kindom musings

Thoughts and musings from a pastor in the peace tradition. Perspectives come from a progressive, justice-minded, feminist position. Responses are welcome.

Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States

I am a Church of the Brethren pastor in my thirties. While I love what I do, I started out with plans to be a veterinarian. God has a great sense of humor, and I wound up in ministry instead. However, my sojourn into veterinary science did make me a vegetarian with a love of animals. (We have two cats and a dog at home -- only a small petting zoo!) My husband is also ordained, and we have a son (LB) and a daughter (KB). My husband keeps me up to date on baseball trivia, and my children keep me giggling. All in all, it makes for a well-rounded life. I was born in Pennsylvania, moved several times for school and work, and have recently returned to my home state. On the Myers-Briggs scale, I'm an INFP.

Friday, November 17, 2006

blogs and baggage

It's been over a month since I've posted anything (If I were Catholic, maybe this could be the beginning of an on-line confession). It's not for lack of anything to say, and with a few exceptions, not for lack of time. In fact, I've spent a lot of time reading other blogs recently, as well as the wax and wane of a list-serve in which I mostly passively participate.

Right now I'm torn between marveling at the way in which words can express thoughts and ideas across cyberspace to reach both friends and strangers, and feeling sick at the way such posting can callously injure the same people. We do so much with words -- both to heal and to hurt -- and at least I carry so much of my own baggage with me when I read or write posts. Without the benefit of seeing another's reaction or non-verbal language, I read love or hatred into the words of postings without truly knowing another's motivations. I mourn for those who are personally injured by free-floating thoughts, carelessly flung onto the web, especially when cries to stop are not heard. We never fully know what comments may strike at deeply sensitive nerves or when basically innocent words may have a profound affect on the reader or listener.

In many of the circles of which I'm a part, Matthew 18 is a model for approaching one who offends. I think it's a good model, but difficult to live out in this context. How do I go in Christian love to those whom I don't know by name or face? I still have a lot to figure out in my relationships to some whom my faith tells me to love and my feelings tell me to dismiss.

A diversity of opinions is welcome and important, as long as it is done with respect for the personhood of those who hear or read them. Variety invites us to think, to wrestle with what we believe and think. As we encounter different voices, we are afforded opportunities to grow. Mean-spirited insults cut away at that opportunity. In that vein, I covenant here, as well as wherever I post, to not intentionally harm someone with my words. If I do offend, please let me know in a spirit of love and honesty.

More later...