Blogging, Interviews, Prospects

I thought I’d mentioned it before, but searching doesn’t turn anything up. Back at BloggerCon I (“when dinosaurs walked the earth,” as my sarcastic sons used to say) Dan Bricklin and I talked about seminarian bloggers; his eyes lit up as e described how wonderful it would be for a congregation (synagogue, parish, whatever) to be able to read a seminarian’s blog, to get a sense of the kind of person they were thinking about hiring. Of course, your blog would displease some people — but would you want to be working for them in the first place? Wouldn’t you accept that happily, as a correlative of the possibility that a congregation could look you up and say, “That’s just the kind of person we want around here!”

Well, Tim Bray has responded to the inextinguishable “You Blog? You’re Fired!” topic from the dominant media by writing ten reasons blogging is good for your career. (I especially endorse reason number 4: “No matter how great you are, your career depends on communicating. The way to get better at anything, including communication, is by practicing. Blogging is good practice.”) Yes, the tech industries differ from ordained ministry (at least, they were different when I was working in computer graphics lo! these decades ago), and yes, there are complications attendant to the benefits. But Tim and Dan have this much right: If it’s easy to find out that you’re congenial and interesting, then you’re more likely to be hired by people who want congenial, interesting employees — or to be called by congregations who want congenial, interesting clergy leadership.

The ordination process in the Episcopal Church tends to promote fear and defensiveness (not in every case, but in many), and the intense partisanship of the moment amplifies those anxieties. It’s hard to expect seminarians to see anything but danger. Danger is not, however, the end of the story, and I’m convinced that a position is more likely to work out better for congregation and clergy leader if they know as much as possible about one another. Why stake as much as relocation and full-time employment on the impression made in a relatively brief interview (conducted, often, by people who aren’t skilled interviewers)?

(At the intersection of church and tech industry, linked by Jim McGee: “Don’t Rock the Boat.” Congregational development students: identify the mission strategy implicit in this ethos. . . .)

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