On January 2 I received this email:
I’m not sure who you are or where you came from, but I’ve spent the morning reading your blogs and I’m compelled to say a very sincere “Thank you!” Your thoughts ring true to what I’ve always felt in my heart.
I won’t bore you with details, but you have restored my hope that there are common sense Christians still alive in this world. After growing up as a minister’s kid, I had my doubts.
I’m coming out to my family soon, and I will be passing on your blog for them to read. They are very devout, but kind and open-minded, so I hope it will help in sorting out their confusion.
I look forward to hearing what you have to say in this new year. Thanks again.
I love that “John Shore.” It’s so … comprehensively communicative.
Three months later I received this email from the same reader:
I wrote to you a few months ago about finding your website, my soon-to-be coming out, and being, in general, encouraged by your and your readers’ level of love, logic and realness. Just wanted to let you know I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth, and am preparing to tell my friends and family within the next couple of weeks about the true me.
Although I no longer consider myself a believer, I’m following your blog closely, and have been encouraged by the issues you discuss and the points you make. Thinking back over my 11 years in the ministry, I truly wish I’d been around people like you all during this time. I love that you aren’t afraid to discuss topics and delve into tough issues–a quality that is sorely lacking in the church today. I’ll admit that I am intrigued by you all, and you’ve given me much to think on these last couple of months. If nothing else, you give Christians a good name, in my opinion.
I’ve also been enjoying The Smith Family Chronicles. Wow. What a creative way to express the true absurdity of it all. Please keep it up!
My family members are all very devout, but reasonable, Christians, so I’ll be sharing your website with them to read and to ponder.
Thanks again. Keep writing. I’ll keep reading.
And then, this morning, from the same writer, I got in this:
Just a quick note. I’d emailed you a few months ago telling you thanks for your writings and your voice. I hadn’t yet come out to my fairly conservative family, but I had some of your articles in hand for when I did. [I’m guessing she means from this group.] Well, last week was the week. Along with the letter, I left some past articles of yours, and then sorta held my breath.
So today, I write again to say thank you for your writings and your voice. My entire conservative family’s response has been overwhelmingly loving, and even supportive of who I really am. I know you hear many stories of hateful and hurtful coming-out experiences, but I wanted to bring you up-to-date on a “happy ending.”
I am still amazed every time I think about it. I’m actually myself now. No hiding, no beating around the bush, no vague answers as to why I’m not married. I get to be me. One hundred percent, crazy-ass me! And for the icing on the freakin’ happy cake — I didn’t lose my family in the process.
Thanks again, John. Your voice has been priceless.
So now I can die happy. Sweet! I always figured I’d die in a bush outside a convenience store somewhere. And I probably will. But at least I’ll be smiling!
I wanted to share these emails (which of course I do with their author’s permission) by way of saying this: If you blog, keep at it. Keep writing the truth as you understand it. Don’t mitigate, placate, obfuscate, adulterate, ameliorate, or propitiate. (Do, however, alliterate. It’s awesome.) Say what you need to say, say it plainly, and say it every day. Because you never know who might be out there, taking your words to heart.