She Does Not Just Wear the Clerical Collar: An Interview with Lori Walke

Lori walked briskly through the Rotunda. Determined to raise awareness among Oklahoma congressional representatives of the harmful effects of predatory lending, she stood out among the crowd. It was the collar. Or was it?

What Do You Do?

Pastors often refrain from self-identification as clergy. The confession tends to shut down conversation. Pastor John J came up with a creative description to counter the regular occurrence.

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If you are a pastor and have every had that experience, then you may find Pastor John’s response to your liking.

However, there are others who are not only proud of the call to pastor but also make much of their work that likely contributes to this recent assessment,

Among those who know a pastor personally, 64 percent regard pastors very positively. Personal contact appears to affect not only churchgoers but also the religiously unaffiliated, who are more likely to have something positive to say about pastors when they say they know one personally.

Almost half (48 percent) of Americans say their experience with pastors has been better than the portrayals they’ve witnessed in the media.

I Realized I Was Raised for This

Share a conversation with anyone who comes to the realization that what they do is more than a grind. You will soon pick up the intonations of confidence. It does not mean there won’t be difficult times. Even the dream job comes with struggles. Persevering tends to reveal deep commitment.

My recent interview with Lori Walke provides a case in point.

I don’t recall when I first met Lori. Our oldest daughter graduated high school with her cousins, twins Tracie and Stacie. Five years ago I drove her grandparents in our local Ice Cream Festival Parade when they were names Citizens of the Year.

More recently I have come to know Lori in the context of her vocation, as pastor. She is the Associate Minister of Mayflower Congregational Church in Oklahoma City. We have mutual friends who work to advocate for important issues at our State House, the Capitol. Predatory lending was one of the recent issues for which she advocated. Her concern was birthed both by her conviction that Christians must stand with the poor and personal interactions with those who have been harmed by the predatory lending industry.

When Lori goes to the Capitol, she wears her clerical collar.

Faithfulness to Jesus

Our conversation ranges over a number of personal and professional topics. What is clear early on is Lori’s commitment to pursue faithfulness to Jesus by doing. “Jesus spent his time telling his disciples to go and do.” Going and doing may thrust you in positions where you may be understood. However, it is the body of work that helps provide context.

Listen for our conversation about her experience as Chaplain of the House of Representatives for a week during the recent session. What takes center stage is her understanding of prayer as more than window decoration, it is declarative. Words matter, even those you pray.

If you live in Oklahoma City, it is likely you may meet Lori as she is exercising one of her favorite hashtags, #everydayimpastoring. She clearly does more than wear the collar.

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About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.