Monday, February 27, 2012


It may have been noticed that I haven't posted since last August.  Some of that is busyness, some of it is laziness, a lot of it is childishness, but most of it has been cowardice.

Yes, cowardice.  This past autumn I interviewed for a half-time position as an interim pastor with a parish in my presbytery.  During the interview, I mentioned that they could see a sampling of my sermon style on my preaching blog.  Makes sense, right?

What I forgot was that the sermon blog was linked to this one.  And one of the committee members clicked through, found this blog, and, as she wrote me in an email, was deeply disturbed by what she read here.  Seems I was too open with my revelations about how things had gone in my previous parishes, and although I had disguised church and presbytery names well enough, it bothered her.

We talked on the phone about it, and she professed herself reassured about my history and my explanation of it, and said she'd only mention it to the other committee members if she felt she should.  But I didn't feel easy about it.  Up to that time I was pretty sure I'd be offered this job.  After this, I felt my past and my big mouth had come back to bite me again.

It's very like me to write and reveal and not expect what I've written to have any effect in the real world.  Hey, I think in imaginary conversations where I work out how I would explain things to other people; isn't a blog just more of the same?

No.  I guess it's not.  You know the term "chilling effect"?  That's what this had on me.  I felt literally cold inside. I took the link to here off the sermon blog.  And for months I've written nothing.  I was afraid to write anything.  Not here, at least.  Too paralyzed thinking about how what I say can be misconstrued or used against me.

Chicken, chicken, chicken.

As it turned out, after observing certain things while guest preaching in that parish, I decided the position was not for me.  It would have been impossible to do all that was wanted and needed on a mere half-time basis.  But for whatever reason I didn't ring them up and say so.  Maybe I wanted to be convinced otherwise, since I really need the work.  Eventually I heard from the search committee chairman himself: they were going on with other candidates.  I bit the bullet and asked what had eliminated me.  The answers weren't totally convincing, I thought.  Had the one committee member told them about this blog, and he didn't want to say so?  Better not to ask.  And as I said, by that time I'd tacitly withdrawn myself.

That's been almost four months ago, and I hope and expect they're beyond caring what I say here.  But I guess it's a lesson.  I have to be willing to stand up and take the heat for what I publish, or shut the dickens up.

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