Saturday, July 12, 2008

Upon the Departure of Father Jake

This is a post that has been a long time in writing and editing. It's still not as articulate and passionate as I wish it could be. But it's time to send it out into the world. When one of our beloved compadres departs, it warrants a note.

And Father Jake's departure is a great moment to be remarked and observed.

When "Father Jake" announced he was exiting the blogosphere on July 3, I wanted to write a tribute. But I was too sad and stricken to put words together. Now, more than a week later, I still don't have the words as I want them, but it seems time to say my piece.

I'm partly motivated to post this because of what Mark Harris posted today. Like Mark, I feel a void in the Episcopalian/Anglican blogosphere.

When Father Jake announced his departure, I knew I would feel a loss. But it's taken a while to realize how great that loss is.

I discovered Father Jake's site in the fall of 2003, when TEC wasn't saying "squat" about the people who were trying to destroy or supplant our church. Jake was. He was courageous. He was not afraid of the bullies. And he remained a source of information, analysis, and encouragement ever since. When big stuff happened in the Anglican Communion, I always turned first to him, Jim Naughton, and Mark Harris. The blogosphere is poorer now, with his departure.

Father Jake had an impressive ability to report the news, analyze it, and put it into a wider context. There are many other sites that report the news. There are many fine voices that provide analysis. But nobody is doing what Jake did: Responding quickly, but thoughtfully to the news of the day. And calling us all to account as Christians.

I always wished that I were a member of "Father Jake's" real parish and not just his virtual one. Occasionally, I sent him notes, reminding him that he was doing important ministry in caring for the virtual community that he had created. I still believe that. I believe he was doing a new kind of "parish" ministry that very people have even begun to contemplate. And I'll be honest: The kind of grief I felt when our local priest resigned ...? I feel exactly the same kind of grief with Father Jake's decision.

A community coalesced around Jake's site. The folks cared for each other. I'll confess I had trouble with some of those "virtual" parishioners. Some of them pushed my buttons, and I wished some of them would calm down or even shut up. But Father Jake loved them all. He loved us all.

Members of Jake's "virtual parish" are trying to keep the community going – especially here and here. But it's just not the same. Jake is gone. Other folks can try to cover the news, but none of us can do that kind of analysis and community-building that Jake offered.

I'm an addicted reader in the Anglican blogosphere. And, frankly, I don't know where to turn anymore. My beloved sites are still great sites. But nobody quite pulled it together and opened the discussion like Jake did.

With Jake's departure, there's a void in the blogosphere.

I respect Jake's decision, and I think I understand it in some measure. But I am horribly sad that we've lost a venue that felt as warm and congenial and diverse as the local pub.

It has taken a few days to recognize how keenly I miss Jake's voice.

I don't have any great, whiz-bang conclusion. I just miss Father Jake's voice. I miss it terribly. To my mind, it's especially hard as the Anglican Communion rises to a crescendo with the Lambeth Conference. And Jake is not there to help me ferret-out the issues, to help me sort the voices.

I wish Father Jake all the best in his next venture. But I miss his voice terribly.

Terribly.

10 Comments:

Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Lisa, what a beautiful tribute to Fr Jake. You're right. No one is doing what Jake did. I miss him terribly, too. I commented at Jake's only occasionally, but I read his posts. Now there is a big hole where his blog was. I still think, "Let's see what Fr Jake has today." And then, I realize that I can't.

I understand why he had to stop. You've taken breaks, and you and I both have thought seriously about quitting blogging altogether. It takes its toll.

As you said, he was amazing in his ability to analyze the news, put it into context, and pull everything together, including commentary, in a coherent post. Often, I was in awe of what he did.

God bless Jake in his R&R and in his new venture, and God bless us who miss him. Thanks for this post.

7/12/2008 8:53 PM  
Blogger Leonardo Ricardo said...

Terribly...

Make that a triple!

I hope he reads this (he's prone to being impacted by a teenieweenie inside-guilt mechanism).

All of Jakes Orphans make up quite a tribe of faithful...could fill a Cathedral regularly.

7/13/2008 1:33 AM  
Blogger Leonardo Ricardo said...

Fr. Jake, what if I promise to be triply nice?

7/13/2008 1:36 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I understand it, too, Mimi. I can't imagine what it's "cost" him.

Leonardo, it's truly not my intention to offer any guilt -- only tribute and gratitude. My sadness isn't Jake's problem.

7/13/2008 8:35 AM  
Blogger Jan said...

Thank you for your words, Lisa.

7/13/2008 4:59 PM  
Blogger Caminante said...

Ayup.

7/13/2008 10:28 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

Thank you, Lisa.

This is a change, not an end. I'll return, but in a slightly different incarnation.

Peace to you, my friend.

7/15/2008 11:21 AM  
Anonymous IT said...

Yes, what Jake said.

Metamorphosis. One of nature's amazing moments. I think there is a chrysalis starting to twitch...

BTW, the friends blog does not even pretend to replace jake. It's more like the group getting together to commiserate at the wake, because life goes on, and it's easier to make the journey with friends.

IT

7/16/2008 6:43 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Jake, I'm glad to know you're still wandering around the blogosphere. And truly gratified that you strolled by here.

You said, "This is a change. Not an end."

But as one of my most wise professors of literature often said: "Every ending is an echo of death." Something has to die, in order for something else to be born. And I've already told you readers what I think of death.

7/17/2008 7:15 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I do know that, IT, and I'm sorry if I suggested anything different.

7/17/2008 7:17 PM  

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