"I say beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes."
--Henry David Thoreau, Walden
"Clothes maketh the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."
To frock up or not to frock up,
That is the question.
Can anyone help me with this conundrum? The norm amongst Unitarian ministers in the UK is to 'frock up' in some sort of clerical vestments, and I've been willing, even eager, to fit in with the new context I find myself in out of respect to accepted local practices. When in Rome...
Heck, as a former actor, I actually LIKE dressing-up and costume and all that. You do weeks of rehearsal on a character, but it never comes together (at least for me) until the first costume run, wherein the clothes you wear begin to determine how you move, how you hold yourself, and so begin to work from the outside in, giving shape to what had so far been an unfinished portrait. Any man who doesn't normally wear a tie will just feel rather different when he slips one on. It's hard to know how to handle yourself in a board-room if you're wearing board-shorts. You know what I mean.
|even being hacked to pieces, nothing says 'butch' quite like leather|
|Have we left anyone out?|
|Would sir like to see something more off the shoulder?|
On the other hand, I've always thought of us as 'low' church rather than 'high' church. No smells, no bells, no iconography, no expensive vestments, and thus no sense that the pastor in the pulpit (him or her up at the holy end) was any different in kind from you in the pew. Put robes, collars, stoles on him or her and suddenly there's class again, a sense that the minister has been inducted into some highly selective gnostic priesthood that allows the wearing of special clothes. Not at all like you in the pew.
|Now that's just GAW-jus...|
When I think of the ministers who've most influenced me, I see guys in a blue blazer and tie, perhaps with a little lapel-pin logo, looking for all the world like your 10th grade English teacher. It wasn't what they wore, but what they said from the pulpit and did in the community that generated whatever moral authority they had. Mark Allstrom in a blazer and his disreputable black jeans. Roger Frith, blue blazer and khakis. Robbie Walsh, his quietly understated grey hop-sack suit. Jo Lane and her retro-yet-tasteful op-shop dresses and scarves.
|You know...like these guys.|
|If he's so smart, why isn't he driving a Lexus?|
|The difference is, he makes this look good.|
I accept that maybe this is just about me and my comfort zone, and that my reluctance to change may come off as intolerance. But I honestly think I've given it a fair go, tried it on, and on reflection I just can't wear this stuff with integrity. And if you're going to stand up every week and speak your truth from your core, you'd best feel at peace with yourself.
|While we're at it, why not go the whole pooch?|