Fired pastor offers blogging advice

EDITOR’S NOTE: Although the initial stories made reference to Holtz being fired or removed from his pulpit, that was not the case. The headline of this post repeats that error. (3/27/2011)

United Methodist blogger and former pastor Chad Holtz was removed from his appointment this week. The news stories make it all about Rob Bell, but at least some of the coverage suggests deeper issues.

Chad, for his part, wrote his advice to pastors who want to keep their jobs.

1.  Don’t blog or Facebook.

2.  If you ignore #1, at least do so anonymously.

3.  If you ignore #1 and #2, be sure your stuff is fluff.  Write about daisies, the weather, your kids t-ball game, vacation plans, car repairs, and dinner recipes.

4.  If you ignore #1, 2, and 3 and choose instead to write about matters of faith, be sure your ideas, thoughts, opinions and questions match the ideas, thoughts, opinions and questions of your congregation.

5. If you ignore #1, 2, 3, and 4 you can join me in a job hunt.   And, if you are not completely disillusioned, help me plant a church where advice like this will not only be unnecessary, but absurd.

His list screams of hurt and damage. I hope he finds healing. As I read through is recent blog posts, I do see where some members of his congregation who hold traditional beliefs about hell would react poorly.

Holtz writes more about the causes of his removal on Rachel Held Evan’s blog here.

His story and his posts open up interesting questions about how pastors should blog.

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12 thoughts on “Fired pastor offers blogging advice

  1. PamPG,

    Might I point out that I did not say “those whom I think are unsaved,” I said “the unsaved.” If you are a universalist then all that is required is simple honesty. If a pastor denies the basic beliefs and teachings of a denomination, it would seem to me that integrity would demand a change to a group that accepts what he believes. It is comforting to have baby bear theology: The papa bear hierarchy are too traditional, the mama bear laity are too ignorant. I of course am just right.

    Since I am not a part of the UMC my opinions are nothing to get excited about though.

    Grace and peace.

  2. Apparently, Rev. Holtz told his congregation that he was going to refrain from controversial blogging. Obviously, he shouldn’t have made that agreement if he was unwilling to live up to it. As a local pastor, he does not have the protections that ordained elders currently enjoy. Apparently, he agreed to resign.

    One of the most difficult things for younger people to learn (Rev. Holtz is a student at Duke), is that they don’t have all the answers and that everything that happened before them is not automatically wrong.

  3. From reading this and other blog site comments it appears as if Chad is confused about a few things. One is the first amendment. This protects us from our government but it is not a shield that keeps us from being held accountable for our words wrt our friends, co-workers and employers. Words have power and we need to be careful what we say. James 1:19 tells us to be slow to speak. Good advice that holds true today. It is real difficult to “unsay” that which has been said. Chad seems to think that a blog site is like an academic seminar where you can think out loud “if this then that” kind of thing. Fine as long as it stays in the seminar room. But once posted on a blog it is a different story. Having read some of his words it looks like he is straying from established doctrine. Is he arrogant enough to believe that he has arrived at some Truth that has escaped all the great theologians of the past two thousand years? I hope not. He should be well aware of what Methodist doctrine entails and needs to support not undermine it. If he cannot do that then he should find a denomination that more closely reflects what his views are. It speaks to integrity. He should not have waited for this to blow up in his face and be shown the door.

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