Archetypes: Michael Kinman

 In Culture, Interviews


A conversation with The Very Rev. Michael Kinman, dean of Christ Church Cathedral. Kinman has been a part of the Diocese of Missouri for more than 20 years and works to build community in and out of the cathedral walls. He serves as founding board president of Magdalene St. Louis, an organization founded in 2013 and modeled after the successful Magdalene program in Nashville that offers housing, support and education for women who have survived prostitution, abuse, addiction and sex trafficking. Magdalene’s first St. Louis home will open to residents this year. Kinman lives with his wife, Robin, and sons Schroedter and Hayden in St. Louis City.

What is your current frame of mind? Uncomfortable. Ferguson events have called me— us—into a very uncomfortable place, and I’m trying to stay there, intentionally.

When and where are you happiest? Two places: At the Outer Banks, on the beach with my wife and kids. And, standing at the table [at the Cathedral] on Sunday morning.

What is your favorite smell? The smell of home (Tuscon, AZ). Also, the smell that happens in the desert right before it rains.

What is one word that describes you? I’d like to think that it’s “joyful.”

What did you eat for breakfast today? Granola with yogurt, banana and strawberries at Rooster.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Awesome” and “actually.”

What is your most marked characteristic? My high energy.

What is your greatest weakness? I spread myself way too thin. I have a hard time saying no to things that are really cool and that I believe in.

What trait do you most admire in others? True humility—not false humility, and there is a difference.

Who or what is the greatest love of your life? God, my wife and my children.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would never take for granted those who are closest to me.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Anything I’ve done, I’ve done with others, so it’s not just my achievement. Marriage, kids, being a priest—everything is a team effort.

Which living person do you most admire? Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest and the founder of Magdalene and Thistle Farms in Nashville, residential communities of women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction.

With which historical figure do you most identify? Gandhi. I admire his absolute commitment to reconciliation and non-violence.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, who or what would it be? This. My life is such a blessing.

What is your most treasured possession? The love of God and the love of my family. You can’t really own that, but I know I’ll never lose it.

What is your greatest extravagance? I’m a white, straight, American male. My life is an extravagance.

What is your greatest fear? That something bad would happen to one of my kids.

On what occasion do you lie? I try not to, but perhaps when I pretend to remember people’s names.

Who are your favorite writers? Gandhi, David James Duncan, Becca Stevens, Rick Perlstein and Brené Brown .

Which artists do you admire most? Bono. He is an incredible artist and poet and a phenomenal liturgist.

What is your favorite hobby? Fantasy sports.

Who are your heroes in real life? The women of Magdalene—they have faced more adversity than I can possibly imagine, and they have turned it into their strength.

If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be? Jesus.

What are you most looking forward to? Welcoming the first women into Magdalene St. Louis’ new house.

What is one thing you wish would happen? That, one by one, we would take the time to listen to each other and allow ourselves to be vulnerable with each other across this chasm of race that divides us.

What is one thing you want to do before you die? I want to go to India.

If you could say something to your younger self, what would it be? Trust that God loves you, and don’t be afraid.




Photo credit: Wesley Law

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