I’ve been called a lot of stuff in my life: “Ricky”, “little whit”, “#*@&*%!!!”.
When I was a little child, 3 or 4, my parents even saddled me with the endearing moniker, “Love” (I know, it’s amazing I am straight, right?).
I don’t care much how you refer to me but please don’t call me “Reverend”. This traditional term is one of respect. Men of the cloth – preachers – were considered as holy, set apart, closer to God than “normal” people. They were… well, revered.
I don’t buy that title for myself. I don’t like it and won’t be referred to by that title, if I can help it. I am not to be revered above anyone else. I don’t want to be separated from “normal” people. No pedestals please. The fall off is too painful. I believe in the priesthood of all believers which lets us know that one is not closer to God simply because he/she is in vocational ministry. I get a kick out of pastors on facebook and Twitter who include “Reverend” in their profile name.
A couple of fellow pastors call me “Bishop” because I have oversight responsibilities with some local churches in the area. I’m not crazy about it but it makes a little sense. I wish they would refrain from using it outside of a church setting.
I don’t like “preacher” very much. This is typically a Southern term but I get the feeling people use it when they can’t recall my name. I only preach for about 1.5 hours per week (three services). That is not who I am, it is part of what I do.
I don’t mind “Pastor” – that is my title and responsibility. But even that feels a little strange in some social settings. (You should see how people look at me when someone I know yells out “PASTOR!” to me in Starbucks).
Rick is better – that is what my brother decided to call me when he discovered that my parents had lost their minds and named me Wendell. Richard is my middle name.
As the old joke goes, “I really don’t care what you call me; just call me when dinner is ready.”
The end of it all: there is One who is revered, His name is Jesus. “To Him be glory both now and forever!” (2 Peter 3:18)
“Rick” (aka “Love”)