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Stuff we shouldn’t blog about

August 11, 2008

While eating at the Macaroni Grill, Gavin and I had a great conversation about blogging and “stuff we shouldn’t blog about.”  Well, from Gavin’s perspective there was a bit of “stuff Gavo probably shouldn’t have blogged about,” but I digress.

My readership is generally below a hundred people per day, so it’s not like anything I say could shake the world or even really rock the Methoblogosphere.  But there is a lot of stuff I know I shouldn’t blog about.

  • I have several frustrations regarding the churches I serve that I can only talk about with my Covenant Group and my DS.  Even if this blog were totally anonymous I think it would be unfair to discuss those sort of issues in public.
  • Politics.  I have deep political commitments and strong opinions.  My good friend Chuck Currie has no problem discussing his politics on his blog and he is pretty much the UCC’s premiere blogger.  But I can’t bring myself to do it.
  • I am deeply frustrated with the Board of Ordained Ministry regarding a recent decision regarding requirements for my ordination.  I can’t see myself venting about that here without serious consequences.

This ain’t really a journal and I shouldn’t use it as one, even if my readership is largely a circle of friends in the Amen Corner.

So what should this blog really be for?  If I think a decision by the BoOM is unjust is it really unfair to make it public or is it fair game?  I seriously doubt that I could do irreparable damage to the BoOM by telling the story.  But I definitely could hurt a church by griping about the brick walls I’ve hit there.

Where are the boundaries?  Have you put much thought into it?  Blogged anything you’ve regretted?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. rev mommy permalink
    August 11, 2008 4:12 pm

    You could post pictures of cats.

    Where are the boundaries? hmmm… right over THERE. Be careful of the trip wires.

    Put much thought into it…… Yes.

    Blogged anything I’ve regretted…. Hmmm….. uh, yeah.

    Do it again? Uh, NO.

  2. August 11, 2008 9:25 pm

    You are a pastor. So a word of advice from one pastor to another pastor about blogging and being a pastor.

    Before you hit the enter button the final time on any blog you write, ask yourself the question . . .

    What can go wrong if I publish this particular blog?

    Only about 10-12 people every make comments on my blog site. Yet, I’ve been told by several hundred church members that they read it weekly. I started blogging as a way for the men of our church to get to know me. We have a Thursday morning men’s bible study, attended by 15-20 men. Many comment to me about what I have written that week.

    You may not know this, but more than one pastor in our annual conference (Central Texas) reads your blog, ever since the article about you in the Reporter came out. You just don’t know how many people read what you write.

    Don’t publish something you may live to regret, or which violates the sacred trust you are charged to protect. There are certain matters of trust that are just a part of being a “pastor.” You have been at this long enough now that you know what I mean.

    And never, ever write in the public domain about frustrations with your appointments (whatever anyone calls an appointment . . . treat it as a sacred gift!!!!!!) or frustrations with the BOM process until you are finished with the process and ordained an elder and received by your AC into full membership. Then write what ever you want . . . but do so remembering that more people than you think do actually read what you write. So choose your words carefully.

    If you feel frustrated, hurt, or victimized by the BOM process, then go talk to a counselor or therapist. Your DS I’m sure is a wonderful person . . . but still an assistant to the Bishop, and not your pastor . . . in the way DS’s used to be.

    Do no harm . . . Do good . . . and try to stay in love with God.

    Great rules for being a pastor. Very good rules as well for blogging.

    Sorry for the sermon. But I see in you, and pastors like you, some of the hope I have longed for in the UMC. Don’t blow it.

  3. absurdemest permalink
    August 12, 2008 6:24 pm

    Good question. That’s why I try to stay as anonymous as possible on my blog, and why I don’t update it much. I’m trying to work my way through some of the same issues. Yours is a far more public blog than mine, and that makes the issues very different. I had no idea you had such a readership. Congrats.

  4. Becca Clark permalink
    August 12, 2008 8:32 pm

    I’m going to jump on board with what Rick said above. I have a separate, personal blog that is more like a journal, is anonymous, and is controlled in its readership (i limit it to people i know in real life). Even there I don’t put in writing my frustrations with my church (beyond really surface level stuff), whether local or denominational.

    On my blog, I always ask myself before I hit ‘publish’ how I would feel if I knew my bishop was going to read it. my mom. my DS. my lay leader. a visitor to my church. my husband. my daughter. is there anyone who could be hurt by what i wrote, or will it in any way come back to haunt me? strangely, it’s the complete strangers who always take offense. no one I know has been upset by what i’ve written, but i get some weird replies sometimes from the blogosphere.

    That said, there was this time that I mentioned that I happened to go out with some friends and, how did I put it? oh, yes, get fabulously drunk. Yeah. that was me tripping right over the line. It’s true, and I’m nothing if not honest, but maybe not everything is meant to be shared! then again, it fit my rules, as my DS and three members of the BoOM were sitting right next to me, getting pretty fabulous themselves. Still, it might not be the best thing to lift up about myself.

    So, yes, I’ve definitely crossed the line, but on the whole, I think I do alright. In my spoken and written words, I try to never say/write anything that I wouldn’t want to hear repeated by others, particularly an other who it might be about. That’s my rule of thumb. So if my lay leader and I are struggling together to drum up more participation in the congregation and it’s a real frustration, I’ll write about that, because everyone knows my frustration, but if I have a personal struggle with my DS, say, or my mom, that is not for the blog because it’s for me and them.

    I have no qualms, by the by, about saying loud and clear how very much I love Barack Obama. 😉

    Becca

  5. August 13, 2008 3:38 pm

    Becca,

    I wondered how that “fabulously drunk” thing went over and if you heard more about it. Personally I have no problem with it but there are certain things I keep to myself so as to not present a stumbling block for others – if you catch my drift.

    I too love the Obama. My daughter loves him more than any of us and unfortunately she’s too young to vote – but she’s better informed than many (probably most) of the folks who will legally head to the polls.

    Rick, I hear you loud and clear. I think that was pretty sound advice and not a sermon at all.

    On good days I get upwards of 70-75 hits, all the way down to just a handful if I don’t post anything. And I don’t know who those hits are, and I probably would shudder if I did know.

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