What do you do when God comes for your LinkedIn?

My Father’s house has many rooms

2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

In September 2022, The Guardian published an article Divine comedy: the standup double act who turned to the priesthood. The article sketches out what happened when two university friends of the author became Christians. Both friends explore whether or not they had a vocation to the priesthood.

I remember this passage:

Recently Jack has started picturing his life as a great house comprised of many rooms. There are rooms for your friendships, your love life, your career, rooms that you put signs outside declaring: I do not want this changed by my religion. Gradually, though, God starts knocking on the doors of more rooms, asking to join you in there, too. “And it’s difficult and painful and annoying,” he told me.

Born-again blogging

19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

If you become a practicing Christian as an adult, there is a process of coming out to go through. Whilst God rifles through all of those rooms in your life, forcing you to come out to yourself over and over, the question arises of who to tell. In the years before I made any sort of commitment to Jesus, I observed I was being told stories of faith, commitment and conversion by friends and colleagues. The colleague who video-called me up from abroad and confessed she had gotten baptised; the friend I met through Imperial who talked about the tension between her faith and her work, and later took me to her place of worship; a colleague and friend who said he would pray for me when I was going through the divorce.

Telling people mattered. I needed to explain that something significant was happening, a bit change. I was nervous coming out on the blog. If you recall this blog was born under New Atheism – close inspection reveals that the blog launched the day after the launch of the fundraiser for the Atheist Bus Campaign. In the blogging community of the time, I remember vociferous and to me somewhat stupid seeming below-the-line arguments loosely centred on faith. I was terrified of a hostile reaction to a position I did not yet know how to defend.

So when I cited Jerry Coyne in the first blog post in the Faith category, I did not tag him on the socials lest I brought forth an argument I was ill equipped for.

But bit by bit over the past year or so, God has taken over my web presence just like He is working on the rest of me. Priest friends warned me that Anglican Clergy Twitter is a tough space but I have seen worse in those early science blogging days.

On Instagram, I follow churches and cathedrals, flooding my feed with photogenic buildings. When I joined Threads and BlueSky, craving a Twitter replacement, the first people I followed were – well, you lot. Thank you all for being there. And for not attacking me. I was scared of what I might lose.

Let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you

From The Methodist Covenant Prayer

Put me to what you will,

let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,

A Christian without a job feels like the oxymoron I am. I left the workforce when my health precluded; recovering, repent-and-believing, and returning to the job market happen for me in one and the same moment. But where was I headed? I set out with not a lot more than scripture to guide me:

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

For the first half of 2023 I hedged my bets, applying in parallel for Church-based roles and stats ones. By the middle of the year, six interviews down and a corresponding half-dozen rejections in hand, I sacked off the stats thing for now and focus on doing the Church thing.

LinkedIn is my current least favourite social media platform, in part because it reminds me of the former career for which I continue to grieve. I thought I was going to leave LinkedIn when I decided to put a soft pause on my biostatistics career, but I have too many friends in my former colleagues on there. Even if scouring the LinkedIn job listings for the term Church leads mostly to jobs in Church Stretton.

My friends at St Mary’s placate me with tales of their own job hunting eras, trust in the Lord, and the multipurpose epithet wheeled out after every failed job interview

Rejection is God’s protection.

The bellringing crowd assign themselves as my cheer squad, not once questioning my change in direction. They take me to the pub and cajole me into not overthinking, telling me instead of Church job openings they have heard about. I double down on morning prayer and the gym, and give up trying to explain why I think I might be headed for ministry rather than the glorious career in middle management at Glaxo once understood by others to be my assured destiny.

My social media platforms fall one by one. I go from being a statistician with a tongue-in-cheek thread about church, to a Christian nostalgic for stats.

I face remarkably little pushback over my new worldview, online nor off. A few relatives struggle at first. I infer they are concerned I might be being drawn into some sort of cult. But they come around quickly. I think they can see the difference this is all making. I get little challenge from friends of friends, and my oldest friends draw close and defend me, caught up in excitement for me and fascination.

But now I need to out myself to LinkedIn, which at the time of writing is portraying me as a statistician-scientist with an oddly long CV gap. I have been stalling, thinking I will update my profile – or take it down entirely – when I finally land that church job. It is every bit possible I will get rerouted back to stats later. Roughly a third of clergy in the Church of England are self-supporting ministers and a proportion of those are bivocational, juggling another career alongside the ministry for which they do not get paid the equivalent of a salary. Conscious that some of my former colleagues are religious and unsure what they might make of it all, I write draft after draft in my mind. I am acutely aware of the ambiguity of my current situation. Leaning towards something light and humorous I call to mind the difference between the statistician joke and the church one. My working tagline, which I test out on my new profile on BlueSky:

Statistician for Jesus. What are the chances?

I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am


His name will be on his servants foreheads, and they will worship him.
From Revelation 22:4 and The Brick Testament

Cutting deals with God is ineffective; threats of vengeance liable to backfire. Ask me how I know this.

Advice from a priest friend

Advice from a priest friend.

However, in ambivalence, it is hard not to think, teeth gritted

when I get to that house, with His many rooms, I’m gonna take my time and rifle through all of them. See how He likes it.

This entry was posted in Careers, Faith, Life and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *