Dear Studio Executive,
I am writing about a new TV show I hope you will consider producing. It is called “Gal Eye for the Pastor Guy.” It’s about a team of fabulous clergy women who travel around the country doing lifestyle, theological, and ecclesiological makeovers for struggling male pastors.
We realize that such a program will likely bring up troubling issues of church dysfunction, harmful theology, systemic oppression, and poor fashion choices. While we do not plan to ignore such realities, the show would focus on the heartwarming stories of the male pastors’ personal and professional transformations, punctuated by the fun, sassy antics of the clergy women.
Our team consists of:
Rev. Rachel Hackenberg: Preaching
- Rev. Hackenberg gives a much-needed lift to the preaching of struggling male pastors. She provides both technical and theological coaching to bring creativity, energy, and theological respectability into their sermons. Some of her most commonly-needed lessons are:
- How the men can raise the pitch of their voice so they don’t sound so mumbly
- Where to find sermon quotes and illustrations not exclusively by and about white cis-hetero men
- How pastors can tell when their sermon is done and they should stop talking
Rev. Deb Vaughn: Music and Worship
Rev. Vaughn is our music go-to pro. She will fix that funky music! No more 1980s praise songs! No more overbearing organ death marches! She can even teach pastors how to tune drums (yes, that’s a thing) and help pick out a real keyboard! For male pastors stuck in a worship rut, she facilitates worship ideas such as:
- Sung liturgy
- Drama presentations
- Contemporary prayers
- And, upon consultation with Rev. Hackenberg, guest preachers
Rev. Anne Fraley: Event Planner
These fabulous clergy women know that Sunday morning worship is only part of a church’s life. Pastors need to plan many different types of events—and this is where Rev. Fraley comes in. While her advice varies depending on the type of event, there is one comment she makes to one male pastor after another: “Don’t overburden the women in your church. Remember that many men also know how to cook, clean, and entertain children. And those who don’t know are capable of learning.” Also, tablecloths and candles go a long way toward nice ambiance.
Rev. Marta Spong: Inclusivity
Rev. Spong is known as the “Inclusivity Maven,” and she asks the hard questions:
- Who has power on your committees?
- Whose feedback do you listen to?
- Who do you invite into your pulpit?
- Who are you lifting up in community settings?
When a pastor answers these questions almost exclusively with the names of white cis-hetero men (and a female chair of the social committee doesn’t count as diversity), then Rev. Spong knows there is a lot of work ahead.
For male pastors who do not feel inclined to do the hard work of inclusivity and/or who have a habit of throwing their female colleagues under the bus, the team may bring in Rev. Barbara Bruneau. Her spiritual gift is slapping the $%#! out of these types of pastors. Metaphorically, of course. (We think.)
Rev. Julia Seymour: Theology
Our primary theological consultant, Rev. Seymour helps male pastors understand that their own perspective is limited and introduces them to theological ideas that may be outside their comfort zones. Here is a quote from episode one:
“Hmmm, another white male quoted? Reeeeeeallly? Let’s not. In fact, let me give you some Yvette Flunder and Wil Gafney.”
Rev. Marci Auld Glass: Fashion
Whether the pastor’s problem is suits from the 70’s or painfully hip skinny jeans and facial hair, Rev. Glass helps male pastors present themselves in a way that is acceptable to God—and the rest of us. As you can see, accessorizing is her specialty!
Rev. Lia Scholl and Rev. Mary Austin: How to NOT Embarrass God and the Church
This is a highly problematic area, which is why we have two fabulous clergy women working together. Rev. Austen advises against questionable jokes and skeevy compliments. A couple of pro tips she has for male pastors:
- If you are inclined to begin a statement with a phrase like “I probably shouldn’t say this, but” or “Some people think this offensive, but” or “This may sound racist/sexist/homophobic, but”–pretty much anything that requires a “but”–just don’t even start that sentence.
- If what you are about to say references any aspect of a woman’s physical appearance, don’t say it. (Unless she is your wife and you are in private. And even then, tread carefully.)
Rev. Scholl frequently engages pastors in conversations about agency vs. evangelism, being with rather than fixing, and unconditional serving rather than conditional help. In Episode 2, Rev. Scholl takes the male pastor in question out to a strip club to introduce him to the idea that women can and should determine their own futures.
I realize that these Exceptional Eight (sometimes Notorious Nine) make up a larger team than is used in similar types of shows. However, we feel that the magnitude of the problems faced by many male clergy require such a robust team of women.
Thank you for considering this proposal. Should you choose to produce “Gal Eye for the Pastor Guy,” you will not only provide riveting television, but also facilitate a much needed service to our country’s churches.
Rev. Joanna Harader, Humor Consultant
Rev. Joanna Harader serves as pastor of Peace Mennonite Church, in Lawrence, KS. She is grateful for her Rev. Gal teammates who provided all of the pictures and some of the text for this post.
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