I’ve been getting a kick out of Victoria Weinstein’s blog, Beauty Tips for Ministers. She’s been getting a lot of attention lately, including a Nightline segment. The subtitle to her blog is “Because you’re in the Public Eye, and God Knows You Need to Look Good.” It’s worth a look partly for the laughs her quirky writing style elicits in posts such as “Black Sneakers with Suits: Non, Non, Mon Freres.”
But she raises some real issues that leaders need to consider. In one post, she asks, “You must be willing to project not just sweetness and light and healing, but leadership, vision, trustworthiness. I know that you ARE a trustworthy and devoted leader, but does your body know that? Are you projecting it when you step into a room?” Whether you agree or disagree with her prescriptions (yes, they are prescriptions; NO reindeer sweaters or flip-flops, ever), I think she’s addressing an issue that can go deep for clergy leaders. Are we really willing to be leaders and to act like leaders? Sometimes the way clergy dress can express something of our desire to be one of the community, and our unwillingness to step forward with the kind of clear leadership that is required for a congregation to truly move forward. Clothes are not the most important part of leadership, but leadership itself and being willing to take a stand as a leader is (and, by the way, clothing sometimes helps us).