So you want to be a pastor? Great! Welcome to the ELCA candidacy process, here in the church we say that we want you to bring your full selves into this community. You want to be a leader though so things are little different for you, you’re not just one of the members here any more! No big differences we swear, you’re totally just another child of God who deserves to be treated with grace…there’s just a list of parts of yourself you have to give up or at least do some really good work at hiding if you want to make it to the other side of this process.
Here’s the deal…
Identify as LGBQ? That is fine by us! Just keep it heteronormative. You need to want to get married to your partner. You have to want to be a cute little family unit with this person. Can’t get legally married, then that’s fine, you just have to be monogamous and publicly accountable…it’s the law of the land now though so you really should be doing this! We have a right to shut you down in your process if you say no to this, doesn’t matter why!
Identify as Trans? That’s great, God gave you a special identity and we honor and love this part of you. Just don’t be too hard to understand, you know we need you to still be gender normative—we only really get how to treat males and females so you know, be transitioning to one or the other. If you don’t some of us will be good about this, no matter what though you have to be willing to constantly defend and explain yourself no matter how inappropriate our questions might be.
Do not identify outside of what we consider to be the ideal models of life and relationships—this means your relationships have to be monogamous for sure! If you’re polyamorous, you better forget about that and make sure we don’t hear that you’ve ever been. This could be an issue, since you know its not Biblically based or anything, don’t argue this one with us. Nope, Abraham and well, really all the fathers in the Bible had multiple wives and partners and such but shh that does not mean you can model that part of their life, but you know their faith — definitely follow that!
Don’t forget you’re gonna be a pastor which means you’re gonna have to be a great role model. That’s part of why we expect all these things of you. This is why there’s this other thing we really need to make sure you’re doing the right way. Sexuality—don’t have sex, unless you’re married! Don’t be too sexual, but remember its a gift from God so don’t be opposed to it either! Sexuality is a gift so you can enjoy sex, but like shh that’s not really something we should talk about.
These are the messages that we’re telling all the candidates for ministry whether we mean to or not. This is the message we tell them about themselves and their lives. We ask them to make sacrifices we don’t ever ask of anyone else in the church. We request them to be saints while staying humbly saint/sinners—to acknowledge their faults but don’t let us see them. These are the messages I entered this process with, or shortly into it came to hear. These are the messages that left many of my friends confused and concerned when I told them I was headed off to seminary, and it isn’t right.