I wear black chucks or black vans with my clerics, and even under my alb, stole and chasible. I did not decide to wear black chucks because they make me look like the “cool priest.” I always have worn them, and I didn’t see why I should magically cease to wear them after being ordained, by either being imo pretentious in dressy shoes or pretentious in sandals. Why make a fuss over shoes.
People often comment to me that I am so unusual, so cool, so with it, so fashionable, so hipster. I usually shrug my shoulders. Were I a twentysomething who were not a priest, I probably wouldn’t get any of these comments. I wonder if, in the minds of these people, the bar for cool or fashionable is so low for priests, that I can surmount it with the tiniest of hops. What would be unusual for me, would be to mimic every the style of every priest (and perhaps generally every male) over the age of fifty. Even then I would still be assumed to be, you know, going vintage or whatever.
All my friends my age, Catholic or not, have special diet needs. They make sure that everyone knows, and maybe they want a round of applause or a trophy. I am likewise bothered by artificial chemicals replacing our modern american diet, but still feel it is inappropriate to use the pulpit compel catholics into a specific diet. I do want to be a vegetarian like most of the original Egyptian hermits. Sometimes it feels like being a vegetarian would be exciting. Sometimes I also want a round of applause, but more in an ironic way.
Often I preach a homily from my Android Tablet. I save my homilies in the cloud. I decided that I wanted to find more ways to go green and stop wasting paper. I hate printers for reasons. I am also always on the move, and having all kinds of things to pack and go to the next place gets on my nerves, and I prefer having my homilies and spiritual reading books in the Cloud. Maybe I have selfish motives for being all eco-friendly. I don’t really know that I am even slightly morally superior than most people whose eyeballs tend to melt off whenever they try to read off a computer screen.
Every now and then, I try to make a case for a Nintendo Wii among the community of priests that I live with. I say all kinds of stuff about keeping up with contemporary forms of entertainment, instead of the sort of gamble that you can channel surf 300+ digital cable channels in hopes of finding something halfway decent to waste your time on. Most of the time I don’t think of video games that much anymore, but it is strange that I have played them my whole life until now. I am probably the first one to register in their minds that twentysomething males still play video games.
I don’t really like Facebook. Maybe it’s too mainstream. Pope Benedict encouraged us to sanctify cyberspace, which got translated in the minds of many Catholics as: “YOU MUST GO ON FACEBOOK IN ORDER TO DO THE NEW EVANGELIZATION!” I heard people’s marriages broke up over Facebook, and I was on the verge of giving my password to my superiors in the same way some husbands gave it to their wives. I have been on Twitter and Tumblr for years and seen God move. Besides, I think my former classmates who added me saw Facebook less about connecting to others, and instead about stalking people you know to avoid a high school reunion.
I do rap. I never asked myself, “Gee, what can we do to get kids into Church, what kind of music are these kids listening to?” If I rapped merely out of a concern for appearing relevant, (or were I not a priest trying to attract more fans), my whole style of hip hop would be dramatically different. I have always been down for hip hop, it brought me back to God, and so I give it up to Jesus.
I am totally down for beards, especially my own. I rarely talk about how awesome my beard is, because my beard usually does that for me. I remember in high school, I was told that a beard would make me look unfit for work in most places, or that it would scare girls away. I know people think it makes me look extra monkish, but I really first got into beards because they were big in the underground hip hop scene for the past decade.
Having been ordained shortly before turning thirty, I thought this might be a fun exercise.