Just feeling very angry and sad, my dears. I’m taking a break from the internet and TV for a few days. You have a fantastic feast of Thanksgiving. xoxo PB
Oh, darn. It’s not Advent until next week. Meanwhile, we have Thanksgiving to celebrate and 1 Thessalonians to exegete (“whattya MEAN, praise God in ALL THINGS?”) and food to collect and deliver and interfaith Thanksgiving observances to participate in, or EVEN ORGANIZE AND HOST THIS YEAR (*cough, me, cough*).
I will see you on the other side of all of this for more posts on clothes and image and self-care and such, but I just wanted to let you know that I found a decent pair of shoes for our work and I had to share. They’re called Wyoming by Naya, which I think is a subcategory of Naturalizers.
They’re a leetle frumpy, but totally manageably so. They have a nice slightly pointed toe so as to avoid the dreaded too-round babyish look. They have a little bit of patent leather that dresses them up a bit. They are a bootie-Oxford hybrid style that I think looks great with pants and maybe with skirts but I haven’t tried that yet. They have a little heel, YAY. But best of all for me is that they have a rubber heel with a little bit of a traction but the traction isn’t visible, which makes these perfect funeral shoes. You can walk quietly and confidently across polished wood floors in them and not fear slipping, then you can walk across uneven ground, pavement and even slightly icy or wet surfaces to read a Committal at a cemetery.
I was looking very Ruth Bader Ginsburg yesterday, I’ll admit. It wasn’t intentional.
The shoes run a little bit small. I got a half size up. They were easy to break in (I just wore them around the house for a few hours with a pair of socks) and comfortable to stand in for a long time.
You want to know what makes PeaceBang really upset and cranky and sometimes just plain furious? Well, she’s going to tell you, of course, so pull up a tuffet and get a cup of tea.
Look. We are heirs and stewards of ancient rituals, and there is a power and majesty in those rituals that can only be maintained when the people leading them are mature and responsible in their work. Too often, this maturity is jettisoned in favor of sloppy bonhomie, as if it’s uncool to take church too seriously, you know, because someone might get the impression that religion matters to us.
It just fries my grummies when I attend a rite of passage where the clergy or lay leaders are stumbling around not knowing where to stand or how to use a mic, or kidding around and making snarky or insecure asides in front of the congregation. LEAVE IT FOR THE REHEARSAL (if there is one — and it’s not a bad idea for complicated services). Keep it in the shower at home. It’s not funny, it’s not sexy, and it doesn’t make you seem cool, it makes you seem sloppy and foolish. God kills a kitten every time a minister gets up during, say, an ordination and interrupts the flow of the service with a sarcastic aside. How dare you inject the contents of your neurotic, chattering mind into the consciousness of those who are there to faithfully worship?
There is no excuse for this!
Boy, PeaceBang is really working up a froth, can you tell?
If you are the clergyperson responsible for these worship services, please put on your Authority Pants as you plan. Communicate to each and every participant the expectation that decorum will be observed on this occasion. Who cares if they think you’re an uptight control freak? You’re not there to win Miss Liturgical Popularity, your job is to ensure that the worship service is beautiful, coherent, well-paced, and dignified.
This doesn’t mean that no one can smile or laugh or be relaxed. It means that they be absolutely prepared to know where to stand, where and when to speak, to come with remarks or prayers or ordinances prepared and internalized so there is no fumbling around which leads to embarrassment, which leads to diarrhea of the mouth, which leads to disrupting the service and undermining the spiritual intensity of the event.
If the stole goes on crooked while you’re putting it over the ordinand’s head, straighten it out in silence. If the water for the baptism splashes on the floor a bit, don’t joke about going swimming later. If the groom sneezes three times in succession, that is not your cue to turn to the congregation and make a big haw-haw about Ebola, or some other “look at me” joke. You may smile broadly, you may chuckle a moment as you hand him a handkerchief, but you do not break character and you do not destroy the moment out of discomfort.
If you study liturgy well (and newbies, this is especially for you), you will find that there are natural and comfortable places of transition during which you may handle things a bit more lightly (inviting the ordinand to the pulpit to receive the Charge To the Minister, for instance), but there is never an appropriate time for uttering distracted little asides about the darned lapel mic that won’t stay clipped to your stole (hold it with your hand and keep mum about the technical difficulties) or quippy little murmurings about how out of breath you are from walking up to the chancel. One of the major problems with these asides, apart from the fact that they are distracting and inappropriate and damaging to the integrity of ritual, is that they are never well-enough enunciated for everyone to hear you. So in addition to puncturing the balloon being held aloft by the Holy Spirit, you have just caused at least one third of those present to mutter to the person sitting next to them, “WHAT DID HE JUST SAY?”
Manage the moment, moment to moment.
Manage and govern yourself.
If it’s your service to plan and lead, make it your strict business to communicate explicit instructions and expectations to every participant so as to minimize or totally avoid sloppy, distracting asides.
And make sure your Authority Pants are ironed and hemmed to the appropriate length.
Hollering for help, ministers and priests and rabbis!
I bet ten bucks some of you are putting together orders of worship for interfaith Thanksgiving services, right? Me, too. We will have representatives from the Unitarian Universalist, Jewish, Muslim, United Church of Christ (Congregationalist), Episcopal, and Spiritualist communities. I have participated in many such services over the years but my own files seem to be curiously bereft of liturgical specimens. Would you be so kind as to share yours or to make recommendations in the comments?
My e-mail address is my real first name dot my real last name @gmail.com. Thanks, loveys!
Last weekend I was in Connecticut getting ready to hit the road back to Massachusetts when my best friend’s dad came to bid me farewell. He was SO HANDSOME that I actually gasped. He’s a very distinguished and handsome man in the first place, but he was wearing a gorgeous and impeccably ironed paisley shirt in autumnal colors under a camel chamois shirt with chinos and boots. Before I hugged him goodbye I just HAD to ask: “Is that a Liberty of London shirt?”
He smiled at me with one of those inscrutable dad expressions and said that yes, it was. I totally died. SO FASHIONING. His shirt kind of looked like this one:
And I thought, “Okay, I bet he’s had that for a really long time, because Liberty does NOT fade or age, and my readers can’t afford Liberty Of London but they can certain borrow this idea and find paisley shirts for way under $225 — even under $60.” Just use the Google, my friends.
Guys, what a warm and handsome look for those harvest fair-type church events, a day at the office, or any time you want to add some interest to your look. Who needs boring solid shirts every day? Wear a paisley shirt under a blue blazer, or under a corduroy shirt, or under a V-neck sweater. Sharp, sharp, sharp.
Here are some actual Liberty of London shirts. Legendary.