Celebrity Blogger Week: Laurie Brock

February 27, 2014
Tim Schenck

Entering her second year as a Celebrity Blogger, Laurie Brock is also the owner of Nina, the Official Horse of Lent Madness. Of course everybody in Kentucky owns a horse so we realize this is only a big deal to those outside the Bluegrass State. When she's not riding, writing, snarking up the joint on Twitter, tending to her congregation, following Alabama football, drinking bourbon, or walking her puppy Evie, we really have no idea what Laurie does all day.

Oh, she also has the distinction of teaching Tim how to ride a horse when he was in Kentucky to lead Clergy Conference for the Diocese of Lexington last year. He was not a natural.

The Rev. Laurie Brock

The Rev. Laurie Brock

Laurie Brock is a returning Celebrity Blogger because she loves getting free coffee mugs. Clergy never have enough coffee mugs or crosses. She serves as the rector of St. Michael the Archangel Episcopal Church in Lexington, Kentucky. She blogs at Dirty Sexy Ministry and is the co-author of Where God Hides HolinessThoughts on Grief, Joy and the Search for Fabulous Heels (Church Publishing). She is also the creative force behind Fifty Days of Fabulous from Forward Movement. She frequently shares her quirky, snarky views on faith, Alabama football, and popular culture on Twitter at @drtysxyministry, but don’t follow unless you can laugh at yourself and your religion. Otherwise, you’ll just be offended. When she’s not doing priest things, she is riding her horse Nina and trying to avoid another spot on the Celebrity Blogger injured reserved list like last year.

How has Lent Madness transformed your life?
Well, I now have something to do during Lent other than repent. And I know way more about Hilda of Whitby and the other saints I've celebrity blogged for than I learned, even for seminary exams. Being a Celebrity Blogger engages one in the lives of the saints (not to mention a competitive Lenten discipline) beyond just a set of dry facts to the humorous, spiritual, tragic, and even oddly insane lives they lived. Plus Nina the Official Lent Madness Horse enjoys wearing her purple sheet (a sheet is the horse version of a light coat). And I can't go to any Church event without being mobbed by people wanting autographs. Well, maybe not so much that last sentence.
Obviously being a Celebrity Blogger is your greatest lifetime achievement. What perks have you enjoyed as a result of your status?
This year, Thomas Merton is one of my saints (vote THOMAS!), so I trekked to Gethsemani, the monastery where he lived and wrote not too far from where I live in Kentucky. I met one of the monks who knew Brother Louis (as Thomas was known to his fellow monks) who told me personal stories of their time together and quoted poetry about God as we sat in the garden where Thomas himself sat and prayed decades before. It was a lovely moment realizing I would have never had this ethereal opportunity without the generosity of the SEC, Scott and Tim, and without my ability to snark in 140 characters or less on Twitter (which is how I'm still convinced I got the call to the major leagues of Church blogging).

What do you hope the Lent Madness public will learn from the lives of the saints?

Laurie with Nina, the Official Horse of Lent Madness

Laurie with Nina, the Official Horse of Lent Madness

I was intrigued with the small scandal that erupted over Frances Perkins winning last year's Golden Halo. I had some people argue, "She's not really a saint." Well, no, her hair and fingernails didn't continue to grow after her death, and as far as we know, she didn't put a pickled barrel full of children back together after a mean shopkeeper had enough of their shenanigans and dismembered them (why no one tells that story from the life of St. Nicholas is beyond me). Do these qualities make a saint? Or is a saint someone who heroically lived his/her faith in a daring and courageous way? Frances is a wonderful example of using her faith to guide her decisions and influence others to help the least of these in this country at a time when women's leadership was considered suspect and rarely given heed. That seems heroic to me...I mean, imagine if we all lived our love for God and neighbor the way Frances did.

That, quite honestly, is part of being a saint. Fantastic stories of ancient saints are part of the hagiography of a saint, but saints, as the hymn says, are here and now. So I hope that Lent Madness is a way for people to feel their pre-concived ideas of who a saint is gently (and sometimes irreverently) expanded as they come to know saints past and present in a very real way.
Someday, when you become the answer on Jeopardy, what will the question be?
"Who is the first Episcopal priest to host Saturday Night Live?"


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49 comments on “Celebrity Blogger Week: Laurie Brock”

  1. I loved this Bio. I also love all the humor that is part of Lent Madness which helps us all learn and want to continue to learn. Thank you to the SEC and all the Celebrity Bloggers, for helping me learn more and more about the Saints and infusing some humor along the way.

  2. Gold Medal (still in Olympic mode) for the BEST Jeopardy question, so far, of all the Celebrity bloggers. Kudos, and I will be tuned into NBC.

  3. Hurray for all the attributes here..Thomas Merton affectionado, Nina's horse person extraordinare and most of all Celebrity Blogger w/wit and wisdom to host SNL!! Looking forward to "her quirky, snarky views on faith, " to put spring into Lent!! Great Bio/BTW!

  4. St. Hilda of Whitby was my favorite saint last year. I am now reading the historic novel: HILD.

  5. Welcome ..again..to LentMadness from an ETSKY graduate of the once-upon-a-time Vocational Diaconate program (class of 1989). Please try to stay seated upon your trusty..really?..steed this time around. Keep striving for SNL...faint hearts ne'er ...whatever. You get the gist of it. Everybody who's retired oughta be on their knees thanking Frances Perkins!

  6. Welcome Laurie! your horse is absolutely beautiful. At he risk of sounding like a broken record, which on certain subjects I am, I am wondering if you are hopefully on the same page as Some Of Us regarding Fred Rogers for the golden halo? I have been harping on this(pun intended)for some time and recently went off on someone whom I mistakenly thought was opposed to the idea. OOPS. still embarrassed about that.

  7. Well, Laurie.....your first test is to persuade the SEC to lighten up about their stance on the status of Fred Rogers. PLEASE get them to change their minds so that our dear Madeleine can find happiness at least next year since it appears this one is a lost cause. If you are successful, becoming the SNL host will be a shoo-in.

  8. Episcopalians have rules about snake handling; never handle a snake unless you were introduced by your parents, or close personal friends of your parents.

  9. I liked the snake picture. When I was first ordained in the Diocese of Lexington, Bishop Wimberly sent me so far into Eastern Kentucky that even the Episcopalians handled snakes.

  10. I love the quote from Martin Luther: God rides the lame horse and carves the rotten wood. Just what I needed to hear today.

  11. Good. I like the "messy" part. Life just isn't clean acolyte's robes all the time.
    Do you need a St John the Divine NY Cathedral mug?
    Blessed banal.

  12. I always need more coffee mugs! And I have many wonderful memories of St. John the Divine's Evensongs from my seminary days.

    1. my 2 favorite saints are Theresa of Avila and St. Francis...thank u Laurie B. loved your comments and the work u do...thank u and God Bless

    2. St.John the Divine......always worth a trip "uptown" I remember when the Italian stonemasons came and the stone yard wrapped around a part of the property. It was glorious and there were plans to "finish" the cathedral." But that was many years ago.

      I want to know more about Laurie's horse. What the horse taught Laurie....I am a forever horse lover.....

  13. OK, I have to ask: is the horse's name pronounced NIGH-na (like me) or NEE-na (which really should be spelled Nena)?

    1. Oops, looks like the link doesn't work. Anyway, it will be a happier Lent followed by fifty fab days with Ms. Brock in the saddle again.

  14. The Spartans will have their revenge one of these days. Go Green! (Alabama resident, formerly of Michigan, writing from the Alabama Gulf Coast). "I may live in Alabama but I'll always be a Spartan," as a T-shirt ad on Facebook says. But I forgive you, Laurie, for being a Tide Fan (and posing with that turn coat Sabin) and I still love all that you write! Go Lent Madness and Fifty Days!

  15. Since you ride Nina, the Official Horse of Lent Madness, perhaps you or Nina can answer this question. What is the process for horses or ponies to be nominated for beatification or sainthood? When people say, "That pony is a saint," watching some holy pony patiently packing around and staying under kid after kid after kid, year after year, how can they follow up and actually nominate them? Also, there are a few equines I know who are candidates for exorcism...

    1. I would imagine that said pony would first have to cross over the Rainbow Bridge with other dogs and cats and then receive prayers, etc. Or would/should the rules be different for quadrupeds?

  16. Well, together again. Things worthy of being stressed and/or repeated: remember that "...real lives of women clergy" should also include vocational deacons..yes, I am a retired one after 25 years service. Next, welcome back and don't fall off your horse this go-round; it's not nice to brag with that photo of Nick Saban especially when you didn't even wear your collar!; since I live in Nashville TN, I can't argue about SEC as far as sports or I'll risk being hung and quartered, Lastly, DO NOT do Episcopal Priest Barbie.PUH-LEESE !!! Welcome back big time, Blogger Brock!

  17. You are the bomb! I'm still laughing at Nun Farts. Thank you for that bit of information - you are definitely my kind of Church Geek. I look forward to your forthcoming missives.

  18. We have reduced not only the Saints, but JESUS to a sweety pie. He was a really really radical rebel rouser!

  19. Thank you! Your comments on sainthood and sentimentality are much to the point. Guilty as charged.

  20. You might want to visit Louisiana, home state of both Camellia Red Beans and Crystal Hot Sauce. Your spicy spirituality would be a wonderful addition to our gumbo!