27 September 2007

Thanks, Rewrite, and Hire me!

I want to thank all of the thirty-something-odd bloggers out there who linked to my post, "Kids These Days..." The power of the blog to disseminate information and opinion is simply amazing.
I also want to thank all of those who posted comments here and the ones who sent me private emails--including one or two or more?--gentlemen who wear pointy hats to Mass. Your support is invaluable.

Also, my post received a lot of compliments (thanks!) and a few snarky dismissals (whatever) and a few very well-done critical appraisals from people I respect quite a bit.

I will mention one criticism here in particular and offer to make amends for it. More than one commenter on another blog and more than one in private emails took me to task for they called "problems with tone," i.e. they noted that I am coming across as "sarcastic and bitter." OK. I am a bit sarcastic. OK! OK! I am a lot sarcastic. I'm not bitter at all. I am frequently a Disappointed Idealist, but I do not wallow in regret or bitterness. No fun in that.

Also in my defense: 1) I'm a born and bred Southerner and we have a weird sense of humor down here, and 2) I survived liberal arts grad school in the '90's...which means I have a "survival of the fittest" attitude when it comes to debate. We were trained by Hungry Pitbulls with Radical Political Agendas. Sometimes my Mississippi "Suffer No Fools" humor and my "Gut Them Before They Gut You" mentality combine to create a literary monster. These are reasons...not excuses.

Anyway, my critics claim that my legit message would be better served w/o the smart-ass attitude. [Why does my Mama's voice suddenly ring in my head?!] And I agree to a degree. I think what resonates with people in that post is my willingness to "tell it like it is."

The emotional energy of the post is frustration and just a bit of anger. A passive critical slap in the direction of the offenders would have been much less effective with those who read this blog regularly. In other words, I was writing to my audience.

Now, I also realize that the sarcasm does not come off as very professional and this may lead people who don't know me to believe that I am an Unprofessional Priest. Far from it.

So, here's my offer: if anyone out there wants to use my post, "Kids These Days..." but finds the sarcastic tone to be too much or potentially off-putting to those you think might benefit from the actual argument, let me know via the combox and I will rewrite the post in more "professional" language for your use.

I'm only going to do this if there is a demand for it. Please, don't ask me to do just to see what such a post might look like. If you want to reprint in a bulletin or something like that, well, OK...I'll do it.

+ + + + + +

I am frequently asked if I am available for retreats, conferences, missions, lectures, writing jobs, etc. outside the University of Dallas setting.

The answer is: YES!

I have done all of the above on more than one occasion. And I am happy to do more. The only problem is that I am incredibly busy with my full-time job and two part-time jobs plus community commitments.

That said: I like to stay busy. So, it can't hurt to ask.

If you want to inquire about having me come speak or teach or "dance liturgically" (that would be U-G-L-Y, btw) or write something for publication, contact me at neripowell (at) yahoo (dot) com. You can also contact me through the Campus Ministry office of the University of Dallas (here).

The Priory usually asks for travel reimbursement and an agreed-upon stipend--contingent on time spent in prep work, degree of difficulty, time on-site, etc.

God Bless, Fr. Philip, OP


  1. Oh, Father, I love your tone. It is, above all, energetic, passionate and committed. There are many different modes of communications, any number of "tones," and I am a firm believer in "it takes all kinds" and, you know, "diversity." There's a place for reserve, for delicacy...and for in-your-face.

  2. To my critics: HA! Amy Welborn says I can be a smart-ass...so there. :-)

    Seriously, thanks Amy for your vote of confidence.

    Fr. Philip, OP

  3. I can't imagine the message having gotten through without the "tone." Sometimes the truth is hard to hear, and sugar coating changes the message.

    I think it is always good to check to see if our own baggage is getting in the way of things, but I didn't see it.

    Btw, a copy went to the youth minister at my parish who liked it and went to your site. I am hoping it does good out here in So Cal.

  4. David T.2:18 PM

    From pointy hats to the upcoming crop, that's quite a catch.

    I agree, reserve is proper in certain spheres, but one of the (occasional) benefits of being online is seeing unfiltered humanity, and unfiltered humanity runs as diverse as one would expect--and then some.

    That said, the idea of an 'offline' article concurrent with the online post seems like a good idea.

  5. Father, please ignore those critics. There was no need for you to even give them the minimal credibility you did by writing this post. You have nothing to apologize for. Anybody who would complain about the "tone" of your defense of the Truth is an obfuscater who in fact feels threatened by the Truth itself. It is the fact that you leave them no "wiggle room" with respect to the Truth that so bothers them. To the extent that you have made them conscious of their unbelief and forced them to confront it (hence their "reaction"), you have done our Lord's work. Let us pray that some of these might now actually seek to overcome the hurdles of their doubts rather than enter deeper into rebellion against God as generally happens. One thing for sure: the wheat gets separated from the chaff rather quickly in this way.

    If you want a model of what happens to a church that lacks clerics like you, earnest defenders of the faith (i.e. minimally competent clergy), you need only look to the Anglican world today (my turf). By unwritten law there, no one in authority can make simple, declarative statements. When they occasionally slip and do, they are viciously attacked and compelled to apologize for their violation of the "code." The "code" of course reflects the strangely exalted English temperament that persists there, well known for its alleged "gift for understatement." Of course, "gift for understatement" is nothing but a sad euphemism for the very serious vice of deceit. Where no one puts there cards on the table, only the most capable cheater wins. And where institutionalized deceit flourishes, you get...well, again, just look at the Anglican world today.

    Don't let the deceivers silence you, Father. You are doing our Lord's work and don't you ever doubt that for a minute. You sound like a "real" priest, and how refreshing it always is to encounter one in this age of institutionalized apostasy.

  6. Anonymous2:16 PM

    Tone? What tone? Maybe I am just used to reading your style, which is straight forward and mixed with humor. Don't worry about people with thin skin. I wish more clerics would just say what needs to be said rather than dance around it.


  7. Thanks to you all for your encouragement! Maybe I caved too quickly to my critics...I am very aware of how I come off sometimes, so it is a sore spot for me.