Ripped reverend

The Rev. Dr. Amy Richter relates her experience as a contestant in the Wisconsin State Fair physique competition. The New York Times carries her story:

I stood by the mailbox holding a package that weighed about as much as an apple. Inside, I knew, there was a bikini. I was almost afraid to open it. How could something so small hold such a big risk?

As an Episcopal priest, I am usually more interested in what is going on inside a person than in what shows on the outside. Most days, if I have official duties, I put on my black clergy shirt, my white collar and a suit that looks decent and head out looking like a priest.

Now here I stood with my package, wondering how “priestly” I would look in its contents. The fabric was fire-engine red; a sprinkling of rhinestones along the edge caught the light.

I needed the bikini for the physique competition at the Wisconsin State Fair. I started training the year before. I loved how strong it made me feel. Now I was about to compete in front of hundreds of people.

….

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?

I came in second. Third went to an amateur wrestler. I wonder if she tells people she was beaten by a priest as quickly as I say I beat her. I carried my three-foot-high trophy proudly through the fairgrounds. The trophy was so flashy that children stopped to ask how I won it. “Tell them you got it for reading a lot of books,” my husband advised. Noble, but no way.

I wanted to say I won it for being the strongest priest in the state, for being a woman who is a priest with a really strong and healthy body. I wanted to tell them I won it for being brave, but that wasn’t really true, because I hadn’t been brave enough to tell the people it would be the biggest risk to tell.

“I got it for being myself,” I said.

Category : The Lead

Comment Policy
Our comment policy requires that you use your real name and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted

One Comment
  1. tgflux

    I note that while the NYT story shows the Rev.Dr. Richter in her clericals, it does not show her in the red bikini. I feel cheated!

    ;-)

    JC Fisher

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *