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« The Fires of Heaven | Main | Anna Aven: Locating the Narrative in Pop Culture »

May 20, 2004


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Boy, am I glad to be reading these posts!

I had posted near the end of the Part I blog awhile back, and thought it died there. Imagine my surprise and delight tonight when I saw 2 posts following mine -- and this Part II thread! Yea!

I am strongly considering adopting the wearing of the "Roman" collar with a black tabbed-collar shirt, for "official" ministerial duties, such as hospital visitations, counseling appts, etc -- but I would probably wear blue jeans and my black work boots, or black skechers.

I like the idea of easy recognizability and the whole "open for business" model, but also appreciate the comments re: "why don't we just have all Christians wear collars".

I'm wondering about that too. On one hand I understand the "everybody gets to play" idea. On the other hand, certain folks are "set apart for the ministry" a la Paul & Barnabus. And Paul is pretty clear in Ephesians re: the 5-fold ministries given in order to build up the body at large. So to have one person be the primary teaching person does not seem counter to the "everybody gets to play" idea to me. It just means that, like Paul says, we're not all hands or ears -- but each of us is something. In the week-in and week-out functioning of a church community, some body parts are more visible, although no more important.

And, I think, the same is true as the church community expresses itself within the context of the society at large. If my role is more or less visible than another's, this in no way venerates nor subjugates one's value in or to the Kingdom.

But, as I mentioned in my post to Part I, my scrubs send a message re: the role I play as an RN. Likewise, I think (at times, at least) wearing a collar could be a good thing, for some -- myself included!

Now for the hard part -- where do you find one? I googled a bit and came up with a few sites, but they were all pretty hard to navigate. Would a regular "uniform store" carry them perhaps, or do I need to find a "Religious Haberdashery" type place?

~ Keith

Roman collar is a symbol of being a servent. In ancient times there was a custom that a slave wore a collar as a symbol of being in service to his owner. If it happened that a slave gained freedom he was allowed to stay at home of his master wearing a white cloth collar. Paul adopted that image in his theology. He claimed that Christians are slaves to Christ. For the laster Church, a priest became an image of a perfect slave to Christ. The outcome of this theology was that priests started wearing collars as the ancient freed slaves. But today this is above all a symbol of an organized religion, representing the Church in the world.
My advice: you can wear what you want but that it is not going to save you.

Just this past week I mentioned to a seminary buddy of mine that I thought we should try wearing a collar. He has a Roman Catholic upbringing and I come from a tradition (Protestant) that has recently shunned any forms of religiosity to "appear" as "normal" as the next guy.

Well, I have a different take on it...There is a professor at my school that has said that this post-Christian society we find ourselves in isn't intimidated or scared of the church. To be scared of something would be admitting its power. The church holds no power anymore and I'm not sure that a collar would be that objectionable. Some of the youth don't have either a good or bad experience of "organized" religion, and therefore might be open to talking to someone not afraid to represent, genuinly, their calling.

Anywhoo, these are just some of my thoughts...I haven't read all of the posts...are you wearing the collar?


Checking in -- glad to see this post still running.

I am not yet wearing one -- mainly because I don't know where to buy 'em!

If/when I buy one, I would not wear it all the time -- I would have it handy for traffic accidents, ect -- incidents where being readily identified as "clergy" would be handy. I would also wear it to preach sometimes -- just 'cause I could!

Hi Im Ptr. Jerlo Jaropillo and Im an Assmblies of God pastor and I pfrefer to wear a clerical collar and I want to incorage some other pentecostal or Assemblies of God pastors to wear this clergy collar. So that we may be identified as the ministers of the gospel not as a priest of the Roman Catholic Church.

Some of our pastors in Assemblies of God are not wearing this its becouse they think its only for the priest. But they are wrong its for the ministers of the gospel of Christ. We evangelical pastors must wear this clergy collar so that we may be identify to our vocation.

I am a Church of Scotland minister in Glasgow, Scotland.

What does the dog collar say to those who are not Christians? If it says this person speaks for God / is to be trusted / is to be believed / is like Jesus - then it is a very dangerous thing: 1) because all of these are untrue for many who wear the collar. 2) it gives the impression we are all saying the same thing, when in fact we are often saying very different things.

But I agree with Benjy that there is an age issue here. I conducted a survey with teenagers in a high school (‘What is the first thing that comes into your mind when I say ...?’) In answer to ‘dog collar’, out of 129 only 27 associated it with something positive; kindness, helpfulness, church (though ‘church’ was not positive for all of them. 102 associated it with something which was negative: power, institution, hypocrisy, irrelevant, old, show-off. Worst of all 17 associated it with abuse – in discussion afterwards the link seemed to be collar – priest – abuse.

Maybe Cyprian and the Reformers were right after all!

I've been wearing my collar for 32 years, off and on, and many time it offends people. Some seem to want to challenge me regarding what parts of the bible I remember as to what they can. I have a head injury and at times cab't. They have to challenge, not respect. A shame!

I began wearing a clerical collar over 12 years ago. My first experience hooked me. I used to carry an eight foot cross through town every Friday night to the local beach where young people hung out. Carrying that cross got me stares, opportunities to witness - I could see conviction fall across some faces and hope come across others. When I began wearing a collar I got virtually the same responses. That hooked me. I do not wear a protestant collar - I am a post-protestant catholic. I wear a catholic collar, and it does make a difference. Fortunaltely I can honestly present myself as a catholic priest becasue our communion, the Charismatic Episcopal Church, has a strong Roman Catholic succession (considered valid but irregular).

We Orthodox have a slightly differetn take (of course).

First, the "collar" is not really Orthodox. Some Orthodox jurisdictions disdain it completely, others have embraced it, but most see it as an alternative to traditional clergy attire. The Riassa or cassock....usually black.

2nd, there is no "option." We are supposed to wear it at all times, because we are always a deacon, a presbyter, a bishop. It is not a way to get people to notice you....although they do. Its an obedience. And while if often has the advantages talked about in this post and comments, it has its disadvantages. You ccan never just "blend in." I think I'll blog on this whole thing, as there is a lot I could say about it.

Bottom line, even though I work a secualr job (which has its own uniform), I strive to obediently wear my cassock (or collar) at all times in the community. I can never forget I am a servant in the house of the Lord....pretty humbling thought.

I have a qustion.,
To a priest even they are not a bishop they are allowed to wear this clerical collar thing.
But when it comes to a Pastor especially a Assemblies of God minister is it okay to wear this even you are not yet a Bishop?

I need your response. ASAP

Ck with your bishop.

Blessings and peace in the name of Christ! I am a Free Methodist pastor that uses clericals ALL THE TIME!! Actually, I'm even going to start using the Alb for Holy Communion Services. The Free Methodist Church claims the Universal Church Councils and the Creeds as part of its heritage. Our Communion Ritual is based on the 1662 BCP. Most of our parishes light candles!!! Oh, and we're Ecumenical...So, I guess it's just a matter of instructing the parish members through pastoral means. Hey, if someone doesn't like it: you can't please everyone!!! Go for it is too short to be so concerned about clerical skirts...oops, did I just say that? :)

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