Sunday, May 25, 2008

Muchísimas Gracias

Thank you for sharing your vision and your dreams of who we can be together. Thank you for the election as the next bishop of Texas. I am humbled by the work of the council and by the invitation to be a part of your lives, your families, your churches.

I am grateful to JoAnne…for her love and faithfulness to this diocese and our call to ministry. I am grateful for Caisa and Zoe, two wonderful girls, and their support and our life together.

I am grateful to Bishops Wimberly, High and Harrison for their support, guidance, and mentoring…and for their love. Each has cared for all of us, and in particular they have cared for JoAnne, and the kids, and for me.

Each nominee has given us a portion of our vision for the future reminding us of the role of bishop in pastoral care, congregational development, church growth, relationships, the future, and diversity. Thank you for your witness to us and your call to us.

I am reminded of Bishop Quin’s words to his first council, "To do my work well, it is necessary that you catch a vision which has come to me, of a Diocesan spirit -- a Diocesan family -- all one in Christ -- one in aim, ambition, endeavor -- one in rejoicing for the other's good. We can go ahead, we will go ahead, you and I together."

Thank you, and blessings to you all.

Muchísimas gracias. Gracias por compartir su visión y sus sueños a lo que podremos ser juntos. Gracias por la elección como el siguiente obispo de Tejas. Estoy muy humillado. Estoy humillado por su invitación para ser una parte de sus vidas, sus familias, y sus communidades de fe.

Cada uno de los candidatos ha sido esencial en tener una visión común para el futuro. Ustedes nos han recordado que el ministerio del obispo es pastoral, requiere relaciones con cada persona en la comunidad, y que necesitamos tener una visión del futuro con diversidad. Gracias.

Soy recordado de las palabras de Obispo Quin, “Para hacer mi trabajo bien, es necesario que ustedes perciban una visión que llegue a mí, de un espíritu del Diocesano - una familia del Diocesano - todos uno en Cristo - uno en la meta, la ambición, el empeño - uno en alegría para el bien del otro. Podemos seguir adelante, seguiremos adelante, ustedes y yo juntos”.

Gracias, y Dios los Bendiga.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dream Dreams

On Pentecost Sunday Peter quoted the following passage from Joel: "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams."

This is actually a quote from Joel 2.28.

Joel was a prophet who exercised his gifts in the midst of the Temple at Jerusalem, using Temple liturgical forms in his writing, and maybe even transmitting his messages through the Temple priesthood.

He more than likely witnessed a locust plague and from that image offered a vision of God's hope and blessings.

What we hear in these words from our sacred text is that Joel and Peter are reminding us that the Holy Spirit is a gift to all people, not just the chosen. In fact the gift of vision is a sign of the age of Jesus.

This week JoAnne and I have busied ourselves. We have continued with our routine of life with the kids. Today is water day, a lot like bedlam at Camp Allen. The kids will soon be home with us for the summer.

I have been working through the normal load at the office. We are taking some time, but life is continuing.

I imagine that life is continuing for each of you. The reality is that it is all too easy to believe that things will continue just as they have. Tomorrow will be the same as today and the same as yesterday.

Yet the Christian message...the message of the hope of transformation. That you and I can prophesy, dream dreams, and have visions. This is available to us every day. We can not only see and proclaim a vision of hope, new life, and excitement for our future...but we can make that future real.

Jesus is telling us that this "making real," this Kingdom of God, is at hand, and we can see it and make it real in our day.

I have had the gift given to me of traveling with you these past five years, being in your churches, attending your conferences. I am looking forward to a long life together in shared ministry. I am looking forward to sharing your prophesies, seeing your visions, dreaming your dreams. I am looking forward to seeing and serving you as you make the Kingdom of God real for the people of Texas and of this world.

I am hopeful that Saturday you and I will take our first steps into this new life and ministry together...that our election moment not simply be another election moment...that it be the first step in making real our shared vision of God's hope for the church.

"I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Myanmar. What a question

About halfway through the Walk About in Houston a fellow clergyman of the diocese asked a question: What would you do about Myanmar? How would you help us deal with tragedies like this?


I paused, and those good folks in the room knew the question got to my heart. I was emotionally and spiritually moved by the question. I had one of those flashes, an instant, after I heard the question, when I was so very humbled. Here we were at Episcopal High School. Here we were in one of the wealthiest cities in the country. Here we were having a discussion about who would lead our church (which is VERY important). And there, across the globe was a terrific, a terror filled, tragedy.

I found the words to say that thank God they allowed the first aircraft with aid and supplies to land that morning.

Then I realized this why I am offering myself to lead this great diocese.

When I was sixteen my friends, Tommy, Blakely, Mike, Chan and I headed out to Addicks Dam. It was a clear night. We sat around on the top of the dam looking at the stars in the sky. It was one of those great moments of clarity, spiritual clarity with your friends. We were talking about what we were going to do when we grew up. I remember that I wanted to be a part of a church that changed the world.

I want to be a part of a church that changes the world.

I believe the people of the Diocese of Texas can change the world, and that we will in turn be changed - transformed by Jesus himself whom we discover in our global brothers and sisters.

We are raising money today for Myanmar. But we have to give of ourselves too. Can you imagine a diocese that decides to focus and change the world. That through the work of World Mission, our foundations, missionary funding, and mission trips we focus on a region of our Communion and change the world.

We do this not by saying, "Here we are the great Diocese of Texas. Let us help you!" No, we engage in a listening process, we seek to make them independent not dependant. We engage and help them to have and to live a better life, not our life, but the life they want.

We already have people in our diocese leading the way into these discussions. We need to capitalize on their experience and their dreams of changing the world. We need to learn from them and insure that we are not a diocese maintaining good relationships but a missionary diocese being transformed by our relationships.

The Trinity Question

I spent the week listening and talking with friends about my experience during the Walk About. Because people who attend the Walk About are in one room the whole time they only heard one set of questions.

So, one of the things I got asked this week was, "What was the hardest question?"

To tell you the truth I didn't feel as though I got a really hard question. I guess after doing 10 pre-council meetings every year for the last five years (pre-council meetings are meetings with the delegates of council in each convocation throughout the diocese) I am pretty used to receiving questions and having to think on my feet.

There was an interesting question though: "Tell us your theology of the Trinity and how you would articulate it to today's culture."

One response to the question could be to dismiss it as irrelevant. One response would be to make fun of the question because it is disconnected from the work of the church. One response could be to think this was just an intellectual exercise with no place in our bishop election discernment.

The truth is that the question is exactly what the election is about!

How will you interpret for the people of the church and for the people of the culture the most ancient teachings of the church.

If we are not discussing the way in which our deepest and most treasured beliefs impact an individual's life then we are not proclaiming the Gospel.

We have to be able to speak to people about how one of the central works of a christian is to seek as intimate relationship with God as Jesus had, so intimate that he called him Abba (Father). That God, our Abba/Father, created everything, everything that I have, all that I am....I am God's. That Jesus makes a different in our lives. That by knowing Jesus I understand and can discover a better way to live my life. That the Holy Spirit makes God present, in discernment, prayer, conversations with God, times of loneliness. God is my comforter.

God, the trinity, the father, the son, the Holy Spirit -- these are words with deep meaning, ancient meaning. People outside our communities are hungering for this wisdom. They are hungering for the transformative power this wisdom holds for their lives.

I thought the question was great. I was glad it got asked.

Houston Walk About

It has been a week since the Houston Walk About. JoAnne and I had a great time in Houston as well. We have received a lot of positive feedback. People are really feeling the spirit move within the discernment discussion.

I feel as though I have been faithful to the discussion. I know that I am out there, that I have been clear about the vision and hope for the future my ministry offers the Diocese of Texas.

I told the last group that no person wants to be elected without the diocese doing the difficult discernment God intends for us.

We are not looking for the person we like the best. We are not looking for the person who looks most like us. We are trying to discern who God is calling. We know that when we seek to understand who God is calling that we will discover what God intends for our own ministry, the ministry of our congregation, and the ministry of our diocese.

It is time for us to begin to think about a different set of questions:

We say we must be focused on Youth.
Who do you envision getting to know your teenager on a mission trip?
Who do you envision connecting with our college students via weekly pod casts?
Who do you envision bringing joy to the celebration of the Eucharist?
Who do you envision attracting the best and the brightest new/young clergy to our diocese?

We say we must be focused on Outreach.
Who do you envision inspiring our members to active participation in the gospel (by example)?
Who do you imagine will create bridges between our congregations and congregations throughout the global communion?
Who do you believe will lead us by the Holy Spirit to reach outside our congregations to those in need in our community?
Who has a vision of communion partners that changes the world around us and across the globe?

We say we must be focused on multi-cultural ministry.
Who will listen to the people doing the ministry and expand our multicultural ministries?
Who understands that we have to acknowledge our history with African American Congregations and supporting them in new mission and outreach?
Who offers a vision of African American, African, Latino, and Asian ministries?

We say we want a bishop in relationship with us.
Who do you envision teaching our congregations what it means to share in the ministry of the baptized?
Who do you envision inspiring you to become the embodiment of Christ's transforming love?
Who do you envision stopping and speaking with you one on one about your life's ministry?

Let us ask a different set of questions. Let us dare to ask questions that truly are transformative. Let us ask questions that are challenging us into ministry.

Friday, May 9, 2008

On Our Way To Houston

Thank you so much for a great time in Tyler. Those organizing and helping with the Walk About have been wonderful, kind, and generous hosts.

Tyler was a great opportunity to see so many of my good and dear friends and to have them meet JoAnne. It was great to watch you welcome her as you have for so many years welcomed me into your churches. Thank you for that kindness.

I believe the Tyler meetings went very well. Each room offered good questions. JoAnne and I both felt it was an opportunity for all of us to talk and listen about what God is hoping for in our future.

The Daughters of the King have been a wonderful companion along the journey praying and lifting up our diocesan conversation. For that JoAnne and I both are very grateful.

Tonight, JoAnne and the kids and I are going to my mom's retirement dinner! She has been a teacher and principal for 25 years.

We will see you tomorrow at the Houston Walk About. Thank you again for all of your prayers for us and all the candidates, and for your support.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

On Our Way to Tyler

Today we are on our way to Tyler. We are passing by the Davis Feed Company here in Buffalo Texas. I am writing as JoAnne is once again driving us to our next stop.

We had a great night last night. I thought the first Walk About in Austin was very fun. I was energized by the folks and the questions.

We began with dinner along side the other nominees. We then went to the Seminary and prayed Evening Prayer together with all those from Austin and surrounding area who were prepared to ask us questions.

We visited six different rooms. There was real concern by those gathered that we needed to engage the multi-cultural issues and youth/young adult issues facing us. Canon Case and Ewart Jones are fantastic ministers in these areas and I would look forward to further empowering their ministry and work for the Diocese of Texas.

I am proud of my call to bishop. I take pride in the fact that so many friends and peers believe I should be the next bishop of Texas. I am eager to continue my service to the people of the Diocese. There is no greater opportunity than to serve one's brothers and sisters. At the same time I am humbled by the prospect that you would have me as your bishop and call me into a relationship with you.

Keep the prayers and good thoughts coming. If you attend a Walk About share your impressions! Let us know how we are doing.

Blessings to all of you. We couldn't do this without your support.

Keep the prayers and good thoughts coming. If you attend a walk about share your impressions! Let us know how we are doing.

Blessings to all of you. We couldn't do this without your support.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

On Our Way To Austin

Good Afternoon. JoAnne and I are packed and we are now on our way to Austin for the first walkabout. JoAnne is driving and I am answering email by satellite.

Caisa and Zoe are off to spend a couple of days with Nanny and Pawpaw.

We are excited about tonight and the opportunity to begin a diocesan conversation about the future of our church.

I guess I could be nervous. But I love getting to see and visit with my friends across the Diocese of Texas.

I have spent the last five years helping and supporting Bishop Wimberly in setting his vision. Tonight I get to build on that vision by listening and sharing with you our possible future, our vision of the church: vibrant, thriving, growing, energetic, filled with life, celebrating, joyful, fun, and transformational.

On another note, we were so excited about getting to Austin we almost ran out of gas, with only half a gallon left. We rolled in to Columbus on fumes...

Quote of the day: "Remember tonight the Holy Spirit is ready to dance, and wait'n for a partner."


  • "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