this is no longer my blog

Monday, April 18, 2005


on being anonymous

When I created this blog, I was not very concerned with being anonymous. This was for a number of reasons, quite possibly the foremost being that I figured no one would ever read it. I thought I'd write something for a day or two and then forget about it and my blog would fade back into the ether from whence it came. But that didn't happen. I kept coming back and I kept blogging. And people kept reading, and slowly the numbers grew. Now people in parts unknown, whom I've never met, read my blog. Well, roughly three people, anyway.
Another reason was that I was a seminary student, sitting in my dorm room, either bored or procrastinating some studying that needed to be done, and so I created a blog. It never occurred to me to think about what I might end up wanting to blog about. It didn't cross my mind that I hopefully will someday be a pastor, and I need to be careful about what I share with people.
So, although I've been careful and haven't revealed any names that would be incriminating (in fact, I've gone so far as to change names of people in stories that probably make no difference), I've always been pretty open and honest about myself, and even use my real name.
Sometimes I worry that someone from my internship will find the blog. Not that there is anything super-secret that I've shared. But most people from my congregation would be able to figure out who people are (especially Tom), and I don't know that they necessarily need to know about my run ins with Tom or my insecurities or how I sometimes just want to be doing anything but being their pastor intern. They don't really need to know that. But if they were to google my name, chances are that my blog would be one of the things on their list. And it wouldn't be hard for most people in my congregation to figure out that this blog belongs to me. And like I said, it's not that I share anything that would jeopardize my internship, it's just a question of whether I want people from my internship nosing around in this part of my life.
So a part of me thinks I should just start over. I should get rid of this blog, start a new one with a different name, and never say anything that could in anyway make people think that I was the author of my blog. That would solve that. I would be completely anonymous and I could say bad words and mean things about people and not be concerned that the following weekend in church someone would come up to me and say "I read what you wrote about So-and-so." I just don't think I need that.
But then a part of me wonders why I should need to be afraid of sharing my thoughts and feelings (in an appropriate manner) and having my parishioners find out. Is there anything wrong with that? I mean Real Live Preacher does it and it seems to work well for him... Although he's more of a storyteller and I'm more of a stream of consciousness babbler... but still, is there anything wrong with being open and authentic and risking the chance that people will find out? And I think that enough of my personality comes through in my writing, anyway, that even if I did not have my name anywhere on the blog, if people knew me after reading the stories they'd have a pretty good idea that I was indeed the author of my blog.
So I go back and forth about that a lot. Do I need this to be an outlet where I can type all of my emotions and feelings and not care who reads it, because I don't reveal who I am? Or do I just say "To heck with it. I am who I am, and at least this way my church (if they find it) will know who they're dealing with?" and then just not share anything that might get me in too much trouble?
To be anonymous or not to be anonymous, that is the question.
And now I need to go to bed, because I have the curmudgeon breakfast tomorrow morning. Bright and early.

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