Friday, May 09, 2008

What Would HAppen if?

THis afternoon's mail included the agenda book for the upcoming Conference Annual Meeting. One of the proposals to be debated is called Ethical Standards and Blogging and reads thusly:
WHEREAS The United Church of Canada has established Ethical Standards and Standards of Practice for Ministry Personnel; and
WHEREAS maintaining a BLog, or online journal, is becoming a common practice for ministry personnel; and
WHEREAS the established Ethical Standards and Standards of Practice for Ministry Personnel are silent on the practice of BLogging, and other online journaling; and
WHEREAS the practice of many employers is to set guidelines regarding Blogs and other online journals;
THEREFORE we propose that the Executive of General Council direct the appropriate body to include guidelines for maintaining a Blog, or other online contributions, within the Ethical Standards and Standards of Practice for Ministry Personnel.

AS I look at the source of this proposal and know what one of that area's big pieces of work over the last year has been I am guessing I know what brought this forward. ANd of course most ministry bloggers blog very appropriately. But it does make one wonder, what would a denomination consider ethical/non-ethical blogging? What is the role of blogging in ministry?

Your thoughts are...


  1. I expect concerns would center on revealing, even unintentionally, personal information about church members. I'll have to think about other possibilities.

  2. I almost wish I was going to be there for that discussion...

  3. As the specific SOURCE of this madness, or rather, the REASON for it - this is sheer lunacy ... it is an over-reaction to a community that can not deal with the world around it, and instead of opting for a pastoral response that deals with a simple truth - a blog run by someone who is extremely intelligent, and who suffered from undiagnosed ADD AND who is able to articulate what the hell is wrong with a small minded rural town clearly and concisely ... instead of dealing with the truth, they have instead decided to stand in a place of fear and self-righteous nonsense.

    YES, I'm the reason this has hit the floor at all ... and it is utter nonsense ... Galileo is being driven to his knees to repent for being RIGHT !!!

    Don't let it happen folks !!!!

  4. I wondered if you would stop by Shawn. Of course I was 98% sure your situation was the spark.

    Apart from the issues raised elsewhere about the need for and usefulness of such a proposal, it is a bad idea to try and set policy based on one example or situation.

  5. of course I would stop by ... silly boy ... AND YES, I agree with you about specific instance motivated ethics ... such things never work ...

    what's next - an approved reading list that we must adhere to in our libraries with no deviation???

    The role of the prophetic is to ruffle feathers and stir things up ... clearly I've done both !!

    If this is the ditch my association with this United Church of Ours MUST end in - SO BE IT !!!!

    I'll die fighting for freedom AND common sense,

    Thnaks for bringing this to OUR attention !!!

  6. somehow the "larger Church" loses sight of the fact that we are people who happen to be pastors... people with their own thoughts, emotions, opinions that sometimes do fall in line with church polity and sometimes do not. i suppose there may be concerns about confidentiality but for the most part ministry folks keep that in tact... but to be told what can and cannot be blogged... that isn't the church's call.

  7. Merciful heavens. Reading this made me feel all "don't tread on me." I'm not a minister but I am very careful about my blogging as it relates to my in, I don't blog about it almost at all. When I do, it's very vague. I'm not stupid, after all.

    Ministers? also, generally, not stupid.

    My word verification is "odigobaw" which strikes me as a very good off the record exclamation of disgust!

  8. Ya know, I'm fairly careful about using people's real names. And while I live in a small community, it's large enough to guard peoples' privacy unless they already know what I'm talking about (in which case it's not a secret anyway).
    I've chased the links, and if Shawn's post is what sparked this, we need some rules. Because I could've gotten away with that just fine here. And it was a lovely and grace-filled moment to share.
    These kinds of things scare me. We do have a responsibility to respect others' privacy. But we also have the right to share the important moments in our own lives, and I think that was one for Shawn.
    Gord, keep us posted. I'll be interested to hear how this comes out.

  9. my 2c worth ... this is at annual conference level right? mercy me!

    but it could be an interesting discussion - do fill us in (if you are allowed to continue blogging that is)

  10. I predict a WHOLE LOTTA anonymous bloggers if that comes to pass!

    I mean, I could be 'expelled' from seminary because my husband does homebrew. (An AWESOME pale ale on tap right now...)

    Good grief!

  11. In the UC we have our own peculiar expression of fundamentalism, and this has the same kind of feel. It is, of course, quite unenforceable, and so we'd spend a lot of time developing and approving guidelines which would have little to no impact. If there is an issue with a particular clergy's blog material, we can either on a congregational or presbytery level talk with the person. Silly, really.