An email today from LinkedIn, the social networking site, reports a 3% decline in those who have the 'skill' of 'Liturgy'. There are various explanations:
1. At the cutting edge of social networking and new media, liturgists are deserting LinkedIn for sites that are more hip and with it.
2. Through the regular practice of liturgical prayer, liturgists are becoming more humble, and so less likely to report that they have a particular 'skill'.
3. 3% of those who reported they have the skill of 'liturgy' have been rumbled by other LinkedIn users who have been to one of their services.
4. Bosco Peters campaign for world domination.
5. The staff of St. Pauls removing themselves en masse from LinkedIn to avoid getting rude messages from Occupy London Stock Exchange (now rebranded to Occupy London in 2011's Golden Globe winner for mission creep).
6. The staff of St. Pauls removing themselves en masse from LinkedIn so that people couldn't see how many contacts they had in Finance, Shares, Stock Market, Hedge Funds, Gambling With Other People's Money, and Ha Ha Ha You Should See My Bonus.
7. 3% of Liturgists being removed from claiming Liturgy as a skill following reassesment by a government expert.
8. 3% of Liturgists being removed from active ministry following capability proceedings by CofE parishioners, who realised that simply being a vicar doesn't make you a gifted worship leader.
9. A new year purge of web use by people like me who joined LinkedIn because everyone was talking about it, still haven't worked out how to use it, and needed to cut down on the number of email updates they were getting.
10. A rise in the unemployment rate among liturgists, mirroring that in the general population, without the private sector having created enough liturgical posts to offset austerity measures in public worship.
11. The entire newsroom of a UK broadsheet adding 'Liturgy' as a skill, then removing it, thus creating an artificial fall in the headline numbers, and the opportunity for a 'Church in terminal decline' headline. Like the one above - made you look, didn't it?
12. The death metal group Liturgy calling it a day in July 2011.
13. LinkedIn selling 3% of its database to Mark Driscoll, in return for information about the number of UK based bible teachers, and how many connections they have.
14. A global resurgence in etymology: since 'liturgy' means 'work of the people', it's actually nonsense to put it down as a skill.
15. Having made contact with fellow liturgists, a growing number of liturgists realise that there are more fun/interesting/(fill in your own) people to be connected with on LinkedIn, so they delete it as a skill to avoid more long debates about use of the Book of Common Prayer in 1880s East Anglia.
16. Archdruid Eileen and her multiple alter egos have left LinkedIn.
I reckon it's probably an equal number of each. By the way, if you are one of the 2,627 skilled liturgists on LinkedIn, please do add a comment. As long as it's not about the BCP. As opposed to the other BCP.