Based in Decatur, Georgia, Zeena Regis is a hospice chaplain and consultant for spirituality, grief care, and end of life care. Her posts contain reflections on the same topics.

Ummm....But You Don't Look Like A Chaplain

Ummm....But You Don't Look Like A Chaplain

I hear the phrase "But you don't look like a chaplain" at least once a week. For some reason, I have been hearing it with more frequency lately. Is it possible that the longer I am a chaplain, the less I look like one?

I wonder what picture people have in their head of what a chaplain looks like. Let me Google Image that.

 Well, dang, I guess I don't look like a chaplain

Well, dang, I guess I don't look like a chaplain

I can take this phrase so many ways and I do take it many different ways, sometimes depending on the tone and perceived intent of the speaker, sometimes on the other pressing pastoral issues to attend to, and sometimes on my mood.

Most often I wonder which of my identifiers the speaker is questioning the most: my race, my gender, my age or the intersection of all three.

Sometimes the intent is all too clear, especially when it is uttered by someone's lecherous, inappropriate uncle who hasn't stopped trying to ogle me since I walked in the room. Other times, the statement is tinged with amusement, curiosity, suspicion, disgust, or  pride . Sometimes there is a combination of all of the above.

My favorite "You don't look like a Chaplain" moment came when one of the patient's looked at me quizzically and said "I never imagined that I would have a chaplain who looks like Rudy Huxtable."

Break Every Chain