by Charles S. Garabedian
Have you ever visited the website for a Christian fundamentalist or conservative evangelical church? One thing that annoys the heck out of me is the preacher biography under the About portion of the website—particularly that of the Head Preacher. The preacher’s wife is always described as beautiful, and the children are always wonderful. Sometimes a photograph of the family is provided, and the biography always tries to portray the pastoral family members as perfectly balanced, harmonious, and thoroughly contented complementarian bovines grazing with perfect contentment and wifely submission on a sylvan field of Irish green grass.
Let’s get real here! Neither the preacher nor his wife are always handsome or beautiful. The wife is not always a teenage beauty pageant winner from Mississippi or Texas. More often than not, both the pastor and his spouse are average-looking people—or just downright ugly—you know—like normal people on the street. Behind closed doors at home, they fight like cats and dogs over small things and big things. Daily life is anything but bovine and pristine, and getting through an average day is often difficult at best. The preacher may even give his spouse regular beatings in fits of rage. For example, when a member of my family was a child, the preacher’s daughter was her best friend. The daughter would tell my kinswoman about how her daddy regularly beat her mother.
The children are not wonderful. They are like everyone else’s children. Rowdy, sometimes disobedient, unwilling to do homework—blah, blah, blah. Only it is all the more worse for them because they are the children of a preacher, and they are under enormous pressure to put on a special act every day of their lives to maintain the illusion that they are part of a picture-perfect fundie Christian family.
Just once. Just once. I would like to see a Christian fundamentalist or conservative evangelical church website where the biographical sketch for the Head Preacher, his spouse, and their children is thoroughly honest and matter of fact—and presented without pretense or cover up. It would be so very refreshing to know that these people are human beings, imperfect, and mortal just like every other poor soul on this Earth. Church is the last place a person should have to live out a manufactured lie, and the preacher should not have to document this lie in the About section on the church website.