Saturday, March 8, 2008

Why Elect A Young Bishop?

Our vision of being one church in this diocese is going to continue to need energy, creativity and time. I have hope for this vision and the church it describes. I have energy for the work this vision requires. Whether you choose me to be your bishop or not, over the next fifteen years of my ministry I will continue to work to fulfill this vision. I believe in what we are doing and believe we are engaging in work that changes the world.

Some people worry about electing a long tenured bishop. They worry that the bishop will become entrenched or burned out. But it will take an energetic, long tenured bishop to nurture the promise of our diocese and hold the vision that promise brings to our future.

Thomas Friedman makes the case that the world is flat in the sense that globalization has leveled the competitive playing fields between industrial and emerging market countries. The same flat world dynamic gives us the opportunity to build real relationships with partners throughout the Anglican Communion where we can share our vision of the church and our ministry. Sharing vision across the Communion will take creativity and energy. With an energetic leader, a diocese in the 21st century can engage in this work now.

We will create a younger church together. Our flat world gives us new tools and technologies to create new and widening conversations with young people inside and outside the church. We will become the evangelical church of the Great Commission as we make our mission the real life experience of young people both locally and abroad. We will develop new ministries that relate real life to real vocation, going deeply into the lives of young people so that they can be guided by their own rules of life. Vocational discernment will not be for church professionals alone; it will be for anyone who wants to experience transformation in his or her life. In this way we will create a church that lives in the real world, sharing the Good News of Jesus and leading others in the miraculous transformation of life.

We will follow the Spirit’s lead in building new churches and collaborating in new ministries across the Communion. Different kinds of congregations must be explored, evaluated and planted. We will start new, emerging church communities and traditional congregations. Each will be deeply rooted in scripture, grounded in personal rules of life and nourished by our common worship.

We will build on our successes in local outreach throughout the diocese. What we have learned in one community will be used in developing new ministries in another community. This increase in ministry will only come as we serve and raise up leaders – the master craftsmen of our faith – to share their wisdom and experience in starting new work.

As we work in this common mission the vision of being one church becomes a reality, not just a marketing phrase. When we bring the best we have to offer and share it freely with one another we can thrive and grow in the ever-changing world where we preach the Gospel and live as Christ’s Body.

I promise you that I will use my energy, my time and my creativity to make the church a thriving place for old and young, insiders and outsiders, tenured and newly arrived. I want to lead you in this work now.

When were you first given great responsibility? How old were you? What was the job? How did your energy and ability affect the work? How does your experience inform our missionary choices in the Diocese of Texas?

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  • "Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a life and a living process." Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • "Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer." Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • "Perfection, in a Christian sense, means becoming mature enough to give ourselves to others." Kathleen Norris
  • "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can." John Wesley
  • "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." G. K. Chesterton
  • "One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans." C. S. Lewis
  • "When we say, 'I love Jesus, but I hate the Church,' we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too. The challenge is to forgive the Church. This challenge is especially great because the church seldom asks us for forgiveness." Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
  • "Christians are hard to tolerate; I don't know how Jesus does it." Bono
  • "It's too easy to get caught in our little church subcultures, and the result is that the only younger people we might know are Christians who are already inside the church." Dan Kimball