Monday, March 03, 2008

The blogging future

is something I've been mulling over this recently.
After all, in just one month's time I'm going to be miraculously transformed into a wise, mature and organised priest-in-charge - oh no, cancel that bit - it is actually me whom they seem to have appointed....
But job, new community...what do I do about the blog?
I've been quite open with my congregation here about my blogging, and know that some read and enjoy it while others undoubtedly lurk, with perhaps varied degrees of understanding of what I'm about. It's a public medium, so that's entirely fair and I never post about anyone identifiable without checking that they are happy for me to do so, nor say anything here that I couldn't comfortably say directly to those involved.
However, I do know that people sometimes add two and two and make five - and I'm not certain that ironing out misunderstandings is likely to be the best use of my emotional energy (or my time) - which is likely to be stretched in many directions as I try to grow into my new role.
So I find myself with a dilemma. I love the process of blogging...of reflecting on life and ministry and engaging in conversation with people across the world whom I would never otherwise have met. I value my blog friends hugely (and count some of them as among my most trusted friends of any description) - and I know that my thoughts on life and ministry are far more fruitful when they are part of a potential dialogue, in a way that my personal journal could never be.
But...I don't need any extra areas where I might fall over my feet in the months ahead. Some of you have, I know, had dramas when blogs have been stumbled across and conclusions jumped to, so you'll understand my anxiety.

The solution might seem to be simple, - a new and anonymous blog - but I don't think I'm capable of that degree of reticence, and in any case I think that some of my writing needs to be clearly attached to its context to "work" at all.
Another possibility might be a new private blog, for all the interesting things...which would leave this as a vehicle for more generalised theology, sermon blogging, book reviews and photos....That might make for a rather dull space here at Good in Parts, but would at least enable me to keep on sharing all the joys and struggles without fear.

I'm simply not sure what to do and would welcome your thoughts and suggestions. Meanwhile I'm going to continue the happy process of shredding minutes from 3 years plus of parish meetings. Very therapeutic!


Jonathan Hunt said...

I would suggest that if you are concerned that some of your reflections might cause misunderstandings, then discretion is right.

You feel that this new step is what you have been working towards over many years... so why risk 'blowing' it with something within your control.

I'd humbly say the two-blog model is probably best. No point trying to stop blogging the way you do, and I for one would be very sorry if you did.


Anonymous said...

I wonder whether you could just carry on with Good in Parts but simply not comment on "parish affairs" for the first * months until people have got to know you in person. You may notice that I rarely comment directly on parish affairs- then gradually introduce comment about good and positive things. This may feel odd at first compared with your current freedom - but a second private blog could now be worse cos it will leave people with not knowing what you are saying in private.

Rhys said...

I agree with the first 2 cooments- but I don't think it's "really you" - if you see what I mean. Just a suggestion - ask people like me who want you to carry on as you are for our email addresses and you can just email us until you've settled into your new parish and have come to a decision - Typepad i think allow private blogs but that costs!

maggi said...

you could blog your personal journey, and then start a parish blog to record events and liturgies (- your ideas are always valuable to me!) maybe getting one or two parishioners to join you as co-bloggers.

Danny said...

This is a very pertinent issue, one which I will have to face as well, if and when I am ordained.

I have already made hard decisions in relation to my Facebook profile. I took the decision to restrict access to family, close friends and other probationers/ministry candidates... This was prompted by someone who was not really a friend (but who had access to my profile) joining the congregation where I am a probationer and then tracking my movements and friendships. I found this a little disturbing and it gave me a foretaste of what potentially could happen in the future.

It is easy to restrict Facebook access, but a blog is another matter and I haven't yet decided how I will deal with this. I think I will close down my current blog and start a new anonymous one (I was anonymous when I started 'Rumours')which I will 'advertise' via my Facebook profile where I have total control over access.

It is a difficult one for you as you have a real 'blog following' but I think you will find that you need 'privacy' in your new role more than ever before and that the only way is to go for a less public blog where you have control over who can view... that will allow you the freedom to continue to reflect openly but fewer people will be able to 'stumble' across you.

I for one wish you all the best for you coming ministry and I have really enjoyed reading your reflections over the past year or so.

marcella said...

On a practical level I've found two blogs difficult to handle - it's all too easy to leave comments with links to the "wrong" one. A difficult decision I can see. Perhaps at least at first, concentration on the parish website and an "official" Internet presence might be best, but we shall all miss your open reflections.

PS - my word verification thingy was very rude! Please tell blogger to stop it now.

Sally said...

No wisdom to add, as there seems to be plenty out there. Simply praying that you find the right way ahead.

Sophie's Daughter said...

Just a word from my own experience.

While I am not a minister, as a woman discerning a religious vocation (Catholic), I felt it necessary to keep my blog anonymous until everything is lined up for me to join the order. It has been a very valuable opportunity for me to have a "bloggy" community, though I have found it a little strange sometimes to keep it anonymous. Sometimes I really want to talk about the details, and know I cannot!

But the blog offers me a chance to share spiritual ideas and thoughts that I hope will become part of a greater discussion. And it gives me the supportive community of peers in similar discernment/ministry situations that I do not have on a daily basis. I think we would all miss your insights!

I'm not sure that a completely anonymous blog is a good idea for you, since you already have such a wonderful community of blogger friends and readers. But perhaps keeping the details of your new position (and the experiences you have there) out of the blog is most prudent.

Best wishes, and prayers for your journey!