May 9, 2014

Extreme Makeover (blog edition)

As you can see, I have a new blog design, a slightly new blog title, and even a new blogging platform (Wordpress to Blogger). I considered getting a face lift and tummy tuck as well just to complete the whole "extreme makeover" tableau. Unfortunately I recently learned that this is considered an "inappropriate use" of the Rector's Discretionary Fund.

After avoiding blogging for a long time, I started Clergy Family Confidential in November 2007. I promised myself that if the blog ever started to feel like a burden, I'd discontinue it immediately. Six and a half years and over 700 posts later, it's still going and I continue to delight in it as a "sketchpad," a place to house thoughts both silly and serious, and a forum to interact and connect with readers. I find that creativity begets creativity and regular blogging makes me a better preacher and writer.

In 2007 my boys, Ben and Zack, were eight and six and Bryna and I were definitely living into the blog's tagline of "Finding God in Domestic Chaos." I was nearing the end of a seven-year tenure as rector of All Saints' Church in Briarcliff Manor, New York -- 20 miles up the Hudson River from New York City -- and many of our experiences from this time ended up in my first book, "What Size Are God's Shoes."

There's still a lot of chaos with two working parents, a dog, a ferret, and two teenagers bouncing around the rectory of St. John's in Hingham, Massachusetts, located on the South Shore of Boston. But as I've started writing less about the intersection of faith and family, I decided to change the name from Clergy Family Confidential to the more aerodynamic Clergy Confidential.

It's one thing to cite family dynamics when you have elementary school-aged children. Teenagers are, um, less appreciative of seeing themselves mentioned in print. Not that they actually read my blog any more than they listen to my sermons but word gets back to them. I think they have a wide network of spies. (I do reserve the right to still blog about faith and family -- ie. life -- but may change the names to protect the innocent and otherwise).

As some of you know, I'm not very technologically savvy. People think I am because I blog, use social
media, etc. but I'm considered an "expert" only in relation to other middle-aged clergy (the main reason I had kids in the first place, truth be told, was for the at-home tech support).

Thus when I started thinking about a blog redesign, I needed help. If you're in church communications in any form and need assistance you would naturally go to The Source. My friend Meredith Gould is the living water of church communications (Meredith -- feel free to use that awesome quote on the back of your next book). She literally wrote the book on the topic: The Social Media Gospel (which you should buy immediately -- and then all her books -- but first, kindly finish reading this post).

I first met Meredith in 2008 at a book signing we both participated in at the old bookstore on the ground floor of 815 (the national headquarters of the Episcopal Church, located at 815 2nd Avenue) in NYC. I only sold two books that evening but made a life-long friend.

Meredith has a long resume, though the highlight is surely her shepherding of 2012 Lent Madness Golden Halo winner Mary Magdalene through the bracket. You can catch her act at next month's e-Formation 2014 Conference at Virginia Theological Seminary, where I'll also be presenting a couple of workshops.

I still have work to do in migrating some content over to the new site and figuring out whether I can move e-mail subscribers over to Blogger (don't think so -- please re-subscribe by entering your e-mail address on the right side of the home page) but I'm delighted with this "extreme makeover" and grateful to Meredith for helping to make it happen.

Continued blessings to all during this joyful Eastertide!


Meredith Gould said...

Indeed, it's our lifelong friendship/snarkship that more than makes up for the pitiful lack of royalties from those books we wrote.In Jesus' name...

Anonymous said...

Hi Fr Tim,

I tried to "follow by email" to your new home but either my fingers are too fat or the link/request is not working just yet.

Good luck with your new name/home and you are always entertaining and usually (don't want you to get a big head) on point. I will continue to read/follow you in the Hingham Journal as well.

Tim Schenck said...

Well, that's odd. I know a few others were able to do it without any trouble. Maybe try again? And thanks for letting me know!

Sister Mary Winifred said...

I also am having a problem with the "follow by email" link.

Anonymous said...

Hi Fr. Tim,

All set on my following via email. I had to disable my pop-up blocker !