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A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

The man in black

It's a miserable, hot, drought-stricken summer here in the Midwest. On Monday I had some shut-in calls to make as well as some errands to run. These were to take me in different directions so I figured I could do the errands first and skip the clergy uniform, then head for home to get dressed for the shut-in calls. It has been so hot and sunny out that just making a few stops, walking from the car to the store, etc., will sweat you right through your collar. But then I recalled that the last time I had been out on errands that way, I had run in to a parishioner I had been wanting to talk to and was glad that I was dressed appropriately. So into the blacks I went. I didn't see any parishioners, but the checker at the store did say to me, "You are a priest, right?"

"A Lutheran priest, yes."

"Well, I have a question I've been wanting to ask. . . "

This happens all the time. It's one of the reasons I think it is important to dress my vocation when I'm out in public. There are many other reasons, too, but this is probably the controlling reason. So why don't "missional" folks go for a clergy uniform? Wouldn't it make them more accessible? Make witnessing easier?

Ah, but you forget that our target audiences are so different. I think it is important to dress my vocation so that those people who want a pastor can spot me if they need me. I dress as I do for the sake of the elect. I need to be visible to them because I am owned by them, I am their servant for Christ's sake. The missional/functional Arminian type is out to find the "unchurched." They want to talk to unbelievers, to the kind of folks who don't want to talk to a clergyman. So of course they can't dress like a clergyman.

Pr. H. R.9 Comments