Thursday, January 21, 2010

Vague Comments on Liturgy and Rings

Do you ever wonder about... stuff? Inconsequential, unimportant, details of life, things that don't really matter, but are you curious about why this habit or how that mannerism came into being? Sometimes I notice things and ponder them for a while.

Recently, I spent time with a friend who is blind. We were chatting, and somehow I started commenting about men's jewelry. A Lutheran pastor whom we both know happens to wear four rings on his fingers. Four! I said that I can't think of any Baptist pastors who wear anything beyond a wedding band. Come to think of it, the male clergy with whom I've been acquainted seem to fall into two groups. The "liturgical" ones are likely to wear jewelry and show a little more style in haircut and clothing than the "fundamentalist" pastors.

Am I getting myself into hot water yet? I don't mean to insinuate anything negative or positive; I'm just writing about what I think I've noticed. These comments are subjective and are based on my personal observations in a limited geographic region.

The liturgical pastors may take a liberal or a conservative view of Scripture and theology. Either way, they are still more stylish than their fundamentalist counterparts. Around the Pacific Northwest, the fundamentalists are currently leaning toward more casual attire. Blue jeans and open collars are proudly worn at Sunday services, without hiding behind a pulpit. (Pulpits and other churchy furniture are passe, as well.) Liturgical pastors might wear an extra ring or two, as well as a gold chain on the wrist or neck.

Fundamentalists, in my limited experience, do not own man-chains.

So, what do you think? Have you ever noticed pastors wearing or not wearing bling? Oh -- that brings up another point. The men I've been referring to would generally be white Americans. I'm not trying to be exclusionary, just trying to simplify my little study. How come it's okay for some clergymen to wear jewelry and have interesting hair styles, but not okay for others? What else defines these micro-sub-cultures? Any ideas?


Aaron and Heather said...

Wow- I hardly know what to say as this is not a topic I have considered much. However, I can certainly tell you that, try as I might, I cannot envision my Baptist pastor hubby wearing any additional rings, and the thought of him in gold chains makes me giggle. The only time I've seen him with that much bling on was at 70's skate in college, and he also drew on additional chest hair with eyeliner to compliment the gold lion medallion.... :-)

Katharine said...

Hahahahahaha!!! Now my stomach hurts from laughing so hard! Does he still have the medallion? Thanks for making ME laugh, Heather!

Oh, man... if Aaron stands up to do announcements on Sunday... I'm toast!

Aaron and Heather said...

Oh yes, he's still the proud owner of that fine item! He thought maybe he'd wear it on Sunday... :-) He did clarify that he doesn't have to fake the chest hair now... :-) Oh, oh- I remember the first time Beth got a glimpse of that hair after she joined our family: She was wrestling with Aaron and his shirt came up a bit on his stomach. She leapt up away from him and indignantly exclaimed, "He's all hairy!"
I replied, "Well, yes, honey. He's a man and men often have hair on their bodies."
She looked up at me increduously. "You KNEW that?"

Katharine said...

Okay, I'm not going to be able to sleep until I write a conclusion to this sociological hypothesis. After several minutes of consideration and the consultation of one source, here it is:

Liturgical pastors are more likely to wear flashy jewelry, while their fundamentalist counterparts are in the bathroom painting chest hairs.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting.

Several weeks later as I sit in my warm comfortable house, I could maybe
pose that liturgical churches cater to a higher socio-economical group of people therefore it is natural for that pastor to reflect that group's habits and likes. More fundimental congregations where the pastors dress in simple clothes tend to reach out for a socio-economical group that has less money and therefore less discretionary money to buy jewelry.

Katharine said...

Aha... back to the serious sociological mood of the original post. Thanks, Dave, for your comments.

Other thoughts, anyone?