Why are there so many Anons?
I’m fairly new to the Anon-church game, so naturally I have appointed myself to answer this question. My meteoric rise into Twitter semi-stardom is the basis for my confidence. Church Curmudgeon, Unappreciated Pastor, Bitter Blue Betty, Surly Deacon, and Lloyd Legalist, the fathers of our movement (I believe BBB is a dude), have been saying what the rest of us could only scream into our pillows. They are the Elijah(s), and we are in the gooey middle of the movement. We are the remnant, nameless, 7,000 calling the church to get right before they get left.
Anonymous Twitters exist to glorify God and enjoy him forever by calling out the church in ways that would prompt her to throw rocks at our faces if we used our true identities.
We are all small church leaders, unappreciated pastors, mistreated youth pastors, all-seeing church secretaries, super theologians, and snooty seminarians wearing our masks because we are the heroes the church needs, not the one[s] it deserves. Our anonymous practice is still risky because, like Bane, “No one cared who [we were] till [we] put on the mask[s].” Now they people want to know their critics.
Really, we are more like the Man in Black from the Princess Bride who wears his mask because, “They’re terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future.” We wear our masks in ministry, because if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be in ministry. We would not be able to serve in the churches in which we serve if we revealed our true identities. We would be run out of town faster than the Flash chasing Superman to Lex Luther[ans]’s lair.
We serve the churches that meet in the little brick buildings down the road from the sheep snatching mega churches. We are the mega church middle school pastors who are deeply uncomfortable with seeker sensitivity and sheep snatching. We are the youth pastors who think you ministry is flawed, maybe even at the ultimate level, but we’re praying the ends of discipleship justify the means of age-segregated ministry. We cannot be honest with our people, because we love them too much.
We take to Twitter pseudonymously to remove our masks and exhale our honesty. We live in the tension between the times when the church needs honest critique and evaluation, and when she is able to handle it from their own shepherds. The church in the West cannot handle mild-mannered Clark Kent saving the world, so for now, we give them Superman-a symbol of hope who is really just a well-raised farm boy who had the power long before he donned his cape.
We wear our masks because we are contextualizing the Gospel to people wearing their masks. However, the rise of anonymous Twitter may make it possible for all of us to reveal our true identities one day. But until that day, we follow the shadows, wearing our masks and saving the world, one snarky comment at a time.