Saturday, June 16, 2007

Hello lurkers, everywhere!

Yesterday I had one of my periodic supervision sessions with WonderfulVicar.The idea of this part of training is to work on a particular issue in my ministry that I feel needs attention - and this month's choice was that thorny perenniel, boundaries. We helpfully aired all sorts of stuff that feels very current for me, discussed the ongoing question of time boundaries (as long as there's tons to do, there will never be any problem - it's when I can be fluid and free fall that I might just come unstuck) and then he mentioned "Boundaries and the blog". (Sounds like a children's book, no?)

Of course, there are the obvious issues that apply for all bloggers. I've always worked on the basis that I'm too fundamentally transparent (and potentially disorganised) in every area to attempt secrecy either about my identity on the blog or its existence with those I know irl. So, FabBishop knows about the blog, it figured in my recent review with the Archdeacon, and I've promoted RevGal books to the congregation at St M's, about as comprehensive a "coming out" as a blog could require.
As part of my blogging policy,
I've asked various friends to hold me accountable for the blog's content and alert me if they see any potential breaches of confidence or misunderstandings looming, and I try as I type to imagine my PCC always before me, at my right hand so I shall not fall. I don't blog things that I wouldn't be comfy saying directly to those concerned. I don't use proper names without permission, unless the topic I'm blogging is already in the public domain.
But all the same, I do have to be careful, don't I?

The new blogger regs have made de-lurking harder, - you'd have to be pretty keen to create a whole blogger account simply in order to let me know you're there (If you ever wanted to email me about anything on the blog, though, that would be more than fine)
Meanwhile, hello anyway!
I'm glad you're reading - not simply because every writer, even the humble blogger, writes for some sort of audience.
I'm also glad because I firmly believe that, for better or worse, the fundamental gift I bring to ministry is if I'm working with you, you might as well know more about that self and how it may impact on my ministry generally (and my preaching in particular). I do believe passionately in the objectivity of my Orders - that I can and do function as a priest regardless of personal strengths and weaknesses,- but I don't believe in the obliteration of personality by those orders, the separation of priesthood from identity. So, if I'm your priest, I'm also me, Kathryn, with all the muddles and joys that this entails. And if it makes me vulnerable, well, that's the root of ministry, isn't it?

For the record, I'm of course really sorry if at any point I've mentioned something on the blog that it would have been best for anyone to learn face to face. That's just silly and thoughtless of me.I do try to be attentive, but am sometimes more careless than I'd like.

All that, of course, is simply retreading familiar ground. What struck me most of all in our conversation yesterday was that I take my blog so much for granted as part of myself that I simply hadn't thought of it as something "out there", an aspect of ministry both intentional (at times) and unintentional (more often) which needs to be taken into consideration. I've wondered whether I'd be best, when I move on from St M's, to restrict myself to a private, invitation only blog...but then I reflect on the wonderful people I've met since I began writing here, and I know that for me, the benefits outweigh the risks.
But, no matter why you're reading this, I'd be so glad to hear if at any time you feel I'm breaching my own codes. If blogging is part of ministry, then it should be a force for good...


Songbird said...

This friend across the pond is certainly glad that you blog in public and grateful for your ministry in all ways.

liz said...

One of my parishioners who recently discovered my blog, commented: "thanks for trying to reach us in ever new ways". I think for some people, us bloggers especially, it is an important part of ministry. I enjoy processing things online and I've so enjoyed being a "lurker" on your journey. Thanks

Caroline said...

I'm so glad you blog - and so grateful for the way you have ministered to me online, even though I am not part of your congregation. Please don't stop.

Anonymous said...

As one of the lurkers, I just thought I'd de-lurk and say that if Jesus had a blog, I'm guessing He would be in all sorts of hot water from those keen to keep Him quiet - and I think He would carry on regardless! I hope you will, too - and thank you for all you have shared so far.


Cal said...

I wonder if one of the dangers (?poss not right word: challenges/sticky areas/...) for your type of blog is not so much offending those in your congo who might read it - after all you, as you say, are careful how and what you write and have explained yourself very clearly; but if people start talking about the blog and its contents to those in the congo who don't read it. The potential for Chinese whispers and distortion of what you actually said then seems possible!

Suspect that you already know this though!

(And of course, if such a situation were to happen I do believe there's something in the scriptures suggesting that loose tongues and gossiping is not good behaviour!)