Sunday, September 16, 2012

"More Pastors Like You"

I went out last night, and met some new people who aren't religious.  I told them where I was going to school and everything and my plans to become a pastor. After a few more minutes, one of them said something that I've heard a lot recently.  He said, "The world needs more pastors like you." While I don't disagree, that phrase always has a disheartening implication to it. It implies that he's never met a pastor like me.  That is really sad to hear, because I know I didn't come out of a vacuum. Someone could just as easily say "the world needs more pastors like your mother, like your pastors, like your pastor friends, like your seminary colleagues..." I know a ton of pastors who are very similar to me in ideology, theology, and world view.  So it's very sad to me that we're not the kind of pastors non-religious people see or think of when they hear the word "pastor".  And if I'm to be honest, sometimes I don't think of my pastor friends when I hear the word "pastor" either.  A lot of us in this culture have an image of fire and brimstone pastors who speak condemnation, not love. We think of pastors who would easily reject someone for their sexual orientation or gender identity.  We think of pastors who appear to be "holier than thou" not down to earth.  These are the pastors you often see on tv and in the streets protesting.  It really is amazing how many people know the Westboro Baptist Church, but don't know that there are Christian denominations that ordain women and would be shocked to hear that there are plenty of LGBTQ pastors and church workers who don't have to live in the closet.  If I could have one wish granted, I would wish that a "pastor like me" would attract the public eye, would go out there and be the voice of progressive Christianity to an America that needs to hear that we exist.  I doubt very much that I am that pastor.  I just want to be a relaxed, down to earth, loving person that people can relate to.  So maybe the world doesn't need a pastor like me so much as it needs pastors, chuch leaders, and loving people like you.  And maybe someone who reads this will be called to be the voice I'm searching for.  Who knows?

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