A shard of another Adrian Worsfold caricature

I hope to have an integrated life and sometimes wonder if I am naive or optimistic or just hopefully faithful.

I am married to a man in internet security who is savvy when it comes to the net and conscious about issues of privacy and security. We could not be further apart in terms of the worlds we inhabit. He has just joined facebook, anathema to him for a long time.

He wonders how I know the people I know and I have to explain to him that I inhabit multiple realms and no, I am not referring to the Pauline heavenly and earthly but to the earthly and virtual. I speak to virtual friends and real friends, sharing table and desk, listening (to lectures, sermons etc), I write. I have just bought my first tablet and conversations can now be typed more easily where ever I go.

I am beginning also to consider some of the boundaries that are necessary and some that are to be thought through. This blog has always sought to be investigative and to think out loud but I am conscious that words carry weight and responsibility.

I want to demonstrate an integrity of life in all aspects of my existence and the realm of facebook is just another place where I converse. I know that I am caricatured by one other religion and belief blogger but I have become rather used to this, I am hoping that people know that this is not an accurate reflection.

The Ryan Giggs case has highlighted again the blurry edges between the private and the public.People in positions of influence are in some ways public property. On the other hand, they are people to be respected in terms of their private lives.

We can not escape comment. We can not escape being misquoted. Even in my writing a two hundred word description about myself for the local newspaper, with the editor returning to me the write-up before printing, I found I was saying things in quotation marks I have never said and I needed to correct simple issues of mistaken geography.

So to whom do we belong?

As ministers, we belong to the people and this will always involve the kind of vulnerability that I have been living out here in cyberspace for a number of years. Safer here probably where I can delete comments and disallow comments from certain posts if I do not want to engage in conversation.

Ultimately though, we belong to Christ and I am hoping that shaped by his example, we learn to bear witness to him in all forums virtual and real, this I will continue to do and inevitably I will make mistakes but it is in being prepared to be conformed to his likeness, that I seek the only protection I will ever need in the face of the misquotes, mistakes and my misbehaving caricature.

The blog will stay, the friendship requests will not be denied. ... so far, so good, I have little reason to be cynical.


Muthah+ said...

Rachel, This is a wonderful post. I am a retired priest in Texas with 30 years under my belt. You have understood the accessability to the people well. But always save something for yourself. There are always boundaries between yourself and the people of God and they need to be maintained. Perhaps it is online and perhaps it is in the vicarage. But knowing them and guarding them is as important to your good health as your openness. It takes a bit of experience to figure where those boundaries are, but pay attention to what you need and what how to make those boundaries known.

God has made you unique and you need personal space to allow that particularity be the place where Christ is known. Welcome to the priesthood. I have loved my priestly life of availability and presence. May yours be the blessing that mine has been.

Ivy said...

Thank you for sharing this. I must agree with Muthah+ Boundaries are important and are something I continually deal with.

God bless you as you continue to move forward in your calling.


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