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Gottesblog

A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

Extreme Heights

There is a crisis of extremes in our midst. Yes, right there in the middle of our midst. It's the dirty little "secret" that everyone has known, or suspected, but no one has wanted to blow the whistle on it. Where were the watchdogs when all of this was emerging?

Let the truth be told. There's no sense in denying it any longer:

Many LCMS pastors are not of average height.

That's right. Some of the pastors are shorter than average, a few of them significantly so. Other pastors are taller than average. I have it on reliable hearsay that a handful of pastors on the synodical roster are ridiculously tall. Add up all these deviant extremes, and we're talking about a sizable percentage of the ministerium. Men who have simply refused to grow to the standard stature, and other men who have obstinately outgrown their brethren.

Fr. Hollywood has confided in me that this is Dave's fault, and I suppose he's probably right. But, just to be different, I blame the seminaries. Seriously. They took these men on board, knowing that in all likelihood they simply weren't going to change their heights. Even the guys who came straight from college were already too set in their ways to get any taller or shorter. There's only so much one can do with attention to good posture. Some of the shorter fellows could probably make a go of becoming average by standing straighter, but who wants a tall man who slouches?

The seminaries had their chance to say "no" to these non-average guys at the end of their four years, when it was clear they weren't adapting. But, did the seminaries bite the bullet and make that tough decision? No, they did not. They just passed the nonconformists on to the Church at large. The upshot is that we now have pastors across a wide range of heights, from really short to really tall, and the honest men of average height are getting outnumbered.

The crisis hasn't stopped there. Not content to be shorter or taller than they should be, the extremists insist upon wearing other than average-sized vestments. The shorter pastors are wearing shorter vestments, and the taller pastors are wearing longer vestments.

Where, oh, where, is the uniformity of the good ol' days?

Don't give me the excuse that none of the rubrics specify the height of an orthodox Lutheran pastor. One doesn't need a rubric to know what's average. It simply is. Everyone knows how tall an LCMS pastor is supposed to be.

Maybe platform shoes would help the shorter guys be average. I have no idea what to do with the taller fellows. If only they'd be content to wear vestments of average length, I suppose we could snicker at the silliness of their appearance, and that could be a kind of penance for them.