You and I both know we have some significant differences of opinion — significant differences of conviction — about church and how it’s to be done, on everything from video venue stuff to the point of sermons, and all sorts of secondary theological issues, I’m sure. But this isn’t about any of that. Because even though we run in different tribes (so to speak), I love you and appreciate you and am glad for your heart for people and them knowing Jesus.
Pete, I remember when I was less of a nobody than I am now and you wanted to meet. I remembered you fondly from your pastoral teaching at the church we once shared, even though you didn’t know me then, and I’ve always been grateful for your instruction during that time. So I was glad to meet you as a friend and as a learner and to talk about life and ministry. You’re the real deal. And you acted as a friend to me when you had nothing to gain from it and no real reason to do it at all. I didn’t have a book out, I didn’t have blog traffic, I pastored a brand new church plant of about 20 people. All that to say: you showed me friendship and mentoring when most other people in your position had already written me off. I’ll never forget that.
Pete, when you more recently contacted me privately to discuss a concern you had, I was both impressed and humbled that you trusted me enough to receive it well and respond appropriately. I appreciate that you also weren’t demanding anything either; you could have thrown your weight around, but you didn’t. So even though you’re 4 feet tall, you stand head and shoulders above so many other men. (insert winky face here)
So again: I love you and will never forget the kindness and respect you showed me once and continue to show me. You were a picture of grace to me in a difficult time, and I wish you nothing but the best in life and ministry.
And since these open letter thingies are supposed to be full of blistering criticism, here’s one more for the road: It’s time for a grown-up haircut, bro.
An Open Letter to Ray Ortlund