Am I really supposed be holy?

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?

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