Saturday, May 24, 2008

Blogging Questions


I have been grateful to so many of you who have expressed concern and support. I don't know why the last few weeks have been so difficult. (Well, I do have some clues, but the difficulty of it all has surprised me.)

I am grateful for the tagline that Susan offered, from Jeremiah 29:
"For I know the plans I have for you", says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me."

When I started my blog, I had a notion that it might be spiritual and for my good and the good of our Episcopal Church. Now, I wonder sometimes.

I can't promise I am now back to regular blogging. I resonated deeply with what Grandmère Mimi wrote here and here about whether or not to continue blogging. Like her, blogging seems to be an all-or-nothing proposition for me. And, similar to what she wrote, I am struck by the fact that so many other bloggers are saying what I might want to say, and doing it so much better. In my early days here, I thought I had fresh insights to offer. Now, I realize that anything I think has already been said more articulately by the likes of Elizabeth Kaeton, Father Jake, Mark Harris, and the Mad One.

Reading the comments at Grandmère Mimi's site, I was struck to see how many of us seem to be wrestling with this question about whether or why to keep blogging. And I was comforted.

I started my blog back in 2006, when it felt the General Convention utterly betrayed me. I took a sabbatical from the church back then. I started this wee blog in the sure faith that absolutely nobody knew me. I wanted to "journal" in a quasi-anonymous way. I needed to "vent," and I hoped I might find compatriots … and I did. Several folks found me and I was truly grateful to find a community of like-minded souls. Since then, I have grown more and more transparent – challenged especially by the Daily Episcopalian and its "ethic of transparency" – so that my name and connections appear here.

But there's the rub. The folks in my parish and my diocese now know I blog here, so I can no longer feel I can safely "vent" about some of the things that frustrate me. And when people in my parish touch me deeply, even then I dare not write here lest I compromise their anonymity. I can't safely rant about the stuff that ticks me off in my parish and in my diocese, nor can I shout "alleluia" about the things that go well; too many people know about it. What started out as "a few friends kibitzing at the local pub" has grown into something else. The fantasy of "the cone of silence" is gone.

And I am dealing with a "matter of the heart," but it's complicated. So as I deal with those affectional issues, I cannot talk about them, for the Episcopal Church has its "three degrees of separation" and too many folks might put those pieces together. I would like to talk about those issues, but I dare not.

Now it feels like my blog is even more exposed than my day-to-day life is. That's weird.

I'm trying to figure out how to be honest without giving away the farm.

We shall see. I make no promises about whether or how I will continue writing here.

19 Comments:

Blogger Catherine + said...

Lisa, thank you for writing. I feel pretty much the way you do about commenting on topics within The Church when there are others who are more wide-read than I ever was or will be. Like you, I began blogging in earnest as GenCon 06 approached and began, following developments and "reporting" accordingly and sharing my concerns and passion for The Church as time went on.

To make a long comment short, 'm not sure how to proceed either; to blog or not to blog. That indeed is the question.

5/26/2008 9:55 AM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Lisa, I could have written nearly every word you have written here.

When I started my blog, I had a notion that it might be spiritual and for my good and the good of our Episcopal Church. Now, I wonder sometimes.

That was my intention, too. And to vent, so I would not be haranguing my fellow parishioners in the parish hall. But, like you, I am now known, so there is much that I cannot say. I'll say it here and hope that no one from my church reads it. I feel a sense of isolation in my church that I have not felt before.

When I began attending my parish church, I felt at home almost immediately. Now, I no longer feel that the church is my home, yet being part of a community is vital to my life as a Christian, so I hang in there. There is the GREAT SILENCE on so many subjects that I would want to be talking about. Bishop Katharine's name is never publicly mentioned, except by a few brave folk in the prayers of the faithful. Maybe these people and issues will go away if we never mention them.

The question of continuing to blog is, by no means, settled for me. I appreciated all the lovely comments to my posts, and for the time being, I continue with somewhat reduced intensity - at least, that is my hope. That's really as far as I'll commit to now.

Thanks for your words. May God's blessing be upon you, Lisa.

5/26/2008 11:57 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks, Catherine+. I do know you're struggling with this, too. Sometimes it feels difficult to be a Christian and a blogger. God knows (and my readers do, too) that I've revealed some of my worst on this site. I hope I've also revealed some of my best here, too, and that the latter will win out in the long run.

Partly, it's a question -- for me -- of how self-revealing I dare be.

5/26/2008 2:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Ah, my dear Grandmère; you are such a blessing!

As you surely know, it was your two essays on whether to continue blogging that finally gave me the inspiration to articulate some of my own questions and concerns. And when you wrote: What I want to accomplish is to save the world, save the US, save the Anglican Communion, and save the Episcopal Church. Modest goals, eh?, I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. I, too, had "modest goals." ;-)

And, like you, I needed to vent. My fellow parishioners, too, generally refrain from discussing the issues that occupy us here. A beloved few will talk with me privately, but I can't imagine the parish discussing them openly.

There is a gay couple in the parish, who just started attending a couple of years ago. (As far as I know, that makes a total of 3 gay/lesbian people in our parish of 140 ASA.) A couple of months ago, they approached me after a service, expressing a desire to have their relationship blessed, but clueless about the procedure. I took them to our rector, who made time immediately to go to the office and talk with them. I don't know what will be the outcome of that. But I expect she will have to offer them either that puny consolation prize called a "house blessing" or else bring it before the vestry for a decision. I assume the vestry would vote "no" for what they would term "the sake of unity." That hurts my heart.

And it hurts my heart that you feel such a sense of isolation in your parish, my dear.

Your comment reminds me that I have it easier in my parish than many folks do. +Katharine is always included in the Prayers of the People. And there's no talk of schism on a parish level, but I'm aware a few folks are really angry and have been ever since the summer of 2003.

Thank God [yes, I mean that literally] that cyberspace allows us to find a virtual community! Know you are treasured by me and many, many others.

5/26/2008 3:53 PM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

No promises about blogging from anyone, then. We'll take it day by day, eh? Solidarity!

5/26/2008 5:27 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

You betcha, Mimi.

5/26/2008 6:25 PM  
Blogger sharecropper said...

I'm a laggard, too, friends. And, I began blogging to express my feelings about the world and God. Somehow the mundane has caught up with me, and now I'm blogging about daily life. I find that I read daily life blogs more often than I read those with thoughtful comments about the church or God.

My blogging friends mean a lot to me. I don't catch up with everyone as often as I'd like. Knitting and beading have taken over my senses lately.

But, I am sad when I come to your blogs and find nothing new. I want to know how your lives are going, what concerns you - like the gay couple wanting a holy union - and what you're doing.

You are interesting people, and I care deeply about you. I pray for many of you daily.

I look forward to whatever posting you can do on your blog.

5/26/2008 7:08 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I always feel 'naked' in the pulpit, but never so naked as on my blog.

It's a curious thing, this blogging.

I fear I may soon need a 12 - Step Program.

Blog on, dear sister. Blog on. Sing Alleluia, and keep blogging.

Do not doubt that your voice is needed and necessary.

5/26/2008 8:04 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Sharecropper, I envy folks like you and PseudoPiskie who are willing to share the quotidian details of your lives. I wish I had the courage to do more of what you're doing.

I often envy the friendly closeness I hear in your blog and those you frequent.

You inspire me to realize that I'm cloaking my everyday life in some ways.

I appreciate the encouragement, and I'll keep it in mind as I consider what "voice" I want to maintain in the blogosphere.

5/26/2008 8:53 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thank you, Elizabeth. Yeah, it is about nakedness and how much we are comfortable with, isn't it?

I think I'm making some progress. I've felt it was about a couple of polar opposites: personal or political. Maybe I need to find some middle way.

Not saying for sure. It's always provisional.

5/26/2008 8:56 PM  
Blogger FranIAm said...

I did not comment right away, but I do know that yours is a voice that I like to hear out here in the blogworld. I am grateful for what you share and was so glad to see that you posted again.

You know I have really come to this world via Mimi and MP (originally Padre Mickey if I were going for detail) and while I feel so welcome,I am sometimes reticent to speak about matters of the TEC.

In any event, I think that you are a gift and that your blog does make a difference, if this RC reader can say that.

In any case, do what you must but know that you and your words are important to me.

5/26/2008 9:12 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Yes, FranIAm, I do know your blog-o-genealogy. I've enjoyed hearing your voice at those other sites. And I'm gratified to hear what you've said here. It never occurred to me that you were a reader here. I'm SO beneath the likes of MP &c!

My friends, I feel a need to echo what Mimi said on her site: I truly am not surfing for compliments. I'm profoundly grateful to hear what you value about my words. But fishing for compliments wasn't my purpose. I just wanted you all to understand the difficulties I'm having as I try to find or refine my voice.

5/26/2008 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Lindy said...

I've been thinking about this for a couple of days. I hear what you're saying. I do. Need for privacy and all. But I do think your voice is unique and I like knowing what you think. Not just handing our compliments here. I don't have time to go to blogs I don't really get something out of. I come here. Please continue. I would miss you.

5/27/2008 12:06 PM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Lisa, I did not say it explicitly, but I do think your voice is one that many, including me, would like to continue to hear. You and I come from very different places, but we are like-minded on many of the issues. It's been good for me to hear voices like yours, since I am the odd one out in my parish in my own special way. And aren't we all odd, each one of us, in our own special way?

5/27/2008 12:31 PM  
Blogger rnmom said...

Lisa,

My heart bleeds for you. SO many times I wish I had an anonymous place to vent my frustrations, concerns, passions, etc... but do not because of my fears.

I just wanted you to know you are not alone!

5/31/2008 3:16 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

rnmom, you can always use the comments sections of our blogs to do some of that venting. Seriously.

5/31/2008 8:29 AM  
Blogger Kirstin said...

I've been deep in my own world for weeks, and seldom venturing out--but I just want to say that I'm glad you're here.

5/31/2008 11:41 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks, Kirstin. You are a dear!

6/01/2008 12:32 AM  
Blogger Kirstin said...

Awww! :-)

6/01/2008 7:48 PM  

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