Thursday, May 24, 2007

Reading My Confessions

"Be careful what you write."

For the past two years in Denver I gave students this advice. With the rise of MySpace, Facebook, and other online communities, stories circulated around the nation of individuals who'd forgone their sense of anonymity and typed impeachable comments. Then they were fired, jailed, or spit on by friends.

"What happens," I warned, "is that eighty percent of companies now search for your blog to see if you incriminate yourself: slandering co-workers, selling company secrets, waving guns, using drugs, et cetera. Big Brother can read," I assured them.

In my case, Big Brother was a contingent of four elders and a moderator. They called themselves the Pastoral Search Committee. They liked to laugh, eat potlucks, and ask difficult questions about divorce, baptism, and the emergent church. They read my confessions but made no reference to them.

Until later. Two weeks into the job, it was an elder's turn to confess. I donned my robe, called him into the booth, and listened.

"I read your journal."

"Continue."

"The whole thing."

"And?"

"We probably should have asked you more questions during the interview."

I made the sign of the cross and offered forgiveness. Then added, "Does this mean I can keep my job?"

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