Wait...you're a what?!?
A funny thing happened to me this morning during my water aerobics class. A comment was made by a class participant about a particular exercise being like a "priest" when praying. Well...I'm not a priest, of course, but I am a Pastor, a Preacher, and a Reverend. So, my best friend (also Pastor, Preacher, Reverend) said, "We are both Pastors...and we aren't priests. Not only priests pray." Welp...we were "outed". Up until that moment, we blended into the class just like every other person bobbing, sweating and trying not to drown, as we were taking time to care for our bodies and our spirits with this non-impact aerobic workout. One of the women closest to us said, "and you're here doing this?!?" #really
From that moment on in the class...we were treated differently and there were many questions asked of us. "What church do you pastor?" "What denomination?" "Can you say a prayer to save that guy over there? Because he really needs it..." We both held space for their curiosities that flowed through the class...but the space was different from that moment forward. Comments made were immediately apologized for...forgiveness for what someone was about to say preempted many statements or actions...a person that was having difficulty holding to their boundaries and respecting another's personal space tamped down a bit. THAT was a huge win though...because we were getting ready to call that out and nix that honestly. It was all very interesting to witness...and incredibly uncomfortable at times.
By the time the class was over, one of the women in the pod clustered closest to us said, "you actually are real people!" What can one do other than smile and nod at that point...although, a bit of a sarcastic, "Well, yeah" did bubble up.
So, here is something for everyone to ponder. Pastors are human...Preachers are human...Reverends are human. Any person that holds any type of religious title are human and are subject to the same humanness everyone does. Any human emotion, physical pain/experience, misspoken words...we are subject to and participate in all of those things. We get tired, frustrated and crabby sometimes even...anything YOU can experience, we can experience. Just keeping it real here, beloveds. Our titles, and the way we identify ourselves within them, do happen to carry an implied authority. However, the way in which we use that authority is different for each of us. For me, it is not an authority that I hold over people...nor do I carry myself or see myself as better than anyone else.
Remember when you were a child and you saw one of your teachers at the grocery store? Or out for a walk? It was a different experience, right? Kinda the same thing here. They too are just "people"...but we held them in a different place from our own. Same thing happens to us. So the next time you see a Pastor, Preacher, Reverend, etc. out in the world being all "people-ly"...don't be surprised! And yes...we wear swimsuits ;)