Why do we expect to see our ministers, clergy and other people of faith as holy?
Perhaps we need to first examine what it means to be holy. I spoke on a panel at my alma mater tonight about what you do after college when you major in religion. I was not the only clergy type -- to my great shock. There was a young woman three years younger than me who had just begun studies in rabbinical school. Before venturing to this event, I had snack and a glass of wine with my favorite professor.
Now, I don't pastor to my friends. I won't minister to my peers or people that I have known for a long time. In fact, I don't pastor to anyone that does not know me in the pastoral sense. That is, the folks that I have met when I have had the title "minister." So, when I am with my friends, I am fully myself. There is no song and dance. I don't mince words and sometimes curse. It's true. And dear friends, this is what makes me human. I am a real, true person so this is fully me. This is not how I behave in the church or with parishoners, but with friends, it's a different game. Such was the case for my dear professor. She's known me for nearly ten years now and I'm not going to pretend that I wasn't an insecure undergrad crying in her office. Instead, I shall be myself.
But, after the event as we walked back to my car, my dear professor made some comment about how unholy I am. She explained to another alum that I was talking a lot of trash earlier. I believe her exact words were "You should hear the mouth on her!"
Huh. So, what does that mean exactly? What did I do to offend? What could I possibly have said? Nothing. I was just myself. I recounted the search process of finding my call with true honesty. Why can't I be candid? I may have cursed, but I don't think I did. Or at least, not often. Why is it that even this wonderful woman who shared a very intimate struggle in my faith journey still thinks that I should somehow be holy? What in the world does that really mean?