One afternoon a few years ago, in a fit of boredom, I came across the Project Name Generator.
You go there. You click the button. It generates a crazy random name. You click the button again. It generates another random name. You can click the button as many times as you like. It saves the names in a list for you.
You might want to try it sometime, if you’re bored.
I was clicking the button. A lot of the names were amusing.
Then I clicked the button, and the name Sunday Epidemic came up.
Random. But at that moment it captured what I was feeling about Pastoral ministry. It was making me sick. The church was sick. And not just my particular church, but the whole church project. My experience of Sunday was (and still is) the experiencing of an epidemic. Instead of being a place of healing, it had become a place for spreading disease.
I registered the domain name.
At the time, I was already blogging anonymously at PastorOnTheEdge.com. I didn’t know what I would ever do with Sunday Epidemic. All I knew was that the name felt real.
A year later I “retired” from ministry. I continued blogging for a while, no longer anonymously, at Pastor on the Edge. I did almost a year of blogging at ScarletLetterBible.com. It took that year to detox.
Then I stopped. I wasn’t a pastor any more, and I wasn’t on the edge any more.
Last summer I got around again to Sunday Epidemic. I thought it might be about church, since that’s where it started. After a couple weeks of messing around with it, I realized I couldn’t do it. I’d spent too much effort detoxing to go there again.
Two months ago I deleted everything from that first attempt, and started the blog over from scratch. Sunday Epidemic isn’t about church, or even Sunday. I still go to church most Sundays. I sometimes get invitations to be a guest preacher somewhere.
It’s still sick. The difference is now I can let myself be amused by it. Last Sunday, during the choral introit, someone belched the belch heard round the world. (You didn’t hear it?) The bell choir decided that the William Tell Overture was more appropriate than any other sacred music they could find. The Ladies’ Valentine-for-shut-ins lady took 10 minutes during the announcements to tell us how to sign up for something on a clip board she was passing around. The sermon was co-opted at the last minute by a 15 minute auditor’s report.
Now and then I’ll write about church stuff, if it’s what’s on my mind. Once in a while I’ll post a sermon. I’ll announce where I’ll be speaking. But Sunday Epidemic isn’t about church. It’s about one person’s life after church detox. Whatever that turns out to be.*