I have no idea if members of my Candidacy Committee read my blog. Which got me to thinking . . .
Have any of you seminarian or pastor bloggers out there ever been burned in any way by what you’ve written on your blog? Do your parishoners or candidacy committee members read your blog? Do you openly share your blog with these folks? We’ve all heard of college kids getting turned down from jobs because of their MySpace pages, or of employees who were fired for what they wrote on their personal blogs. Has any such thing ever happened in the church?
Some seminarian and pastor-types use their blog as a sort of online newsletter, nary allowing personal or unpolished content to creep onto their webpages. Sports passions? Mundane family matters? Faith doubts? Political opinions? Such topics are filtered and do not appear on these polished blogs which generally present theology, ministry and faith matters in intelligent and insightful ways.
But other bloggers – myself included – are less filtered, sharing insights, news, thoughts, and feelings that they might not necessarily share in front of their candidacy committees, in their church newsletters, or from their pulpit – at least, not without some refinement. Faith, family, sports, politics and the mundane are all fair game with these blogs. Many of these bloggers are anonymous or semi-anonymous.
I once was anonymous, and then semi-anonymous, and then finally I simply outed myself. And I’ve found that since my name has appeared on my blog I am a little more intentional about what I write. But my blog is not as filtered as perhaps it should be, and in these pixels I give expression to some doubts and questions and opinions that I might express differently in front of my Candidacy Committee or in my parish. Is that problematic? Should I reconsider what I do on this blog and how I do it? Sometimes I wonder if I need to abandon this blog and resurface anonymously at a later date at a different blog (I’d love a good excuse to migrate over to WordPress, but I’ve got too much invested here at Typepad).
By now Tim Wengert and any good pastoral caregiver would ask: Why do you ask this question? My answer – I begin internship next week, and as I creep closer and closer to this pastoral vocation I find myself wrestling with what it means to fulfill the office of ministry with its various responsibilities and sensibilities, while also giving honest voice to the questions, experiences, insights and passions that God has given me.
Or, perhaps put another way, To what extent am I changed by fulfilling this office, and to what extent is the office changed when I fill it? I’m sure that Luther has something to say about the office of ministry. Any suggested readings? Perhaps that could make some good Labor Day Weekend reading . . .