Thanks & Gracias

October 16, 2014

Late last night (actually early this morning) I returned home after spending just over a week in Cuba. I joined a Churchnet delegation to visit Cuban Baptists, which involved seeing several parts of the island nation and joining an important Cuban Baptist anniversary gathering. It was a great trip, and I will cover it in much more detail in news articles, blog reflections, and photos over the next several days. Today, however, I have focused on catching up on things I missed and playing with my son. I also have attempted to decompress after spending a week in a different context and culture. I caught myself several times just before saying "gracias" to someone instead of "thanks." Images of Cuba keep bouncing in my head, often clashing with those presently before my eyes.

As I caught up on emails and other items today, I noticed an Ethics Daily column by Robert Parham on "Word of Thanks: Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due." His piece offers thanks to the various members of the Ethics Daily team who together make the organization a top-notch source of news, opinion, video, and more. He rightly sings high praise of Cliff Vaughn, Zach Dawes, Michael Leathers, Joel Emerson, and Brittany Jackson.

Parham did not toot his own horn, but he deserves much praise. Ethics Daily literally (and I use that word that correctly and not in the Joe Biden way) would not exist without his vision and tireless work. He has enriched Baptist life by filling voids left by misplaced priorities of fundamentalists and mediocrity of moderates. I am happy to be part of the effort, and appreciate the kind words he offered about me in his piece.

"Brian Kaylor, our contributing editor, offers our readers the best news analysis pieces on Baptist life available, unsatisfied with rewrites of press releases," Parham wrote. "His coverage of the Baptist World Alliance is unmatched. His substantive reporting unparalleled. His work builds constituency through deep content."

I appreciate the kind words and will strive to model such writing as I work on my pieces about Cuba and beyond. As I think about Cuba and transform the experience into words, I will offer a teaser from the trip. While in Cuba, I ended up on state TV (fortunately just in an audience shot). The news segment featured the Cuban Baptist meeting and noted the presence of a group from the United States (or at least that is what I was told the Spanish says). You can watch the short clip here.