Is High Church Coyote right for you?

When someone joins a Facebook Group they stumble upon, they may have some preconceived notions about what the group represents. I’m writing here to disabuse you of some ideas about what High Church Coyote (Episcopal Humor) is all about…

The rules.

First, in order to keep some semblance of order, there are some rules.

Jesus told his disciples, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35-35 NRSV)

So the rules of this group are simple:
— Be nice.
— If you see a post you don’t like, scroll past it.
— If someone posts a comment you disagree with, disagree without being disagreeable.
— Be willing to extend the benefit of the doubt to your fellow knowing it is difficult or impossible to express one’s self without tone of voice or body language in a text-only medium.
— Avoid the temptation of the devil that is needing to have the last word.

Some caveats.

This is a HUMOR group.

Non-humor posts will be deleted. Non-humor posts regarding some aspect of The Episcopal Church, its teachings or traditions are better suited for Episcopalians on Facebook, Liberal Episcopalians on Facebook, Episcopal LGBTQ Connection, or such like. I encourage everyone to engage with these or similar communities and draw from the collective wisdom to be found there. (Admins reserve the right to make exceptions on a case-by-case basis.)

This is a RELIGIOUS humor group.

If you dislike seeing sacred matters handled in occasionally sacrilegious ways, this group might not be for you. We agree with G.K. Chesterton who said, “It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it.”

This is a religious humor group OPEN TO ALL.

We started with a focus on The Episcopal Church, but quickly grew to include people from other Christian traditions, from Jewish and Islamic traditions who are our brothers and sisters through Abraham, pagans and other non-Christian traditions, agnostics, atheists, and so forth. This group isn’t about converting anyone, but sharing a laugh. If you are offended by contributions from any of the above, this group might not be for you.

Humor often involves ambiguity.

If you are uncomfortable with ambiguity, especially ambiguity in matters of faith, this group might not be for you.

No preaching.

Beating others with the scripture stick, disparaging other faiths, those you think have weak faith, or those with no faith at all will not be tolerated.

No secular politics.

In these uncertain and contentious times, this group maintains a no overt politics stance. Try to avoid all mention of political figures or political parties.

There are exceptions.

As admin and owner of the group, I reserve the right to break any of these rules.

Use the Report function.

If you see something truly offensive, or if you are feeling harassed by another in the group, please report the post and contact me directly by clicking the Send Message button on my Page.

Group Rules and Elaborations

Managing a Facebook Group with over 21,000 members requires rules to keep people on topic and even just decently civil at times. I have tried very hard to keep the rules for High Church Coyote (Episcopal Humor) minimal and vague, because there is a lot of subjective judgement when it comes to things like humor and especially religious humor.

For me as an admin, the two main rules are:

  1. Be nice to people
  2. No politics

The first one should be obvious. Be nice. If you can’t be nice, you can’t play in our sandbox and will be escorted out the door without warning.

The second is less obvious, and apparently more difficult to adhere to. I get it. I can’t stand a lot of what is going on in our country, either. And Facebook  makes is really easy to throw in a snarky comment at a button push. But unrelated comments that advertise your political preferences isn’t what High Church Coyote is about. We’re supposed to be religious humor, and humor more broadly. Twisting a post about kittens into an anti-Trump or anti-liberal complaint is out of bounds.

This week between Christmas and New Year’s, I approved a post that depicted Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I normally don’t approve posts of a political nature, but felt RBG would be less likely to trigger a flame war. It wasn’t humor, but it made me smile. Unfortunately, among the hateful comments that began to appear was this gem:

Sorry not-sorry, dude, you just voted yourself off the island.

The group continues to grow at a steady pace. With lots of new people, and some old-timers who may have forgotten, I felt it was time to update the rules and remind people what the group is about.

In addition to jokes, memes, and other funny stuff, I approve posts that aren’t strictly humor.

Here are some of my thoughts and guiding principles when considering which posts to approve:

Daily Prayers
Because HCC has a religious theme, this group can attract individuals that post daily prayers. Some people like them, so I have allowed them to continue. But they are inconsistent, so if you like daily prayers posts you should go to their page and follow them directly since they forget to post here every day. If you don’t like them, you can safely block them as this is the only interaction these people have with this group.

Beautiful or Awe Inspiring
I will approve and post things — mostly photos and videos — that are merely beautiful or awe inspiring even if they aren’t strictly speaking humorous. The video of the kids doing hockey drills is one example — it received a lot of likes and comments. Wholesome content in general is o.k. here, whether humorous or not.

People Vlogging / Talking into the Camera
Sorry, I hate being inches from someone forced to look up their nose while they’re talking, regardless of the subject. If you’re going to tell a story and I have to look at your face through your phone’s forward facing camera, you better have a decent backdrop, some good lighting, and probably some makeup and hair product in place. And you better have good material. Whatever you’re talking about better be short, to the point, and funny.

There is one person who is cross posting his (sometimes) humorous reflections on religion. I only approve the ones that I think might be considered funny, but you can see the rest of them in Episcopalians on Facebook and other Episcopalian-themed groups. If you like his insights, you should friend or follow him directly.

I get quite a few random sermons submitted, but I don’t approve them. This isn’t the place to evangelize. The only exception might be a seasonal or topical sermon from the Washington National Cathedral, our Presiding Bishop, or the Archbishop of Canterbury — but not often. If you want to see videos of sermons, you should follow your parish’s Facebook page, website, or YouTube channel.

Non-English Language Content
I only speak English, and The Episcopal Church is headquartered in the States. I can’t vet non-English content, so I never approve it. The only exception is when a translation is included, and even that can be risky if I don’t know and trust the person submitting.

Parting Thoughts

I try to run the group with a light touch and try to keep the announcements from on high to a minimum. I believe I don’t ask much from people who participate in the community.

I hope this helps people understand a little better what appears in the group.

Question or comments, message me through my Facebook Page:

Behold, I come quickly…

I’m just getting started shaping up this website. Patience, grasshopper.

High Church Coyote (Episcopal Humor) is a Facebook Group community. Founded in 2014, our active membership is over 17,000 strong. For more information, read the About page here. Then go join the Facebook group. All are welcome.

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