I kind of hate socks. And pants. If I could wear my Tevas and some cutoff jeans all the time, I would be among the happiest men on the planet. That said, I actually have a pair of socks that I’m actually quite fond of. They’re teal and yellow and black. Most of my socks are multicolored. I think I have some black ankle socks that I wear to “the gym.” (I don’t really go to the gym anymore, which is apparent at first sight, but that’s another story.)
I can’t seem to find socks that don’t have to be pulled up all the time. And for a man who wears skinny jeans, that’s a problem. They get all rolled up when I do anything. To write much more about it would be tedious for you to have to read. Well, except that when one wears skinny jeans, the socks definitely go on first. Or not at all. This pair of teal and yellow and black socks stay up pretty well, comparatively.
A great friend of mine gave this special pair of socks to me before he moved off to San Diego (a name completely ruined by Anchor Man. No, I will not quote it). I love him. These socks make me think of him. Because he’s a funny man and he’s one of the most supportive people I know.
I unintentionally wore these socks to an Epiphany service just last month. This service was special because not only we were celebrating the trek of the wise men who followed a star all the way to Jesus, but I was being set in at a church. Not as a permanent pastor or anything, but as the Liturgist. That’s just a fancy way of telling the people that I get to run Sunday’s liturgy and preach while the real pastor is in Rwanda, working on a book, because I have super cool friends like that.
Why am I doing this? Because I’m a reverend in the Anglican church now. That’s a fun story in and of itself.
Epiphany was celebrated on a Wednesday this year. Which means all the people who have regular-ish 8 to 5 jobs had to work before attending any service. Most of us got dressed for work that day after we woke up and went through our morning liturgies: hit the snooze button three times, wonder why Apple defaulted snooze to 9 minutes, shave or whatever, shower, do the hair and teeth stuff, put the clothing on, including your super awesome socks because you’re mostly thinking about work and then the other things that will be going on.
After work was over, I drove straight from my office to the building where this lovely church meets. I’d brought the shirt and the collar and stole and all that with me to work, with the intent to just change into them when I needed to. I’m super practical like that.
The service went well, the pastor who was about to leave the country for a number of months anointed me, gave me the keys to the building and preached an excellent sermon, then it was all over. It wasn’t until almost a week later that somebody asked me, “Were your socks flipping us off at church that night?”
My face burned red as soon as I realized that I had been wearing those teal and yellow and black socks, the ones with hands flipping the bird when I went to church that night. A small part of me wanted to laugh, but the rest of me panicked. I’m a reverend now. Can I get away with this kind of thing? Should I get away with it?
Reverent isn’t the first word someone would use to describe me. It’s not part of my reputation. I absolutely love Jesus with all of my heart, but there’s always something to laugh at. I smirk a lot at church and generally refuse to explain why.
I once had a woman from my old church flip her lid on me because I was wearing a shirt with a giant skull on it. Because I’m super edgy like that (please read that last statement as oozing with irony or sarcasm or something). She told me that symbols have power and I was celebrating death. Never mind all the stuff the bible says about dying, or that for centuries, theologians and pastors kept actual human skulls on their desks to remind them of death.
The point though is that shirts with skulls and socks with middle fingers, are they things that I should leave in the past? Have I subjugated any notion of reverence or holiness to being cool or just being myself? Because I took vows to not do that. Not directly, I suppose. My bishop never asked me to forsake being awesome for being a servant, but it was pretty strongly implied when I took vows before the Lord and a couple hundred people. I might be reading into things a little, but Jesus before all covers a lot. Like all the things. So maybe the socks should either go or stay in their drawer in peace.
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I was praying about what to give up for Lent this year and hadn’t really felt led in any one direction, so I figured I’d just give up beer because that’s always helpful and I’m getting a little chubby for a guy who wears skinny jeans and wants to not look like a Tim Burton character. Ash Wednesday happened last night and I got a beer with my priest and some other friends. While wearing ash on my face and my collar. So, I failed that right away.
As I was praying later, I did feel like God told me to write during Lent. So, it’s not fasting necessarily (I’ll probably still try to avoid beer) but it is a very intentional practice. And one of the things I’ve loved about writing is that I’ve felt like God has met me as I’ve written things for very Much Later over the years. Perhaps that sounds spiritually pretentious or like I’m boasting, but really, it just makes me want to write more. Because where the Lord is there is freedom. And in His presence, there is fullness of joy. Who doesn’t love freedom and joy? This American sure does.
I won’t promise to write every day, but I want to. And I’m not editing. I’m preaching every week and studying and meeting with people on top of a regular 40 hour a week job. This is a sacrifice of time I don’t have. So there’s that. Let’s see what happens tomorrow! Also- if you have any love for me at all, you’ll harass me about this.