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So What? A Priest wins a trophy for “biceps, triceps and lats.”

April 22, 2012

So what? A priest wins a trophy, a second place trophy no less, for body building.  So what, right?

Well, the priest is an episcopal.  So what?

Well, this Episcopal priest is the Rev. Richter, who pastors the congregation at and is rector of St. Anne’s Church in Annapolis, Maryland.  So what?

Well, this Reverend is also Dr. Richter, who also teaches Biblical Studies for the Ecumenical Institute of Theology of St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Baltimore (after earning an M.T.S.  from Harvard’s Divinity School; an M.Div. from Princeton’s Seminary; and a Ph.D., from Marquette University).  So what?

Well, this Rev. Dr. Richter also has a book coming out this year, Enoch and the Gospel of Matthew (Wipf & Stock), and has just written in the New York Times about coming in second place in a “physique competition” for having strong and rather ripped “front double biceps,” “side triceps,” and a “back lat spread.”  Again so what?  Really, so what?

Well, Rev. Dr. Richter is Amy E. Richter.  Oh. A woman?

Yes, that’s right.  She

has heard this before, and she

writes about it in the New York Times this weekend.  Here’s some of what she writes:

A parishioner told me that he thought I was a great priest, but that if I became pregnant, it would be too weird for him to see me at the altar. Merely holding hands with my husband, even when I am not in clerical clothes, has elicited the comment “Can you do that? I mean, in public?” Another parishioner told me I was too petite to be a priest. I’m 5-10. I have never been called “petite.” I think he meant “female.”

What about when a priest wears a bikini? What if she complicates the picture by having sizable biceps or well-defined lats? Can “buff” and “holy” go together? “Ripped” and “reverend”? If the “reverend” is a woman?

This is the big, So what!  So she

has to write.

[I]t seems there’s still something unnerving about a priest who is a woman. It has to do with having a woman’s body.

What does she, the Rev. Dr. Amy Richter, tell people she won her trophy for? Well, you can read her “So what” here, and maybe we all should read what she so eloquently writes since it might say as much about her as about any of us.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 24, 2012 10:15 am

    Beauty Tips for Ministers, which frequently deals with cultural issues around women’s bodies as clergy bodies, has commented on this as well.

  2. April 24, 2012 3:44 pm

    The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein does seem to be a real authority on these issues. Thanks!

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