Thursday, March 02, 2006


I've often wondered if part of my interest in ordained ministry is partially based on some misguided notion that if you're a priest, everyone has to love and respect you. It's only now, six years into the process, that I realize my answer is an emphatic "are you high?!"

Y'all there's just no damn point in striving only to be liked; what matters is striving to be good. Not just doing good, because y'all know how easy it is to do good for the wrong reasons (collection plate guilt, anyone?) but being good. After that, everything just falls into place and if it doesn't...well, that's okay too.

I mean, I want everyone to love and respect me. Of course I do, but I've come to accept that some people will just not like me and accepting it, I mean really accepting it deep down in that murky place that still sort of wants to be prom queen took a long damn time.

I can thank a girl named Meghan for finally hammering the lesson home. Meghan and I weren't really friends, but we travelled in some of the same social circles. I respected her and wanted her to like me...and then I made a mess of her life. I didn't do it on purpose of course; but that doesn't matter. Friends, to this day she hates me, and it took me about two years and an entire wardrobe of hair shirts to realize that actually, it's fine if she hates me. She can hate me and I can still be good.

I'm never going to have a 100% approval rating. No secular politician does and no religious figure even comes close. Hell, I'd be surprised if God hisownself would even make it past 50% in the Gallup polls most days and that's with favorable market conditions and a good report from the Fed.

Oh, and the post title? That little fraction of a whole? It's Babe Ruth's lifetime batting average.

This post was brought to you by realistic expectations and a pocket calculator.


Blogger The Ranter said...

come on now, when you're a priest in a parish, your parishioners will spend much of their time together griping about how you do things... it puts you under the microscope and you get much less mercy and leeway than most laypeople allow themselves

12:35 PM  
Blogger Marshall said...

You know, there's a rabbinical saying I read somewhere (actually, I know where: a book, "The Wit and Wisdom of the Jews;" but i can't remember the editor; anyway:) that goes, "If half your congregation doesn't want to throw you out, you're not a rabbi. If you let them, you're not a man." Granted, you're not a man to begin with, but there's good evidence that estrogen will work just as well as testosterone to support initiative and backbone.

No, you can't please everyone (and you knew that, at least in your head); and, yes, we all want to be "universally loved and adored," as one of my seminar professors used to put it. But, hang in and you'll acquire the skills you need. You'll get some bruises along the way, but you'll get the skills.

10:55 PM  

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