Impastor

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.

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3 thoughts on “Impastor

  1. As a second career, and in my first call, I too feel like an impastor. Sure there was the three years of theology courses, a unit of CPE and internship (all informative and for the most part worthwhile) but stick me in a context that I have no reference point, few friends, and I am expected to have “the answers” to questions I have never asked- and very quickly I was taught that I was in the “deep end”.

    I am intrigued with the concept of this show, and after two episodes I wonder where it will go. (Was happy to see that it has taken until show #3 before Buddy had to lead worship…. I mean it is not what we do most of the time)

    As an ordained ELCA pastor there are some literary license they have taken in the call process and policies, but I can overlook that for the sake of the show. Just like as a former EMT and firefighter I learned to overlook things on other TV shows in other genres (ER, Greys, Third Watch, Emergency, etc).

    Buddy is not the “poster child” for 2nd career pastors, but maybe he is closer to the reality of how we are as Martin Luther said both Saints & Sinners simultaneously.

  2. Yep. As a former unChristian second career pastor, there are times in worship – especially during anthems or readings when I’m not actively leading – when I look out at the congregation and say, “What am I doing up here? How did this happen?”

    I’ve also watched the first couple of episodes, and I’m wondering how the show will develop. This being a sitcom, they will probably just stay on the surface. But wouldn’t it be interesting to see Buddy wrestle with his lack of faith, perhaps “catching” some Christianity from exposure to the Word and to God’s people (however imperfect – and cliched – they may be).

    1. *spoiler* I did like how they did a thing where Buddy sort of prayed, and then the lightning struck and the tree fell. I know it was a little on the nose, but maybe Buddy needs a nudge toward faith. I really hope they keep doing that kind of stuff in the midst of the ridiculous.

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