It may seem a little silly, and I think it started that way. We've all seen the fashion blogs and instagram accounts; I know I follow several. I thought it would be hilarious to do something similar with the outfits I wore with my clerical collar. Instead of #jcrew #bananarepublic #katespade, the hashtags that would go with these outfits would be #augsburgfortress #almy (for those of you non-clergy folk, that's where you buy clerical shirts and other stuff). It seemed like a hilarious idea in my head, so I started it, with the tagline "saying 'yes' to the call doesn't mean saying 'no' to fashion."
And then, I went through a summer of clinical pastoral education where my goal was around articulating a pastoral identity. In this summer, to make a long story short, I came to understand a little more that I, Sarah, am called to be a pastor. My person, the person I have been, am, and will be is the person who is called to be a pastor. My identity or essence won't change when, God-willing, I am ordained. So then the reflection comes around who I am, have been, and one day will be. What gifts are unique to me that then are unique to my pastoral identity? I, Sarah, have unique gifts that I bring to the role of pastor. Certainly, I will grow and learn and change throughout my life and throughout this work, but I think it is worth emphasizing to each of us, that the person we are right now is a gift to who and where we are called to be. Especially as a young woman, I know I have internalized sexism that exists in this and many other lines of work. Once I'm older, or if I was a man, my experience would be different, maybe easier. But, what would it look like if I believed that I-- a young, single, female--actually was not only equally capable as my male, or middle-aged male counterparts, but also that with my identity comes unique gifts that equip me to answer this call in unique and necessary ways? I believe that instead of waiting until I have enough knowledge or experience, or waiting until I'm recognized as equal, that I can begin to live in response to the conviction that I am called to this work.
So that brings us back to this instagram account. @nofrumppastor is my own push to empower each of us, where we are, how we express ourselves, to live fully into the life God has called us to live. This world asks us to conform in a lot of ways, and I just don't believe that this is always helpful. Especially as I move through seminary, I have found liberation in learning that I have as much to bring to this work as my male colleagues, as my LGBTQ colleagues, as my colleagues of color. God created us a diverse bunch, and I hope that this instagram can serve as a lighthearted reminder of this much deeper truth: that we all belong, we all are gifted, and we don't have to check our identity at the door when called to do God's work, whatever that may be.