Impastor

28 Jul

Wouldn’t you know it…it’s a new show that’s inspired me to write in the midst of a busy summer!

I saw a new show being promoted on Hulu, I think (we cut the cable cord and now exist on Hulu Plus and Netflix), and had to check it out. It’s called “Impastor.”

The premise is that a con man, Buddy, finds himself impersonating a Lutheran pastor, basically to flee from people who are trying to kill him.  After standing on a bridge, ready to kill himself, a Lutheran pastor pulls over and tries to talk him down from the bridge, but goes over the bridge himself. We are assured that the real pastor was killed (although I have my doubts…), and Buddy assumes his identity since the pastor had a car, cash in his wallet, and an address telling him where to go.

Before he figures out what he will be doing for a living, a lovely woman shows him around his new home (free!) and he meets some of “his” people. Through the course of the conversation he finds out that not only is he supposed to be a Lutheran pastor, but the pastor was gay, though promised to be celebate (just FYI, this is not part of Lutheran polity anymore…do some research, Hollywood?).

Hilarity ensues.

Yes, he WAS Lex Luthor on Smallville!

This show is not for children, and has PLENTY of adult situations and language. However, I like what they’re doing, but probably not for the reason they think.

I became a pastor in 2001, and had been giving sermons on and off for maybe 5 or 6 years before then. That’s almost 20 years at this point of leading worship and doing this job. And some days, I STILL feel like an imposter. Impastor. Get it? I’m sure there’s someone out there who doesn’t feel like they’re faking it some of the time, or a lot of the time, but I’m not one of them.

Maybe this is in every job, but in my particular job, sometimes all you can do is make it up as you go along. Even if you have all the training that the fictional Buddy didn’t have, you still aren’t prepared for the crazy situations that you walk into sometimes, or the crazy questions that you get asked. Or even just the heartbreaking ones. Or the burden of carrying everybody’s issues with you as you go. There’s no manual. You have to fake it, make it up, until it becomes a part of you.

So, I’m in, Impastor! I want to watch someone fake his way through this nutso job, because that’s not far off from what we do every day, maybe even not being a pastor. Parenting, for sure. Teaching, I assume. And you can’t tell me that the CEO of some company doesn’t feel like she doesn’t have a clue on some days.

Here’s to another Pastor in pop culture! I will watch and see where it goes.

Women telling the truth about their lives! Only $10!

19 May

About nine years ago, I made the questionable decision to go to the Festival of Homiletics in Atlanta. I had a baby who came with me everywhere (making it questionable), but a good group of friends (including another mom with a baby) who said that we’d just all go, and it would be fine.

We were in our 30s then, but we decided to buy matching t-shirts from some place someone found online.

The shirts said, “DOES THIS PULPIT MAKE MY BUTT LOOK BIG?”

We were sitting in the hallway, playing with the babies and trying to listen to the preachers, when another crew of women walked out and introduced themselves. They were so excited because we were wearing THEIR SHIRTS.

The crew was the beginnings of the RevGalBlogPals, which is a group of women clergy (and friends) with blogs such as this one. I joined the blogring (which was a thing, I swear) and began to get to know some of these women through their writing. It was almost shocking to read about their lives, which were a LOT like mine, and hardly anyone I knew had a life like mine.

Now the RevGals have birthed a book, and they asked me to be a part of it. I represent the clergy couples, and I tried to write as honestly as I could about my life, which I consider (as I say in my chapter) to be a subversive act.

The awesome thing is that over FIFTY other women, all reverends of some sort, did the same thing in this book. I am overwhelmed by the truth and loveliness in it! Probably it’s best summed up by a quote from the intro from a dear friend of the RevGals: “Be fierce and fabulous for Jesus!”

It’s available on Amazon and any number of other places. Enjoy!

Social Media Lenten Fast Update

23 Mar

So I’m almost five weeks into this Lenten discipline of no social media.

Here are some of the things that I’ve learned and done:

If you go paddleboarding and don’t Instagram it, it still gloriously happened.

I can actually forget my phone and be totally okay with it.

I can move about in the world without the burden of knowing EVERYTHING about EVERYBODY.

I’m super, super loving the freedom of it, and am reminded of when I was eighteen and just went driving around my hometown, stopping to sit by the lake sometimes. Nobody knew where I was, and I was TOTALLY fine.

It’s kind of lonely.

I miss my colleague groups online for sermon discussion, but preaching is easier than ever because I don’t get weighed down with other opinions or second guessing.

Still trying to figure out the big lesson in all this, or if there even is one. Either way, I’m happy that I was called to this fast for whatever it’s teaching me.

Outside

10 Mar

One of my goals for getting off social media was being outside more, just for the purpose of being outside. I keep reading all kinds of studies (while I SIT INSIDE, and the irony is not lost) about how being outside is good for not only your soul, but your body.

However, a few weeks ago after I blogged last about my goals, the weather was SO poor that I mostly had the goal of survival and I may have entertained myself by buying camping gear online in anticipation that it would be springtime.

This week, though, I met my goal of being outside as much as possible. My youngest child finally learned to ride a bike without training wheels and is zooming around, so suddenly we are a Family Who Bikes. We’ve gotten out almost every day for a loop around the neighborhood, and it is crazy how it makes us all feel better.

And the thing that relates to my little experiment is that, for the first time in a LONG time, I didn’t take my phone on any of these bike rides or even outside at all. I simply forgot.

Here’s to more time outside, whatever the weather (although below 20 degrees….questionable!), to health, to all of us being more conscious of where we are.

Being Bored (is brilliant!)

24 Feb

It’s been almost one week since my little Lenten experiment started, and it’s been very strange.

Although, obviously, I’m not like one of my friends who cut herself off from (GASP) the whole INTERNET, I do feel cut off from people. I wasn’t posting much, I guess, but I was following along with people’s lives each day, and I’ve missed that.

What I’ve figured out, though, is that I mostly miss the novelty. Think about it: if you go to FB, Twitter, or Instagram, there is almost ALWAYS something new. And I mean brand new, up to the second, just happened. There’s always something to see, to react to, or to click.

My brain went into withdrawal from this, a little bit. The novelty is addictive more than the actual content. Now that I’m not consumed with what’s happening right NOW, I can observe what’s happening today. Maybe what’s going on this week. What my favorite writers have to say every now and then, as opposed to every second.

I’ve also had a sensation that I haven’t had in a long, long time…the other day, I got BORED.

Remember boredom? When you don’t know what you should do, and you feel kind of blah, so YOU INVENT SOMETHING IN YOUR HEAD.

I was kind of expecting this, because one of the reasons I did this little experiment (besides being called to it) was this article abut how we just don’t get bored anymore: Bored and Brilliant.

After almost a week of some kind of withdrawal, boredom, and maybe even a little depression, I’m starting to make stuff up in my head. Not just 140 characters, but long and creative things that had taken a backseat to short and instant.

So far, I highly recommend this little break. Part of my plan was to get outdoors more, but the weather is not cooperating. Hope to update on that next week!

Peace,

CP

ETA: These blog posts are set up to auto Tweet and FB on my church pages, but I won’t be checking either website, just FYI.

Leaving and returning

17 Feb

I have not been blogging for many months now. But I am returning for a few reasons. I’m fasting during Lent from social media of all forms (for me), Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Unlike some friends, I’m not doing a total electronics fast; it’s Lent, and I’m a pastor in need of SOME distraction and entertainment from electronic sources.

But I was finding that I resented social media, and that it was clouding the things that I was doing. It was taking me out of moments I was experiencing because I was trying to figure out how to capture it, how to give it 140 characters, how to be witty and share things but not TOO much.

That’s not how I want to be spending my time.

I want to write MORE, not less. I don’t want to be pithy and witty…I’m not a pithy person by nature, and I’m more ridiculous than witty.  I’m embarking on a new project about pastoral identity in a few weeks that will deserve much more than a short update, and I want to share it, but not in a sound bite.

I got a new camera that’s better than a phone, and I want to use it to take beautiful pictures for my own enjoyment (and maybe this space).

So for Lent, I’m leaving, but also returning. It feels good. I don’t know about what anybody else is called to do during Lent. I think Christians are called to fast from something or to add something, but I don’t know what that is for you, so no judgment here.

I hope that you also have a fruitful 40 days. I’m excited about this new adventure. It feels like freedom, and that’s something to which to pay close attention.

Blessed Lent.

-CP

The Book of Ruth and the Bechdel Test

12 Aug

In church last Sunday, I didn’t know what was going to happen when during the reading part, two women stepped up to the altar and another to the pulpit. They began to read parts from the first chapter of the book of Ruth, one as the narrator, one as Ruth, and one as Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi.


When Ruth said to Naomi, who has just been cranky and bitter with Ruth in her grief, “No, wherever you will go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people will be MY people, and your God will be MY God,” I began to cry.

I didn’t exactly know why until this week I was reading further in the book of Ruth for my sermon this weekend, and remembered the Bechdel test. This test is, briefly, passed, if two named characters who are women speak for any length of time about something other than a man.

It is shocking how many TV shows and movies fail this test, and it’s even more shocking when you read the reasons given for this…that the “audience” (you know, the dummies like me who consume the media) won’t pay for it if women are talking to each other about….well, “whatever it is that woman talk about.”

In recent years this has been proven to be false, because of movies like Frozen, The Heat, Brave, and Pitch Perfect, which grossed a stunning amount of money as well as the others that passed the test. Nevertheless, when you start looking at it, it’s exceedingly rare both in pop culture and in the Bible to see a story that passes the test.

And I think the reason I started crying in church is the same reason that I started crying in the movie “Brave,” that it’s so rare to see someone like me depicted on screen or in a story having a complex life, conversations, relationships, friendships, with women. You know, like we’re PEOPLE. And when I started thinking about it, my favorite stories both in the culture and in the Bible are the rare ones where we get a glimpse into womens’ lives, not just as they relate to men, but as they relate to each other and as they are portrayed as full human beings. Like I said, it’s shockingly rare.

The only other stories that questionably pass the Bechdel test in the Bible are:

1. The apocryphal book of Tobit, in which a woman is reproached by her father’s maids (who are unnamed)
2. The gospel of Mark, when the women murmur to each other, “Who will roll the stone away?”
3. The gospel of Luke, when Mary and Elizabeth see each other and talk about their pregnancies (this one is arguable, because they are talking about boy babies, but I’m going to give it a pass because it’s such a long conversation about more than romantic partners)

That’s it.

We KNOW those stories are there. We know that, behind all those lists of kings and thrones and wars and power-grabbing, there were women, having full, complex lives. But we don’t hear the stories.

All the better to rejoice when we do, whether it be in Orange is the New Black (not for the faint of heart) or the Book of Ruth (ALSO, not for the faint of heart! Hello, Chapter 3!).

We can be bitter like Naomi, or we can go ahead and tell the stories that we can, and tell them wherever we can, and tell our own, too. And give our time (and our money) to those filmmakers who are brave enough to tell the truth about womens’ lives.

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