Happy New Year my friends.
I’m going to try to keep this letter a short one. I’m still recovering from the holidays. All three of our children were home and all we did was eat, drink, smoke, listen to music, make music, talk, watch movies, and caught a few hours sleep here and there. Now I’m determined to quit all kinds of smoking altogether, as well as go on a liquor fast for two months.
Why? Because I’ve signed a book deal and they want the first manuscript on their desk by the end of February. That gives me two months to write it. It’s going to be called “Questions are the Answer” with a mixture of text and cartoons. I’m excited but terrified.
I’ve experienced a kind of recommitment to what I feel my purpose is in this world. It didn’t come easy. It didn’t come in the form of a burning bush or a billowy cloud oor a beautiful angel or a gentle dream. It came in the form of intense conflict and criticism.
I drew that cartoon and wrote that post in September, “Tony Jones on Mark Driscoll: What Came First, the Thug or the Theology?”. The post itself was a harmless critique of Jones’ claim that Mark Driscoll’s bad behavior sprang out of his theology. I suggested that we find a theology that justifies our actions, and that it actually becomes a kind of self-justifying loop that can spiral out of control. As I believe it did with Driscoll. As I believe it could with anybody.
The result of this is that I’ve received tons of encouraging communications from people who were so grateful to finally see a place where people could hold their own truths and share their own stories without being edited or shut down. However, there were others who were alarmed by this frankness of speech and naming of names. And some of those named felt slandered and betrayed. I’ve heard from many of them too.
As it stands, I have become an advocate for more people who feel victimized and silenced by Christianity, the church, and its leaders. On the other hand, I have lost friendship, respect, and credibility with many others. It has been a constant source of pain for me because it was totally clear that I had a choice to make: continue doing what I do or tame myself.
To be honest, it felt like it really came down to choosing who to be loved by.
Actually, this isn’t true. The core truth is I had to choose who I would be true to: the expectations of others or to myself.
So for 2015, I’ve rekindled my determination to be true to myself.
I want to encourage you too. I know how difficult and costly it is to be true to yourself. But how else can we live, if not with integrity and a clear conscience? And in the end, I think this is how we will truly help others, in spite of the losses we experience.
So here’s to me being me and you being you in 2015!
I’m with you. Are you with me?