So I was at a clergy gathering today. It was the first time I’ve seen most of these people in half a year due to my being on Sabbatical. When I last saw them I had unkempt, floppy hair. But today, I had… Ponytail 3.0 – the first two grown to supply human hair wigs for cancer patients – like my mom. And no one comment. Just that “thousand yard stare” of those who think too much about things that are really not that important.
I felt a distinct unease in that church basement. It may have had to do with the fact that I was one of three male clergy – the other 15 being women. Maybe it’s time for a “Men in Ministry” caucus in our Presbytery. It may have had to do with the fact that I was the youngest minister there – usually am in most churchy places – and I’m going to be 42 in a week. It may have had to do with the complete lack of trust and collegiality… that’s another story.
No, I think it all boils down to the fact that I am acutely aware that in most places in my professional life, I am “Martha-esque” (Martha was the last passenger pigeon). When I am with conservative minded Christians, I sound liberal. With liberals, I am conservative. I’d rather talk hockey with my academic peers, and theology with my congregants. Most of the people I work with are women in their 60s, 70s and 80s. There are no men in their 40s. Even when I’m with them, they are up to their adam’s apples with baby stuff – whereas my girls are teenagers.
Now I don’t want to be belly-aching but I think of some words from the Bible
Ecclesiastes 4:10 “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”
I am not that alone! I mean I’m not weeping and gnashing my teeth. And, really, I am an introvert, and prefer solitude, and I agree with Satre “People are Hell”. It’s just you’d think these Ministers, trained to be attuned to others, sensitive, attentive might have said one goddam thing about the ponytail! A joke, a sneer, a jibe – nothing.
Anyway, next month when I show up with a full facial tattoo, I’m sure it will make a splash – but only if it’s not “inappropriate” – no nudies, no marijuana leaves, no devils – other than that, I bet they wouldn’t even notice. HA!