We get a few questions about our blog and other random things, so while we are still slightly brain-dead from writing, we thought we'd answer a few of the questions. Writing this post made us feel a bit like we were answering questions to be nominated as bishop or to be in the Miss America pageant (insert snark here) - but here you go. We appreciate your indulgence.
1. Are your blog posts based on your real lives?
Pretty much. While we often change names and identifying information, many of our posts are things that have happened to us. Grief, mistakes, joy - all of it is part of who we are, and all of it becomes part of our story.
2. When does the book come out, and will it be a collection of your blog posts?
We have been told it will be released in November, and it will not be a collection of our blog posts. Parts of some blog posts are in the book, but 90% of the book is new, original material. We both lived through three very difficult years recently, years filled with grief, pain, and disappointment, among other things. Basically, the book is our story of that time. Priests seem to write about pretty theological things; we write about the pain and ugliness of life and how we saw God is in that, too. We keep our sass and quirky observations, and we write about how painful those years were, how they were death to our souls, how the church broke our hearts, and how resurrection is not just a story in the Gospels. We hope our story connects with those who have had their hearts broken, too.
3. Who would be your perfect clergy spouses?
Mary is quite certain Jason Statham is all ready to marry a priest. Laurie prefers Alcide the construction worker/werewolf. That Mary likes an action hero actor and Laurie likes a fictional monster, well, you asked. And we've never said we weren't quirky. We would be remiss if we didn't put a shout-out to Anne Lane who argues with Laurie that Eric the Vampire Sheriff would be the perfect clergy spouse. If you have no idea who we are talking about, read the Sookie Stackhouse series by Episcopalian Charlaine Harris (the novels on which Alan Ball based his series True Blood).
4. Are you two really friends? Are you really Episcopal priests?
Yep to both, much to the chagrin of a few priests and bishops, we're certain. We are the reason each other has unlimited cell phone minutes. And we are both currently serving parishes in the Episcopal church.
5. How did the blog get created?
We mention this in the book (by the way, we are really in book publicity mode - forgive us), but basically, we were attending a New Year's Eve party in the French Quarter in New Orleans and talking about starting a blog. The drag queen hosting the party suggested we name it Dirty Sexy Ministry, based on the awful television series Dirty Sexy Money that had just been cancelled. It seemed like a dandy idea. We've had plenty of ideas in the French Quarter that seemed like good ones; this is one of the rare ones that was.
6. Have you gotten push-back from the blog?
Oh yes. Both of us had parishes when we were in the search process that didn't like the blog. We've both heard those shocked and appalled conversations as colleagues in former dioceses shared their scandal at the blog title and its contents, as well. At times, quitting the blog has seemed like an option - there are just so many criticisms we could hear about our writing before we wondered if writing was worth the cost.
We both can say loudly, "Yes! Writing our truth is worth the cost." From the emails and letters we've gotten through the years about our posts, we found courage from you. We are delighted to say that we both serve in dioceses and in parishes that support our blog.
7. How did you get a book deal?
Yes, we're wondering that, too. We think God, the Holy Spirit, and Nancy Bryan at Church Publishing had much to do with it.
8. Are you going to do a book tour?
Yes, and if you'd like us to come to your parish, email us at dirtysexyministry (at) gmail (dot) com for information. And yes, again, we ask your indulgence on the pr the book thing.
9. What is your biggest surprise about the blog?
The amazing people we've met because of the blog. Both of us have friends we've made through the blog - clergy who've asked us to lead retreats and people who've emailed us about a post and kept in touch, among others. Neither of us really can believe anyone other than our close friends and family reads the blog, but we are so glad for the support and feedback. Thank you!
10. Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate. We're also big fans of sushi, Mr. John's steaks, and fresh watermelon. We eat lots of whole grain cereal, and we love naps. And Jesus.