Responses to “I’m a Church Pastor”

It’s inevitable. Adults make small talk — on the soccer field or at the coffee shop or in the local garage — to pass the time or introduce themselves to a frequently-seen stranger.

Adult1: “Hello, I’m [name].”
Adult2: “Nice to meet you. I’m [name].”
Adult1: “Which [soccer-playing child or caffeinated beverage or car problem] brings you here?”
Adult2: “[Such-and-such].”
Adult1: “Ah yes.” …pause… “So, [name], what do you do?”

And there it is, the bound-to-be-asked question. My answer — generally unexpected by the ask-er — prompts interesting responses, but I’m beginning to see a trend in those responses.

  1. Often, the word “God” notably increases, along with “faith” and “prayer.” Also, swearing decreases to zilch.
  2. The occasion for and experience of the individual’s last visit to church is shared, usually accompanied by an upbeat “Maybe I’ll attend your church sometime!”
  3. Sometimes a theological question or cultural impression of the Church is raised.
  4. And, every once in a while, my answer “I’m a church pastor” completely kills conversation.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so amused by the predictability of people’s responses to my career/vocation. I understand that it’s a surprising answer, perhaps all the more because I’m a 30-something woman in a religiously & socially conservative area. And although I recognize each of these conversations as an opportunity to represent (perhaps even change someone’s mind about) the Church and ministry and women ministers in particular … still I find myself brainstorming wisecrack answers to disrupt the predetermined conversation that is likely to follow.
1. Intentionally insert the pronoun “She” for God.
3. :

Being and Responding

“God created, and it was joy: time, space, matter. There is, and we are part of that is-ness, part of that becoming. That is our calling: co-creation. Every single one of us, without exception, is called to co-create with God. No one is too unimportant to have a share in the making or unmaking of the final showing-forth. Everything we do either draws the Kingdom of love closer, or pushes it further off. That is a fearful responsibility, but when God made “man in our image, male and female,” responsibility went with it. Too often we want to let somebody else do it, the preacher, or the teacher, or the government agency. But if we are to continue to grow in God’s image, then we have to accept the responsibility.”

Madeleine L’Engle,
And It Was Good (Harold Shaw Publishers 1983)

Mary’s Epiphany Prayer

This little Light of mine, cradled in my arms asleep, I’m gonna shine for you! Little Light, for you I will not rest until the world is a little gentler, a little kinder, a little saner, so that it welcomes you as you grow. Sweet Light, the sun is dim for me compared to your smile. You are the twinkle in my eye and the soft spot in my heart; no one else has my love quite like you. Let the storms rain and torment — I promise that I will shine like a rainbow to protect you. Let them try to extinguish me — I will always burn with enough light to nurture your own. You are my revelation and joy, the brightest Star in the night that is this life. Light of my world, here is my light. I’m gonna shine for you!