Dear Pastor Warren,
I write these words because in the past I have written other words to you.
Then, I was responding to your expressed thoughts about lgbt persons and marriage equality. Many
persons thought they were anti-gay and disagreed with President Obama’s choosing you to deliver
the invocation at his 2009 inauguration.
But that was then, and this is now. Whatever differences you and I may have
about gay rights are insignificant in these moments when you and your family are grieving over the
death of your son Matthew. I know that your congregation, and
millions of persons in the USA and in the world who have been influenced by your book, “The Purpose Driven Life” (I am
one of those), and your ministry, are in prayerful solidarity with you and your family during these moments. (I
also am in that number).
We who are Pastors, need Pastors and sometimes we do not have them. But, I am
sure that many, many persons, men and women who are Pastors, are praying for you and wanting to
reach out to you. I know that I am representative of the concerns for you and your family
that many share.
This letter to you is shaped by a moment in history 45 years. On April 4, 1968,
Martin Luther King was assassinated. I, at the time was active in the Civil Rights Movement in
Boston and beyond. I have not forgotten that among the expressions of sympathy I and other Black
pastors received, were from white Pastors, who were public in their disagreements with the Civil
Rights Movement, and with Dr. King. Yet, they understood the impact his death had upon us, and
although many of them still held to their resistance to “The Movement” and Martin Luther King, they understood our “hurting” and as Pastors they sought to pastor us. There is something
special, powerful and healing when someone who disagrees with us and we with them, sets asides
differences and extends to us a word of sympathy, empathy and solidarity.
Pastor Rick Warren, I, Pastor Gil Caldwell, am remembering you and your family
in my prayers and thoughts. The Gospel of Matthew ends with these words attributed to Jesus;
“…lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” (KJV). As you and your family
remember your Matthew, may these words provide strength and comfort.
Gilbert H. Caldwell.
A retired United Methodist Minister
Asbury Park, New Jersey
- “The Work of Christmas” - December 21, 2017
- Be The Way Forward: A Letter from Rev. Gil Caldwell - December 12, 2017
- The Contradiction at the Heart of The United Methodist Church - August 29, 2017