When a Minister Crashes the Party
“Blessed is that servant who the householder finds at work. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of everything. But if a wicked servant says to himself, ‘The boss is delayed!’ and behaves badly, eating and drinking with drunks, the householder will return unexpectedly!” Matthew 24:46-50 (adapted)
I am reluctant to tell people at social gatherings that I am a minister for two reasons. First, Christians are increasingly aligned with nationalism and its attendant bigotries. Second, I don’t like how people react.
Once my profession is revealed, a surprised and sheepish expression overtakes the face of my conversation partner. Their eyes dart downward. I can almost see their brain reviewing every inch of our interaction up to that point, scanning for untoward or inappropriate things they might have said in the presence of the good reverend.
I want to assure them: “It’s fine! Not to worry! Keep being yourself, dammit!” but there’s no time. The other person suddenly has somewhere else to be and bows out. The exit happens faster if they have an adult beverage, even if I do as well. Sigh. Maybe next time I’ll say I’m a writer and leave it at that.
I don’t envy the boss in the parable or the negligent, tipsy servant. As a minister I have inspired guilt in others, even when trying to blend in, and I have felt sheepish when under scrutiny by an authority.
Fortunately, the Bible emphasizes God both as a watchful boss and as a good shepherd because I need both accountability and grace.
Holy One, I thank you for holding me accountable. I praise you for not leaving me there.