Sunday, March 18, 2007

When I Heard From The Bride

It had to have been seven or eight years ago, when I was the minister of a UU church in Maryland. I did a lot of weddings back then: our congregation didn't have a building of its own, so I got a lot of cold calls out of the book from people wanting to get married at home, or at country clubs, or at mansions-for-rent, or at beautiful little inns. I have all their names in my book of records, and sometimes I look over those names and wonder how all those lovely couples are doing.

One couple, I never forgot, because the groom died very shortly after the wedding. Just a freak thing. Went in for a nap after work and never woke up. I remember how flabbergasted I was by the news-- I had phoned them for some extraneous reason and his bride told me, in that kind of brittle voice that reveals too many nights up crying. She didn't live very close to my church and never attended, so we only had that tenuous connection of their wedding.

So now -- all these years later and about probably twenty or thirty more weddings in my book -- the bride and I are reconnected. As it turns out, she is now an active Episcopalian and was hanging out the other day at Mad Priest's blog with that group of rowdy, rude, PeaceBang-bashers I wrote about two posts ago. She sees the conversation going on and thinks, wait, I know her! And she drops me a line.
Of course I remember her right away and am thrilled. I am delighted that her spiritual search has led her to a place of serious engagement with a church and a tradition, and deeply gratified to know that she has remarried. Happy ending to a story that had long occupied a tiny, sad corner of my heart.

And then there's this: Again, evidence that the blogging community is a community. Which is why those insulting goofs at MadPriest so disappointed me, writing about me like the gossip columnist at The writes about Paris Hilton or Jennifer Lopez -- treating a clergy sister like so much fodder for trashtalk, forgetting that Christians are supposed to model interwovenness, not revealing -- and apparently reveling in -- the kind of jejeune dynamics that keeps so many people out of our churches. Yikes. If there has to be conflict, let there be conflict, but let it be about something real and worth caring about, not just doofusy insults for the sake of camaraderie and jackassed guffaws.

My note from Janis was the best thing that happened today, and it was a wonderful day already so hey, say amen somebody!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peacebang, you are beautiful and stylish, both in person and on the blog. It's understandable to be pissed at your more petty critics. But I think you should stay above the fray. You are doing important work and many people are reading and watching. My gut feeling is that you should engage with the constructive critics and not give any extra publicity to the rest.

Blogger PeaceBang said...

Dear Anon,I hear you, but the reason I talk about it is because I am really devoted to blogging as a community phenomenon. Clergy blogs-- even when flamboyantly fun, irreverent or controversial -- are about ministry. I'm interested in how creative, crazy clergy blogs can be provocative and delightful gathering places while still maintaining a sense of accountability to the spirit of community to which ministry calls us.

Anonymous Rev in New England said...

Amen, Peacebang. I went to those rude commenters' personal blogs. It's depressing to see clergy be publically hypocritical, whether it is a big situation like Ted Haggard, or a corner of the blogging world like this. On their personal blogs, they are writing in about prayer and deep listening and compassion, and then in another blog they are mocking a fellow clergyperson, someone who is a stranger to them but who is nevertheless a "neighbor" in the biblical sense. Yes, they are immature and unprofessional and dare I say it, unChristian. Truly a shame. But also I think they don't "get" that what is online is not just online. It is part of the "real world" too and affects real people and real feelings and can actually affect them in real life too. College seniors are starting to figure this out as they get turned down for jobs when their Facebook profile shows them drunk and naked at a party. This is the clergy version of a drunk naked photo--the blogs and comments where they show themselves to be mean and petty people.

Blogger Ann said...

Sorry you had your feelings hurt at Mad Priest. It was all in fun and probably a tasteless way to show you that you are part of the group. We love you we love your ideas - we are just crazy from all the craziness in the Anglican Communion.

Blogger Janis said...

{{PeaceBang}} -- thanks so much for that blog entry, it truly made my day when I read it this morning. :)

Anonymous Mary Ann said...


Anonymous Dan said...

amen, amen!

(((i'm not sure blogging is a community -- more a community of communities -- or maybe one big ol' wolrdwide conversation -- but in any case, no reason for trash-talking anyone.)))

Blogger Magdalene6127 said...

PeaceBang, forgive them... they know not what they are doing. I agree with Ann, that the folks at MadPriest's place (which I frequent just as I frequent your place) are in the midst of a pitched battle that has grown so bitter and difficult...*sigh*. There's really no excuse for trash talk. You just keep doing what you're doing, know that you're loved and appreciated, and know that there are voices everywhere trying to restore a level of civility to to even that uncivil conversation (about how some people are not "saved" because God created them to love members of their own sex).



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