Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Emporer Has No Clothes

Awake at 5:58 in the morning with my head buzzing and the adrenaline flowing.
Must be time to go back to school!

Here I am back on my blog, knocking down the cobwebs and dusting off the "Open for Business" sign. It's been ages since I've posted anything here that wasn't a sermon. I'm still blaming facebook for it's ability to entice me with short status updates and the lack of the need to go deep with each posting. It's all about quantity, not quality. On FB I can post my daily witticisms and be off and running in a flash. It's hit and run writing. Never mind that I waste hours checking everyone else's status updates and playing Frontierville. FB takes less thought then blogging.

I also blame paper writing and sermon writing. They both sap the creative bug right out of me. If I'm reflecting as a requirement in my daily doings why come here to reflect more?

But I fear the real reason why this blog has been silent is because it's lost its anonymity. Too many people know about it. My family. My friends. People at school. People at church. People in my denomination who are geared to decide my fate in the ordination process in the not too distant future.

It began to get freaky to walk into a family gathering or into church and have people reference something I wrote on my blog. I felt exposed. As if they knew my deepest wonderings and fears while I knew nothing about theirs. I felt as if they had an unfair advantage. I was standing naked before them while they remained fully clothed.
I also feared saying something, or complaining about something, that I didn't want certain people to hear. My online diary suddenly became a very visible act of confession.

It was fine when my daily readers were all fellow bloggers. People who did not know me and who were not apt to know the people or situations that I was writing about. We commiserated in our commonalities because we had the protection of distance and anonymity.
But I'm not sure I want the people I share a pew or a classroom with knowing the deepest longings of my heart.

Which is why this blog has been silent.
Sermons are different. Sermons are crafted for others to hear, and the focus is rarely on me.
But how do I reveal my insecurities about entering the ministry when I know pastor colleagues, some who will decide my fate, are reading my blog?
How do I explore (or rant about) a seminary experience when I know my fellow students are visitors here?
How do I express dissatisfaction with a church, or a pastor, when I never know who will be listening?

Perhaps I just need to forge ahead uncensored and lay it all out there for others to see. To be true to myself and my experience.
Or perhaps I need to change the nature of this blog and prepare for the day when as a church pastor I can no longer hide behind the protection of anonymity.

Why did I tell people I know about this blog if I wanted to keep it as a safe haven?
Because I didn't realize at the time that I needed it to be that.
It came up in conversations, links were sent out in dribs and drabs. I shared it with a chosen few and soon I had no control over who had access to it.
I wanted to share. I wanted people to live vicariously through my experiences. I wanted people to read my sermons and offer their feedback, both complimentary and via constructive suggestions for improvement.
I wanted to bare my soul in a way that my introverted tendencies kept me from doing in real life.
And in doing so I have become closer to my family and my friends who took the opportunity to say "I loved what you wrote, I feel the same way!"

But then people I barely know, or who have power over me, began finding there way here.
And I went silent.

In reality this is probably much to do about nothing.
I've been posting my sermons for a year and a half but with no comments left in that time so I doubt if anyone I know still visits here.
Which may mean it's safe to come back.

I welcome family members and those I felt close enough to share this link with.
And with distant acquaintances and denominational bigwigs alike being subjected to my inane Facebook postings, I'm slowly losing my fear of letting it all hang out.
Since my fundamentalist Christian and Republican facebook friends have graciously put up with my lefty liberal status updates without any dire consequences, I should have no reason to fear doing the same here.
I am who I am.

So, excuse me while I run about with my Swiffer duster, pulling up the shades and opening the windows to let some fresh air in here.
I have one more year as the 40-(something)-year-old Seminarian, and looking back at my initial posts from 3 years ago I realize now how valuable this venue has been for my growth.
I have to write about my I will never forget how far it is I've come.
Put out the welcome mat.
Things are about to get real busy around here.


Wormwood's Doxy said...

Good to see you back!

I'm in sort of the same boat. I'm not trying to be ordained--but I married a priest, and all of a sudden, I feel scared to say much. Either on my blog or on Facebook.

It doesn't help that Dear Friend (my husband) was just so darned proud of my blog. He told everyone and their dog about it. *He* certainly didn't want to silence me--but I'm not sure he realized what a fine line clergy spouses walk. The congregation doesn't hire us--but we are definitely seen as speaking for our spouses. That responsibility has overwhelmed me a bit. (Well, that and some major issues with family...)

But you have given me some food for thought here, Mocat. Thanks for that. And I look forward to hearing your voice again.


MoCat said...

Thanks Doxy!
It's good to be back!
My hope is to keep posting even when the school year gets into full swing.
We'll see if that actually happens. :-)