(repost from 1/24/2011)
One of the questions I am asked most often is “what about your children?”
I have six children, ranging in age from almost 33 to almost 19. 4 boys, 2 girls.
They grew as preacher’s kids. Their father, for almost their entire lives, was a pastor. They heard most every sermon their Dad ever preached, They attended more Church services than most people attend in 5 lifetimes.
They were the unpaid staff of the Church. They mowed the grassed, mopped the floors and did pretty much everything that needed done.
They have seen the best and the worst of the Christian Church. They have been amused and abused, and most certainly never excused.
They lived in a glass house.
They did without so the Church could do with.
They watched their Dad and Mom work themselves to death for sake of the call.
They did without when it seemed no one else was.
They experienced all the good and bad the Church could offer.
And then one day……..their preacher father stopped preaching.
At first they thought it was just a temporary stoppage.
Surely Dad will find another Church to pastor.
They could not envision their Dad not pastoring a Church.
In their life, Dad was always a pastor.
When Dad accepted the pastorate of a Southern Baptist Church in Michigan, the three oldest stayed behind.
For the first time the family was separated.
This began a process of learning to be free, learning to make decisions without the Holy Spirit (also known as Dad) telling them what us do.
There came a point where Dad not pastoring and the freedom to make our own decisions crossed paths.
Where do we go from here?
Three of us married and the youngest three still lived with Dad and Mom.
Mom and Dad stopped going to Church.
Mom and Dad stopped talking about Church all the time.
Mom and Dad started living life different than they had in the “good old days.”
No sermons. No Bible readings. No prayers.
No Christian books. No G rated movies. No Christian this or Christian that.
Yet, they were still Mom and Dad.
They still loved us
Dad said a curse word.
Mom said a curse word.
Dad said a lot of curse words.
Did you know Mom and Dad watched an R rated movie?
Dad admitted watching porn.
Did you know Dad believes in Evolution?
He even told us some stories about the what really went on behind the scenes in the ministry. Really? That really happened?
Dad no longer consulted the Bible when deciding what to do on a given matter.
Dad talked a lot more about reason and common sense.
Dad said he no longer believed the Bible to be true.
Dad not believing the Bible? That can not be true.
But it is.
He gave some of us Bart Ehrman’s books to read.
Dad sent the LETTER to family and friends.
What happened? Why have most of Dad and Mom’s friends walked away from them?
Those selfish ingrates. After all Mom and Dad did for them.
Dad actually watched the Super Bowl.
Dad struggles with health problems.
He is in pain all the time.
So much for being rewarded for doing God’s work.
Did you know Dad is seeing a counselor?
Wow, that’s a pretty big step for him.
All of a sudden we can be ourselves around Dad and Mom.
No judgment. No finger pointing.
Dad and Mom voted for Obama!
Dad thinks gays should be allowed to marry.
The roof did NOT fall in on Dad. Maybe God is not a Republican after all.
Dad still likes to be the CEO, the Potentate, the boss-man. After all he is Dad.
Free to be our own person.
Free to live life on our own terms.
Free to worship or not worship.
Dad and Mom love us, no strings attached.
This hasn’t been easy.
It seems everyone and everything is in a state of flux.
Dad made a scene during Thanksgiving over prayer before the meal.
He’s right, but it upset some of us.
It seems with freedom comes conflict.
It is a lot easier to talk to Dad now.
No preaching at us.
Instead, he talks TO us.
Dad has apologized over and over for the whippings and belittling.
Dad has apologized for not letting us play sports or do the things all the other kids got to do.
He can stop apologizing now.
He is forgiven.
Dad still hates that one of us rides a motorcycle.
He told one of us today they He and Mom would raise our kids if we got killed.
In many ways we are more of a family today than we ever were before.
Some of us are still Christians, though none of us are Fundamentalists.
Some of us are not.
Some of us are “hell if I know what I am.”
This Friday we will have dinner at Dad and Mom’s home.
It is Good Friday.
But it will not be a Good Friday in the religious sense.
It will be a Good Friday because we have one another and that makes every day good.
(this post comes from numerous conversations I have had with my children. I hope I have represented them accurately.)