Sunday, December 1, 2013
Those of you who follow my blogs have noticed that I have not been posting lately. This is because of my leaving my position in Oklahoma and taking further retirement by moving to Georgetown, Texas. After the first of the year, you will see more from me in my two blogs.
My "Kevin on Congregations" will continue on the theme of leadership and congregational development. I've much more to say on this topic.
My "Dean Kevin" blog is one I use on my general themes. I've some things that I will be sharing in this blog especially on what I see as the future of The Episcopal Church and Anglicanism. You will find more opinion posts on this one.
Thanks for waiting. As always, I will be eager to hear your comments and responses.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Friday, June 22, 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012
Second, I have some observations about the Republican primaries. Like Barbara Bush, I think this year’s primaries have been particularly nasty affairs. Granted, there is a lot at stake in a nomination, but aren’t these are folks in the same party? I think our media adds to this by playing at the sensational and the news-bites in a kind of feeding frenzy.
Third, I am watching with interest who the Republicans will nominate to face off with President Obama. (It is, in the long run, we Independents who will determine how this election will turn out.) I think that I have sorted this out for myself.
Once the nomination process is over, the election process will begin. When this happens, the focus will return to the economy and who is best suited to lead the current recovery. For us Independents, this will be the primary question. It may not, however, be the most critical one. If 9/11 taught us anything, it is that events outside of our control can suddenly thrust us into a crisis not of our own making. The tension between Israel and Iran, or demands for attention by North Korea, or any other number of scenarios would suddenly thrust us from economic concerns to international ones.
My opinion is this. If the economy is the concern, then the election will be close. If it is close, it will come down to the Electoral College. In other words, the person elected may not get the popular vote. If war, or the fear of war, is the primary issue, then it will not be close. President Obama will win hands down.
One last word on this election business; I would like to see the candidates for President sign a mutual agreement that they will debate the issues before us and commit to refraining from personal attacks by either themselves or Super PACs representing them. I can hear many of my friends cracking, “Where’s the fun in that?!” But, this allows me to say what concerns me the most in this year’s election and that is the distortion of the democratic process by the power of unlimited financial contributions through Super PACs. I would hate to admit that the office of President of the United States can be bought. If that is the case, let’s eliminate democracy and give the Presidency every four years to the highest bidder. The proceeds of the auction can be used to reduce the deficit.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
On December 19th, I celebrated my 40th Anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. That morning I opened my email and found a note of thanksgiving for my ministry. It came from Professor Louie Crew a long-time leader in the Episcopal Church, and an activist for the full inclusion of all people in our faith community. For many years now, like many Episcopal Clergy, I receive a note of encouragement from him on my birthday, my wedding anniversary, and my ordination anniversary. Here is the interesting thing about all this; Professor Crew and I have found ourselves on opposite sides of issues over the years, yet, every year I get words of encouragement from him. This intentional act on his part is more than I have ever received from any other church leader including the eleven Bishops in the seven dioceses that I have served.
I remember how such affirmations and encouragement have helped me over the years when I did get them. For example, one Christmas I opened a Christmas card from Bishop John Krum of Southern Ohio. I was a chaplain resident in Cincinnati and on Sunday provided supply services at one of his congregations, although I was not canonically resident in his diocese. The card had a printed greeting. On the inside he had hand written, “Thank you for helping with our congregation in
Of course, I have received much encouragement over the years from many folks inside the Church. I felt well affirmed by Bishop Payne in
I say all this not to make any of you feel bad. I actually want like to affirm all you who give leadership in the Church. What I do want to say is that my 40 years of experience tells me that when it comes to affirmation and encouragement, there is a drought in the Church. What is strange about all this is that you would think Christian leaders would be people who especially were abundant in our praise and encouragement of others. I think of the example of
Personally, I would have to admit that I have been slow to figure out the importance of such words of affirmations. Today, when I look upon the revitalization of the Cathedral here in Dallas, a struggling, multi-cultural and bi-lingual inner city parish, I can most attribute our positive movement to a decision I make early on to affirm and love our folks, especially our leaders. I only regret that I haven’t done it more.
I think clergy leaders need to remind ourselves that the Church in our age is entirely a volunteer organization. Our people come, work, and give because they want to do this. They choose to do it in our congregations. We should be thankful for this and make our thanks known.
One of my dearest mentors told me that he kept a stack of Thank You cards on his desk in his office. He regularly scheduled a time each week when he would stop everything else and prayerfully write thank you cards to members of his large congregation. I admired what he did. I only wish I had followed his example better. I cannot help but wonder what a healthier and better community we would be if all our leaders could show much more encouragement and thanksgiving to others.
A few Sundays ago, one of our pre-school children came up to me after the main service and said, “Dean Kevin, can I give you a hug?” And even before I could say yes, she stepped forward and gave me one. “Yes,” I said to her, “even Deans need hugs.” To my surprise and delight, she smiled and said, “Yes, I know.”