I had this dream of being able to write anonymously and post reflections without them being tied to me individually. I imagined great freedom with little accountability. Freedom without accountability doesn’t look like it can be achieved.
Writing about Westboro Baptist Church and about the Creationism Museum were mediocre starts, but I noticed that I hesitated in writing about things that mattered to me because to write about them would identify me. Maybe that has to do with the reality that as a pastor, I’m constantly in the “public eye” and negotiating “minefields”. I’m not a Biblical literalist, but serve a congregation where some key people are more literal in Biblical interpretation than I can ever be comfortable with. I’m theologically liberal in a congregation where some are theologically conservative. I know these are broad terms, and they are not useful in specific contexts, but they describe where I am.
In my pastoral care, I’m generally careful to be able to affirm the value of a person’s theological grounding … especially in times of crisis. It is outside the crisis that we can nudge one another into considering alternative ways of understanding the faith, and I am open to being nudged.
What I rapidly discovered was that this desire for anonymity became so restrictive that I couldn’t write much of anything. I am who I am. If I can’t write something about those things I’m passionate about, or that are the result of life experiences or current “ponderings”, then my reflections have no value. And yet, I want to use this forum away from my life as pastor of this congregation.
I want to be able to post things here that I wouldn’t say in the congregation. I want a non-public life. Is it even possible? Maybe not.
But I’m going to try. Blogs are useful beyond the writer only if they offer something of substance. In that there is risk. I’m willing to take the risk and will post things that will identify me.
The Pondering Pastor