I determined two weeks ago to "do better at blogging", and I will leave it up to you, dear Reader, to decide whether or not that goal has been achieved.
But twice in the last week I have had people challenge my right to make blog comment on the basis of the fact that I happen to be a priest.
In my mind I blog as 'Stephen' not as "The Rev'd Fr", though I often like to talk about religious stuff. But I am also interested in politics, film, culture, family, language and poetry, and education and science.
I can't, and don't, distinguish particularly between myself as person and priest....it is not just my job it is my vocation.
So the critique has been that there are some areas that it is not appropriate or nice for me to talk about. That is a matter of opinion. Certainly there are some things that I would never dream of blogging about. I do not, for example, think it's appropriate for me to expose the private life of my family...or anyone for that matter. So if I am blogging in this area, I try to depersonalise it.
Some people of course can connect the dots better than others, and one child in particular has made me remove stuff about her...glad to do it.
BUT you cannot talk into a vacuum, and people who put their heads out there...politicians and business promoters the cases in point this week....want people to notice them. They cannot expect people just to roll over and accept what they say. And why would they want to?
The question in my mind is, then, why am I as priest/person disqualified from commenting on what is in the public arena? The answer is: I am not.
Indeed, (and many non-Christians don't seem to get this), I actually don't divide my life up into religious and non-religious. My Christianity actually compels me to try and dialogue with the reality of life. I have no time for a Christianity that is so heavenly it is of no earthly use.
I am happy to have my head chopped off when I stick it out there...serves me right for sticking it out.
I don't accept that I can't exercise my freedom to speak out, indeed I feel compelled to do so.
And I get a bit worried about those people who have very clear limits about what religious people should and should not talk about. So very often it seems as though it is OK to speak out if it is 'conservative' and 'nice', and not if it is challenging.
It is at that point we are told to get back into our pulpits.
Well I have news for you........