...I LOVE my jeans. One of the things I loved most about the job I held for 12 years before going to seminary was the freedom to work in a professional context where bluejeans were acceptable. And crocs. And - OH MY GOSH - can you believe it? Even the occasional untucked shirt.
Today, we received an email from the new administration at St. Meinrad outlawing jeans. ARGH!!! What? You mean its possible to look professional, be taken seriously, be considered by others to be 'dressed appropriately' in bluejeans and an untucked shirt? Uh - YEAH! Welcome to the year 2008 (about ten years late...)!
But, you are being formed for the priesthood...the standards are different. Yes, I agree 100%. The standards ARE different. But WHICH standards. Could it be we spend so much time focusing on the externals that the internals are slipping? Could is POSSIBLY be that a life steeped in prayer, genuine love for the people of God, prayerful preparation for liturgy, a genuine availability to the flock he tends - could it possibly be that these things are more important to a man's ministry as a priest than whether or not he is DRESSED APPROPRIATELY?!?!?!!
Not to mention that from personal experience, the most effective ministry I've received from the priests in my life has most often come when they WEREN'T in 'chapel dress'. Eye to eye, person to person, priest (who is a 'real person' called to the vocation of priesthood, but a real person who - GASP - wears bluejeans) to parishoner...
Case in point: Fr. Wil (my supervising pastor for the summer assignment here in Pikeville) wears a clerical shirt for masses. Period. The rest of the time he dresses casual - and the people appreciate it. And so do I.
OK - I'm done ranting. Truth is, I love St. Meinrad - and I hate change. I'm intensely insecure about the complete transformation of the administration there. Not only is there a new Rector - but almost all of the administration and formation staff have changed in one broad reaching swoop. And that makes me nervous, because I wonder if the St. Meinrad I've come to love will be there when I return from the summer. And (did I mention it??) I hate change.
So...even something 'simple' like "No more jeans" freaks me out a little.
...THIS must be why I need five more years (at least) of formation before I could even consider seeking ordination. ARG!! Pray for me folks.