Friday, December 15, 2006

Please Pray For Moi

Even the sight of her own bright red fingernails (manicured at a very short length, which yours should also be if you're wearing a deep or very bright red hue) can't lift PeaceBang out of the funk into which losing her entire hard drive has cast her.

She will try to lift her own spirits by waving a weak welcome to the new Episcopal clergy readers from the San Diego diocese, and to ask those girls and boys if they would be willing to say a little prayer for success with the Geek Squad data recovery team who are coming in the morning.

That goes for the rest of you, too. Would you say a little prayer? In addition to her final semester paper and exam, PeaceBang has lost many dozens of dearly beloved worship files that she cannot believe she failed to back up.

All of which is to say, "Jesus saves, and so should you. Frequently."

PeaceBang is so blue today (and where is that sunshine they were promising us, HUH?) that she is actually wearing KNEE SOCKS WITH A LONG, FRUMPY FLOWING SKIRT.

It doesn't matter that no one can see the socks under the skirt. My soul knows that they're there, and my soul grieves.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006


PeaceBang's computer died the death this morning.

Not only has she lost her paper and her take-home exam that are due tomorrow morning -- not to mention her Christmas Eve liturgy -- she is going to have to shell out close to $2000 for a new one.

It's a very very bad day.

No, you don't have to send flowers.
But if you feel so moved, you may contribute to the Computer Fund via PayPal. After all, the ministry of PeaceBang happens entirely and exclusively via the magic of computers, and this was most certainly not in PB's 2006 budget!


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

And God Said, Let There Be a Perfect Neutral Lipstick

PeaceBang loves you all so much, she's going to let you in on her third most treasured lipstick secret.

Her first, as you know, is CoverGirl Outlast All-Day Lip Color in Blush Pearl.

Her second is outrageously cheap and gooey lipglosses by Rimmel. Less than four bucks and tons of shine. You can keep one in every bag. It goes great over the CoverGirl.

Her third very top secret trick is this ultra-perfect neutral shade lipstick:

It's Sephora Lipstick #35, Warm Beige Shimmer.

PeaceBang keeps two tubes of this on hand at all times, and has converted Sister of PeaceBang to it, too (SOPB would love to wear red lipstick, but it just doesn't work for her. But this does, like a gorgeous charm).

The super top secret of this shade is that you can wear it OVER bright, killer reds, and it tones down the red and looks fabulous.

You can also wear it alone if you have the right complexion for it. PeaceBang likes it as a neutral balance with smoky eyes, or when she's a bit tanned and wants to wear black liquid eye liner and a neutral lip is best.

For $10, it's worth a try!

PeaceBang recommends:

Sephora creme lipstick #35 in warm beige shimmer.

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Shout Out To My Polity Homeys: On Modesty

Remember in class today when we were talking about how modesty is something you have to consider when you're out and about as a Rev.? Modesty in attire and in expression?

PeaceBang has been thinking about that tonight (because she's obviously not writing her paper or her exam now, IS SHE?), and she has gotten a bit stuck on the notion of modesty. The reason for that is that PeaceBang isn't exactly the modest type. PeaceBang isn't at all modest, if you'd like to know God's own truth. She is actually a big-mouthed sassy broad, and having made it through ten happy and good years in ministry, she must conclude that personal modesty is not absolutely key in surviving the parish with your good name and vocational integrity intact.

And yet she herself used the word "modesty" today in class, which bears some explaining.

Ministerial modesty in dress and in personal sharing isn't about maintaining some faux primness about yourself, as though you were a Victorian-era lady who might need to be revived by smelling salts at the sight of a bare ankle.

That isn't what PeaceBang means.

Ministerial modesty is more about maintaining a modicum of personal privacy around yourself as a way to respect the fact that so much of your heart and soul belongs to your church, you've got to keep some of yourself to yourself.
This can be a win-win. On one hand, you need privacy. Putting care and intention into your appearance helps prepare you for public consumption, for lack of a better word. It establishes a boundary: This is my private life, this is my public life. On the other hand, when your people look at you, they want to see you but they also want to see the best of themselves in you. If you have too much leg showing or dirt caked in the treads of your Timberlands, they can't do that.

We talk a lot about appropriate sexual boundaries in the church, and about boundaries in general. And we should. We need to. Ministry is a terribly, awesomely intimate business. Not only do we share the spiritual and emotional lives of our parishioners, we share their incarnational struggles. They are of one piece.

We don't think of this very often, but the truth is, we minister to our people body and soul. We visit with them, we hold their hands, we anxiously await test results together, we help them sit up in bed, we sometimes feed them soup or Jell-O. We hold the baby while they move their C-section-sore bodies to the bathroom and back. We anoint them before death, we wipe tears, and sweat, from their faces. We smoothe their hair, and sometimes brush it. We gently pull covers over them when we know they feel too exposed to our gaze. We clear their snotty tissues and half-drunk cups of juice off that tiny stupid hospital bed table so we have somewhere to put our Bible. We keep hand sanitizer in our car, our office, and in our purses and briefcases because we minister to bodies, not disembodied spirits.

In this work, it is only natural and right that we should be carefully put together, buttoned up, tucked in, clean and pressed and combed. So many of our pastoral duties place us in the presence of the fragility of the human body -- its trembling vulnerability, its amazing ability to heal and overcome trauma and disease, and its shocking and sudden betrayals. It is only natural and right that we should want to be beautiful and whole in body and appearance as a sign and symbol of our belief in the beauty and wholeness potential in the human condition.

I guess what I am trying to say is that in some way, our ministerial bodies are not just personal but are also communal. This may be neither rational nor fair, chickens, but that's just how it is. When one of our beloveds is dying, it's not just anybody who shows up who can represent the church. It's when your particular body shows up that the Church is there at bedside. You know, I know it and God knows it. When you become a "Rev.," your body isn't just your body anymore. Maybe not fair or rational, but I think that's how it works.
I wonder if some of our extreme acting out in the physical sense (alcohol addiction, compulsive overeating, sexual abuse, etc.) isn't an unconscious rebellion against this felt truth.

I figure it this way: only God knows the condition of my soul. My people know what they see, hear, and feel in me. We are all body beings and all we know is the information we get from being bodies together. There's no reason to want to rebel against that. In fact, we should dress up for it every day! With lipstick and heels, or a suit and tie even sometimes!

In private, it doesn't matter if my family or my intimates see too much bosom or leg, or chipped nail polish or graying hair or spinach in my teeth or flab cheerfully emerging from the top of my bathing suit.
In a ministerial context, however, these things are inappropriate distractions. They're not inherently sinful or harmful in and of themselves -- of course not, for heaven's sweet sake! But they are evidence of a kind of unpreparedness, a kind of refusal to rise to the occasion of what the Church is trying to represent, and a staunch denial that the minister's body represents, on some level, the gathered body.

Simply this: They should be able to see the best of themselves in you. When you walk out the door, be prepared to meet this expectation not only in your heart, but in your physical presence.
If you're not ready for that, get ready. Vestments and a collar is the very least of it, chickens.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Special Designated Minister Duds

I have a soft spot for Marvin, because he has the same name as a beloved and recently-departed uncle of mine.

Marvin is a cute young parish minister reader, and he would like to know how he should arrange his life fashion-wise with no extra money whatsoever lying around.

Marvin, my dove, PeaceBang has one bit of advice for you: Keep it simple, and keep it classic.

You should have two pairs of nice enough slacks to wear to the office and on pastoral calls. Say, Dockers. Keep them pressed and clean. Maybe one tan pair and one navy pair.

You should have a nice pair of black shoes and a decent pair of brown shoes. The black should be suitable for a funeral. The brown shoes should be something like Oxfords, sturdy and comfortable but not scuffed and not sneakers.

You should own a sports jacket that goes with the Dockers. Something tweedy is fine.

You should own a dark suit suitable for funerals and weddings. And a few ties. If you can find a nice middle ground between Liberal-Whimsy (say, UNICEF ties or Jerry Garcia designs) and Preppy-Stolid, that would be good. No seminary insignias or alumni paraphernalia.

Invest in a trenchcoat that you can wear for the next thirty years (as long as you keep your girlish figure). You should not be doing graveside services in an anorak or windbreaker. Better to be a bit overdressed for some occasions than underdressed for any.

You should own a few shirts that you can wear on their own or with the sports jacket and/or suit. In fact, your shirt wardrobe is going to be where you really get your variety. Avoid loud patterns that people will remember. You're going for classic, clean, and handsome. Do try things on to assure that they fit you just right.

Dump sports jerseys, t-shirts, snagged or stained henleys, anything in waffle knit cotton (too casual), or polos that make you look more youthful than you need to. Choose fabrics that launder well, that hang nicely, and that maintain their shape. All of which means it's better to buy one good shirt a year than three not-so-great ones.


Hang things neatly in your closet and invest in good hangers that will help your clothes keep their shape. Never hang suit jackets on doorknobs. Toss underwear when it gets gray and saggy: PeaceBang feels very strongly that those who make do on a minimal wardrobe should not overly skimp on undergarments.

Think of your key wardrobe staples as your Special Designated Minister Duds. Change out of them as soon as you get home. Use old grungy stuff to cook in and do housework in and study in. By doing that, you will save your garments a lot of wear and tear and can look snazzy for less, for longer.

Invest in your image and avoid impulse buys. Shop for your own garments -- just don't buy them -- and then tell your loved ones exactly what you want for Christmas.

Send us photos of your handsomeness!


Red Lipstick

Red Lipstick
Originally uploaded by Peacebang.
Ignore, for the moment, the fact that the microphone on that table looks as though it is interviewing Lionel Ritchie's crotch.

Look at Sharon Stone. Not at her leather pants: you cannot wear those. You are clergy. Not at her outfit at all, in fact. At her lips.

Now imagine that instead of being a kind of wacked-out Hollywood star and philanthropist, you are you. You are dressed in a tailored suit or a skirt and sweater. Your hair is lovely, your accessories are understated, and you're wearing a pair of fabulous shoes. You pencil in your eyebrows, smooth out any blotchiness in your complexion with foundation, and apply some mascara and a bit of blush. Blend, blend, blend.

You moisturize your lips, let the balm sink in for a moment, then blot. You line your lips in a neutral color, then put apply a lipstick of approximately Sharon's color over the lip liner. Blot. Put the lipstick in your pocket and you're ready to leave for the day.

Wouldn't you just *know* that you totally rocked?

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