Not seeing the priest for the man

AKMA writes about his 16th anniversary of being a priest:

Much of the difference I experience can be attributed very simply to the social construction of identity: people treat a priest differently from the way they treat a generally-pious person graduate school. (One day, a muffler shop even gave me a clergy discount.) Some of the difference resists reduction to social roles and expectations though, some of the difference surprises me and eludes me and still unnerves me.

It’s odd, but I never see AKMA as a priest. I see a man who sometimes gets weighed down by the troubles that beset those around him; who probably cares more than he ought to at times; who is tolerant; who loves his family with a devotion that, oddly, gives me hope (and makes me a bit envious at times). Who stubbornly looks for the best in us, when we just as stubbornly only show our worst.

It’s true that in addition to the above AKMA is also devout, compassionate, and intelligent—all of which can be seen as priestly behaviors I suppose. But AKMA also has a wicked sense of humor, can bite back when bitten, has a fascination with technology and its impact on communication, and has no hesitation in cutting loose and being just plain silly at times. This tends to jar my pre-conceived image of priest.

No, I just don’t see the priest. I see the man who has made choices in his past that have carved out the person we know today. If his actions are the actions of a Man of God, then I would say that AKMA has really been a Man of God since the day he was born.

(BTW, did I happen to mention that he wears a funny collar at times?)

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