Transparency

A few weeks ago, my blog bit me in the butt.  I get to my office and read a few blogs before I get focused.  I find one from a church member in which she is pretty irate about my post from the day before.  So many thoughts are running through my head – are you kidding me?! where is this coming from?  I had no idea.  does she not know that i read her blog?   do other people feel this way?  could I lose my job over my stupid blog?

Here’s a exerpt from that post: I became aware of a blog a few days ago…every time I go there, it’s uncomfortable and even a bit infuriating to read. But I keep going back. Why is it uncomfortable? Why do I feel compelled to keep reading?   Because the blog’s writer is one of the ministers at my church. Yep, you heard right. I know, there’s no law against ministers blogging, but you have to admit it’s a pretty radical concept in some ways. Other than her chosen profession, she’s a typical blogger….young, smart, tech savvy, etc. She’s about 26, I think, just came to our church aa little over a year ago and is the assistant pastor. She writes about parenthood, marriage, life, work, etc just like anyone would….Nothing’s perfect in any church situation, but our blogging minister seems to have a lot to complain about. And I take offense, because I feel like she just got here 5 minutes ago…so I don’t want to listen to her junk about how the buildings are all designed wrong or our church preschool……I guess I’m too sensitive, but now I seem to have a love/hate thing with this blog–I can’t stop going there, but I get angry/annoyed every time I do.

So I try to figure out what to do – to pretend like I didn’t see her post, to send her an e-mail, to call her, but I decided to comment on her post, because I felt like I wanted to explain myself to her readers, too.  So I sat at the computer, with my hands shaking because I was so worried about saying the right thing, not upsetting her further, being pastoral but honest.  And we’re now ok – it basically boiled down to 2 issues – 1) her tendency to be protective of her church and preschool which I get (like I was with my sister growing up – I could pick on her and call her names all day long, but if someone else made fun of her, they were going down), even though what I said in the blog I would have said (and actually have said) to a church member and other staff (and was not as bad as she made it sound I don’t think) – I do try to be careful about what I say.  2)  The issue of knowing too much about your minister’s thoughts and feelings.

As part of my response to her post, I talked about how ministers have been put on a pedestal for too long, that ministers are real people with real sin and real lives.  I believe in being transparent and honest with people at church, especially with the youth…I think it’s important for them to hear me talk about struggles and doubts, to give them the freedom and the space to express themselves open and honestly – I’m not a better person because I’m a minister, it’s just that I’m called to a special task of serving God in the church and that God has given me gifts and passion for that.  But I believe that God calls people to minister in many professions – teachers, doctors, nurses, etc.

But with this blogging phenomenon, people are putting their lives – their thoughts and opinions, their doubts and concerns, their frustrations and joys, news, updates, stories about poop – out there…do ministers need to be more cautious?  Or do people need to realize that ministers are real people?  I don’t know how many other church folk read my blog, but do I need to censor myself because they do?  I don’t think so, but this happend a month or so ago, and I’m still unsure.

I decided to blog about it today because I found this post on another blog about transparency and leadership.  He is talking about being honest about his political views, but I think it applies to all bloggin ministers – and believe it or not, there are a lot of them out there.

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3 Responses

  1. Thanks for the link and willingness to confront the issue by doing exactly what you should be doing . . . being honest. There is a great deal of push back about blogging and the cultural norms it represents, but the reality is that this is were we are headed. It does scuk though, when your own words and attempt at being true and honest are used against you. Be wise, but be bold! Peace – bruce

  2. Wow- I felt the whole “shaking hands” thing reading it. I must say, you have guts along side your incredible integrity! No more puke buckets in the pulpit for you 🙂

    I’ve been leading a Sunday School class on Faith and Politics all year, so have struggled with the issue of transparency a lot. I remind everyone at the beginning of every class that this is not a class for any of us to try to convince everyone we are right- instead a safe place where followers of Christ can explore how their faith interacts with their political views. Each week, I pray that I can find a balance between having integiry (and transparency, thanks for that way of thinking about it) and remembering the responsibility that comes with the “power” associated with the title, whether I want it or not. Thanks for your thoughts 🙂

    p.s.- love the blog, by the way. and Piglet is ADORABLE!!! We miss you guys.

  3. AMEN Sister! I am not called to the ministry like you are — but with a husband that is I am in the same boat as you. I would love for people to think of our family as normal IMPERFECT people. I struggle wit h transparency too! I understand we must protect the church (because we do know WAY TOO much), but we need to also portray the truth – that we are followers of Christ who struggle day to day as we live in a world focused on the flesh. I enjoy your blogs and hope you continue sharing! The last thing this world needs is another pretentious blog!

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