This just in from the Taoist side of the family in response to this ole post on sneaks.
Hehe, I’ve been loving this site, Rev. PB, and felt the need to reply to this one.
I’m a novice priestess in a small but historic Daoist denomination. Typically one wears the traditional Chinese black mary-jane “cloth shoes” which are casual-to-nice for persons of any persuasion, in ritual or day wear. These, or Buddhist-style sandals, are the usual for many Daoist clergy. (Though technically “ten-direction shoes” are formal for Daoist clergy, they’re rather hard to find or make.) Black cloth shoes are modest and dignified.
But more and more Daoist priests may be seen wearing bright white sneakers under vestments. Truly and glaringly hideous. Imagine traditional “high church” Roman Catholic or Greek Orthodox robes combined with Adidas and you get the drift. It’s one thing to wear such during private rituals when laity aren’t present. But to think that footwear doesn’t matter, ironically may end up actively calling atention to one’s feet during public services. It ends up being very immodest.
Footwear have ritual import, same as any other ritual tool. It makes one look down (to Earth) when one ought look up (to Heaven.) I can’t imagine the ritual aesthetics for Christians would differ that much on this score(?).
Geez, I’m tellin’ ya! Those cloth Mary Janes are about as comfortable as you can get without wearing bedroom slippers! Granted, they don’t have much support but I imagine one could fairly easily find a black shoe with some support without resorting to the BLINDINGLY WHITE athletic shoe!
Sneakers are definitely not The Way to anything good.
*Badda-bing!* Thank you! I’m here all week!