Boat Shoes, Hipsters and Holiness

Editor’s note: Here’s another post from Madison Seminarian, Bill Van Wagner. Enjoy the inspiration.

Everybody knows you can tell a hipster by his or her clothes. That sort of “I don’t really care about how I look, but actually I really do because everything I’m wearing was pretty expensive even though it looks really cheap because it’s dirty and has holes in it” image is vital to being an authentic hipster. One of the most important parts of this look is the shoes. It’s all about the kicks. You can really tell a lot about a person by their shoes. For a Catholic Hipster, shoes are sup(er) important. Here’s why:

Catholics (like most other human beings) wear shoes a lot, to a huge variety of different places. Home, school, the mall, the movies, Mass, and other places that have a no shoes, no shirt, no service sign.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a shoe that could go to all those places and totally fit in? A pair of shoes you could wear at school with blue jeans and a tee shirt; a pair of shoes comfortable enough to wear around the house; a pair of shoes that look nice enough to wear out with your friends; a pair of shoes classy enough to wear to Mass because it’s super holy and super important and Jesus really deserves our very best; that would be a great pair of shoes.

This pair of shoes would also have to pretty sturdy. In the Gospel, when Jesus sends out his followers in pairs of two to preach to the nations, they didn’t hop a cab, catch the nearest bus, or wait for mom to drive them, they straight up walked wherever they had to go. Jesus told them to wear sandals. You could take that literally if you want, I suppose. But, thanks be to God, as Catholics we don’t really read the Bible literally like that, so maybe there’s some room for interpretation.

Bill's Newest Boat Shoes

Here’s the great news — this pair of everything shoes actually do exist. Boat shoes, kids. Boat shoes are the bees knees. Boat shoes are classy, casual, stylish, comfy as heck, cool enough to wear to school, good enough for the mall, nice enough for Jesus, and they’re sturdy enough to walk for miles. Plus, you can be like Jesus since He was always in and out of boats helping those foolish fishermen catch like thousands of fish and calming the storms because when you’re the Son of God, you can do that kind of thing. Boat shoes really do have it all. I personally think I have a couple of the greatest pairs of boat shoes every made, but I might be biased.

Saint Francis of Assisi (a total hipster) once said that “it is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our preaching is our walking.” Boom. Well said, Saint Francis. To be a good, holy Catholic, you have to walk the walk. It’s not enough to say nice things, pray when you need help with something, and go to Mass every once in a while. While those things are bad, you gotta get some pep in that step! To be Catholic is to live this radically different lifestyle in which the pleasures of the world are sacrificed for the greater glory of Jesus and His Church. To be a Catholic trying to be holy, you have to pray from the depths of your heart, love the image of God in each and every person you see, and seek to do the Father’s will in all things. That seems impossible? Yeah, well, just talking about it isn’t going to make it any less impossible, homie. And that’s the great thing about holiness, its a way of life, a journey — you travel along the way, growing closer to the Lord with every step.

My advice: Go buy a super awesome pair of boat shoes, christen them as your Catholic Hipster boat shoes — maybe even take a sharpie and write your favorite Bible verse inside the shoe. Then, every time you wear them and look down at your feet, you’ll be reminded of the lifestyle you’re trying to live. Maybe that will remind you to say a few Hail Mary’s, or remind you to say prayer of thanks for the gifts you received today, or remind you to be kind and loving and smile at everyone you meet. Case in point: Boat shoes make you more like Jesus.

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