For Volleyball.

Repeat after me: "Shoes are not all about my personal comfort. Shoes are not all about my personal comfort. Shoes are not all about my personal comfort."

And as I've said before, just because Jesus wore sandals everywhere doesn't mean they're appropriate for ministers. You aren't Jesus.
Now get out there and get some proper footwear, dammit.

Dress For the Highest Moments Of Your Calling

I used to admire this couple back when they were in the same district as I, and were always dressed to the nines.

Don't Mess With Texas

Remember when I said that beauty had regional implications? This is a perfect example: they're serving a large congregation in Texas now and look how fabulous he is in his ten-gallon hat. I am certain that he wouldn't be sporting that look if he was serving a historic New England church. Here's a guy who gets it. Don't mess with Texas. He didn't arrive and insist on maintaining his East Coast look; he got to his new settlement and adapted to the culture. Let that be a lesson for all of us. It's just plain smart, and it seems not only politic to me, but also affectionate, as in "your people shall be my people and your God my God."

I hear a lot of you chickens out there pecking and fussing about how dressed up you should get doing the work of the LORD. Some of you cluck about not wanting to outdress your parishioners. Listen, chickens: Big Mother Hen here says quit worrying about that! Quit yer fussing already! Hardly any of us are in any danger of looking more fashionable than our parishioners in the first place and you know what else? It's okay to dress a step up from your people. In fact, you should. Not in a flaunt-y, "I make so much money I'm wearing out my shoe leather in Lord & Taylor's" kind of way, but in a "This work I'm doing is so fine, and the church is such a fine place to be, I'm going to dress in my finest."

Look at Mark and Becky (they've got their nametags on clear as day, so it's not like I'm outing them as attractive, fashionable people). They look like leaders. They look like people who got up in the morning and had some FUN getting dressed and becoming a well-matched clergy couple who are ready not only to comfort the afflicted and speak truth to power, but are ready to speak to a reporter or to show up on the evening news talking about, for instance, immigration issues.

If your daily wardrobe was chosen for the most scrubby aspect of your work -- say, setting up for the church fair or scrambling around on the floor with the children in Sunday School, be honest with yourself. How often are you really setting up tables for meetings? How often are you really playing with puzzles on the floor? Not very often. On the other hand, how often are you walking through town unconsciously representing your office and your congregation to every one who sees and knows you? How often are you interacting with an office and program staff who needs to rely on your leadership and team-building? How often are you striding through the halls of power in order to testify on behalf of "the least of these" or appearing in the door of the hospital waiting room ready to help a family make one of the most harrowing decisions of their lives?

Dress for the highest moments of your calling, not for the scrubbiest.

You can always take that linen suit to the dry cleaner or have it mended if it gets dirty or torn. What you cannot do, however, is repair your image if you represent your congregation, your movement, the Church and your God in a sloppy and unpolished manner.

Ya hear, now?

Friday, June 30, 2006

Flip-Flops Are a Flop

I've said it before and I'll say it again: NO MORE FLIP-FLOPS, EVER!!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Meredith, Call Me!

Alert reader Sarah informed me that the author of a piece on NPR's "All Things Considered" today might have been referring to THIS VERY LITTLE OLE BLOG in her discussion of clergy fashion.

After having heard the essay, I think the author has actually been reading a different clergy fashion blog, but I thank Sarah for referring me to the Reverend Mrs. Gudger Raines' essay, which made me bite my nails in anxiety.

Meredith, honey, CALL ME! If you think that showing some of your "rounded bare shoulders" in the pulpit is going to help your West Viriginia Methodist congregation grasp the incarnation more fully, girl, you're going to be out before you ever get IN!

If anyone knows Meredith, please refer her to me. We need to talk about sleeves, and about West Virginia.
The essay is here:

Doesn't she just sound like the most earnest, gee-whiz new seminary graduate you ever heard? What a darling gal. Lord have mercy: let's hope we get to her in time.

Rev. Peck's Bad Boy

Do you know why this adorable minister (whose age you will NEVER guess, not even if I give you five free tries) is wearing this ridiculous chapeau?
Rev. Peck's Bad Boy

Mostly because he was joking around, but since there may be a minister or priest out there wearing a sideways baseball cap in perfect seriousness, I feel I must comment.

Since I deeply love and admire this colleague (and look how cute he is without the cap!), I begged him for a real explanation. I knew there must be one, or I would be compelled to snatch the offending item off his head and run as fast as my 3" wedge sandals would take me.

My colleague refused to be intimidated by my line of questioning. He told me with a great twinkle in his eye that he wore the cap sideways because if wore the bill in front, it would interfere with his ability to HUG people! And then he demonstrated a hug both ways. PeaceBang was left to conclude that yes, it is impossible to properlty hug someone when wearing a baseball cap as it should be worn. Which persuaded her that in fact, baseball caps should just not be worn. Period. Ever.
Only if you're kidding, and only for a few minutes even then.

Boxers, Briefs, Or a Thong?

Donald isn't a minister but he met me in the hotel lobby on the first night of GA and I just happened to have my camera with me, and he happily agreed to pose for BeautyTips.

Boys In Skirts

So I offer this to you with no comment. Readers? Should we just be glad he's got great legs?
I will also not comment on the fact that this same attractive young man was later seen in a monkey suit, and I don't mean a tux. I mean a monkey suit, as in a huge, hot, hairy Halloween costume.

P.S. I saw three or four men in kilts at GA and I don't think any of them were on their way to the Highland Games. Donald? Care to expound?

The Prairie Babe School

Here's a dear colleague from Michigan who belongs in the category of "Prairie Clergy Babe." She's got the cute little specs, the lush hair pulled casually back, and she's got some COLOR underneath her suit. She has two little kids at home so PeaceBang personally thinks it's a marvel that she can put herself together at all. She's funny and wise and has a great speaking voice ( a thing of beauty all in itself):

Prairie Babe

I might have buttoned the bottom buttons of her blouse or added a slim belt and some longer earrings, but I think this is a nice, approachable look.

But darlings: do check your rear view before you leave your hotel room. I spotted a snag in the butt of this lovely woman's skirt and was able to do triage for her right then and there, which she appreciated. It could have caught on something and left her utterly unraveled!

I would not, however, recommend doing Butt Snag Triage for people you're not real close to. I travel with a teeny tiny jackknife/scissors combo for just that kind of exigency, which I would like to have you know was CONFISCATED JUST TODAY AT CHICAGO O'HARE AIRPORT. All I'm trying to do is keep my friends from walking around with egregious butt snags in their skirts and I'm accused of being a threat to national security.

There is no rest for the weary.

Thanks For Sharing

This isn't a minister; or at least I don't think it is.
It's a lay delegate to our General Assembly. Therefore, she can sit like this.

You can't.
You're at a professional gathering, not on the porch enjoying a glass of CountryTime lemonade.

Thanks For Sharing

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Hats and Crowns

I have a colleague who originates from the South who is sort of famous for wearing hats at General Assembly. I also have a lay friend from the sort-of-South who also wears hats every day at GA, and I don't mean a sun visor or baseball cap, I mean a HAT.

I think this is rather fabulous, and I am wondering if summer church-goers wear hats where any of you are, and if any preacher ladies wear them in the pulpit. Is this a trend in any of the churches? Would it be appropriate to preach in a hat? I should think that it would be, given Paul's sniffy little comment about women covering their heads in church. I imagine a suit and hat would serve as terrific summer preaching wear. I am guessing that a marvelous chapeau might even lift a mediocre sermon into the realm of the transcendent.

One of my favorite books is called Crowns and is a photographic study of African-American church ladies and their hats:
The women in the photos were also interviewed for the book and their words grace the pages opposite their photos. Any Fashionista for God should read every word of this book, for not only is it delightful and funny, it also provides a fabulous theology for why we should dress up when doing the Lord's work.

PeaceBang's grandmother Minnette was a rather famous and beloved milliner in the 1940's and 50's, so loving chapeaus is in her blood.

Remember in the acerbic and genius song, "The Ladies Who Lunch" from Stephen Sondheim's "Company" when the drunken Joanne sings, "Does anyone... still wear... a HAT?" Remember that?
Joanne, my poor gin-soaked friend, they do. They do, and they should.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Best Product Name of the Day

Touch Me Then Try To Leave Bathina Body Creme by BeneFit.

I just used some and I smell so good I would definitely not leave me. Just the thing for post-GA dehydrated hotel skin. Mmmmmm, good.

He Can Run, But He Cannot Hide

I have an adorable colleague who has a ponytail I'd like to wack and a pair of spectacles I am BOUND AND DETERMINED to donate to the Lion's Club. It's gotten to the point where we start cracking up pretty much the moment we see each other, because he knows just what I'm thinking and he also knows I will not rest until I am triumphant in this crusade.

Just wait 'til I get his partner involved. Your time is limited, Mister. You can run but you cannot hide.

He has this great long, kind of craggy face --it's actually not craggy yet but it will be wonderfully so in about 15 years. He's one of those rotten no-goodniks who's actually going to look better as he ages. And he needs new spectacles that don't take up half his great craggy face. I can just see him in new frames, and it's just going to be revolutionary cuteness.

What's with these people who dare to get more attractive as they age while I am valiantly fighting off jowls and grandmotherly upper arms? I have a 60-something year old retired colleague who, damn him, looks younger now than he did ten years ago. As much as I love him,
I know that he uses no skin products whatsoever and that his only real beauty regime is to regularly imbibe good Scotch. I cry out to the Lord in my bitterness and envy. Lord, hear my prayer.

You DO Have A Shape, And It's Not Rectangular

PeaceBang's mind is just REELING from a week in St. Louis with her colleagues and co-religionists.

There was an abundance of tie-dye, and at one event every single woman was wearing the same exact ugly sandals. Hot investing tip: As the Boomers age, you all might want to buy stock in Clarke shoes, which specializes in comfortable sandals that have the dubious virtue of being one step up, attractiveness-wise, from actual orthopedics.

There is indeed an unspoken dress code for religious liberals, and it's ain't pretty.

When I get home from Chicago I'll treat you to loads of photos.

I shared a shuttle to the airport with two ministerial colleagues and I must admit that the moment I laid eyes on them I thought, "Well, they're earnest Save The Whales types and I'm a snarky Gen X-er, so I'm not sure I should even strike up a conversation."
Also, I was just so tired.
But as it turns out, we had a hilarious talk in the actual airport and they were totally Cute People with a great sense of joie de vivre and affectionate humor. And even though they described themselves as "old hippies," I don't think they've saved any actual whales for awhile.

As we chatted, she revealed that she is an appreciative reader of this blog so I gave them both some tips -- the man has a really cool hairline that right now is being obscured by the presence of a long ponytail, which I think he should cut off so he can feature that wonderful kind of widow's peak he's got. I encouraged him to go to a great stylist and get a wonderful cut and some pomade (maybe by Crew?) that will shine up his gorgeous dark brown hair and keep it in place.
He was wearing a nice denim shirt and chinos and since we had just been at GA, I'll give him a pass on the chalice baseball cap. He made reference to some "colorful ties" he wears with his shirts. If that means a closetful of UNICEF children's art ties, dear M., we'll have to talk.

In the interest of full disclosure I should say that I myself looked like a half- deranged sloppy mess by that point, having just slapped on whatever was vaguely clean for my trip to Chicago.

My female colleague is as cute as can be, but was dressed in a Guatamalan cotton striped shirt that was rather boxy, with a buttoned stand-up collar, short sleeves and no shape to it. Fearing, as most of us do, that she has "no waist," she had left it untucked, and it was long.

She was also wearing a boxy, slightly too big and too long purple front-buttoned cotton skirt with no real shape to it, either. As a result of this outfit, she looked like a cute little rectangle, and I was utterly unable to discern her female curves. I advised her to find a skirt with some shape to it -- perhaps one of the little cotton items at Old Navy with the nipped in waist. And I think she might either belt that Guatamalen shirt, or better yet, wear it as a jacket with a fitted t-shirt underneath and some chunky beads. She's a very sweet Earth Mother type who wears her hair in a long braid, so she might want to try a low chignon. Maybe Rali, who knows how to do the fastest and prettiest low chignon I've ever seen, could reach out? I'll get them together.

We decided together that fashion for ministers is all about looking like yourself, but not like a cliched version of yourself. I thank my male colleague for that quote, because I think it's just perfect. I also agree with him that a slight element of surprise is good. As he said, "Keep them guessing."

It was great to meet them, and I wish them every happiness in their new settlement.