yes those beautiful things: aka dog collars.
Invented, according to wikipedia, in 1827. A mere extension of the practice, since 1215, of requiring clergy to be specially dressed while out in public, for the purposes of easily identifying them.
Are there rules about who gets to wear them? I know, everyone's just jostling in line to get one of these stylish things around their necks... well the Catholics clearly have rules -- priests, bishops, deacons, seminarians under certain circumstances and approvals. Protestants are a little more relaxed, and most of us allow women into the club. But nevermind those conventions. I looked it up in the PC(USA) Directory For Worship - the darn things aren't even mentioned once.
But there is one cardinal rule, as passed down in pastorly coffee klatches: "never wear one in an airport." Catholic or no, you will hear confession all day long. You will have no private space or time. Everyone will want to tell you the reasons why they do or do not attend church, or what denomination is better than another.
I am CONSIDERING a grievous infraction of that particular rule. Between a CPM meeting in December and my appointment to appear before Presbytery in January to be upgraded to Candidacy (assuming I don't get caught in the heresy-filter before then), I plan to do little other than ride the train around seeing friends. I'm talking major train journeys here... across the nation several times, courtesy of Amtrak's "USA Rail" month-long pass. And the idea is to make this into an exercise in ministry. Wear the collar, sit in the cafe car, drink tea and look out the window, see who wants to talk.
This exercise might
(A) cut down on the skeevy guys hitting on me
(B) create great confusion as to my identity (keep in mind that I still manage to look around 19 years old) (plus, does anyone really know what "seminarian" means?)
(C) make me very tired of talking to people
(D) be an amazing, blog-worthy adventure in Meeting America
What do you think?