Ahead of the Game
For most of us, the classic image of the theologian is the delightfully backward ageing gent. He’s obviously a very clever chap, but he’s socially rather awkward and needs more than a little personal grooming advice. Clothed in tweed, his socks are odd, and his hair is a mess. His shirt buttons are in the wrong holes, and his v-neck is inside out.
Well the Merrie Theologiane would like to present to you a lineup of theologians with their heads so much in the game, that even their threads prophetically anticipated the popular culture of many years to come.
Take the Cappodocian Fathers whose attire quite obviously inspired urban streetwear brand Bape, modelled here by Lil Wayne.
Or imagine the Puritan great John Owen prancing around Oxford, ‘hair powdered, cambric band with large costly band strings, velvet jacket, breeches set round at knees with ribbons pointed, and Spanish leather boots with cambric tops.’ He wore enough powder his hair, some said, to discharge eight cannons. Indeed, perhaps enough to nominate him father of the metrosexual movement.
A more modern approach to ‘theological’ clothing is yet to catch on in the divinity schools of the world, but there’s potential…
Okay, there’s no potential. For a much better approach to clothing have a read of Zechariah’s vision:
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”
Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”
Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by. (Zech. 3:1-5)