22 September 2016

On becoming a pastor

After discovering my bike had a flat tire, I decided to take the bus in to work today and spare myself the frustration of driving home during rush hour. The bus trip home was itself rather eventful, as the front bumper of someone's car ended up scratching half the side of the bus. Everyone on the bus had to get off and take the next bus. In the process of transferring buses and getting squished into the next bus, I ended up having a conversation with a pre-teen girl who sat beside me.

At one point in time, the girl asked me what I did for work. I told her I was a pastor. Her immediate response was to ask how old I was! I'm not sure if that was because she wasn't sure if I was old enough to be a pastor or if she was wondering why a pastor, who must be an adult and has an adult job, would be taking the bus.

While the conversation itself was delightful - she was young enough to be completely un-self-conscious about the questions she asked and comments she made - it was how I felt when I told her I was a pastor that struck me.

I often feel a bit awkward letting others know that I'm a pastor. I feel like I have to explain that I work with graduate students, so what I do is a bit different. And I don't look like their standard image of a pastor. Or I feel like I have to work harder to show that I'm normal - whether that normal be that I actually like the academic world or that I don't want to stuff religion down their throat.

Yet, today I said it with joy. Joy, because I expected it would surprise her, but in a positive way. And joy because it's been a good month of being a pastor - full of good conversations and glimpses of people's faith journeys. And joy because I'm learning to be okay with not being what people of expect of me - including in being a pastor.

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