Dear Ray,

Everyone else seems to be getting into this “open letter” business, and not one to be left out, I decided to throw my two pence in as well. I hope you will forgive my rush to join the herd, especially as my inaugural offering places its crosshairs on you.

First of all, before I say anything else, let me say that I cherish you as a brother in Christ, I have learned much from you, and I would never seek to impugn your heart for God and for God’s people. All of those things are evident to those who spend any time with you.

But other things are evident as well.

I am frustrated, Ray. No, not in a debilitating or discouraging way, really. I am frustrated in a delightful way at how sweet your spirit is, which to me is a prime indication of the harmony of your heart with the Spirit of the living God. You always seek to “outdo one another showing honor,” and I remember plenty of lunches and coffee conversations and moments in our Pastors Gospel Group back in Nashville where you’d take up nearly the entire time yakking and yakking about how great and wonderful the rest of us were. Really, Ray, you should try to focus more on yourself and your own awesomeness. The rest of us simply cannot compete with your selflessness.

I could go on and on with your flabbergasting fabulousness, but I will just hone in on one thing here. You really have a one-track mind. It’s convicting. And encouraging. You just won’t stop reveling in and exulting in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I really felt like I had to air this splendid grievance with you, so you would know. I’m sorry to do it in the form of an open letter, but I thought others should know about this too, so they may regard you accordingly. Doggone it, Ray, you make me want to love Jesus more. And that’s daunting. And wonderful. I love you.

Your brother in Christ,


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26 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Ray Ortlund, Jr.”

  1. Jason Wert says:

    This made me roll my eyes and say "Oh man…" out loud. This is like a brocrush to the 1000th degree. :)

  2. Jared says:

    LOLJust trying to do my part in the blogospheric airing of grievances. I couldn't wait til Festivus.

  3. BiF says:

    It is kind of an eye roller but at the same time I'd like to add my signature to your letter. I've only met Ray through his blog but oh! What a blog it is!

  4. David Rudd says:

    thanks. a much needed open letter.

  5. Joseph Louthan says:

    Dang! I thought I was the only one who shook his fist at Ray. I second everything on this letter and I don't even know Ray all that well.

  6. David McLemore says:

    I love this. From a guy who sees Ray on a regular basis, this is so true. Even those who spend only a few minutes with Ray would find this to ring true. He's always the same: humble, Christ-honering, gospel-living, all for the sake of making Jesus known in his time. It's a great thing.I think all of Immanuel Church would give a big Amen to this.

  7. Gabe says:

    Based on this post, I think I know the real t-shirt I am going to design for you. And for me too.

  8. Bob says:

    wow, you had me wondering for a second there! This was righteous!

  9. Yancey Arrington says:

    Add my name to this letter, Jared. Ortlund really is super fantastic crazy awesome.

  10. Ray Ortlund says:

    Jared, this says far more about you than about me. You are a kindhearted man. Thank you for your encouragement, which is so like you. God be with you. We all miss you here in Nashville!

  11. Eliza Huie says:

    This week I used one of Ray's posts on my own blog. I sent him an email to let him know and to thank him to which I received a kind personal "thank you" in response. It is this kind of personal touch of grace that I think can be seen in what he does. I too only know him through the blogosphere. Good reminder to how much our lives touch others. I hope I am learning from his example.

  12. Jared says:

    Jared, this says far more about you than about me.Ray, there you go doing it again! [shaking fist]

  13. Esther says:

    I always keep up with the meta over at teampyro…so, I am jokingly suggesting the following, just so that consistency is maintained:Don't you think you should have called Ray and offered to sit down and chat with him privately over coffee concerning this offense before airing it in public?/sarcasm*wink*

  14. Jon Clayton says:

    That was excellent! I appreciate your blog as well as Ray's. Thanks!

  15. Jude St.John says:

    I've never met the man but love him also!Love the humour too!

  16. Murray says:

    I've had the opportunity to meet Ray and his wife twice now, and I have to concur with your sentiments!Frustrated along with you,Murray

  17. Chuck Thomas says:

    Oh, you must be ever so careful these days. A letter containing these kinds of rebukes COMBINED with the word (gasping as I write it) "crosshairs" could apparently produced unexpected reactions from others who read this post. Consider this my open letter to you expressing my counsel against such incivility.

  18. Steve McCoy says:

    Jared,You are part of a broader problem within modern bloggianism that runs the risk of encouraging a functional antijudgianism.

  19. Jared says:

    Esther: Because Ray's offenses are made in clear public view, they are open to public address. ;-)Steve: I know you are, but what am I?

  20. Boaly says:

    Brilliant! Now that is the kind of open letter we need more of

  21. Dane Ortlund says:

    Known him 32 yrs. Amen.

  22. Gavin Ortlund says:

    He's a great dad, too!

  23. Chanda says:

    And that last comment is bears perhaps the most evidence of what it means to be godly….Good 'un.

  24. Thomas Louw says:

    Now this is how a open letter should read.This is maybe the best toned and thought thru open letter ever.Don't no Ortlund but, I read his blog almost daily.

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Jared C. Wilson

Jared C. Wilson is the pastor of Middletown Springs Community Church in Middletown Springs, Vermont. You can follow him on Twitter.

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