Sometimes I hate being the professional holy person in my faith community. I’m probably the least holy person I know. I wonder how the people in my church would feel about me if they ever really got to know me as the person I am. So much is projected onto me that isn’t me at all.
Pastors scare me when they start to believe they really are the people their parishioners think they are. The healthy pastors are the ones who know better. I notice that they’ll often do little things to rebel against their role, to remind themselves that they’re human. For example, I have one male pastoral colleague who wears these very un-pastorly, funky snake-skin boots with ridiculously long, pointy toes. I have another female friend who is not only a priest, but a flamenco dancer as well. How cool is that?
My rebellion usually comes by saying things to shock people. Like swearing. I don’t know if I particularly enjoy swearing, but sometimes I’ll swear just to prove that I can. Yes, damn it, I swear. So take that, Pastor Nancy! Does swearing prove I’m human? Hell no. But my overwhelming desire to do it certainly does.