A Word To The Creepers

I got permission from my friend, the Rev. Kaji Dousa, to share a pointed Facebook post she wrote last week when she was attending a conference. The sad thing is that although we could read this as a bit of “hot goss,” it’s a strong statement that could have been written by many of us while at many church conferences.

Time is UP, boys.

We’re not going to giggle and dodge your icky hugs, your ass gropings, your comments about our boobs, your sexist put-downs and come-ons. We’re going to look you in the eye and say, “Who the hell do you think you are, and who do you think you’re talking to?”

We’re not just going to share what happened to us through the whisper network, we’re going to organize a formal response and report you. We are going to hold you accountable for behaving like a pig, and we’re going to make sure that you are no longer allowed to be a malignant presence that assures that women remain on the margins of our work and our gatherings.

Women are gathering power and learning how to use it. Some of you who have been getting away with your predatory behavior for years will no doubt pout and whine and claim that you are the victim of a witch hunt. To that I will respond with the words of Lindy West, “Yes, this is a witch hunt. I am a witch, and I’m hunting you.”

Kaji wrote,

I am delighted to be at this conference (& anywhere else, for that matter) to learn and grow.

I am the Senior Pastor of a church with a multi-million dollar annual budget. This means that most of my peers are men. I will talk to them. Do not assume or presume anything in these conversations except collegiality.

So no, my conversation with my friend/colleague should not be characterized as him talking to his “girlfriend”. Comments like this are a clear attempt to diminish my power and to put me in my “place” so that I cannot network and speak to the men with whom I need to be in collegial relationship. I am not here for this, nor should you be.

If I am friendly to you I am not flirting with you. There are no exceptions to this.

My attention to my aesthetics is not an invitation for sexual advances.

I am *NOT HERE* to hook up with you or anyone else.

So don’t test me with a lingering hand or an inappropriate joke. I may choose to laugh things off to diffuse tensions but that is not affirmation that you should try more.

Do not presume anything but my integrity and my fidelity to my vows. If you forget about this, you have permission to allow the unmistakably bright rocks on my left finger (though this shouldn’t be necessary) to serve as a reminder.

Just because you remove your ring before conferences (yes, this is a thing) doesn’t mean that the rest of us do or want to.

I thought that this would get better once I got married but then I remembered that no one is safe.

If any of this describes your behavior towards me or something you witnessed, please don’t slide into my DMs or corner me in the hallway with comments, excuses or apologies. I’m so accustomed to all of this that I’m not even mad. All I want is for this to stop. Don’t explain. Just do better.

And finally, for God’s sake: do not pet my foot. (!!!)

Alright. Carry on.


Don’t look for a sparkling ring on our left hand, either. None of us, married or not, are at conferences to provide cruising material for you. Stop sexualizing our encounters. Don’t hold me for an extra long hug: yuck. If I am charming, gregarious, engaged and cute it doesn’t mean I want to sleep with you. If I do want to venture into that territory I will let you know directly because I’m a grown-ass woman and not a target. In twenty-two years of ministry I have briefly dated one colleague. When he first propositioned me he was in final fellowship, still married, and I was a seminarian. I’ve learned a lot since then. I did tell him off at the time but I also should have reported him to the Association. He was a charming, self-effacing and serial violator of professional boundaries.

I am grateful to Kaji and to all the other women in ministry who support each other in dealing effectively with the pervasive culture of objectification and sexism in our collegial circles. Thank you also to the men and trans folk who speak up and out against this harrassment, who do not protect predators and who do not constantly expect women to do all the emotional labor addressing this issue. Thank you to the conscientious leaders within our denominations who are working to change structures of reporting and accountability for greater impact and health in our ministry.

Looking forward to hearing from other women in the comments. Cis-het men,it would be good if you would sit this one out and just listen.

If we’re not really close friends, don’t come at me like this. If I want to hug you I can make the first move.

Be Pure Of Sole

Hello honey heads, how have you been?

There you are at the thing: the meeting, the service, the protest, the potluck. You have washed up and shined up and showed up. You are engaged. You are grateful and gracious.

You have put together an outfit that you feel respects the occasion. You have ironed your shirt. You have chosen outerwear that reflects your leadership role and is a a few steps above a squall parka. You have brushed the dandruff and animal fur off of your shoulders.

When you did your head-to-toe prayerful preparation for where you needed to be, did you get all the way down to your feet?

I have almost forgotten to review my feet a few times recently and came close to attending an important occasions with mud on my boot heels. I really would have been mortified if someone had noticed the dirt, and I know someone would have. That is not okay. Even in this cursed generation of leggings worn as pants, dirty shoes at solemn occasions is not acceptable unto the Lord.

Microfiber cloths are a fantastic way to clean up your shoes and boots. I have a stack of white ones in my bathroom for make-up removal (they’re miraculous at getting rid of everything, even mascara, with just warm water!) and they work great with a little water or micellar water on dirty or dusty shoes. The micellar water is also a gentle make-up remover but works as a nice face freshener (I like to wipe it under my eyes after a nap or long day) or on any leather products.

Now, if you’re wearing lug soles, please do not come into any building tracking dirt. If muddy hiking boots are your usual workaday wear because you’re doing ministry in a rural environment (and if you’re not, you have no excuse for wearing muddy hiking boots!), take them off in church and have shoes to change into. That also goes for social events in people’s homes, restaurants, community centers, houses of worship and Knights of Columbus halls. Unless you’re doing a part-time ministry with a side gig as a lumberjack, don’t wear muddy hiking boots while pastoring. You ain’t that rugged.

Annie Spratt from Unsplash

Evoking Clericals But Not Actually Wearing Them: In Praise Of The Mock Neck

Some of us wear the dog collar on the daily, some of us don’t. For those who don’t but who want to evoke the sense of a collar (with the associated historical resonance, evocation of religious authority), the mock-neck is a great option.

I have been looking for a decent mockneck (nice fabric, tunic length, sleeveless) for ages and found one yesterday on WAY sale at JJill and ordered one in black:

It’s a rayon woven fabric so has a more of a formal drape than a cotton blend, which is important. FAWTY PERSENT OFF, KIDS!

Also a perfect neckline if you want to wear a religious symbol (flaming chalice pendant, for example).
A lovely person just bequeathed unto me an amazing hamsa necklace from Morocco. It’s about 6″ long and this neckline will be a wonderful backdrop for it.

Men can do the same thing: a mockneck is less sporty than a turtleneck and is a nice, tailored option for a sports jacket if you don’t want to wear a tie.

Darker colors are always more elegant. Fabric blends are important, too — look for something with some richness to it and dry clean rather than throw in the wash.

Waistcoat and Clericals: WERK IT

Hello, lovelies! I am BACK! I was in Israel and Palestine and then Paris for eighteen days, and as you can imagine the pre- and post- trip busyness was REAL.

I did find time to attend an ordination last weekend which provided me fodder for a few posts, and I know I owe many of you responses to great e-mail queries. Mea culpa! I’m still here for you!

Now, let’s talk about how I got the Rev. Isaac Everett to pose like a male model for me. I didn’t! He just naturally knew how to strike a pose. He is fab.

The thing to note here is the vest, or waistcoat, as the Brits call it (pronounced “westcut” if you’re fancy).


I think it adds a really nice touch because it fits and matches. This isn’t just about throwing on a vest. It is about putting together a polished, monochromatic, grown-up look. The blacks match. The vest fits around waist and chest. The details are attended to. His hair is done in a current style. The good reverend is groomed and impressive. I think Isaac could dress up the shoe a bit with this ensemble but his are fine.

Here he is with the ordinand, the newly-minted Rev. Sam Teitel laying on some mutual blessing. Sam is also really beautifully dressed. I think that his stole is gorgeous, and lately I feel an extra pull to more monochromatic looks. One of the participants in the service, an extremely tall man, was wearing a hugely voluminous robe that was literally a coat of many colors — blazing, actually — and it struck me as upstaging, domineering and actually garish. That’s a personal opinion. Ordinations are celebratory and it’s appropriate to wear colors, of course (I just learned myself that red is the traditional color for ordinations in my tradition, which I had not previously had any idea about. How’d I miss that?). However, the year 2017 does not feel to me like a time for the sporting of borderline wackadoodle frippery. His robe felt Carnivalesque to me, and Lord knows we’re not in any Carnivale right now. In fact, we’re in Lent, liturgically and nationally.
HOWEVAH, I’m sure there were many who thought the vestment was wonderful, happy and fun and entirely suiting the occasion.

I am not going to say “here’s some hot man-on-man blessing action” because that really would be too irreverent even for PeaceBang, even though that’s exactly what I said to Sam and Isaac on Sunday.
Warmest wishes to the new minister and to all of you.



(Nice hem job on Sam below)




Men’s Clothes: Best Deals For Basics?

Gents of the cloth, Emily is asking for her reverend husband: what are you best go-to’s for wardrobe staples? They need to be decently made, of course. And I always like to put in a pitch for American-manufactured.

Best sales? Best stores, on-line or otherwise? Enlighten us, please!