The Earring of Great Price

Another confession for me: my left ear is pierced twice. I’ve had it pierced since my freshmen year at college. I haven’t actually worn an earring in several years, and I know that one of my piercings has closed already . . . but the option’s there. 🙂
I say this because last week at work we were having a conversation over lunch (myself and a few coworkers) about a young woman who applied to work at my Catholic school the same year that I was hired. Apparently, she came in the week before school started to get her room in order, and our principal noticed that she had approx. 9 piercings on one of her ears. The team leader was asked to explain to her that she was now employed by a Catholic school and that an excessive amount of earrings would not be appropriate for a teacher – she would only be allowed what a female student at our school would be allowed: one small pair of earrings, one on each ear. The young teacher said she understood and resigned that afternoon.
While I can understand the reasoning behind uniform policies for our students and our staff, I’m wondering what kind of teacher she would have made if given the chance. I can see it from an administrator’s point of view, and I can see if from a parents point of view – administration is worried about image and lifestyle, while parents are worried about example and teaching. However, I can’t help but think that Jesus himself lived and breathed among the most undesirable of people during his time: lepers, tax collectors, prostitutes, the poor (who were, for the most part, sinners by definition), etc. He did not worry about his image, or about the clothes he wore, or about the homes he ministered in, or about any of the external things that we seem to emphasize so much (either positively, by saying that we should wear these things instead of those, or negatively, by saying that we should never wear certain things).
I know this is a conversation that many people have had in different circumstances, but I was struck by the fact that if I would have entered my school wearing two earrings on my left ear, I may have been not-so-welcomed. And I don’t think that my ministry would have suffered one iota if I did wear earrings or not. The perception of my ministry may have changed in the mind of my coworkers and in the mind of the parents I minister to, but that in no way would affect my ministry in and of itself.
Or would it? I’d be interested in feedback as I get ready to catch some sleep. 🙂
Blessings & Peace,

5 thoughts on “The Earring of Great Price

  1. Hugo says:

    I’m here, but stressing – I’ve got a live Stations of the Cross that we’ve been preparing for at my school as well as other assorted ministry related things during this Holy Week – so I’ve been busy 🙂

    Please say a prayer for me and my students!

    Blessings & Peace,

  2. Hugo says:

    Hmmm . . . I think I fall in both camps – I understand that a place of business can and should set boundaries for, among other things, clothing / appearance. I’m also sure she did not wear the multiple earrings to her initial interview – our then principal would not have hired her. 🙂 However, I agree with Jaded that the earrings must have had some sort of meaning for her if she choose to leave her job instead of having to not wear them. I don’t see anything intrinsically wrong with body piercing (which is probably what I was trying to say) – it was interesting to me, however, how quickly the gathered teachers were to assign a moral value (negative, in this case) to something they did not personally like.

    Thanks for the comments 🙂

    Blessings & Peace,

  3. Patti says:

    I don’t think it is wrong for a place of employment to have a dress code. In the business world, she would never get away with that many earrings. Also, there is the thing about submitting to authority. It tells me something about her spirituality. She could have put in all the earrings she wanted when she left work.

    She obviously did not wear all those earrings during her interview (knowing it wasn’t appropriate) or they hired her with the earrings in. Thinking that she was a good teacher.

    I don’t think it is harsh at all. What is next-tongue piercing. This is a Catholic school. We want to be good role models. These children will lead the world some day.

  4. The JadedCM says:

    Ouch…that’s harsh! Amazing to see the woman was willing to resign over earrings though. Clearly she has deep convictions that she as a person is more important to express herself asthetically than to be concerned about a dress code.

    The school might want to reconsider such policies before the lose too many good teachers.

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