Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Epiphanies and Revelations

In this case, not a divine revelation from God, but rather a revelation of mine. I intentionally do not make it common knowledge that I am an ordained minister when I am playing World of Warcraft (commonly abbreviated "WoW". It is perhaps a small sin of omission, but I have my reasons.
For one thing, here is a community of people (an on-line community, but still a communityin my experience) who are by definition not "members of my flock." If you don't want your pastor to burn out like a candle tossed in the lit fireplace, you better hope that they have friends outside of the congregation. I've found some through WoW. The other reason is this: Because many "religious" folk look askance (or even with open hostility!) at the fantasy genre in general, folks who enjoy fantasy enough to be playing WoW would be likely to assume that I am going to try to evangelize them, or save their souls from the demons of roleplaying or some such. So much easier to be myself if they don't know.

But like I said, I've made friends through the game, and for the first time I have revealed to one of them that I am an ordained minister. It hasn't changed anything. We're still friends--and even better, he understands why the part of me that's "Rev." isn't common knowledge in the Realms of WoW. And my revelation lead me to my own epiphany: Despite all the hype and bother around some, er, vigorous issues, there are still people who don't know who the UCC is. And it's a deeper ignorance than can be alleviated through saying, "you know, the United Church of Christ? Maybe you've seen our television adds?

Then again... I shouldn't be surprised. A remarkably high percentage of members of the UCC don't know anything about our history, our polity... heck, just who we are! It's a sad fact that if you ask most of our members, "What is the UCC?" they would have a hard time answering. Of course, that's not entirely fair of me to say, after all, our history is diverse and the way we govern ourselves is not only unique, it's so different from what people may be used to with, say, the Roman Catholic Church and are likely to know from their everyday work lives... it confuses people. There really isn't a comprehensible "soundbite" description of who we are and how we do things.

And I think maybe there shouldn't be. Life isn't simple, and neither should your faith. Polity and politics describe how we interact with each other, and that's never simple either. But here's the thing... it doesn't mean we shouldn't get a handle on it. You've had the time to play with my blog for a little while. Take a little while longer and play with the links I gave you concerning the UCC. Or just click the United Church of Christ and God is Still Speaking links in the sidebar and do some exploring yourself. And hey, if you have any questions, there's always room for comments.

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

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