There are some pitfalls in this brave new world of social media. One of them is the fact that when I make a blooper, it is exposed not only to the flock (who are used to my many shortcomings) but also to the entire World Wide Web.
For the past few weeks I have been posting this column as a blog post. As typos go, the ones in last week’s column were real howlers. Instead of “Pig in a Poke,” I typed “Pig in a Polk.” As if that were not bad enough, I left out the “l” in “public” when referring to “public policy.” This is more than a little embarrassing. I don’t really want to get into that particular conversation online. I get enough unsolicited e-mail already.
I figured out how to fix the blog post, but the newsletter went out uncorrected. I offer thanks to the many of you, both in the congregation and out there in the ether, who caught the typos and let me know about them. Humble thanks, of course. In the circumstances, I could hardly offer any other kind.
This puts me in mind of a young pastor in my grandparents’ church in Coahoma, Texas. Not long after arriving in that community of cotton farmers, he offered a pastoral prayer imploring the Lord to bless the “hoers in the field.” He hadn’t quite cottoned onto the local lingo. Every parishioner who shook his hand after worship whispered, “It’s hoe hands, Charlie, not hoers.”
On another occasion Charlie prayed, “Lord, forgive us our falling shorts.” Not quite the same thing as the Book of Common Worship’s “shortcomings and offences.” I’m sure the Lord knew what Charlie was talking about, but the image evoked by his rough equivalent is likely to have left the congregation rather distracted.
Baggy pants are a fashion statement these days, but falling shorts are another matter. (Come to think of it, the former might well contribute to the latter.)
Typographical errors, as bad as they are, are not quite so embarrassing as liturgical ones. In by first parish I began the Easter morning liturgy by shouting “Christ is born . . . I mean . . . risen!” It was not my proudest ministerial moment.
Humility is desirable in my line of work, but if you’re me, it’s unavoidable.