The Art of the Archnemesis

It’s not easy having an archnemesis. Just ask the Rev. Scott Gunn — I make his life nearly unbearable with my verbal repartee, blogging prowess, and stellar example of good Christian living.

I attended Scott’s “Good Riddance” party yesterday in Rhode Island. He and his lovely (though deluded) wife Sherilyn are moving to Cincinnati in a few weeks where Scott will become the new Executive Director of Forward Movement Publications. Yesterday’s shindig was actually billed as Scott & Sherilyn’s Farewell Fiesta put together by some of his “friends.” But we all knew the subtext.

I had been trying to get him out of New England for some time and all it took was me muttering “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” within earshot of some 815 bigwigs. The next thing I knew the Presiding Bishop herself had signed off on this “promotion.” There’s nothing like having someone kicked upstairs to get them out of your geographic domain.

Scott will soon take the reins of a fairly staid publishing house (think “Forward Day-by-Day”) to become a full-fledged media mogul. I’ve taken to referring to him as the Rupert Murdoch of the Episcopal Church. Given his social media guru reputation (he’s been riding my coattails as we’ve put on some workshops around the Church) and his penchant for technology honed as a cog in the IBM IT industrial complex, I’m sure he’ll have an app for the world-renowned Episcocat Calendar in no time. Which may well be the salvation of the Church as we know it.

This is apparently what Scott will be wearing to drive to Cincinnati

Occasionally people (who have little else to think about apparently) ask me about my “archenemy.” I spend a fair amount of time laboriously explaining the difference between an “archenemy” and an “archnemesis.” There is a distinction. Archenemies seek to destroy one another; an archnemesis seeks to irritate his counterpart to the point of victory. So while I don’t actively hope that Scott will hit his head on a rood screen and tumble to the ground in a heap of priceless vestments, the thought does make me smile.

Here is the Urban Dictionary’s definition of “archnemesis:” They are “friends from a long time ago that have more or less equivalent powers, but also have opposing ideologies. They are therefore always fighting with each other. Example:
– Obi Wan and Darth Vader.”

Now rest assured that Scott will have all sorts of arguments in attempting a rebuttal to this friendly and respectful post. Once he heads for the Midwest he’ll condescendingly acclaim me as no longer being the “Second Most Popular Blogger in New England.” He’ll brag about having 350 more Facebook friends than I do. What he won’t tell you is that the only reason he started a blog in the first place was because I had recently started one. And that he’s leaving parish ministry because he could no longer abide trying to live up to my standard of homiletical and liturgical excellence.

What will I miss about Father Gunn living in New England? We’ll our monthly outings for coffee and conversation for one. But only because he would treat me to free refills using his Starbucks card. Which may have been unethical now that I think about it. And I’ll also miss catching up with Sherilyn on occasion. Perhaps I’ll one day run the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati with her. She, at least, promised me use of the guest room. Scott’s role will be to drink coffee at different points along the route. Which does remind me that Scott will at least assume one new title: “Most Caffeinated Priest in Southern Ohio.”

We all have our crosses to bear. Mine just happens to be 6’6″ and skinny. Remember, Scott, you can run but you can’t hide.


5 Comments on “The Art of the Archnemesis”

  1. So who is Obi Wan and who is Darth Vader in this relationship?🙂

  2. Sudie B says:

    He will be HOT wearing the get-up you pictured to Cincinnati. I lived there for 34 years, and in the summer, you want to wear as little as you can get away with. Especially in church. The Ohio river does not equal the Atlantic Ocean — or even Long Island Sound. There are no sea breezes there. Instead, there’s a weather pattern called an “inversion” that traps the heat and humidity over the river valley for days and weeks….

    But the winters are much shorter. And it’s friendly town with decent sports teams and a fine cathedral.

    I’m sure Scott will find ways to escape the summer heat. Maybe he’ll plan regular summertime jaunts back to New England just to torment you, Tim😉, and while he’s here, grab a few of our nice, cool sea breezes…

  3. I have every confidence that you’ll be able to score free refills at St. Arbucks from someone!

  4. Sarah Brockmann says:

    Excellent post. Will you be seeking a new, local archnemesis, or just maintaining animosity over a long distance?

  5. sandra chapman says:

    I was Scott’s teacher in grades 7 and 8. We still keep in touch,hence my reading of your blog. Enjoyed it,but I can’t imagine Scott being anyone’s nemesis,arch or otherwise. But you gained him more notoriety,hopefully
    kicking him a step closer to the hierarchy. I still like the kid,and yes,he was this size in junior high.BTW,I’m pretty sure I’d like you,too.


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