So here's a picture of a small group of members of a Lutheran congregation with their pastor. Which one's the pastor? Not sure? Not surprising.
I've noticed that in recent times it's pretty common to see feature stories about pastors with their people, or pastors involved with various church projects, whether in Lutheran publications, or in the newspaper, and the accompanying picture shows the pastor in a simple open collared shirt, or a knit shirt, or something very casual.
To be sure, I might occasionally attend a council meeting dressed like this, and on a Friday I can routinely be seen in such clothes, but what I'm wondering about is whether pastors who are to be photographed as representatives of their churches ought to be so dressed.
Is the dressing down of clergyman a growing phenomenon?
First, they eschewed the clerical garb in favor of neckties and sports jackets; now they're removing those as well. Something tells me this is another little gnawing anticlericalism on the part of the clerics themselves, that is, that they want to affirm their membership in the priesthood of all believers and put off all sense of the office they hold.
While the office they hold is not one in which wielding authority over the people is becoming, that is a far cry from denying that they have authority. One would think that Christian people expect their pastors to be comfortable with this authority; after all, they come hear them on Sundays; they come to be trained, edified, comforted, encouraged, fathered. How can a pastor with no authority do those things? And how can a man who's uncomfortable in the garb which bespeaks the pastor's position be such a pastor?