Sunday, February 7, 2010

The priest as real person

I don't usually watch the show What Not to Wear. Not my thing, really.

I'm a decent enough dresser myself, and my wife accuses me of treating her like a Barbie doll since I pick out so many outfits for her - most of which work.

But I made it a point to watch Stacey and Clinton work their magic this past Friday evening.

In case anyone doesn't know the show, it works like this:

* Your friends don't like the way you dress.

* Your friends nominate you for the show.

* If selected, WNTW cameras will secretly film you over a two week period as you go about your business.

* Your friends and the producers put together a ruse to "ambush" you.Stacey and Clinton (the hosts) wisk you off to New York, make you watch the embarrassing films taken over the previous two weeks, go through your wardrobe and throw out nearly everything, give you a $5,000 prepaid debit card and send you shopping.

I made it a point to watch this past Friday because the "victim" was a young Episcopal priest from St. Louis MO, the Rev'd Emily Bloemker.

Episcopal News Service has a good story about the entire adventure - including the fact (unfortunately not mentioned on the show) that Emily tithed 10 percent of the $5,000 she'd been given for her new wardrobe. The WNTW staff actually created a special collar for her that attaches to a sport-style bra. Why this was important, I don't know, but several female clergy have been posting to Emily's Facebook page asking how they can get one.

Emily reports feeling somewhat conflicted about participating in the show. Was it shallow for a priest to be involved in something that so clearly emphasized style over substance?

"Part of me felt very conflicted in accepting that much money, especially when I believe in tithing, in giving of our excess to the poor. I was really concerned about what sort of statement this might make to the world about how priests value clothing and money."

Eventually, Emily decided to do the show because it was an opportunity to show that the Episcopal Church in a new light to the mostly unchurched and dechurched WNTW audience.

At this point, there doesn't appear to be any video available on the WNTW website. Check back in a few days - or watch for the reruns.

I think the show did justice to the question of the priest as real person. Good on Emily.


Lisa Fox said...

Agree with you last statement, Malcolm.

Did you enjoy the show?

Malcolm+ said...

I'd never really seen the show before, so I only had a vague idea what to expect. It was pretty cool to watch.

And I did enjoy Clinton's line about how he didn't know if he should say it to a priest but, her ass didn't look good in thise jeans. THAT was funny. Not usually something anyone says out loud about a priest.

Lisa Fox said...

I liked that comment and many others, Malcolm.
I liked that it showed her as priest AND person -- something with which too many people seem to have a problem.

And I loved how she "pushed back" against the hosts -- insisting on her own style.
I'll never forget what she said about a dress they recommended to her, and she said: "It looks like a flower threw up on that dress."

That's our Emily.

Before the program aired, I described her as "a no B$ priest," and I think she lived up to it.