Susan is a pastor transitioning to a new call. While introducing herself to the congregations, she engaged in conversation that one would expect around ministry, such as balancing time. But when a question came up about whether she was even trying to date or was just a workaholic, it gave her more pause. The process of examining what is said or unsaid can often leave us feeling vulnerable and exposed. It required peeling back the layers.
All clergy face certain expectations dictated by their social locations; I interviewed fellow single clergywomen about the expectations we face. During that process, I noticed a pattern of these same clergywomen needing to make decisions around how to engage statements or questions that called for deeper exploration, their journeys of helping people work through the layers.