Inspirational and thought-provoking messages informed by my faith, ministry in education and community development
Dr. Flowers' Blog
The Three T's
I have had many summers of service with the ministry of St. Philip’s. In this span, the frequency of the appeals for Time, Talent, and Treasure to yield sustainable support for organization impact and growth have worn thin with me. The 3 t’s have cascaded to cliché. St. Philip’s school and Community Center can give absolute testimony to the importance of supporters’ Time, Talent, and Treasure. Undeniable, these three t’s through God’s grace have fueled our journey which has turned the corner, moving towards 80 years of ministry. The 3 t’s are important, however, there is a great T that fuels the three t’s commonly espoused to be predictors of non-profit success.
St. Philip’s gives testimony that the foundational T in which each of the 3 t’s rest on is TRUST.
Blessings in abundance to the legion of volunteers, supporters, staff, and parents who have allowed their TRUST to inform their little t’s. The unparalleled experience of the St. Philip’s student, their academic performance, and the mighty impact we’ve had on the community are a product of TRUST and God’s anointing. As Isaiah 55 references, God’s word will always produce fruit and accomplish what He wants it to and prosper everywhere it goes.
WE WILL continue to TRUST in Him as you continue Trusting our stewardship and celebrating our outcomes.
I’ll take the Big “T” every time.
Trust Triggers the 3 t’s.
A Life Worth Living
In the words of our children...I am not throwing “shade” on Socrates nor Civil Rights Icon Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King used a quote from Socrates in several of his speeches. Socrates is undeniably considered to be the founder of Western Philosophy. It stands to reason that Dr. King would find a few nuggets in the sage scripts of Socrates.
I humbly offer a crumb to cogitate on surrounding the philosopher’s quote Dr. King references. “An unexamined life is not worth living.” My humble assertion is Socrates and King missed the mark. It is critical to analyze your life and your contributions, which in returns uplifts society and ignites and flourishes the human life. This idea is embraced by our St. Philip’s scholars in the Lord’s Prayer and in the St. Philip’s Creed.
I maintain that every life is worth living and every life is ultimately examined. Just as every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess (Romans 14:11) we will all have an accounting. I also promote some simple mental gymnastics around the reality that being alive is different than living. In both cases, we must follow God’s lead and speak life. “Speak life. Seek life. Giving it treasure and measure.”
WIDWID stands for Why I Do What I Do. A question we desire our students to query routinely. What is your WIDWID?
No offense or shade to Socrates or Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but I think the mark is missed in the statement, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”
To evaluate my ponderings, I call up two intellectual heavy weights: Dr. Cornell West and Professor Roby George, who are good friends to St. Philip’s and leaders in Modern Day Philosophy. I pose the question to them. Did Socrates and Dr. King miss the mark?
Wages and Benefits
In our recent chapel service, a parallel was drawn between a reindeer guiding the way for gifts to be given, and a bright star guiding the wise men to the greatest gift! While this bright-nosed deer is not mentioned in the Bible, our students quickly connected to this concept. Jesus came to show the way and to model acceptable behavior and living.
He came to help us take “rude off.” When we take “rude off” our sleigh, we’ll be guided to peace. When we take “rude off”, we are loved by others. When we take "rude off", we can allow God’s word, His will, and His way to enter our lives.
St. Philip’s is privileged and proud to proclaim we are a school where it is okay to pray and make an "A". With both, we are able to acknowledge God’s teaching about wages and benefits. As we dive into our Christmas and holiday festivities, let’s all be reminded of the greatest gift and ultimate benefit. The greatest gift we can ever receive is referred to in Romans chapter 6, verse 3, “The gift of God is eternal life.”
As our students promptly noted…failure to keep our "rude off" will lead our sleigh to wages far worse than the Texas minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Romans 6 tells us about the ultimate rudeness of sin and its wage of death. In the words of one of our third graders, “Dr. Flowers, I can take my rude off but keeping it off is a full-time job”. As our chapel services end each day, let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
I must admit that I resisted as long as I could…I recently filled my tank with gasoline priced over four dollars! With gasoline price projections signaling a five-dollar threshold, I find comfort in the most reliable fuel dependence that exists, FAITH. I have been known to encourage others to allow their faith to be their fuel. By the grace of GOD, faith has sustained me. It was by faith that a small group of African Americans started St. Philip’s and formed alliances within the Episcopal church. I realize there are many who are in the developmental stages of their faith and have not arrived at the point where they can allow it to become their fuel. Many are relying on alternative sources to fuel their lives. Many are still in the stage of life where facts are their only fuel. For those who are growing in their faith to the point where they can allow their faith to become their fuel, my caution is to make sure credit is given to The Master source of all fuel. GOD.
A common quote of our students is “it’s okay to pray and make an A”. For five of the past six years, a St Philip’s graduate has served as valedictorian or salutatorian in their local high school. Ninety-three percent of our graduates attend college, we have seventy-one basketball teams, five football teams and serve over five million pounds of food annually. Our faith is our anchor.
As we move into our inaugural addition of seventh and eighth grades, we continue to walk by faith. This walk is not a lonely journey. Parents, committed staff, passionate volunteers and believing supporters accompany us. Collectively, we have not been deterred from our pursuit of excellence. As a community center and community advocate, we have not allowed the realities of injustice to become excuses for not working to overcome it.
Fuel prices are discouraging, but the ultimate fuel is priceless. With our faith as our fuel, St. Philip’s encourages you to not allow your happenings to destroy your happiness. Summer and warmer weather approach at a time when we need to inspire others who have a frozen faith.