My Photo

My Online Status

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 08/2003


« Love, Humility and Reconciliation | Main | If We Are the Body »

June 22, 2005


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Amazing that this is still drawing attention two years later! First, a sidenote: wow, Mike! Pulling the "me and Jesus" card! I guess I'll take my chances on Judgment Day, brother.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I've noticed a few things. First, clerical garb carries different connotations for evangelical Protestants than for Catholics, Orthodox, etc. Protestants seem OK wearing the collar when they can take it off. Catholics have more pressure to wear it all the time. I sympathize with both impulses. If we've been called, we're always on call. Pastors are always pastors, even at 3am.

Second, evangelical Protestants (and I reluctantly admit that description) still have issues with the clergy/laity divide. For some, the collar implies clericalism. Clericalism seems to equate Church with clergy. Moreover, it implies that clergy are better than laity. We need to overcome this elitist notion while maintaining a hold on Christian leadership as expressed in Scripture and accented by Christian tradition. Like it or not, we ordain leaders to do a DIFFERENT kind of work on behalf of the community. Not better work; different work. Ordained ministers administer the Word through preaching and sacraments. Leadership happens whether we formally acknowledge it at not. The most dangerous sort of leadership I see is the personality-driven leadership that emerges in churches with a free church orientation (usually Charismatic circles).

Third, I think it's remarkable that so many charismatic (note the little "c") leaders - again in Charismatic circles (note the capitalized "C")- take up the collar as a sign of authority. I see this most often in African-American Charismatic leaders. Simultaneously, white Protestants often seem eager to shed robes and collars for dress shirts or polos in order to deemphasize their authority.

Finally, for those of us in traditions which ordain women (Methodists), the collar can be a powerful symbol of the authority the church has invested in this individual. When my wife is ordained, I'd love for her to wear a collar if context will allow.

I look forward to more thoughts on this.

Cheap scrubs
One day, I would like to look my friend in a local hospital. I’m not alone, but with my friends, many friends. So because of our noise disturb the medical patient, the security wish us silent.
While we are sitting down in the park, a friend ask us he tell why the nurses, their uniforms is different each other and different in work hours. So how many uniform they have? Another friend then stands up and said, if they have many different uniforms, it means they spent much money to buy it. That’s why their have high salary. I cut the speaking automatically then said, they buy the uniforms in big scale. I ever heard that they buy it through internet. The prices are very competitive but the online store is lower.
To improve my statement, a friend comes to a nurse and ask her that where they buy the uniform. In a moment, a nurse was surprised but later she answered that she didn’t know exactly but she also heard that their management buy from the online store, or or is that name. The store is leading on the medical uniform supplied, the nurse said. She continues their uniform design is great I am being cute by this uniform. My friends also fell like me. Our doctors also like the uniform because of simple, soft and air circulation.
When we back home, I browse in internet, to find where the Cheap Scrubs. The nurse is right. I have to see before believe. The store sell medical product, especially uniforms. The first time I have to find is price. I was surprise that the price average is lower then $ 10 USD. The second one is the design. The nurse is also right.
My sister is a Special Education teacher. She teaches little kids with special needs. And in her school, all Special Education teachers, shadow teachers as well as pre-school teachers are required to wear scrubs. They can wear different colors of scrubs and even different designs. I asked my sister why they would wear scrubs. I often see this get up being worn by nursing students and other medical students, nursing aides in hospitals, some nurses, and even doctors especially when they are going to the operating room. I also see this being worn by doctors in television shows.
My sister told me that scrubs are being used by teachers like her to avoid uniforms with buttons. There are times when a kid throws a tantrum and he or she might rip a button from a teacher’s uniform. You know little kids, they think colorful objects are candies so they might swallow it or worse, put it inside their noses or ears. So a scrub is a perfect uniform for teachers like my sister.
My sister had a hard time looking for a scrub set before. Had we known about, we wouldn’t have had a hard time looking for scrub suits. You might be looking for scrub sets as well.

I wear clericals daily for many of the reasons stated in this 3 part series. On the rare days that I do not wear my collar, I am so aware of how "anonymous" I feel and wonder if I can, perhaps, slack off a bit. Now, in the neighborhood most folks recognize me without the collar.

For me, however, wearing the collar reminds me that I am always "on duty" and that gives me a joy that is too deep for words.

I am enjoying this blog....just found it today.

Very interesting thread. I'm a seminarian looking to ordination in the Anglican Communion. My natural protestant inclination has been to dislike clerical collars as such--associating it with "clericalism" that old idea that priests were somehow better and more holy than the rest of us. However, I'm coming to realize the collar is a uniform--helping identify someone's calling.

A Dr. in a hospital always wears a labcoat (except House on TV)--as it makes him easily identifiable to those who need him. We are surrounded by people who need clergy...hence we should let them know who we are (or will be, in my case).

It's great this thread is still going after 3 years eh?

I would like to know exactly what is a "clerical dickey" though. Google was no help...

Interesting comments and nice to read.

Why I wear clericals
I do not dress to please myself, or anyone else; my manner of dress facilitates my service as an interfaith minister. It makes my function obvious to strangers. It makes my duties inescapable, and it constrains my personal conduct. In addition it may serves as a ministry of presence, which may calm and constrain others conduct. I dress to humbly serve the Lord.
Clergy shirts (black shirts with white tabs) are actually of Protestant origin. The Rev. Dr. Donald McLeod of the Protestant Church of England invented the neckband shirt style in 1827. Protestant clergy had been wearing the clericals for quite some time. The Roman Catholic Church did not adopt them as street wear for clergy until the late 1800’s. The term "Roman Collar" refers to a style and is not meant to insinuate that the wearer is Roman Catholic. The other two styles are the “Anglican Collar” which has a wider white square and the “Banded Collar” which is white all the way around. The shirts come in several colors (black, gray, white, blue, purple) with black being the most common; purple/maroon is only worn by bishops.

George Schubel

So appreciated your comments. I was aware of the origin of clericals, but believed that it was significantly later when Roman Catholics began using them. In my Methodist tradition, the banded collar seemed to have been the most widely used.

The "ministry of presence" appeal makes a good deal of sense to me -- esp. in situations where people are hurting, stunned, confused, etc.


Its funny. I grew up in a variety of churches and denominations, all my life, and never once picked up the idea that clergy were somehow elite or better than laity. It was always obvious to me, however, that clergy had a very different role than the laity. Set apart for special (not better) purposes, it made perfect sense that clergy would dress differently.

And this is true regardless of denominational affiliation. They all make a point of "calling out" clergy for a specialized ministry. Outward, visible signs of this "calling" and setting apart make perfect sense, whether that's a clerical collar or cassock or some other symbol.

The cries of "clericalism!" and "elitist!" seem to me to be the loudest out of the mouths of folks who have an axe to grind. And as a gay man - now ordained - I can certainly understand the need to grind axes.

But this is what I know: when I wear my collar (most days - though sometimes I need to do laundry and don't have a clean clergy shirt!), I am reminded of my vows every time it chafes or pinches my neck. And those vows, in turn, remind me of the vows I reiterated when I was confirmed. My collar reminds me that I am not my own and that I am about the work of One greater than whatever mundane task I might be engaged in. It has been an almost physical restraint on my behavior at times, very truly a "collar"!

I also know that when I walk into a restaurant or the grocery store or pump gas, people see the collar - not me - and are reminded of the presence of the Church in that place. If the Church in their life has been doing its job, then they are also reminded of the presence of God in the highways and by-ways of life. We know, of course, that God is there already, but a reminder at the gas pump is an important benefit of my collar.

The collar has also lead to pastoral encounters on the street, requests for help that led to referrals to social service agencies and the knowledge that the "church" cared about that person in that moment.

And, finally, I have a shaved head and goatee and pierced ears and a pink triangle on my car and on my lapel. When people see me, in particular, in that collar, they discover that the Church is, perhaps, not what they were taught. And young gay kids see that the Church is a place where even they can belong and lead.

For me, the clergy collar isn't an option. like someone said earlier in this thread - its a discipline, part of the costs of answering this call and living this life.

Now if I could just find a good guayabera shirt with a clerical collar. Almy's sucks.

Jonathon Edwards,

Please explain to me about the pink triangle, what does it represent?

It has been an almost physical restraint on my behavior at times, very truly a "collar"!


The comments to this entry are closed.