This week I had a detailed conversation about the perfectly quaffed hair of men pastors, male church planters in particular. There is something iconic and unsettling about it.
I'll stop there and I assume you know what I'm talking about. The culmination of this conversation was that I am not that kind of pastor. First off, there is the gender difference, I'm a pastor not a man pastor. Beyond that, the unsettling part of the perfect hair is that it's perfect. It's an aesthetic of "relaxed and down to earth, a professional you trust, but also might have a little crush on, who has his shit together." The cherry on top of this sundae is the perfect marriage to an equally perfect wife he met in highschool youth group. I told you it was a detailed conversation. In so many ways I am not that, but that doesn't mean I haven't spent a lot of time thinking I should be like that, measuring (and judging) myself against the expectations and leadership style. I imagine we all have experienced a similar dynamic. I find it's a hard habit to break, in part, because even in 2023 there aren't many visible and amplified women church planters as an alternate example of leadership (or hair) style. Many, like me, are focused on being (trying to be) creative and connected with their church community and being (trying to be) creative and connected with their family. (There is literately a child dancing ribbons in front of my computer screen as I type this.) They, like me, don't have extra time to write books, run a thriving TicTok account, or attend all the conferences. Even then, the field is so saturated with the quaffed-haired-pastor archetype it's hard for anyone else to break through. As in every other field, women are held to unreasonable expectations for both work and home, and expected to leave work at work, and home at home. This isn't a new story but the point of this, now rambling, version is that I'm not the quaffed-hair kind of pastor because WildWood isn't that kind of church, and WildWood isn't that kind of church because we aren't that kind of community, and as the "planting pastor" I'm actually really proud of that. (No offense to those who have quaffed hair, it does look very good.) We aren't here for perfection, we're here because we need places in our world where we don't have to be perfect or have it all together. We are authentic and imperfect, we are our whole-selves with stress, overcommitted schedules, wisdom, anxiety, accomplishments, stories, struggles, and all the wonder and complications of being human. We are whole & Holy. Thank. God. And yet, when I spend weeks asking for the performance time for my daughter's Sunday ballet recital and only get it three weeks ahead of time, or Lu is out of town while Elli and I have a really hard week, it still takes me a few days of stressing and struggling to remember that we do things differently and you don't expect unwavering perfection of me either. Thank. God. Here is our new plan:
We are going to delay the start of Queering the Bible until June 18.
This Sunday, June 4, we will gather in the garden for meditation and prayer with words and soil. We have a few late seeds to plant and the pathway material arrived so we can lay that down. As always, join in the way your body and soul need, get your hands in the dirt or enjoy the sunshine in the grass. Sunday, June 11 (the day of the dance recital), we will not gather. Instead, let's meet up another time that week to hang out and catch up. Here are four days/times, I hope one works for you, but let me know if none of them do. My idea is that it can be a couple of us checking in and hanging out for an hour or so. I'm especially hoping that if Sundays have been a challenging time for you to gather, one of these times will work. If we decide we really like mini-gatherings, we can make them a regular thing.
Tuesday, June 6 at 7 pm - My backyard, 3302 Quince St. SE
Wednesday, June 7 at 10 am - Olympia Coffee on Capitol Way
Saturday, June 10 at 10 am - Lions Park
Monday, June 12 at 10:30 am on Zoom (virtual coffee break style)
Queering the Bible will begin on June 18 and wrap up on July 16 with a Queer Brinner (brunch + dinner) Potluck.
Recap: I'll see you in the garden this Sunday, June 4 at 4 pm and am looking forward to hanging out the next week. I'm glad we're not perfectly quaffed, we are so much more interesting. ♥︎ Blessings, Liz