I had intended on doing a series of posts this month on the topic of failure.  Several weeks ago I came across numerous blogs discussing the topic, and the need for a well articulated Theology of Failure/Suffering.  Many churches  avoid adequately addressing the issue from the pulpit, and the void is experienced  in the pews.  After discussing the issue with several people, including a couple of church leaders (and former church leaders), it’s obvious that many leaders struggle with how to speak honestly of our own failures, let alone how to walk with and restore others who have failed, or who are suffering due to the failure of others or as a result of  some tragedy or crisis.    

Each year a friend of mine, John Stanko dedicates the first week of February as “Celebrate a Failure Week”  http://www.stankomondaymemo.com/, and last month I thought I’d start writing on the subject in preparation, but since I was struggling with feeling like a failure, and thought I’d fail to do justice to topic, I put it off.  I wasn’t even going to bring it up.  Then something interesting happened today at work.  I came across a box of what appeared to be new calling cards, bound stacks of hundreds of them, separated into smaller piles.  Instead they were cards with bullet points from various workshops:  “Dealing with an Accusation”, “Dealing with Someone Else’s Anger”, etc.  A grouping of ten workshops, but there were only nine placements of cards.  One had been totally depleted while the others remained.  What was the set of cards everyone had taken?  “Responding to Failure”.  It’s a topic everyone struggles with. 

We all fail, or are touched by the failure of others.  Yesterday I had a heart to heart with my eldest son over an issue of real and perceived failure (false regarding him, but my own failure being all too real).  The conversation was difficult and  emotional, but it also strengthened our relationship and trust as we wrestled with what it means to accurately identify when and if we’ve truly failed, and how to respond.  More importantly, it gave us a chance to discuss what God thinks of us and what is His response to failure.  I learned much about God’s grace listening to my fifteen year old, and I was reminded of how devastating it is to feel that we’ve “let down”  our heavenly Father, and to fear losing His love because of a real or perceived failure, and others’ response to it.  

I don’t know if I’m going to write on failure or not; I’m still processing.  However, I am interested in hearing any of your thoughts, references, or articles on the subject.  Maybe you’ve written something yourself.  If so, send it along, maybe I’ll post it.  Meanwhile, remember:  “Nothing can separate us from the love of God”.  Not even Failure.

Roc

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