For The Someday Book

Posts Tagged ‘plagiarism

I promise I am not making this up.

At the clergy retreat last week, we had to play those typical get-to-know-you games. My colleague who was leading the games did a nice job of handling the overwrought goofiness of it all, but I had to laugh when he started to introduce us to “I Never.” I thought everyone knew “I Never” as a drinking game.  Apparently not. He thought it was a youth group game, like Fruit Basket, where you change chairs based on shared attributes.

Anyway, stifling my laughter, I volunteered to go first, and chose to make a soap-box statement about being the youngest one in the room: “I have never written a sermon without using the internet!” It was a great game play, because almost everyone in the room would have had to take a drink, or change chairs if we had been playing the youth group version.

However, later on in the retreat, I walked by a group of older colleagues talking with one another. I overheard this whispered comment:

“That’s the one who said she gets all her sermons off the internet.”

“I know. I can’t believe she admitted that!”

“Is that even legal?”

I was just about to turn around in shock and horror to defend my honor. Using the internet for sermon preparation does not make you a plagiarist and an intellectual thief! Thankfully, one member of the little group had just a whit of clue about life in the 21st century and explained that I probably just used the internet for my research, just like they use their books. “Oh,” came the reply, “really? You think that’s what she meant? When I hear clergy talk about using stuff from the internet I just figure they are talking about taking whole sermons from other people.”

At this point, I want to turn on my heels and say, “What kind of stone-age idiot are you? I take advantage of the massive resources on the web, so you assume I must be a plagiarist preacher too lazy to do my own work?” I thought better of it and decided to just keep walking. The one clued-in colleague gave a remedial course in the power of the internets, but I swear they gave me disapproving looks for the rest of the retreat. Sometimes you just have to let it go.

I remain haunted by the level of ignorance about the digital age that their comments displayed. Not encouraging for the future of the church, and our ability to connect to the next generation.

About Me

I am a full-time pastor in the United Church of Christ, mother of a young child (B.), married to an aspiring academic and curmudgeon (J.). I live by faith, intuition and intellect. I follow politics, football and the Boston Red Sox. I like to talk about progressive issues, theological concerns, church life, the impact of technology and media, pop culture and books.

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