Rock And Roll Cult Leader: Clergy Image Audit

What is happening right now in St. Louis is horrifying. The rage of the community in response to the acquittal of former officer Jason Stockley after murdering Anthony Lamar Smith is real, the trauma is real, the militarized, lying police force is real. Clergy presence, witness and leadership is important and admirable.

That said, this combination of magenta vestments and Wayfarers is jarring. My first thought upon seeing the image out of context was, “What cult is this rock star leading?”

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A suit and clericals would have been a better choice.

Solidarity with you, St. Louis.

3 Replies to “Rock And Roll Cult Leader: Clergy Image Audit”

  1. I was moved and inspired hearing this man speak, and didn’t think about the message of the purple vestments at the time. I was more focused on the rivulets of sweat making their way down my back – DANG it was hot, so he must have been very miserable. This was an unusual prayer assembly & march, because it was organized by none other than the Most Rev. Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis. His stole overpowered his suit a bit, but otherwise looked pretty good. Some found his remarks tepid, but according to a friend who has been pushing him to speak out on racial justice for YEARS, just getting him to utter the words “No justice, no peace” was enormous. The gent pictured is the Right Rev. George Wayne Smith, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, and his message was even stronger. I’m picturing priests all over the city being able to quote these high-powered guys, and influencing their congregations. There’s some hope for you. The black clergy present, as usual, were the most put-together, beautifully suited-up representatives of God you will ever see. I was not speaking, but responded to a call for clergy to attend. I didn’t wear my collar or a stole – I decided to go at the last minute. I wore a tailored, sleeveless belted dress with some smart, pointy flats. Looked good, but I could have been an insurance agent on her lunch break. Pro tip: smart, pointy flats become pinchy and miserable after a few blocks of marching.

  2. Thank you so much for the information and the first-hand account. Prayers are with you in St. Louis. Pointy flats look good but dang, marching in them must not be fun.
    Love you.

  3. Just found another item re: a bishop’s cassock–it’s worn on non-Eucharistic occasions, so there’s that.

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