Monday, September 10, 2007

To paint or not to paint?

Ok, so I've had at least 4 conversations in the last month about female clergy (specifically me) painting my toes and wearing sandals to church on Sunday. The bigger issue is certainly the shoe choice and not the shades of hot pink and red I like in the summer-- I think. I also think someone is paying way too much attention to their clergy and not enough to Jesus, but I am trying to be open.

SO, what do you think? Are open-toed shoes taboo on Sunday morning?


Anonymous said...

For me, it's mostly comfort. I've gotten a bit more shoe-savvy in the last few years (something about having a paycheck which means I can afford to buy shoes now!), but I still seek out comfort for Sunday mornings. I haven't found a comfortable open toe that I think looks nice enough to wear with albs (without looking like Hippie Jesus or someone).

That being said, I often have a second pair of 'cute' shoes to change into, and if a female colleague who was otherwise properly attired (Lord almighty, spare us from the seminarians in mini-skirts! Seen it all summer in CPE. Not. Good.), I would have no problem with her open-toed shoes.

Of course, Dr. Kryder of LMA used to say that the celebrant should become invisible...

I suppose I'll stick with my two-pair of shoes Sundays, but more power to those who stretch the boundaries.

Betsy T

PS- by "comfortable", I still mean "decent". My Mary Jane Crocs will never see the inside of my church! Likewise my Tevas, and flipflops, and running sneakers. Unless the Bishop of CT decides to relocate the Bishop's Run to my parish.

Virtual Vicar said...

Yes, some people have way too much random attention span issu ... ooooh look at the bird!

With that being said, I was ordained in strappy black sandals. If it was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me.

Rev Dr Mom said...

I'm late to this but I will jump in anyway and say that I wear sandals all summer with my toenails painted. And I wear a toe ring.

I'm in a place where casual is accepted especially in summer. If I'm pushing the envelope, no one has told me.

I'm an Episcopal priest so I still have on full vestments w/ black clergy shirt and usually linen pants or a linen skirt.

I don't want to do anything distracting or too flashy but I also don't think we should be less than ourselves. It's not about us, and we do in a sense become invisible but we're still us--all that God calls us to be and to deny that is to deny something essential about ourselves and our priesthood.

Allison said...

Well, I guess I'm alone on this one...but I never wear open toed shoes on Sunday. I wear them to work during the week all the time, but not Sunday morning.

For me it's about distributing bread to kneeling people who have feet in their direct line of vision. Although my toes are always painted and my feet well kept, many LEMs are not so attentive to their feet. And nothing is grosser on Sunday morning than receiving bread or wine from someone with cracked toenails and calloused feet. And it's a lot easier to tell LEMS to wear closed toe shoes if I'm wearing them myself.

apbs said...

i wear peep toe heels and flip flops (weird combo, i know) religiously. i sometimes wonder if the "too distracting" thing is a way of saying "too female." there are plenty of other distracting things going on in church besides my shoes/feet.

Anonymous said...

In theory, I have no issue with open-toed shoes, painted toenails, or anything of the sort, but I have found in practice that I get distracted by it. I'm still thinking about the blue polish I just saw when I was planning to be praying. But then, I'm among the easily distracted, despite my best efforts!

JenOfArc said...

Rather than being invisible, I prefer the term "transparent." People see through us to God. If you wear gold shoes then you will achieve icon status quite rapidly.

I was ordained in white sandals - but I wasn't serving communion to people kneeling at my feet. I don't want to see anyone's toes at the rail, so I don't show mine.

Ron Freyer-Nicholas, OSL said...

OK. So I'm male, clergy, nearing 60 and living in Florida. But I've found the "Panama" shirts from Toomey (Shrewsbury, Mass.) to be most comfortable for me. They're square-bottomed, so worn outside the pants, have the extra pockets down low (2 up, 2 down) and the collar tab inserts in such a way that the collar lies flat and neat when the tab is "out." (BTW, the Toomey shirts are $20 less than the Panama shirts from Almy.)

Also, I wear sandals nearly every day here year round, including with my alb & stole for worship on Sunday. No one seems to mind and many have actually said it's "neat." But our congregation worships in an igloo anyway, so it's not your typical church.

BTW, I DON'T paint my toenails, but one or two folks do notice, so I keep them trimmed neatly. ;)