People tell me all the time that I look young for my age. And it's really not about me looking younger than I ought to, it's the fact that I'm recognized as a pastor, and pastors are supposed to look older I do. I simply don't fit their mold. To be honest, these kinds of remarks bother me. Today, after the service, I had a woman tell me that she still can't believe I'm really 23. I blew her off in the most pastorally way possible, but her words still linger in my ears. The truth is that for some people, my age (or at least my appearance) doesn't allow for my work at the church to be taken seriously. It's my vocational handicap.
After my encounter with the obtuse woman, I drove to a presentation on climate change at a neighboring church where I was introduced to pastor Michelle, a woman in her mid to late thirties. And then it hit me. Eventually I will grow out of my youthful appearance. Eventually I will get a few distinguished grey hairs and a few pronounced wrinkles. Some day I will fit the mold of pastor and forget these frustrations of my "early years". But Pastor Michelle may never in her lifetime know relief from the constant scrutiny derived from her gender and role as pastor.