Vote Collar – A Top 15 List

VOTE COLLAR

 

The Top 15 Reasons Why I’m Voting for Matt Harrison for LCMS President

15. He’s evangelical and catholic.

14. He wears a clerical collar – because he has a high view the Office of the Holy Ministry without being a sacerdotalist.

13. He’s a theologian of the cross.

12. Who else would jokingly say: “As a synodical bureaucrat, I am, after all, deeply and profoundly shallow.”

11. He translates NT Greek on the fly during interviews.

10. He understands Anfechtung.

9. He answers the question.

8. Because I love how he says “splachna.”

7. He’s got a kneeler in his office.

6. He puts up with all our bellyaching.

5. He’ll keep your secret.

4. He understands liturgy and hymnody as a timeless treasure, not a curious German relic from our past.

3. He thinks doctrine and practice go together.

2. Because of that fabulous ‘stache!

And the number one reason that I’m voting for Matt Harrison for LCMS President:

1. He oozes Gospel.

About Scott Diekmann

Scott is a lifelong LCMS layman. Some of his vocations include husband, dad, jet driver, runner, and collector of more books than he can read. Oh, and also chocolate lover. He’s been involved in apologetics for over a decade, is on the Board of Regents at Concordia Portland, and is a column writer for the sometimes operational Around the Word Journal. He’s also written for Higher Things Magazine, The Lutheran Clarion, and has been a guest on Issues Etc. as well as the KFUO program Concord Matters.

Comments

Vote Collar – A Top 15 List — 28 Comments

  1. I remember a district convention before he became SP. The SP representative (Or the SP himself, it doesn’t really matter) gave his spiel and did the requisite q&a. Very much “administrative” & busineeslike, even with a “churchy” content. Matt then have his human care presentation, and it was the clearest law and gospel, truly pastoral care 15 minutes of the whole convention (except the divine service, and it’s sermon, preached by I don’t remember who). That’s why I want him to remain our SP. By the grace of God, he understands what we need the most as a synod–repentance and Grace from God.

  2. I really hope President Harrison continues to be the LC-MS president. I too like it that he wears a clerical collar. I realize it is a matter of choice, but it has always troubled me why a Minister of the Word would not wear the ‘uniform’ while on duty. For example, I’ve heard pastors urge the laity to pray before a meal in public and kind of make it known that they are praying. Of course, this is a right and salutary practice. Why wouldn’t a Minister of the Word want people to know who he represents when out in public and on duty?

    Diane

  3. “He wears a clerical collar – because he has a high view the Office of the Holy Ministry without being a sacerdotalism.”

    I’m interpreting this post as being mostly “fun”, but what is the necessary connection of a collar and a high view of the OHM? Is this not judging by externals? I believe he has a high view of the OHM, by how he speaks, not by what he wears. The other two are not presently pastors and ought not wear collars if that is understood to be the “uniform”. As a pastor seriously considering where to cast his vote in the upcoming election, I find this post unhelpful and distracting to other voters who might come across it.

  4. I like Matthew Harrison and I plan on voting for him, but I have to admit that I never have become accustomed to the idea that a backward collar identified a man as having a high view of the pastoral office. My father never wore one. I wear one once in a while, usually at a conference where I am speaking because that way I don’t have to pack a dress white shirt and tie! 😉

  5. @Rolf Preus #6

    Well of course your father didn’t wear a collar Pastor Preus – he was one of those “low church” Norwegians! And yet he raised up an entire generation of Lutheran pastors who do wear a collar! I wonder if the theology of Robert D. Preus was somehow related to their view of things liturgical and of their importance.

  6. @Rolf Preus #6
    I come and go on this…but the collar, the stole (with alb, etc.) is an outward statement of who we are to the public.

    A policeman wears a badge and uniform, unless undercover. Unless we are in danger, do not hide.

    I understand the light hearted post, but this collar, does mean something…in todays world, many bad looks, etc.

    But, to enforce it, simply Law.

  7. Here’s another take. To an LCMS layman who pays attention to the Synod’s struggle with schism, “collar equals confessional” and “no collar is a sign of ‘relaxed’ orthodoxy.” If a pastor is diligent in uniform then he is more likely to be orthodox. True, a pastor is free to choose and a collar may be an adiaphoron but it also has become an important symbol in a time of cultural and doctrinal shift and as a matter of confession. In Rev. Dr. Robert D. Preus’ day, a collar invited misidentification as a Roman Catholic priest so I can understand why it may have been avoided by Lutheran clergy then. However, today the collar has become a visual means by which laymen distinguish between the two camps whether we like it or not.

  8. @Mark #10

    “today the collar has become a visual means by which laymen distinguish between the two camps whether we like it or not.”

    Mark you nailed it. Much to my chagrin. It ought not be. May fidelity to our subscriptions be reflected in word and deed rather than what is around our neck.

  9. In the mid-1960’s Professors at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis who wore
    a clerical collar in the classroom were a minority. Profs. Piepkorn,
    Hoyer, and Deffner were the only standouts in collar. Profs. Robert
    Preus, Ralph Bohlmann, Fred Danker, Norm Habel, Edgar Krentz, Bob Conrad,
    Len Wuerffel, Bill Danker, Bob Bertram, all of these men wore sport coats
    or suits.

  10. I have to smile when I think of Dr. Preus and clerical collars. I had the privilege of being his student, the last professor installed before he was “honorably retired” and one who went through the post 1989 turmoil with him. No one had a higher view of the Office – he exhausted himself in a final battle to maintain the dignity of the Office by defending his own Divine Call when others wanted to steal it from him.

    At a party at his home in the early 1990s, over a Polar Beer from Norway, he commented about collars. It struck him that some 20 years before his opponents wore the collar. In the 1990s, his supporters wore the collar. He found some humor in that.

    I think he would have been amused at the irony of his own funeral service. The Church was packed with pastors and it looked like a sea of black shirts. Of course, I wore one as well.

    Dr. Preus and his lack of a clerical collar should remind us of something. An orthodox Lutheran pastor is made so by the content of his theology, not the style of shirt.

  11. @Pastor Burke #11

    Pastor Burke, I agree with your comment “May fidelity to our subscriptions be reflected in word and deed rather than what is around our neck”. A collar isn’t some sort of confessional marker that you have to wear in order to get into the club. I do believe though, that one reason President Harrison wears a collar is because he has a high view of the Office of the Holy Ministry. That doesn’t mean someone who doesn’t wear a collar necessarily doesn’t hold to the same view. Vestments are supposed to mean something, although they’ve lost that meaning for a lot of people. Symbolism of that sort has largely been forgotten in our culture today. While it may be true that some people think a collar somehow differentiates between “two camps,” I think that’s for the most part a mischaracterization. For me to say “Vote Collar” is another way to say “Vote Harrison.” He is generally seen in public with his collar on. Even before Congress he was wearing his collar. And people identify with that. They seem to like it that he wears his collar. Since I think he is the best candidate, for me to say “Vote Collar” is thus a way to generate support.

  12. @Mark #10
    In Rev. Dr. Robert D. Preus’ day, a collar invited misidentification as a Roman Catholic priest so I can understand why it may have been avoided by Lutheran clergy then. However, today the collar has become a visual means by which laymen distinguish between the two camps whether we like it or not.

    That “miss-identification” wasn’t all bad. In heavily RC New Jersey, my Lutheran Pastor could count on his collar to safeguard his parking to visit hospital patients; an Irish cop would see to it. 🙂

    [It has become disconcerting when your confessional Pastor appears in a tie at Bible class. And I grew up with the shirt-and-tie generation. At the church picnic he can wear shorts (if he’s built for them!) and a T-shirt, if he likes. Altho if it’s right after church, he probably won’t.]

  13. @Daniel L. Gard #13

    Excellent point. When a student at CURF during the early 2000’s, we were a micro version of all the divisions happening in Synod at the time. I remember around the time of the Yankee Stadium fiasco, and then a year later with the Valpo fiasco, having a series of conversations with a clergyman on campus about our doctrinal discord. He was absolutely certain that Christ would *want* us to join together in worship with representatives of other Christian faiths, and even non-Christian faiths. He would dismiss criticisms such as my own as being entirely political.
    He was in a collar every time I ever saw him. As was another pastor I had discussions with who had no problems with non-ordained men and women distributing communion elements to the homebound.
    Sometimes the “highest” churchly liturgical services I encounter have the “as long as you have a personal relationship with Jesus, feel free to commune here,” type communion statement.
    While our doctrine ought to inform our practice, sometimes elements of the “practice” can still be ‘good’ even though the theology behind it is lacking.

  14. “Invented in the Presbyterian Church, the clerical collar was adopted by other Christian denominations, including Anglican Church, Methodist churches, Eastern Orthodox Church, Baptist churches, Lutheran churches, and the Roman Catholic Church.

    “According to the Church of England’s Enquiry Centre (citing the Glasgow Herald of December 6, 1894), the detachable clerical collar was invented by the Rev. Donald Mcleod, a Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) minister in Glasgow [in the 19th century].”

  15. @Carl Vehse #18

    “Invented in the Presbyterian Church, the clerical collar was adopted by other Christian denominations, including Anglican Church, Methodist churches, Eastern Orthodox Church, Baptist churches, Lutheran churches, and the Roman Catholic Church.

    Robert Preus wore a tie in class. [In church?], his antecedents wore something considerably more complicated than a collar which was a simplification those who ironed must have appreciated.

    Carl Vehse can probably pull up a picture.
    [And what did Walther wear?] 🙂

    The collar is not a guarantee of orthodoxy; it’s a slogan to fit the set of pictures though (and thanks for the grin, Scott).

  16. These days it’s ironic that those who proclaim to be the true outreach types, you know, the “true Missionalists”, the “Start New to Reach New” types, the ones attempting to “grow the church”, are the very same ones who often refuse to wear a collar. Blending in and being indistinguishable with the crowd isn’t exactly the way to open avenues and opportunities. However, in the “Everyone’s a Minister Ministry” crowd, perhaps the notion of blurring the lines is vital for them.

  17. @Scott Diekmann #17

    If one looks at all the big class photos in the library at CTS, it is obvious when the wearing of the clerical collar came into regular use in our church. Check it out.

  18. @helen #19
    Dear Helen and BJS,
    I think the collar is more than a slogan, and I agree, it is not an orthodoxy badge.

    What it is, it is a statement to the world that this is my role, my place, and my place is a servant of God to His people. And as a servant, we get put upon, frowned upon, spat upon, etc.

    OK, as a worker/priest, I do not wear a collar at the “day job”, but everyone knows I am the reverend, and by sticking up for God at times, a whole bunch of trouble follows. I will not stop though. Always try to do things in a loving way of course, loving and firm.

    But the collar is important and when I go to the hospital, collar on (and black cassock, I am a goofball perhaps), you get looks, but some, some come up and say, “hey…”.

    I have dumped all my ties, gave them to the boys. A collar is my official garb…OK, perhaps I do use a collar bib, with my Hawaiian shirt.

    Today, a collar does mean something. You do not hide in public. My thoughts.

  19. @Pastor Prentice #25

    Thank you Pastor Prentice for wearing the collar when on duty. Being in the brotherhood so to speak, could you please explain to a lowly layperson why some pastors refuse to make themselves known as a servant of Christ when in public? I don’t understand the ‘hiding’ in public, especially in a hospital.

    Diane

  20. @Diane #26
    Dear Diane,

    These are my thoughts, why to not wear the collar.

    01) Makes life easier, no one wants to be a target.
    02) Does make for a sweaty neck.
    03) You do not want to be associated with the hard liners?
    04) It is not mandatory, “no one tells me what to do!”
    05) I do not want to appear different than you all.

    Perhaps this is a few. Sort of like, why some pastors wear albs in Church, some jeans, etc.

    Same thing, when I go to hospital, other official business, the stole is around my neck too. Some one said the stole makes me “God’s ox”, oh well, He IS in charge. I am His servant.

    The collar has opened more conversation in my mind. OK, in some places, perhaps the collar needs to be hidden, in other hostile countries.

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