Wednesday, March 11, 2009

it's gotta be the shoes

Two weeks ago, Pastor Ntapo preached on Jesus' betrayal from Matthew's gospel. He was particularly interested in why Jesus was given away by a kiss. He asked the congregation for an answer. I posited that the kiss on the lips of Judas--"one of the twelve" disciples--signified that often it is those who are most effusive in their response to you who are actually bent on undermining you.

"Amen," the pastor replied. Yet he had a different take on the kiss.

"Our Jesus was not like the pastors of now," he said. "He was very humble. If a person should enter this church," he continued, "he would be able to recognize the pastor instantly. He would see that the pastor is wearing this fancy suit, that he is wearing these nice shoes."

Anna and I exchanged glances from across the room. For some time already, Anna has used a pastor's shoes as an indicator of his moral fiber. In this area, a popular choice of many Pentecostal/Charismatic pastors is long, white, pointy shoes. She was particularly disgusted on Holy Saturday last year when the pastor showed up wearing said type for the first time.

On this Sunday, however, here was the pastor mocking his own appearance, measuring himself against Jesus, a man so unremarkable in appearance among his peers that only a public display of "affection" could betray him to outsiders.


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