Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Shameless Self Promotion- "Some People" Edition

I published a new piece on Ministry Matters today about dealing with unattributed comments or concerns that pastors receive second hand. I invented a character called Pastor Smith and put her in a situation that most pastors encounter at some point.

I've certainly had this conversation (not lately, thankfully!), and I've heard enough stories from other clergy all across the spectrum to believe that this experience is fairly universal, so I hope the thoughts I share are helpful.

Read "When 'Some People' Complain" and let me know what you think. Comments are always appreciated!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Romney and Obama on Poverty

I'm a bit late to the party on this one, but I finally watched the videos that President Obama and Governor Romney made addressing questions from the Circle of Protection on what they are/will be doing to help the poorest citizens of the United States.

I'll confess that I decided who I'm voting for a while back, and so I do watch these videos through something of a biased lens.

That being said, I wasn't terribly impressed with either of the candidates' responses. There was little more than the talking points of their respective campaigns, with a little more faith lingo and less attacking built in.

I can understand why both these men would choose to give such bland responses. They're in the midst of a very close race, and both are by nature cautious and eager to avoid any missteps that could be used against them.

The sad reality is that poverty is not an issue that gets a whole lot of traction in our political discourse. Even in a time when more and more people in our country are finding themselves in poverty, the issue does little to "move the needle" in opinion polls other than when it is used as a talking point about deficit reduction.

While I believe that government does have a role to play in alleviating poverty, since government is one avenue for us to express our values and commitments as a society, the church, nonprofit, and individuals also have an important role to play, because those avenues facilitate relationship building and not just the allocation of resources.

I won't be holding my breath for these or any presidential candidates in the near future to have much of substance to say on poverty, but I am glad that groups like Sojourners and Circle of Protection keep our elected officials feet "to the fire". Perhaps our collective efforts will one day truly sink in and meaningful, effective policy reform will happen.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Playing in "The Cooper"

Next week I'll be playing in the Mary Cooper Golf Challenge to raise money for Miriam's Promise.

I've barely picked up my golf clubs in the last year, and even before that my game wasn't too great, so my inevitable embarrassment on the course will be offset if I can raise over $1,000 to support this great ministry.

Take a moment to click on the link below, learn about Miriam's Promise, and if you feel so led, make a contribution. Thanks!

Personal Fundraising Page for Matthew L. Kelley

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11, 11 Years Later

There are, of course, no shortage of words on the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and I don't know how much of value I can add to the discourse, but I'll give it a shot by sharing two things.

One is a photo that's making the rounds on Facebook today. Pictures are, indeed, worth 1,000 words, and this painting challenges us with the radical love of Jesus on this day where remembrance and memories of grief might otherwise turn our thoughts to revenge.

The other is the sermon I preached last year on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. This also happened to be the sermon I videotaped  for my final ordination interviews. I made it through, so obviously it wasn't too bad.