How many Episcopalians does it take to change a light bulb?
Ten. One to call the electrician, and nine to say how much they liked the old one better.
Inspired by Roman zeal for a digital claim to spiritual identity, I wondered to my Twitter followers if we might take up TEC (Episcopal) Rules for Twitter. Bosco Peters, an Kiwi Anglican priest and liturgist of great digital renown suggested that we might broaden the conversation to #AnglicanRulesForTwitter, and we were off (slowly, mind; we’re only 10% of the Catholics…):
When 3 or 4 Anglicans Tweet, a 5th is sure to follow. (@ranknut)
Tweets shall be a sign of inward and outward spiritual grace. (@ricap)
Anglican cycle of tweets determined by standing committee on twiturgy (@edrescherphd)
Per Occasional Services, bishops consulted first in tweets concerning exorcism (@fathertorey)
High Twitter is my Twitter, Low Twitter is no Twitter! (@pcstokell)
"In the sweet by and by, we shall tweet on that beautiful shore." (Lift Every Ban and Tweet) (@neilwillard)
'oh Lord open thou our app, and our tweets shall show forth thy praise' (@zephyc)....
In the meantime, I’m fascinated by the way these trends are expressing and shaping denominational identity in digital space and generating sly ecumenical exchange. It seems to me that various denominational RulesForTwitter are functioning along the lines of those old light bulb jokes that regularly pop up in sermons and church newsletters. I’m sure I’ll have much more to say about what all this might mean at the intersection of religion and new media, and I hope you’ll tweet your own denominational rule as I mull it over. [emphasis mine]
Drescher's making a lot of sense here. Every group (/denomination) needs a way of self-identifying that promotes positive self-image, or at least the ability to skewer in a way that says, "I kid because I love, so I'm not going to get too personal or go strictly on the attack." Put another way, the inability to take big belly laughs at oneself may be the first sign that one needs a hobby, or to get out a little more often.
If that all seems too obvious, maybe this next part won't be. As a participant in this mini-meme, I found it a delight to work on as I ran through the catalog of what makes Anglicans unique and therefore worth highlighting/tweeting about. I saw too much of myself in some places, maybe not enough in others. I also had to admit that I might have been speaking for all Anglicans when what I was attempting to express, through (often fairly lame) humor, was actually The Episcopal Church as I have come to understand it - one constituent member of a much larger enterprise. And even then, not nearly The Episcopal Church in its entirety, but the relatively small slice of it that I've known over the years bumming around in just three dioceses out of TEC's many dioceses.
I wondered, too: if a little insignificant humor sheds this kind of light, how could an Anglican Covenant ever possibly hope to speak completely for the beautiful mess that is global Anglicanism? Isn't comprehensiveness one of the things for which we strive? And as such, isn't the conversation about self-identity always still forming in our hearts, minds, and spirits? Isn't Anglicanism an inherently unfinished idea? And isn't that part of what makes it so unique among Christians?