In response to the question of whether or not a non-ordained candidate for a ministerial position should or should not wear a collar to the interview, MadgeBaby wrote,
In no other profession can one pose as a credentialed professional without requisite vetting. I’ve never understood why non-ordained clergyfolk are encouraged to wear collars or stoles or otherwise bear the mark of the ordained leadership.
I’m an MSW and one of my mentors phrased it better than anyone in the ordination process. He said, “being called MSW, and even more so being licensed or certified, means that you are trusted to abide by a code of ethics that many professions would consider onerous. You have a lot more freedom without the letters behind your name, but by choosing to take them on you burden yourself to what they stand for.” So, in his (perhaps naive) world a person who uses those credentials is prepared to diagnose and treat appropriately, keep confidentiality, take money for services in an ethical way, etc. I never remember having that conversation in such a clear way in div school or afterward. Perhaps it should happen more. Layfolk are in many ways freer to do ministry as they feel called than are the ordained, at least in my tradition. What layfolk are not free to do is the work of the ordained. Seminary is somewhat liminal, but not that liminal.
Couldn’t have said it better. Thanks, Madge.