Splutter

So I see this in a Stand Firm post I don’t really comprehend at all:

Sarah, +Jeffrey praised your knowledge, witness, intelligence and skill –and your attractive looks– from the lectern and in different conversations.

Dear God, is it going to come down to hotornot when it comes to Things That Make Women Formidable Proferrers of Opinion?

Fortunately, if that’s the case, I should be able to hold my own, but only if I’m wearing a corset.

Paralepsis of the day: I’d say I think MadPriest is starting to rub off on me, but ya’ll’d take that the wrong way.

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On growth

My son lives with his dad. He’s at that age where he goes away for two weeks and comes back two inches taller. It’s disconcerting for me, but moreso for friends who haven’t seen him in a year or two. To them, he’s a foot taller. He’s rapidly approaching six feet tall, even though just a year and change ago, he’s clearly three inches shorter than I am–I’m 5’7, and a half. I always fight for that last half inch. It makes a fraction of a difference on my body mass index (BMI), which is what seems to have grown exponentially for me in the past couple of years. My son grows UP! I grow stout.

I’m going somewhere with this, though. I left the church around 1985. I’ve identified several factors in why I left the church–some of them were social; I was a teenager that had been removed from the church of my childhood and taken to one where there weren’t any kids my age; I also perceived a classist and competitive streak among the yuppies in the choir that struck me as cliquish and shallow. Granted, that’s how I perceived the world in those days. But there was something more sinister undermining my faith—my increasingly tense relationship with my parents, my inability to reconcile the notion of God with my exponentially expanding world view, the incredible amount of *judgment* I felt radiating from more conservative Christian friends of mine. I got so angry about the notion of predestination when I was 17 I tried to make a point by injuring myself; there is still a scar on the back of my left hand from that moment of rage.

When I came back to church 15 years later, a lot had changed. I had changed, for one, to be sure. But more importantly, the church had changed. I was 5 years old when the first women were ordained as priests, and when I left, I had never known a woman priest in my diocese of Southern Virginia.

But when I came back more than 15 years later, women priests were at every single parish I visited (just about), the suffragan Bishop of Southern Virginia was a woman, and a few years after that, a woman was elected presiding bishop.

This has all happened in my mother’s lifetime. My mother became a church organist specifically because she couldn’t be a priest. Indeed, the first women to be ordained were done so irregularly; now it’s the norm, and some people left the church because of it; some parishes established that while it was accepted in the church it wasn’t right for them, and so on.

When I came back to the church after all that time, it was as if seeing a newborn grown into a teenager overnight. Gays and lesbians were priests! Women were bishops! Gene Robinson had just been elected, as I recall. Other changes had taken place, too. The altar had been pulled out. The Gospel was being read from the center of the nave. There was a funny new crossing of oneself for the Gospel I had never seen before. And, as I went to different churches, I saw different practices: this one has an open table; this one doesn’t say “The Word of the Lord” after a scripture reading (although we still say Thanks be to God.) This one still reads the Gospel from the pulpit; this one dances throughout the service. This one has organ music, this one has banjo music, this one has djembes and why is everyone wearing Birkenstocks?

That’s not the point, though. The point is that these changes don’t happen overnight. One little thing might, but the whole process forward is a slow march. That whole thing about faith being like a mustard seed? So is progress. I give you my tomato plant of 2005, that appeared to die in August but reflowered in September and gave me an autumn harvest I cannot forget. That story is here.

But for those who are foundering, remember. You may feel like the rosebush cropped, but does it not grow back stronger? You cannot see the grass growing, but it is. You cannot see my son growing, but he is. You cannot see the moon moving, but it is. And right now, you may not be able to see the church growing. But it is.

metablogging

So there’s blogging about social media for the sake of interacting with other social media professionals. but ultimately, what I *need* to do is start blogging content for our members. Not here, but on the blog I will be signing my name to.

so I’ve been trying to figure out why some “organization blogs” are good and others aren’t. Content is, of course, king, and that’s a refrain I’ll sing again and again. But one mistake I’ve found is mistaking the technology for the content. You can put the call and response technology on any old article and say it’s a blog entry. But that’s taking 1.0 content and expecting it to become 2.0 content by virtue of having a comment box on it. And then there are no comments. Why?

Because we are conditioned to respond to 1.0 media without actually responding to it.

What comprises a blog post? I got an email today from a colleague, forwarding a youtube link to me. “Yes,” I said. “But would this be of interest to our members?” It would, she said. “So this is an example of good blog food,” I said, and illustrated it thus. Good blog content is usually one of two things. “I found this. Here’s why I think this is neat. What do you think?” Or, it’s “I made this connection today/dreamed this up/had a really cool conversation with person x/wrote a story that’s got people talking, and here’s why I think this is neat. What do you think?” It’s more than just an invitation to comment: it’s opening a dialogue, even when (as now) it’s one person talking and no one listening, yet. I have to cultivate the exurbanista audience.  Hi. *waves* I can blog about my cats instead, if you like. Cause there’s always the blog content that goes, “This is really friggin’ hilarious, and I totally have to share it with you, regardless of what you think.” Harder to do on a professional blog, but hey, I’m a humorist at heart.

Do you think about what you blog? How would you characterize your blog content? What are its pieces?

beautiful day

I just wanted to share that on this glorious day I am editing the cafe
from my deck. My next door neighbor's daughter is getting married and
they are having the wedding on site. There are hundreds of tiny
insects fluttering like dancing fairea, and several dozen robins
staked out on the hillside trolling for a meal before setting out on
their next leg–for that many in one place tells me they are
migrating. Several wrens and a handful of swallows are twisting about
in daredevil aerial twist as they feast on the chaotic gossamer.

I love living here. I hope the weather is as pretty for our wedding
next May. We've picked out a celebrant, and while nothing is finalized
yet, she's tentatively accepted. I think it's going to be a come as
you are kind of thing.

That’s me in the corner

OK, if I’ve managed to figure out one thing, it’s that I want my ministry to be in the world and vaguely evangelistic, because I don’t really like that word but don’t have a better one for it. And it occurred to me, that …

If I was new to the church, and walked in one Sunday, bewildered, new, questioning, the last thing I’d want to hear about the @#$%ing schism. Same goes with our focus on what we blog on.

Are we so preoccupied with ourselves, with how this and that is wrong or right, that we’re forgetting that our ministries aren’t just about ourselves and if we’re directing all our spiritual energy toward fighting each other, aren’t we just killing the spiritual energy of those hungry for a meaningful spiritual experience? How can we transform lives if we can’t put ourselves beyond this dissent which, for lack of better language for it, Satan has sown among us?

ARGH! I tie myself in knots. Focusing excessively on the drama in New Orleans is physically painful for me, as is every time Stand Firm tries to demonize me. I’m one of your best ambassadors in the world, because i can talk about authentic faith to disenchanted agnostics between 25 and 45. I can influence them to open their hearts and minds to something bigger than themselves. But NO. I’m cast out from the “orthodox” and seen as some kind of enemy by a population of the church that is so ironically preoccupied with how we’ve lost our way.

It’s bewildering, I tell you. Bewildering.

Episcopal Cafe and the House of Bishops

Episcopal Cafe (http://www.episcopalcafe.com) is doing a wonderful job
of staying up to date on the stuff going on in Louisiana right now.

McCain and the AP

So, there's this in an AP article about McCain, whom I used to respect a great deal. That's been sliding–no, hemorrhaging over the past couple of years, but the AP can take credit for this one:

The Associated Press asked McCain on Saturday how his Episcopal faith plays a role in his campaign and life. McCain grew up Episcopalian and attended an Episcopal high school in Alexandria, Va.

"It plays a role in my life. By the way, I'm not Episcopalian. I'm Baptist," McCain said. "Do I advertise my faith? Do I talk about it all the time? No."

I don't know about you, Mr. McCain, but my faith is Christian, something the AP would do well to note when asking about one's "Episcopal faith." My faith isn't Episcopal. That's my church.