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,