I scan my shoes.

Nude pumps: traditional.
Red flats: cute and practical.
Yellow heels: flashy.
Black Toms: comfy and philanthropic.

I’ll be speaking to ministry types. And I wonder… do my male colleagues spend this much time getting dressed? Debating how their shoes will impact their credibility? How their appearance will affect others’ attention? Why is there no way to be an “unmarked” woman? Especially in ministry, where being a woman alone sets me apart.

Silencing my questions, I stride away, my feet a blur of neon yellow.

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WordsBethany Stolle
Image: Jim Kast-Keat
Music: Broke For Free

  • Love it! I preached this morning and earlier this week bought ‘a better outfit’. I am glad I preach rarely — and this is one reason. I told my work (a Christian counselling agency) colleagues that I’d bet none of the men change their underwear three times before going to church on the Sunday they have to preach. This morning I wondered if I should have worn a slip. But I didn’t have one. One that worked, anyway. So I preached without it.

  • Kenda dean


  • Faith

    My father is a retired minister who spent a great number of years traveling as a guest speaker in other men’s churches. When I was little I would sit on the bed while he carefully chose what he would wear for this or that particular service. He would explain how each shade of suit conveyed a different feeling; how a certain type of tie could distract from his message or cause him to appear less credible; how some congregations appreciated an up-to-date look and others responded more warmly to a conservative look.

    He had put so much work into his sermon (his rule of thumb was one hour’s preparation for every minute speaking) that he wasn’t about to let his clothes get in the way of people hearing the message. Even if it he, personally, cared very little for fashion and styles.