Saturday, July 04, 2009

Why does the Vicar blog?

I've been musing over the past few hours over the reasons I continue to blog. As many of you will know I continue to twitter frequently and I keep in touch with folk via facebook and though sometimes neglected I do keep coming back to this blog and waffling away, and when I have time I love to look around my friends in the blogsphere and to read opinions that inspire, challenge, disturb and confuse me - all of which keeps me thinking.

Every now and then I do ask myself if this here blog is an exercise in narcissism or an ego massage for a cleric that wants to be considered slightly cool and alternative (as if!). Often these thoughts end up being voiced out loud and you have to put up with them so if I've said this all and you've read it all before I apologise, but here goes.

I continue to blog because I think there is an unhelpful amount of mystery around what it is that Clergy actually do. There's the constant quip I hear about us working one day a week - each time said by someone who seems to think they are the first person who has ever said it to me - which is actually quite a good way to start a conversation about what I do, and indeed why I do this job. In many ways I do consider myself extremely fortunate to do what I do, there is a flexibility about my work that allows me to spend time with family every evening before I go out to evening meetings. I live in a very nice house in a beautiful part of the world and I have the opportunity to meet with people from all walks of life, to talk with them to share the best and worst parts of their life and to offer them unconditional support and love in all that they are going through.

I also work some long hours, can't take weekends away with family and find that days and evenings are filled with meetings, committees and admin that sometimes drives me crackers.

But much of this is a mystery to many. Not many people know what goes into a funeral, or what to do when someone has died (get in touch with a funeral director as quickly as you can by the way!). Few people know that when they are going to be married in church there are legal requirements that need to sorted and 'Marriage preparation' they will have to undergo. Few people know that if they or their children are going to be baptised then they will have to go through preparation for that. Very few people know how much work goes in to putting together a Sunday service, or a sermon, or a Bible Study, or a presentation to a meeting, or an assembly. Few know that as well as the Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals for which we prepare and support people Clergy also visit the sick, pray with the anxious, listen to those who need to talk, go to see the lonely, get invited into schools, take part various events around the community and generally try to be a part of their villages.

I can blog about all this. I can share something of the joy of having these roles in my everyday ministry.

Also many Clergy (not all) are theologians, and we appreciate the opportunity to share ideas, to voice out loud some of our thinking, to put our sermons and talks 'out there' for comment and critique. Particularly if, like me, you are a frustrated writer still wanting to say something but not sure what blogging is an outlet for something of that.

The other reason for blogging is that when I have time and when i have something to say - or even sometimes when I don't - it's fun. It's fun too to talk with others, make new friends and generally interact.

So whenever I have the chance, I'll keep blogging. So please keep reading, commenting, asking questions and generally being about. And to those of you who blog as well, keep in touch and remind me to come visit as I do love to read what you have to say too!


quilly said...

Any person who truly thinks you only work on Sunday has to be purely ignorant! Maybe I can see them not knowing about the committees and the counseling sessions and the classes/Bible Study/outreach activities, but weddings, funerals, hospital visits ...those things happen whenever.

One of my earliest memories of our pastor was of him showing up in my cousin's room at the hospital very late at night with the legs of his pajama bottoms sticking out from his slacks leg at his ankles. I remember thinking then that I didn't want a job that couldn't guarantee me a full night's sleep.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog sine my opinion of Vicars changed after you rode your bike to Si's funeral!!

Dr.John said...

I'm glad you blog. Often what you say brings back memories of my ministry. Sometimes I learn something Seminary never taught me.
Thank you for blogging.

Melli said...

I LOVE that you blog! Please don't ever stop! I love that you post sermons that I would never otherwise get to hear. I love that you share so much of your day to day life -- because it IS true that we don't always know (or remember) what our priests or pastors or vicars or ministers are up to all the time -- and you DO bring it home and make it real. I am very close to my Pastor - and his wife - so I, personally, DO know what goes on with him - but because I do know, I don't always take up his time asking him a lot of questions that would answer things I'm merely curious about. Occasionally I do - but I'm careful to make sure he has a moment for me. Otherwise I wait until I have something serious going on, and I make an appointment with him. But with you BLOGGING - and blogging YOUR thoughts - sometimes you answer questions that I've had without me having to bother anybody!!!

And then... sometimes I email Dr. John because HE should have NOTHING more important going on than answering MY questions!!! LOL!
(but I give him a headache just like I do to my Pastor!) And of course, he answers a lot of questions with his thoughts too.

And THEN... there is always the chance that what you say (or he says) just prompts MORE questions! THAT happens too....

Just KEEP blogging! Thank you!

The Old Fart said...

Alastair, I love your blog, I may not come by everyday, or make a comment on all of your posts, but I do come and visit. I would miss your blog if it wasn't here.

lamarkii said...


I'm very grateful that you blog for all sorts of reasons; first, you got me into it even though I couldn't really see the point before I started reading yours; second, it's an excellent way to make yourself available and to publish thoughts or ideas that otherwise might not see the light of day; third, it's a comfort knowing that you are out there in cyberspace, and we don't need to wait until you have a service in Dalwood to snatch a brief chat over tea after the service.

So, another plea that you don't stop, although I frankly think that is never going to happen!

Naomi said...

Being a minister is a seven day a week job. I agree with quilly, anyone that thinks the clergy only work on Sundays is ignorant. They don't see the whole picture. They should open their eyes and see everything you do, not just baptisms, etc, but everything you do in the community as a whole, helping people and being there when people need friendly advice, help, etc. Your blog is great. Sorry I haven't been over in a while. I have a lot of lost time to make up Alastair!