See Like a Hawk

We’ve had a small, juvenile hawk hanging around the house the past few weeks. It might explain the sudden disappearance of rats on our late-night security cameras. (That might also be due to the neighborhood cat that apparently likes to sleep on our front porch rocking chairs…)

I snapped this picture of him/her this morning. I think you can make it out, through the trees.

It also spurred a little conversation about hawks on Facebook…which got me thinking about this amazing picture that hangs here in the study/studio. This was a gift from the people of Northaven when I left there after seventeen years of ministry.

What’s cool about it is that the picture is made up of thousands of small pictures of Northaven members over the years.

April Hull —an amazing graphic artist in that congregation— made this for me, and it was gift on my last Sunday. She, and the congregation at large, were well aware of my feelings about hawks, and how I regard them as my “spirit animal.” (Here’s some of the writing I’ve done on hawks….)

What struck me today is the metaphor of all those people, and how they make up the picture as a whole…and how this speaks a truth about both hawks and ministry.

Hawks soar above everything…but they can see mice on the ground hundreds of feet away. They both take in the whole, and see the individuals as well.

That’s a pretty great metaphor for ministry. Our calling is to see the “whole picture,” but also to focus on the individual too. And, like the hawk, we are constantly pulled back and forth between the two.

This year has forced us to look at big picture issues, like safety and health. We’ve been pushed, time and time again to “Do No Harm.”
But it’s also pushed us to learn new skills…try out new technology…to look at the small details of ministry…and at individual people….as never before.

As the year comes to a close, I’m so grateful to the pastor of the beautiful people of Kessler Park, and to share ministry with all the folks of North Oak Cliff. I hope and pray I will continue to lead them by both focusing on both “the big picture,” and the “individuals.”

Ministry calls us to see like a hawk.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of Kessler Park UMC United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. Previously, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas for seventeen years. Eric loves to write on topics of spirituality, social justice, music/art and politics. The entries on this blog reflect that diversity of interests. His passion for social justice goes beyond mere words. He’s been arrested at the White House, defending immigrants and “The Dreamers,” and he’s officiated at same sex weddings in his churches, in defiance of what some believe is Methodist teaching. Eric is an avid blogger and published author, and 2017 recipient of the prestigeous Kuchling Humanitarian Award from Dallas’ Black Tie Dinner. (Human Rights Campaign) Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He’s a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named “best judge” by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County, and is currently the longest service district judge in that district. She was re-elected for a fourth term in 2018. They have the world’s best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. Find links to Eric’s music-related websites, at the top of this site’s navigation menu.

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