It’s Curtains!

1361713099_curtains_2651If you are received this blog post in your e-mail inbox, please know that my blog has moved! Click here then enter your e-mail address in the space provided on the right side of the home page to re-subscribe (you’ll only ever have to do this once).

Then, voila! Never miss another post from the blog-formerly-known-as-Clergy-Family-Confidential now known simply as Clergy Confidential. If you’re wondering about the name change, click here to read all about my “extreme makeover.”

Thanks and I hope to see you over on the new site. There will be no more activity here so please join in the fun at http://clergyconfidential.blogspot.com

Peace out,

Tim+

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Moving Day

13543370It’s moving day here at Clergy Family Confidential. I’ve been awash in bubble wrap and newsprint as I pack up the whole CFC operation and move it from WordPress over to Blogger. This is all part of a blog makeover as I not only change the look and feel of this blog, I also (slightly) change the name to…drumroll…Clergy Confidential.

You can read all about it on the first post over on the new site called Extreme Makeover (blog edition). You’ll learn the reason for the name change, who’s to blame for the redesign, and even why I started blogging in the first place.

I have some bugs to work out and I haven’t moved all the content over but all in good time.

One issue is that if you have an e-mail subscription you will need to upblog headerdate it. You can do so by going to the new homepage and entering your e-mail address on the right side. Please do! That way you’ll never, ever miss a post — which may or may not make your day.

Thanks to everyone who has supported this blog over the years (it debuted in November of 2007) by reading, commenting, and sharing my posts. We’ve had a lot of fun together and I anticipate many more years of blogalicious delights.

 


Dear John Letter to My Blog

imagesDear Blog,

I am writing this letter to let you know that I can no longer continue my relationship with you during the season of Lent. I chose to write instead of talking face-to-face because there is so much that I have to say and I feel this will help you understand my decision.

I have truly enjoyed the good times we’ve had together since I first met you in November of 2007 and I regret having to make this decision. During our time together you have always been there for me, offering me a blank page to engage my creative impulses. Our 694 posts (including this one) have made for some beautiful moments. I could always count on you and thanks to the never, ever going away nature of the internet I will cherish those memories always.

Within the last few years you may have noticed that I have been very distant during the 40 days and 40 nights of Lent. These are periods when we rarely spoke to each other and it has, frankly, gotten quite awkward to even be on the same computer screen.

The truth is, during Lent, I have been increasingly unfaithful. I have forsaken you for another website, www.lentmadness.org. All my creative energy has gone into this new love and it has left me no emotional spark to share with you.

I want to be happy and I want you to be happy. Fortunately Lent, like life, is short. While it is now time for both of us to move on, I promise to return to you during Eastertide. It might be hard at first but I will do my best. If this doesn’t work, I know there is a guest blogger out there for you who can make you happy.

If you need to talk about this and make arrangements to change your password, feel free to call me or send me an e-mail.

I am truly sorry that Lent Madness has come between us. Best of luck in the future.

Sincerely yours,

Tim+

PS. It’s not you, it’s me.


@FatherTim Sermon Vault

Bank-VaultYou know you’ve been blogging too long when you blog about blogging. But here I am blogging about a new blog. It’s not really a blog per se, but I’ve been working on a long-term project to house all of my sermons in one place. @FatherTim Sermon Vault holds all 440 (and counting) Sunday sermons I’ve preached over the years categorized by liturgical season.

I don’t expect people to visit it very often — it’s really something I did for myself — but it’s out there in cyberspace. A few people have subscribed to the blog, meaning they’ll receive a copy by e-mail every time I upload a new sermon. If you find some inspiration there, have at it (you can subscribe from the homepage), though a text isn’t really a great way to experience a sermon unless you’ve heard the preacher and can hear the delivery in your mind. So if you haven’t heard me preach, know that my style is identical to Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina (and if you believe this, please never visit my church).

As the 17th century Anglican priest and poet George Herbert put it, “The country parson preacheth constantly. The pulpit is his joy and his throne.” I’m not sure if I’d characterize the pulpit as “my throne” but I’m always mindful that preaching is both a privilege and a joy and I’m grateful to every congregation I’ve ever served for the opportunity to publicly reflect on God’s Word.


Is Snark Un-Christian?

“Snark” is one of those wonderful terms born of the internet. It reminds me of some of those great Yiddish words that sound like what they mean – like klutz, shlep, and schmuck. The word is basically a synonym for sarcastic, an amalgamation of “snide” and “remark.” Depending on your perspective, to call someone “snarky” is either a compliment of the highest order or a derogatory term for an overly negative person.

Snark often plays out on social media as a sort of public gallows humor. You can spot it on Facebook though it’s more prevalent on micro-blogging sites like Twitter that offer opportunities for real time back and forth repartee.

Some clergy are particularly adept at snark, making cutting comments about everything from liturgy to church meetings to the seven habits of the highly dysfunctional. At its best, snark highlights deeper truths that bubble just beneath the surface in a humorous manner. When engaged in a lighthearted rather than angry way, snark can be a delightful respite from the profound responsibilities of ministry. Indeed, I’d contend that true snark, while at times acidic, is never without a degree a levity.

Christians with a predilection for online snark occasionally encounter pushback from those who don’t think it’s appropriate. The best snark comes right up to the line without crossing over it and that can push people’s buttons who expect more positive output from their clergy and lay leaders. This all begs the question: Is snark un-Christian?

If you get back to the original definition of “sarcastic,” I don’t think you have to look much further than Jesus himself for validation. While it’s rarely put this way, Jesus had a wicked sense of humor that made extensive use of both hyperbole and sarcasm. If Jesus was Tweeting I’m pretty confident he’d be a master of the medium (though I doubt he’d have as many followers as Justin Bieber).

Here are some examples:

1. “Let the dead bury the dead.” (Matthew 8:21-22)

2. “How can you say to your neighbour, “Let me take the speck out of your eye”, while the log is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:4)

3. About John the Baptist: “What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who put on fine clothing and live in luxury are in royal palaces.” (Luke 7:25)

4. Upon his arrest: “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit?” (Mark 14:48)

5. “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the market-places, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honour at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers.” (Mark 12:38-40)

6. About the scribes and Pharisees: “You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!” (Matthew 23:24)

7. About profaning the holy: “Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you. (Matthew 7:6)

There are countless other instances of Jesus using a cutting remark to make his point and, yes, he also got a lot of flack. Obviously I’m not comparing snarky Christians to Jesus but there is a place for snark in the Church. Snark, like all humor, simply looks at life and faith and ministry from a slightly different angle and we all need that. Ultimately it’s about taking our faith but not ourselves too seriously — which is critical to the health and vibrancy of the Church.

I’ve been both accused of and lauded for my degree of snarkiness. Much of it is simply personality and the internet allows me to share this “gift” with a wider group of people. I take solace in the fact that it’s something that people can opt out of by not following me on Twitter or not reading my blog or not friending me on Facebook. In other words, it’s snark-optional.

Of course, if you’re into this sort of thing I also have some Twitter clergy folks you’ll want to follow: Laurie Brock @drtysxyministry, Scott Gunn @scottagunn, Megan Castellan @revlucymeg, David Sibley @davidsibley, and Anne Lane Witt @VaPriestess. Oh, and a couple of anonymous snarkers: @ChurchSnobTEC and @MapleAnglican. Your life will never be the same.

So snark on, friends. You’re in good company.


Top One List of Annoying Archnemeses

As you may know, I was recently slandered by my archnemesis, Scott Gunn, in a blog post entitled “Top nine list of annoying blog post topics.” It seems Scott took offense, on behalf of all Facebook users, at my brilliantly snarky “Annoying Status Updates” list that was posted last night.

You’ll note right from the start that mine was a Top Ten list while Scott, pathetically, could only come up with nine items. But perhaps his Top Nine list will start a trend. Get Letterman on the phone.

Scott’s famous for turning his blog into a glorified infomercial as he hawks Forward Movement tracts and book. He recently posted about the latest best seller Walking With God Day by Day which, I might add, I wrote. Sure, my contribution was only 1.37% but the whole book was basically built upon my shoulders, er pen. Thus, while I’m busy paying his large, CEO-like Executive Director salary, I’m being exploited like a migrant writer. Perhaps I’ll just take my talents to South Beach. Or Abingdon Press.

If you’ve ever considered your own personal archnemesis, let me assure you it’s not as glamorous as it sounds. Plus, it’s irritatingly time consuming. Now it’s back to my important work of running a parish and saving souls. Scott used to have such responsibilites  but he gave it all up for a bigger computer and, presumably, a more comfortable chair.


CFC Year in Review

Since everyone else is doing their annual retrospectives (including, but not limited to, my archnemesis) AND since Bryna’s partying in New York City with friends from high school while I’m stuck here with three weekend church services, I thought I’d do one for Clergy Family Confidential.

So, here are some statistics and tidbits from 2011:

The hard-working staff (of one) at CFC is proud of making  it through another year in the blogosphere. Thanks to everyone who read posts, left comments, and in general didn’t try to get me kicked off the internet. I hope you found some inspiration, some humor, and enjoyed being connected through the virtual world.

When I started blogging (after avoiding it for a number of years) in November 2007, I swore to myself that if it ever became a burden I’d stop. Four years later I’m still having fun and it continues to bring me joy. Blessings to you all in the New Year.


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