Part of the reason for the change is that, on reaching the age of 65 (three years ago), I decided it was time for me to step out of my leadership role. Our Directors then appointed my younger brother Rick to become president of the ministry. Rick had been overseeing the operations of our US and international teams for several years and was better equipped than I was to take the ministry forward.
Once I was no longer leading the ministry, the monthly articles that were the original basis of this blog came to an end, and I indicated to members of our leadership team that I was not sure how long I could keep the blog going with fresh posts— without asking friends of the blog to repeat the same conversations over and over.
In some ways it would seem that there should never be a lack of things to talk about. All of us are living in ever changing circumstances that challenge our faith, hope, and love. Every text of inspired Scripture adds something to the story of the God who groans with and for us. I wanted to do what I could to give us a place to compare notes and grow together—in a way that would reflect the immeasurable truth, mercy, patience, grace, Spirit and love of Christ.
But then about a year and a half ago, something personal and very painful happened. Our adult daughter posted a comment to the blog, said she had been following our conversations for some time, told some of her story about being in a same sex marriage, and wondered how I could host a blog where conversations so often reflected a lack of heart and respect for people in her community. When I found out what had happened I acknowledged what some were wondering— yes this was our dearly loved daughter, and that I needed time with family before I could say more.
Our daughter and I met, reassured one another of our love, and then began to explore the possibility of writing a follow-up post together. She wanted to explain to readers of this blog that she had never asked her mother or me to agree with her decisions but only that we be able to continue to share the mutual love and respect that we had always had for one another.
At that point, however, those around us did not believe that such a personal and controversial family story should be exposed to the dangers of social media. I eventually agreed that I didn’t want to sacrifice our personal and private issues to a polarized moral and social debate… but in the process of hiding our truth, loss touch with our daughter… who could only assume that I was too afraid or embarrassed to come out with her in acknowledging our love and respect for one another in our differences.
The circumstances of estrangement have been devastating, and I went into a year of counseling that challenged the walls separating my personal and public life.
I am still trying to sort this all out, and at the same time coming to believe that our God— while holding us all accountable for our words and actions— will, in the end, turn out to be an infinitely and eternally better Father and Person than any of us can imagine.
In the process, I’m finding that countless other families are facing problems and losses both similar and different than our own… and in this sense of shared loss am beginning to see the priceless value of every son and daughter—not in spite of, but in light of— our shared failures and struggles.
I don’t know what this means for this blog which speaks now only for me rather than for the ministry that I remain associated with and committed to. But I do know that I can no longer hide the pain that has left me, and a growing number of others, without a stomach for the kind of moral, political, social, and doctrinal arguments that treat laws and ideas as more important than any person for whom Christ died.