Please don't let this feel commonplace...
A reader writes:
First of all, thank you. I see in your site that you get thanked a lot and I image at many of your speaking engagements you have many teary eyed people coming up to you just to say thanks. Please don't let this feel common place. It is holy. The gratitude we feel is deep and it is beyond a blessing to be able to tell you in word or letter. You came to a very small venue last week and if not for the "smallness", my husband and I would never had been bold enough to get you to sign a book and share a few words. I remember much of what you said and questions you answered from the group but what brought me to tears and what I will forever remember is when you said, "You are good parents."
Just a background note. My husband and I have both been raised in fundamental households. Both are parents were pastors. We met at bible college ,went to seminary, have been youth pastors, bible college teachers, missionaries over seas and here in the US, pastors, associate pastors, christian school teachers, and all within our denomination.
When our oldest son was in college he gave us "A New Kind of Christian" to read. I was scared to death reading it. It challenged everything I have questioned internally, because as you know we could never question audibly without condemnation or someone trying to cast a demon out of something. The road since then has been stressful to say the least but not one I would change. ... We are still growing, figuring things out but so happy to see we are not alone in this process. Our church and past have put much guilt upon us.... Your words the other night were like oil on a deep wound.
[personal information about a difficult church situation follows...]
... Thanks again and bless you! Thank your wife too! God bless her for sacrificing the time away from you so that we can grow. I don't take that lightly.
A stage 3 (i think) wife and mother ...
Thanks for your kind words. I remember meeting you, and I wish I could advise you what to do about your church. Probably the best I can offer in these situations I shared in the last few chapters of A New Kind of Christianity. That is, in a nutshell, stay as long as you can, and if you have to leave, do so graciously and with a blessing, not a kick. And to be sustained spiritually in an environment that is difficult rather than edifying, I hope what you read in Naked Spirituality can be of help.
I think many of us can identify with what you implied - that we raise our children for a dozen years or so, and then they raise us, challenging us to the next stages in our own growth. God bless you, and thanks again for the encouragement, which I promise to take to heart.