In socially conservative Reformed circles there is a lot of concern about dress and appearance. Particularly what women wear, like pants. Interestingly, the toughest guys in town in the 1st Century, Roman Legionnaires, wore mini-skirts.
The Reformers were trapped within geographic Christendom, while their Catholic counterparts were engaged in colonial expansion. Protestant “mission” became missions to Catholics. While Protestants focused on Catholics, Catholic missions flourished.
Pre-Reformation confessions referred to the church as “one holy, apostolic church.” Such is not found in the confessions of the Reformation. Instead, the Reformation confessions reacted to the errors of apostolic succession. By de-emphasizing the “apostolic” nature of the church, the Reformers also diminished the apostolic-sending nature of the church. The church that “reformed” lost touch with the God who sends, and the mission of the church suffered. (Ed Stetzer, Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age, p. 23)
While this quote is a broad over-simplification, for example, the colonial mission of Roman Catholicism was also part o Christendom, it is a thought-provoking critique of the first 200 years of Protestantism.
Okay, so we're Reformed and the traditional Reformed clerical uniform for worship is the Geneva Robe as seen here on Calvin himself. Note that he has on a white banded collar shirt. So, bell sleeves, white banded collar underneath. Well, who sells this? No one. We had these but one still wears a shirt and tie underneath and so you have a robe over a businessman's uniform. Since nobody makes it just so, we improvised. I took our robes in to a tailor and had him sew small inserts into the collar to "round out" the collar. Then we wear white collared shirts underneath. This makes it easy for visitors to find the pastor after the service too. Here is how the finished product looks. Total cost? About $20.
1. Presbyterians who pooh-pooh Episcopal governance may want to notice that having a face to attach a "buck stops here" is impressive given the recent tendency in Presbyterianism to attribute actions to nameless, faceless committees. "Well, that's just the will of session....presbytery....GA....and there's nothing I can do about it."
2. Where does NT Wright stand on all this and is he in play as the next Archbishop of Canterbury? Whether you agree with him on certain doctrinal peculiarities or not he is a genuine (though left wing) conservative.