My name is Holly Johnson, and I am a pastor's kid. There I said it. I now wait for the clichéd throngs of “Hello Hollys” as if I am a member of a 12-Step program for recovering pastors' children.
When Barrett first approached me about writing this blog, he said something to the effect of, “I want you to write about how your dad is awesome, but so are you.” This was my greatest fear realized. You see, while I love my father, I am not my father, and I appreciate having my own identity.
I remember countless times as a kid being reprimanded by the laity for being “too loud” or “running around the sanctuary” or whatever else, and this was always followed with the caveat, “You are the pastor's daughter; you should know better.”
But at home, I was Holly. I was not the pastor's daughter or even a church member. I was just me. My family never compared me to my father, never expected me to be like him, and supported me in my differences from him (although, truthfully, there are not many differences).
Now that my father is prominent member of the CBF community, I was wary of attending a seminary so immersed in CBF life. I was fearful that I would find myself stuck in a place that would say, “But you're Ray's daughter; you should know better.”
I am so happy this is not the case. And I realize now why Barrett asked me to write this. Yes, occasionally I am introduced as Ray's daughter, but overall, the community at McAfee respects my own identity, my own calling, my own passions, and my own life. I'm free to be the person God has called me to be. Now, as a semi-grown pastor's kid, I can proudly say that I am standing here at McAfee on my own accord, embracing my calling, following the spirit of the living God within me.
I have grown up “in the shadow” of an incredible man who has always supported me. I am proud of that shadow, but I am not just “my father's daughter.” I am Holly. I am distinct, set apart, and called to be someone completely different. I am called to be me. And I am so blessed to have found a school community that recognizes and affirms just that!
Holly Johnson is a first year seminary student at McAfee School of Theology