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?”
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.
- Often, the word “God” notably increases, along with “faith” and “prayer.” Also, swearing decreases to zilch.
- 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!”
- Sometimes a theological question or cultural impression of the Church is raised.
- 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.