It isn’t about my preaching or leadership or any of the hats I tend to wear as pastor. It is simply this:
“You’re a pastor? But you seem so normal!”
I’ve heard it dozens of times over the past few years as someone (sometimes after months of knowing me) would finally ask me what my job was, or someone would visit our church.
Sometimes it would be more like, “Wow! But you seem so……..well…..normal.” And they would look quite perplexed as if I should in fact be reptile or some sub species.
I used to be taken back by this back handed compliment that I’m so “normal”. After all, what did they expect a pastor to be? Abnormal? Pathological perhaps? Or perhaps they encountered a pastor who fell into the trap that John Ortberg describes, “If I can’t be holy, I should at least be weird.”
Now, before you get all “Old Testament Prophet” or “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” on me, I’m not talking “set apart.” What these people are looking for in a pastor is relatability and approachability. That is what they mean by normal. And they tell me it is hard to find in churches now days.
In a world that is more fascinated with Jesus than ever, but more disenfranchised with the church than ever, “normal” has become high praise indeed.
Especially If my being “normal” keeps you around long enough to discover the stunning, revolutionary and anything but normal Jesus Christ.