I must admit, I’ve been sitting and stewing on this post for far too long. It all came to a tumultuous boil on Sunday, June 30 while watching the BET Awards from the comfort of my Alabaster, Alabama home. Through the oooohhhhhssss, aaaaahhhhhsss, shock and awe of the crowd, I could feel the bloggers, critics, commentators and social satirists preparing to pounce on the preacher’s wife, Meagan Good Franklin.
I won’t offer my commentary on the blue gown the still newly married Mrs. Franklin chose to wear as she introduced the Gospel category at the show. Why?
- #1: Who knows what I would wear to a Hollywood, star-studded event like that if I had a shape like that (and a husband who had to have seen me walk out of the house with it on)
- #2: I do know what I used to wear when my shape was nowhere near like that.
- #3 I may work in Social Justice, but I’m by no means a judge.
What I will say is that for nine years I sat in the seat of a pastor’s wife. Lady, is what they called me. And for those nine years, plus the three since my divorce, plus the 10 if you count the years I spent watching my grandfather pastor and my grandmother serve as his wife I know that the pressures leaders place on themselves and allow the people to place on them are not only unfair, but some of them are downright ungodly and they hurt like the dickens. There I said it!
I pose this question. Is Meagan Good as good as it gets? Are pastors and pastors wives held to the highest standard of the law that isn’t applicable to all others? Excuse my language but, “where that at in the Bible?” The Bible is applicable to, and should be applied by all. So back up off Mrs. Good and make sure all is good at home.
Because Meagan Good chose to follow God’s plan and unite in marriage to a man who is called as his job to preach and/or pastor as she is called to the world of entertainment, is she and all other pastors, pastor’s wives and their families (regardless of their profession) held to a standard higher than all others? The same standards of humility, modesty, and all the other words many have mentioned apply to EVERYONE! Nowhere in the Bible that I’ve almost read through completion have I found the chapter on “this is only for people who lead and feed the sheep” rules and regulations. 1 Timothy, Titus, Acts and a bunch of other scriptures offer verses that you will have to read on your own. They specifically address church leaders, their roles, and moral responsibilities. However, they are NO different in charge and consequence than the hundreds of other Bible verses that address the Christians who clock in at Church’s Chicken rather than a church. Again, if the blue dress isn’t good enough for Meagan Good then is it good enough for any of us?
I lived through years of pressure I placed on myself trying to live up to a standard “they” set for what a pastor, pastor’s wife, family, godchildren, etc should be. Sadly, to this day, I still don’t know who “they” are, and a lot of “they” certainly weren’t there for me when my marriage ended due in large part to my former spouse trying to live up to the unrealistic expectations he and others placed on him that caused him to be distant during the marriage and ultimately end it. Any who, I digress.
For the first couple of years of my marriage I changed my wardrobe to some ugly, poly-and-esther (as in the bible), long skirt suits, distanced myself from some associations and isolated myself from fun, non-threatening activities because somehow, someone (even my own mind) convinced me to buy stock into www.pastorswivesdonotdothat.org Then something hit me…common, Christian sense. I remember clearly one year in the mid-2000’s when my favorite boy band came to Birmingham,AL. New Edition (especially Ronnie DeVoe) had been the “it” group for me since childhood. I wanted to go to the concert so badly. And against the whispers of those who thought that wasn’t the best thing to do for a pastor’s wife, I purchased second row seats, put on my fishnet pantyhose under my black capris (hey, that was the style back then), put on high heel shoes and a velvet, peplum-sleeved jacket and went to the show with my girls in tow. Not only did I go, but something in me catapulted me from the second row to the edge of the stage the entire night where Ronnie serenaded me, at one point holding my left hand with my big wedding ring on it singing “Is This the End” and not letting it go for at least a full, complete two minutes. I was in Heaven!!! And nothing I did that night was ungodly, embarrassing, unlady like or disgraceful to my role as a Christian woman, whether I was married to a pastor at the time or not.
I’m no longer in the unique role of a pastor’s wife (whew, chile), but (far too) many since my divorce have come to me for insight and an ear to hear about the struggles they face. My heart truly goes out to them. At least three that I’ve known have been divorced in the last three years. Several have contemplated leaving their spouse and/or the ministry. Some are afraid to miss a day of church for fear of what the people will say. While others simply don’t like going to church anymore. Some have spent milestone birthdays and holidays alone, resorted to casual sips of wine, wake up solo and go to sleep solo, feel like they’re rearing their children by themselves, have taken family and financial blows that would knock the average person out, feel like they have no one to talk to, and have altered their personal purposes and public presentations to appease the people…some of the same people who think no more of them than to harshly question their attire.
I’m fed up with the devil (yes, I know how to place blame where blame is due) toying with God’s girls! he’s the only one that delights in this dress drama. I just hope the enemy and people who are missing the point realize that whether they liked the dress or didn’t, her role as a preacher’s wife or a wife has nothing to do with it being appropriate or not. It’s either appropriate or inappropriate for all of us. She’s human just like we are when we wear things or do things, and we’re all held to the same standard. The bar isn’t higher just because a persons paycheck or responsibilities are higher. If it’s not right it’s just not right regardless of who wears it on whatever platform. Regardless of what you think about Meagan’s gown, I’m glad it is sparking conversation. Maybe in the midst of a post or blog someone will see the light and focus on what really matters. What matters is the person, not the pedestal they’ve been placed on. And since we’re all people, regardless of what chair or pew we sit in on Sundays, we are in this together from Genesis to Revelations.
So, I leave you with this…If that dress isn’t fit for a preacher’s wife is it fit for a plumbers wife, a principal’s wife, a pediatrician’s wife or a professional pool player’s wife? Say a prayer and sip on that. #selah