I went this morning and bought some 'clerical shirts'. I have been avoiding doing anything like that - I guess this could be called the first step out of denial! I really can't believe that I am going to be a 'reverend' and be expected to wear a collar. For some people, I have come to realise, there is a lot of romance in this situation. For me, I would a hundred times rather work 'underground'. There is still going to be some serious ironing out of quirks in my personality. It is at times like this that I have to know that God is calling me and that he will look after me. Because I want to run a mile. I trust that he will use me - and direct my sometimes non-conforming instincts to meaningful places and help me to conform where it is most necessary to do so.
I look so serious in a black shirt with a dog collar that I almost take myself seriously!
Friday, October 10, 2008
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Clerical shirts? I gave those up long ago (although my congregation revolted when I tried to cast off my gown). Interestingly, I once took a clerical shirt to a Muslim tailor. He refused to handle it.
Hi Jenny, I think the collar will remind you that God chose you. The people will want to put you on a pedastal and that should also not be, we are all ordinary people chosen for a purpose. It is what we do that counts and we are in God's hands always trusting. I am sad that you will be away from your family (they do come first after God) and will pray for your walk with or without the collar.
If we think of the clerical collar as having the same purpose for us as ministers as the hat with the "M" embroidered on it does for McDonald's employees, then we will see ourselves in the correct role - servants.
God bless you as you continue on your journey - no doubt we will catch up in PE.
Hi Thomas - for us the shirt is more important than the gown. In the African setting I may discover the importance of the gown . . .
Hi Herman - I hope the collar will keep me humble. I know it will.
Hi Steven - Not like McDonalds - no - no - actually, now we'll have to meet for a hamburger in PE! Should we start saving now?
The McDonald's analogy is my typically disparaging response to those colleagues who (sadly) believe that wearing a piece of plastic around their necks and being called "Rev ..." somehow makes them a cut above the rest. If our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ can get down on His knees in the dirt and wash His disciples' stinking feet, the rest of us clearly have no excuse not to be servants.
I read an article some time ago (and commented on it on my blog) concerning clerical wear. The writer of this aricle likened the collar to other forms of uniform. He states that just as the blue tunic says "police", the red hat says "fireman", the collar says "clergy". One of its main benefits is when visiting members of the congregation in hospital. You don't have to explain who you are or why you are there - the collar does it for you. I saw this happen in practice when my mother was in hospital for a heart bypass operation about three years ago, and our minister came to visit. Chances are that since he had arrived outside of normal visiting hours, if he was not wearing his collar, he would have probably not been allowed in.
I'm sure that there is some theological significance to the collar that my accountant-frazzled brain has not got itself around as yet, but to me it is a tool to enable certain aspects of one's ministry, and should be nothing more than that.
As for that hamburger in PE, that sounds like a fantastic idea. I'm sure that there's a burger joint near the Phase One centre.
Here's a comment for Steven. A nursing sister in P.E. told this to me. A man was admitted to Intensive Care in P.E. Eleven dominees came to see him. It was only then that the sister caught on: they weren't all dominees. They were mostly his friends, dressed as dominees!
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