"Oreon told me she’s praying for you,” my husband, Gary, said in between bites. We were having dinner one night when I was having a particularly stressful time at work. Gary is a pastor at a downtown Chicago church, and Oreon is one of the staff members there. “Why is Oreon praying for me?” I asked. I hadn’t had more than a passing hello with Oreon in weeks. “She saw your Facebook status message,” he said.
Like most pastors, I claim that the face-to-face meeting is the best way to do the ministry of the church; also like most pastors, I spend an enormous amount of time reading and composing e-mails. I am driven not so much by my own schedule or preferences as by those of my church members. Many of them use e-mail all day long and expect the church to do the same. If I want to keep up, I have to keep typing.
According to many Christian groups, pornography is a disturbing and increasing problem. A Promise Keepers survey found that 53 percent of its members consume pornography. A 2000 Christianity Today survey found that 37 percent of pastors said pornography is a “current struggle” of theirs.
Surgeon general appointees are often controversial, usually for reasons having to do with sex. Conservatives fumed when C. Everett Koop praised the virtues of the condom and when Jocelyn Elders extolled the virtues of masturbation.
I never meant to start a blog. One day I was reading online and followed one link to another link, then landed on a page where a woman was describing how she told her young daughter that a beloved congregant had died. She wrote with graceful prose and a few pinches of well-timed humor. I kept on reading. On another site, a preacher discussed fingernail polish, evoking a spirited conversation about whether or not the well-dressed clergywoman should wear bright colors in the pulpit. Eventually I left a comment, and then another. Then I began checking back to read the comments of other bloggers. I was hooked. Soon I had a blog of my own.
The Church of England is setting up a church on the Web and is advertising for a Web-pastor to run it. The initiative comes from the diocese of Oxford, using money given by the church commissioners to each of the Church of England’s 44 dioceses to fund pioneering projects that would support the church.