We wouldn’t deny that we seem to have a nose for sniffing out the unusual, but even the church mice didn’t expect to find this website with beauty tips for female clergy. One of the more reasonably quotable bits of the blurb declares that ”if clergypeople believe that religious life is vital, relevant and beautiful, they should look the part” – you’ll have to look yourself to find the full story from PeaceBang, who describes herself as “stage mother to the clergy”. Aimed especially at females (though we did notice a reference to shaving creams, so – unless we’re missing something else! – the male variety aren’t altogether excluded), this website offers advice on everything from the appropriate clergy lipstick to robes that can be worn in bed as well as in church. Can they be serious? Well, apparently yes. Now the church mice wouldn’t wish to appear in public in a dishevelled and dirty state, and we would also recognize that the medium is indeed the message, in ministry as in everything else, and that God deserves our best …. etc etc. But ….
It’s easy to question all this from a feminist perspective, and note that here is yet one more expectation that female clergy now have to live up to – not just being spiritual superstars, but looking like fashionistas as well. It brings to mind all those male ministers we’ve encountered, whose robes not only hide a multitude of fashion crimes but also bear testimony to years of untreated BO. One law for the … well, you can write the rest of that sentence yourself! More importantly, perhaps, whatever happened to all those scriptural references to inner beauty and the importance of integrity, truthfulness, honesty, and goodness? And do you think Jesus would be regarded as suitable material for the cover of one of today’s fashion mags?