The Pastor’s Wife

Pretty girl marries pastor, reluctantly leaves rockin’ double mocha megachurch

I used to frequent this shiny new Church of the Jumbotron. You may know the type, one of those fastest growing churches in the United States, with sermons beamed via satellite around the world. An archetypal Wal-Mart of a House of God.

I loved that church. It felt good. I got dressed-up. Got a latte at the coffee bar (don’t tell me you don’t like lattes too). Got right into the rock ‘n roll – I mean praise and worship music. I’d always leave feeling better than I did when I arrived.

Then I started dating the Pastor. Not the Jumbotron pastor, but the pastor of an inner-city church. I found it odd that he didn’t invite me to his church. I live in the Bible Belt and it is some sort of unwritten rule that once you know someone for more than five minutes you invite them to your church. I guess when you are the one making out with the Pastor Saturday evening you are considered too much of a distraction to his ministry to be in the pews Sunday morning.

Still, it didn’t seem right. After all, I invited him to my church. He went with me a few times. He hated it. He said it felt too country-club-ish. The only thing he liked was that I sit as close to the front as I can, and that way if he wanted to he could secretly give the Jumbotron pastor the finger. And now, I’m married to the Pastor. I’m married to a real live man of God. A Bible scholar. A PhD person. Someone who has the power to cast out demons. Me, I read magazines with pretty pictures. Really. I like them. Didn’t God create beauty (and wasn’t it she who put within me a deep appreciation of a good make-over)? Anyway, the Pastor and I make a great pair.

I don’t go to the big box church very often anymore. Usually we go to the inner-city one. The one with no bookstore or giftshop, no overstuffed chairs, no donuts, no coffee bar (or even coffee pot) and no small paper cups of Kool-Aid or animal crackers for the kids in Sunday School. (Did you know that kids go to church without their parents? Little-bitty kids? Kids who start school without any school supplies? Kids with parents in jail?)

I still get dressed up though, and sometimes grab a coffee on the way. It works out OK. And, once in a while, I drag the Pastor to Jumbo Church, even though he insists on reading a book the entire time.

Anyway, I’ve learned a lot about church, the Bible and the-ology since I started sleeping with the Pastor. And the things of faith have become a tad more complicated, with him being a PhD dude and all.

For instance, the Pastor is sort of skeptical when it comes to prayer, especially prayers about our blue truck that won’t sell or about a missing computer media stick drive. I don’t care what the Pastor thinks though. I still pray about everything. I P.U.S.H., as they would say at my ex-church: Pray Until *%^# Happens (though they usually avoid curse words). So now the Pastor has taken to asking me to pray for stuff and he says that I am far more Christian than he. That’s one of those things that sounds like a compliment, but really isn’t.

He’s also done away with the altar calls of my Jumbotronic past. This is partly because there is no altar at the inner-city church and partly because the Pastor says altar calls are stupid. He says it’s not about the moment when you decide to throw down your nets and leave your old life behind, but what you do after that. Well I don’t know what to think about this. The only nets I have are my fishnets and usually when I toss those down I am not thinking about Jesus.

Anyway, maybe he’s got a point. I’ve been to the altar. It’s virtually effortless and nice and cozy with the red velvet cushions and shag carpet. The Pastor’s call is rather different, less velvety. He calls for people to commit to volunteer for downtown do-gooder gigs. Sometimes I wish there was a rock band to drown him out a bit. Anyway, people at the Pastor’s church say we make a good couple, and someone even complimented me on my toe nail polish. I think it’s all going to work out alright. In the meantime I’m off to Starbucks to get one of those fancy $80 coffee makers for the church.

Carrie S. Martin lives with the Pastor and their three kids in the Bible Belt.

Issue 1

This article first appeared in Geez magazine Issue 1, Fall 2005, Just as I am..

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