Tuesday, November 22, 2016

ANOTHER ELECTION STORY

Ya know, Hillary is not the only United Methodist to lose a big election recently.  I, too, came up short in an important ballot count not long ago.  Granted, the office I sought wasn’t President of the United States - but it was Bishop of the United Methodist Church, so it was kind of a big deal. 

Anyway, here’s what happened…

On the day before this summer’s episcopal election, all of the other nominees and I were interviewed by 8 different teams of 20-30 voting delegates. As a way of ensuring that oranges were compared only to oranges, each of the 8 groups was told to ask the exact same questions of each of the dozen or so nominees. 

However, in order to mix things up a bit, each interview group was given the prerogative to ask any additional questions  to which they might want answers.

These extra queries were in the general neighborhood of “As a bishop, how would you dismantle racism, how would you reverse the decades-long numerical decline in mainline Protestant churches in America, and how would you achieve peace in the Middle East?”.  Believe it or not, that was all part of a single question!

And yet, that was not the most difficult question posed to me that day.  That came as I was on my way out of one of the interview rooms, when a woman asked in front of everyone, “Ken, how would you Tweet your legacy?

I didn't share this at the time, of course, but I have never Tweeted anything in my whole life.  Nor have I ever followed anyone on Twitter.  In fact, until right now, I have never typed the phrase "hash tag".

That said, I DO know enough about the Twitosphere to know that a Tweet cannot exceed 140 characters (I guess 144 characters would be gross).  So essentially, the question before me was this: “Ken, would you please sum up your entire 30-year ministerial career in 20 words or less?  Right now.”

What would YOU have said - off the top of your head, in front of several dozen strangers holding clipboards (and your future!) in their hands, with your dream job at stake?  How would YOU have summed up or boiled down more than a thousand sermons, tens of thousands of prayers, and a whole lifetime of discipleship? 

I swallowed hard, took a deep breath, and prayed for God to instantaneously fly in front of my mind’s eye a single-engine plane with a banner in tow that bore something profound in 140 characters or less. 

As is so often the case, the Divine delivered.
I looked at the inquiring woman, and then proudly proclaimed to all within earshot that my legacy Tweet would be this: “Keeping the rumor of God alive. 

Unfortunately, neither that answer, nor any of the other thirtysomething answers that I offered that day were enough to garner the requisite votes to be elected.  So I’m not going to be a bishop.  And since I am currently in the last year of my superintendency, I’m not going to be a DS for much longer either.

So what’s next for me?   

Well, starting July 1, 2017, Bishop Bickerton will appoint me to serve as the pastor of a local church in our Conference, where I will spend the rest of my days and years in ministry… keeping the rumor of God alive.

So what’s next for my blog?

Well, starting with my very next posting, the name of my blog will be changed to “KeepingTheRumorOfGodAlive”. 


























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