Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
January 1st, 2016 by Joel Watts

The Cuban Diaries


Starting on 12 Jan., this post will be a diary of the trip.

Day 1:

My son seems to think if I end of up jail, it’s okay for him to do the same.





more lexington


florida coast

As I am waiting for my bags, Sr. David Watson turn to me and said, “wouldn’t it be funny if they left your bags?”

Well they did. They sent them to Chicago. Then sent them to Denver. And then sent them to Miami. I was on the phone all night. I was worried because I overpack. I packed everything I own. Because I hate being dirty.

We have to be at the airport by 9. Because when you fly to Cuba, you have check in 4 hours early.

On 11 January, I’m heading to Cuba with the intercontextual program at United Theological Seminary (Dayton) where I will stay for about 2 weeks.

I’m asking for help. I’m trying to raise some money to bring down with me in order to give to the Methodist Church in Cuba. I’ve set up a PayPal.me account:


Pastors make about 15 (American) bucks a month. They use this money to support themselves, their families, and even their congregation. I would like to bring some donations with me to help extend what they get and to help those in need.

I can’t offer anything in return except for thanks and blog updates. I’m going to share this post, counting down the days. If you think of anything I can offer besides my eternal gratitude, please let me know.

But, consider, please, a donation — small or otherwise. There is literally no donation too small. 15 bucks is one month’s salary. 6 bucks buys a lot of food.

Please share this post and ask your friends to help — that is a huge help.

And thank you.

See Dr David Watson’s post from earlier in the year.

(Thanks to DI, GH, BS, SC, TM, , PP, BD, DO, ES, CS, DN, NO, LR, and LB for their support!)

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).


2 Responses to “The Cuban Diaries”
  1. I’m glad to see this appeal Joel. I have a deep concern for the many United Methodist pastors who receive virtually NO salary. It is a grave injustice in our church. I tried to rectify this by presenting a petition for a more equitable salary to GC2012. My petition did not pass.

    As a matter of conscience, I have decided to send a tithe of my pension to a United Methodist pastor in Kenya. I could not justify giving it to my local church where the senior pastor earns more than $100K and the two associate pastors each earn about $50 (plus housing and benefits).

    The $150 a month that I send to the Kenyan pastor provides him with nearly the average income of a citizen in Kenya. He can remain in ministry to the people he serves in the “IDP camps” (Internally displaced persons) . He can keep a roof over his head, and send his two children to school.

    I wish more American United Methodist pastors would consider giving their tithe to a pastor in a place like Cuba, the Congo, or Kenya. When we give to the budget of our own church (as is generally expected), aren’t we lining our own pockets? I honestly think we need to rethink how we support the work of God’s kingdom.

  2. Correction to the above—the two associate pastors of the church I attend earn more than $50K each.

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