I'm Not Like That

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone begin a conversation with: "I’m not the typical pastor" or “pastor’s wife.” "I’m a Christian, but not the stereotypical kind.” "I’m not that kind of person.” Fill in the blank with your own unique role. Beyond consuming ungodly amounts of fried chicken (pastor), deftly mastering the piano hymnal (pastor’s wife), or pre-empting the notion of appearing judgmental (stereotypical Christian), something about our nature wants to communicate that we’re different from the typecasts the culture envisions or the stage roles society thrusts upon us. Deep within the human heart is the desire to be accepted while being "authentic," to be recognized while standing out. 

I wonder sometimes, beneath the edifice of these surface phrases, if there doesn’t lie a subtle form of pride. We all know rebels who like to "go against the system" and admire those who "tell it like it is” or "stick it to the man,” but the Biblical notion of submission and identity goes beyond job descriptions, marketplace labels, or gender norms. The Gospel account of two men praying condemns the self-righteous Pharisee (God, thank you that I’m not like everyone else) while commending the humble tax collector (God, be merciful to me a sinner). Instead of constantly navigating the perennially unchartered waters of non-conformity, the Scriptures call us rather to a kind of conformity that looks less like dictionary definitions and more like calloused hands of a carpenter king. The king who laid aside his divine lineage and became a man, just like one of us. The carpenter who found his identity not by rebelling against the status quo but by transcending it. One of his best friends, John, later wrote about his experiences and meditated on what it would like to be reunited with him one day, along with everyone else who believed in his message and took up his cross: "Beloved, we know not what we shall be, but we know that we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” 

I pray that the older I become, the less worried I’ll be about other’s perceptions of my role, stage in life, or acceptance of my beliefs; I hope I’ll just want to be like Jesus, and see him as he is. Try fitting that scene in a box.

Barry E. Fields

All Things New is the preaching and teaching ministry of Barry E. Fields, pastor of Hawesville Baptist Church, a regional congregation on the Ohio River with two campuses in Kentucky (Hawesville) & Indiana (Crossroads Tell City) and membership in five counties.

Originally from Bowling Green, he grew up at Glendale Baptist Church under the ministry of Pastor Richard Oldham, competed for Western Kentucky University's nationally recognized speech and debate team before receiving a B.A. in History in 2007, completed an M.Div. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville in 2010, a Th.M. in 2012, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Homiletics and Church History at Southern, serving as Garrett Fellow to Dr. Hershael York from July 2012-December 2014. He has also taught theology and church history as an adjunct instructor for Campbellsville University. Before coming to his present ministry, he was pastor of Mt. Tabor Baptist Church in Buffalo, Kentucky, for almost 5 years.

Active in denominational life, Barry currently serves on the Southern Baptist Convention's Young Leaders Advisory Council, a small group of pastors and ministry leaders seeking to engage the next generation in cooperative missions and ministry; recently completed a term on the SBC's Committee on Committees; currently represents the Blackford Breckinridge Baptist Association on the Kentucky Baptist Convention's Executive Mission Board; and has served on the KBC's Committee on Nominations, as well as several associational roles.

In his free time, he enjoys reading history and politics, listening to WKYU's Barren River Breakdown (Bluegrass and folk music) along with a variety of podcasts, as well as watching historical and political documentaries and the Andy Griffith show. Barry has a desire to help people fulfill the Great Commission through the Great Commandments: by showing the love of Christ, we can better share the love of Christ, and make disciples of all nations. And just so you know, he bleeds BLUE (UK Basketball)!