So, I'm officially 6 weeks into my first pastorate, and it's got me thinking. Who would have seen this coming? OK, in reality, more than a few saw this coming, especially in High School. But what a strange kid to grow up and hand the keys of a church, I think to myself. Particularly since I've never totally shed the odd things that held my interest as a kid. I'm still a Sci-Fi nut, I still love video games, I am still pretty conversant in comic books, I find myself day-dreaming about starships, I am compelled to crank-up good music, no matter the genre (or whether it's Christian or not), and I'm eagerly awaiting the return of Heroes on NBC. Somewhere in my head, I wonder if these things fit with what it means to be a pastor. I dunno. They just don't seem to fit the stereotypes. I should be into golf, classical music, and theater, or something more pedestrian like that, right?
Then Sunday, I was contemplating life next to a waterfall (OK, I was really in the shower), and a thought (probably not my own) pops into my head: “You don't cease being who you are when you become a pastor. You just bring all that with you to the table.” Kind of a comforting thought, actually. God doesn't want me to quit reading Star Wars novels (and frankly large portions of Wookiepedia) just because He's also asked me to take care of His people. He's never asked of me to lay aside day-dreaming about aliens and far-off worlds, just because I get up on Sunday morning and help people understand His Word. He's never asked me to stop being me, just to submit all of me to Him, and let Him use me in helping others. So I can have long conversations with owners of comic book shops. I can reference both Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail and The Phantom Menace in sermons only a couple of weeks apart (and you should have seen some of the guys my age light-up when I pulled out that plastic lightsaber). So I can take a pie-in-the-face at VBS (an act some thought was gracious of me, and I never thought twice about). And I've got at least four guys in our youth group wanting to challenge me in Halo. : )
Sometimes, we feel like we have to be different people when God gets a hold of our lives, and to a small extent that's true, but only in the things that run counter to holiness and love. I remember many years back my pastor Roger challenging us to tell him what a Christian looked-like, and confronting us with the truth that a Christian doesn't fit a mold or stereotype, but is just an individual submitted to God. So I don't have to be ashamed of the urge to hunt-down free war game rules on the Internet, or the fact that I still would love to publish a comic-book some day. I just bring that with me, one more part of a very complex Body of Christ. And see how God wants me to use that today.