I don’t know what’s in the air lately, but there’s a whole lot of projection going on along with unfair, petty and insulting comments being lobbed at me. Please cut it out.
First of all, over-reaction. How anyone can read a phrase like, “But in general, closed toe shoes are the best choice for worship” as an ultimate commandment never to wear sandals in the pulpit needs to get out her reading glasses and check the content again before accusing me of being geographically limited (who isn’t?) and “imposing my northeastern values” on my poor, geographically diverse readership. For heaven’s sake. My “northeastern values” are what give me the requisite strength, sass and staunchness to keep authoring this blog, pioneering in the field of clergy image, and doling out endless oodles of New England Spinsterly Tough Love.
Just today, I wrote a post in which I clearly and emphatically stated that parts of our body are never a problem, but that we should be aware of how displaying them may be distracting to members of our community. I brought up the simple scientific fact that there are a lot of humans out there with foot fetishes (and thank you, Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern, for thanking me for bringing up the subject). For this, I was subjected to accusations that I am blaming women for being the “occasion for lust.” Oy vey! For saying to that reader that her remarks this was both unfair and non-productive, someone else accused me of being unwilling to receive criticism. A quick glance through the archives will readily inform you that this is also untrue. I change my mind on this blog, thank people for correcting me, and remain open and interested in a variety of opinions. The fact that I don’t agree with your opinion doesn’t mean that I am an inflexible taskmistress.
I basically made up this ministry, whole cloth, as the result of a call from God. I could never have started an international conversation about clergy image and personal style without adopting a pointedly authoritarian tone, kids, it’s part of why this took off and became such a phenomenon. As I said recently at a gathering, “Victoria Weinstein cares a LOT less than PeaceBang does about what you’re wearing today.” Most of my readers are mature and self-differentiating enough to get why I need to be strong, firm and not easily swayed as PeaceBang. There are too many frumpy and unkempt clergy still among us for me to waver in my mission and my approach. Have you SEEN the jumpers and arm pit-stained tie-dye T-shirts at clergy gatherings out there?
Please think before you comment or send an obnoxious bit of hate mail offline. I am, if not a national treasure (!), then certainly an important resource for hundreds and even thousands of readers. Behind the scenes, I am constantly responding by e-mail and phone to inquiries and calls for help and support. I devote as much time to this ministry as is reasonable during the year, and a tremendous amount of time while on vacation from my parish ministry. In lieu of husband and children, this is my baby. Ministry is my life, and it is all I live for (well, that and theatre, and my animals). I don’t expect you to throw roses at me every time I appear in print, and I receive nothing from my readers but the occasional (much appreciated!) gift or small contribution. When you show up just to throw shade, you’re interfering with my ability to keep my heart open and my joy alive for the other readers. Why some of you feel entitled to rip on someone who is giving of so much of herself, heart, soul and effort, is beyond me. It speaks poorly of your manners and sense of accountability in community. Here’s a hint: if you’ve never contributed to the conversation before and you suddenly show up to give me a slap out of nowhere, I’m much less likely to treat your point of view with the respect you think it deserves than if you’re a regular participant in this community, or even an occasional commenter.
I am fueled entirely by my love for this work and the energy and appreciation I get from those I help. If I’m not helping you, please don’t feel the need to make that known to me. There’s one of me and thousands of you. For every person out there who is irritated by a phrase I utter, there are many who needed to hear it.
Please participate in this community in a productive way or do not participate at all. I’m a real, live person and I am not a punching bag.
There. Now I can simply refer future haters to this post. I’ve been wanting to get this down on paper for years.
Kiss of peace, PB
Hi, my name is Vicki. I am very lucky to be on vacation this month, but I am committed to writing every day because it is my spiritual practice. I have a dog and a cat and great friends, and I serve a lovely congregation of New Englanders. I love to cook, to eat, to read, to swim, to sing and dance and act, to study and to learn. I work as hard as I can because I am not sure how long I will have this level of energy, passion and health and I want to use it well while I have it. Like most other humans, I respond well to love and flourish in a supportive environment. I am, at heart and by vocation, a teacher and a leader. This puts me “out there” in deep and risky ways, a fact that most people seem to appreciate and respect even when they don’t agree with me. I am going to a meeting now, and you should know that I skipped dinner so I could write this post.