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.

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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