I WRITE TO OFFER comfort and encouragement to Jonathan R. Anderson, whose thoughts in the "Close to Home" column ("When Family Tests Our Theology," September-October 1994) struck a deep and resonant chord with my own experience. This coming January I will begin studies for the M.Div. at Yale Divinity School, having spent the past three years completing work on a long-abandoned bachelor’s. My wife and our two children (ages 12 and 10) have been wonderfully supportive, and I rely upon them (probably much more than they know) for strength, inspirations, creative energy, and critical perspective. I hope that I am as much of a blessing to them as they are to me.
I think that family is both joy and obligation, blessing and struggle, fulfillment and disappointment—and the same could be said of theology. I am gradually discovering that family and theology are not necessarily separate enterprises. Surely, there are stories we receive from our children and our partners that are as sacred as any word we might find in our beloved piles of books or our intellectual conversations. Take heart, Mr. Anderson—you are not alone in your struggles. And by the way, your daughter was right.