Before You Kneel In Servant Leadership…

Darlings, I know we are in the middle of Holy Week. I know you are working your faithful buns off. Your hot cross buns, that is.

But please, before you kneel before people tonight to wash their feet, PLEASE please see to the grooming and cleanliness of your own hands. I am still genuinely sad to see clergy hands that are unpresentable in civilized society. Guys, please clip your nails short and if you wear them longer, make sure they are incredibly clean.

The same goes for everyone. If you are a nail or cuticle chomper, clean up the dead skin and maybe even go in for a manicure.

I’m also going to say this, because it makes me sad: is it such a big deal to wash our hair? I have pretty long hair that needs to be blow-dried and God knows I don’t always get out there with clean hair but I do make an effort with dry shampoo. Someone wrote me recently and asked if there was a head covering I would recommend that would be appropriate for the pulpit for dirty hair days, and I am still thinking about that. I think I’m having trouble with it because I don’t think that preaching should ever be a “dirty hair day” activity if we can possibly help it.

I still see male colleagues all the time who have greasy or dandruffy scalps and hair so dirty you can smell it when you hug them. Why is that? I do not understand this. It’s so sad. Are you okay?

Basic hygiene, my friends. I know it’s a hard time. Please at least try to bathe and shampoo. C’mon. We can do at least that, can’t we?

2 Replies to “Before You Kneel In Servant Leadership…”

  1. Just to let you know. I have at multiple times in my life felt ashamed about dandruff. No matter how much I washed, or the special shampoos I’ve used, it was very visible. Later in my adult life I learned from a dermatologist that I had an allergic condition (dermatitis) that promoted dandruff. With medication I can usually manage it, but I sometimes have flare ups. And then I become very anxious that I am being viewed by others as dirty.

    Yes, I agree with you that good grooming is a responsibility of those in leadership. But some of us who have problems with dandruff have these problems no matter how well we groom. For anybody in that boat, I encourage you to consult your dermatologist. There may be medical options that will promote your comfort (RE: allergic itch and scalp irritation) as well as your appearance. And for those of you who see one of those guys with a dandruffy scalp, please bear with us tenderly. All may not be as (unwashed) as it first appears.
    [GOOD point and thanks for writing in! And if you have a dandruff issue, does it help to wear lighter clothes so it doesn’t show as much? – PB]

  2. Oh yes about the lighter clothing! It helps that I am also working for a church where the tradition is that pastors never wear robes. So I don’t have to worry about dandruff on a black Geneva robe. If I am suffering a flare up I do not wear black or dark brown clothing! I shift to a jacket or vest that is light gray, and to dress shirts that are white or light blue. Why draw attention to my medical nuisance? At the very least the shift in clothing allows me to do my work with less distraction about how I am perceived, and thus with a more confidence.

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