Updated Update: apologies for forgetting Rev. Simon Stevens (aka Yellow), former chaplain at Southampton University, laid off, whose valiant attempt to continue his ministry self-supported didn't work out. Seems to be off radar at the moment.
Update: some good thoughts from Wannabepriest, and Giles Frasers resignation from St. Pauls already generating plenty of heat about whether the institutional church can cope with outspoken clerics.
What is it about blogging vicars? An increasing number are ending up between jobs, of whom RevLesley is the most recent. She writes
Blogging is not my ministry or my calling – being a priest is. At the moment I am in limbo – my previous license has expired and I have to wait to see whether I will get a new one…. It has radically changed my perspective on many things.
September was a bit like looking down the barrel of a gun. My old ministry was ending and there was no new ministry in sight. My calling as a priest consumes my whole identity. Without it I don’t know who I am, don’t know what I would do and couldn’t bear to have anything to do with church – the grief would be too much
She joins Peter Ould (now a financial analyst) and MadPriest, the original opinionated vicar, who has been unemployed since last summer.
If I was doing a top 5 of the most outspoken online clergy, then these 3 would all be in it (along with Cranmers Curate). In at least one case, their blogging is one of the main factors in the lack of a CofE post. Without assuming that the individual is always right and the institution is always wrong, does this point to a problem with the CofE?
Confession time: after I've rehearsed in my head the stuff I want to say, I frequently tone it down. Several reasons:
- sometimes blurting out the first thing you say isn't the wisest, or the most loving, or the most helpful thing to do. The Bishop of Willesden can advise on this.
- I know some of the people who are reading this, and they include folk at my Diocese, and people in local churches. and people I need to work with. So I tone things down for public consumption. I don't know whether this is sensible or cowardly, or both.
- I'm kept awake at night by hostile comments, or when people point out how abjectly wrong I've got things. So to spare myself the stress I tend to be more nuanced, to ask questions rather than make statements, to prod rather than proclaim.
Of course, being opinionated doesn't make you right. It could just make you obnoxious. But if you're just repeating what everyone else is saying then why say it at all?
But if I was more opinionated about, say, the CofE, or my Diocese, or my community, would that be a good thing or a bad thing?
there I go again, phrasing things as a question....