26 Dec 2008

2008: Year in Review

Author: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: Bobby's World, Faith, Holding On, Tucson

Two Thousand Eight! It is coming to a close. It has been one heck of a year. What can I say about it…

Well, first, it began in the pits of hell. An 18 year relationship ended like a supernova in the night sky. That sort of set the tone for the rest of the year. With many apologies to many folks 2008 when I learned to cry and cuss. I learned that many folks, preachers in particular, have no clue what divorce is like. To say it any plainer (more accurately) would require a stronger word that some would find offensive. There is no kinder way to put it. Family like the Holts let me live with them when I had no home to live in and the Sterlings gave me a ton’s and the Reminders and on I could go. Folks like Jan, Vivian, and Jeff were life savers. I found myself reading books that are not my typical genre: Suzy Brown’s Radical Recovery, Dana Hood’s I Will Change Your Name, Linda Nielson’s Between Fathers & Daughters, Women in Midlife Crisis, Barbara & Allan Pease Why Men Don’t Have a Clue & Women Always Need More Shoes and Alec Baldwin’s A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey through Fatherhood and Divorce, Larry Crabb’s Shattered Dreams … to name just a few.

On to other matters. The Earth moved millions of miles as our solar system moved who knows how many miles and the galaxy moved even more. Talya and Rachael have developed into young ladies. They both played volleyball and Rachael continues with soccer. Talya sang in her talent show and Rachael was a lady in waiting in a Robin Hood play.

In spite of the beginning of the year God has provided blessings along the way. After one church dropped me from a speaking engagement because I am now stigmatized another … in Nashville … wanted me to come for the exact same weekend (I like the irony). I spoke at the Pepperdine Lectures (on the Struggle for the Soul of the Churches of Christ … my friend John Mark was not able to be there) and the ACU lectures on Walking With the Spirit: The Transitions of K.C. Moser. I have plugged away at a theological biography of Moser and contributed an essay for a memorial volume in honor of Michael W. Casey.

From the pulpit we explored “New Beginnings” (which now that I go back and listen to them were less than works of art!! Honest … but not art!) then we explored “Blessed are the Shalom Makers. The last half of the year we looked at the Living Word in the Gospel of John. And currently I am teaching “Exploring Our Roots: Snapshots on the Family Tree” which is vignettes on the Stoned-Campbell Movement.

Some other books I’ve enjoyed this year (some I’ve placed on my blog). I read through the Dead Scrolls Bible which has all the biblical texts discovered in the caves near the Dead Sea. I read Copernicus On the Revolutions of Heavenly Bodies. Tertullian’s works in the Ante-Nicene Fathers. Read the Bible through twice and Psalms at least six times (including Robert Alter’s new translation and volume 1 of John Goldingay’s Commentary) My copy of the Prymer is falling apart. N.T. Wright’s Resurrection of the Son of God was a favorite as was Surprised by Hope. Chris Wright’s The Mission of God and Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament. I read a number of Missional and Emergent authors with profit. The two best preaching books I’ve read this year were by the same author Ellen Davis, Wondrous Depth: Preaching the Old Testament (this is a rich book) and Getting Involved with God: Rediscovering the Old Testament. I also have begun reading the Scripture and Hermeneutics Series edited by Craig Bartholomew … excellent stuff.

Loved Iron Man and Batman. I suffered through Enchanted. I watched Babylon 5 with the girls. Twilight was ok. The Clone Wars was not quite Star Wars. And I visited the dollar movie frequently.

Palo Verde has been a great haven this year. They have been loving and patient with me and cared for my girls. They have been a gift from God. I visited my former home in Milwaukee.

I took my first “solo” vacation with a trip through southern California and the desert of AZ. It was a great experience but still not what I am used too. I made some new friends this year from all over. I lost one very important friend too. My blog had visits from 101 different countries … some that I never heard of.

Not much to write about … From the Tucson “International” Airport …

Seeking Shalom,
Bobby Valentine

11 Responses to “2008: Year in Review”

  1. laymond Says:

    Bobby, God bless you for having the guts to admit, that just because we ware the name Christian does not mean we can avoid the “pits of hell ” here on earth. we just have to look to the good things to relieve part of the pain. But we don’t control every event that enters our life, especially in a marriage, we can only affect our half of that covenant. You are right one who has not been in the “pit of hell” of loosing their family whether through divorce or death cannot comprehend the pain.
    I lost my first wife and daughter when I was 26 years old I must admit you have handled your loss much better than I did, I lost 14 years of my life to booze, and didn’t go back in a church for much longer. Why because I thought a Christian shouldn’t go through the pains of life, but the truth is we should, so we can help others avoid those pits. have a better 2009

  2. preacherman Says:

    I pray 2009 will be a blessing and opportunity to grow in your faith and relationship with Christ. I know over the past year that this blog has helped my faith. Thank you brother for sharing your heart with us and allow us to share in your sufferings.


  3. cwinwc Says:

    Bobby, I came in after your divorce occurred this year and had to back track through your blogs to find out what happened. I am an elder of a church of which one of my fellow elders has been through the Hell of divorce.

    When he was being considered to be an elder, we had one person object due to his divorced status. He said he wanted an elder that could “help” him if he experienced marital problems and how could someone who had been through a divorce be that person. In one of my few moments of clarity I told this brother, “Brother, will all due respect you’re stupid.” Is it not a common notion that someone who has been through the pain of losing a child can be the best minister of someone who has just lost a child? I have never been through a divorce but “Joe” has. He will have far more insight and perhaps empathy than I will be able to have.”

    I cannot help but think that you have and will have the same effect on your church. God bless your church for loving and caring for you during this time.

    As for the un-invitation to that conference, when will our people stop doing that? It is childish and cowardly and does not add one bit to our witness for God.

  4. Keith Brenton Says:

    When I remember the year of my divorce, I can always say to myself, “You will never have to live that year over again!”

    I’d say this year you were a blessing to a guy in Little Rock who doesn’t know you from anybody and probably wouldn’t ride on the back of your motorcycle … but who really does see Christ among the pixels of your blog.

  5. Royce Ogle Says:

    As bro’ Laymond suggests, I have been through divorce (after 13 years) and death (after 17 years) and I didn’t cause either. I almost did not survive the divorce. Death was far easier. Almost every human I knew turned against me in some way, most meaner than a precious few.

    You will hear the music again, life will be sweet again, and God is always with you. God willing I will celebrate 10 years of marriage and the joy of being a grandfather, a blessing I could not have had without the “pit” experiences.

    Thanks for your transparency. I promise you are giving hope to someone by what you have shared this year.


  6. Matthew Says:

    Thank you for the update and the book list. You are a up and down year, but I am thankful that we learned a little about your through the year.

  7. nick gill Says:

    Mark Moore recently wrote this on his blog:

    “From one wounded warrior to another: stand in the grace we have come to cling to, no longer out of theological commitment, but raw necessity.” Look, I’m not OK and neither are you. We serve our king, not because we have earned the right, not because we have lived right, not because it is right, but because we have expended all our other resources and run out of options. As Peter said, “To whom shall we go, you have the words of eternal life.” Lord, all we can offer you is broken lives and wounded hearts, inflamed with the passion of one indiscriminately loved.

    I’ve got your back, brother. ANYTIME.

  8. muriel b Says:

    As someone from the other church close to Nashville that you visited in July, I am actually glad there are “stupid” people in the world. I would not have gotten to know you, been able to listen to your lessons and received encouragement from you if you had not come to Greenridge. Having been divorced before, I understand the “pits of hell” and agree with others’ comments that you will unknowingly help others and be able to relate to some more than others. You will never have to live through 2008 again.

    2008 has been much more bad than good for me, but I hope ’09 will be better. I know that I am closer to God than before and one of the stepping stones was that time I spent with you this summer. So thank you. I enjoy reading your blog and find encouragement in it. The best words of encouragement I got from someone were from Jack Martin, “There’s more.” There are days I want to scream, but I pray that whatever I or someone else is supposed to learn from this, we’d get it through our thick head soon so we can move on. It’s the best I can do.

    Keep the faith, like I know you will and find strength from those around you, especially your daughters. My kids have gotten me through many days that I could not get through alone.

    Happy New Year!!


  9. Steve Puckett Says:

    Happy New Year bro! Very thoughtful reflections on 2008. I pray that God will open more doors for you in 2009 and that his peaceful comfort will walk guard duty around your heart and bless your girls. I look forward to seeing you again in Malibu if the Lord wills it.

    Peace and Roll Tide!

  10. Justin Says:

    Hey brother. I’ve got nothing to add that hasn’t already been said better and more eloquently. You’re blessing my life through your ministry on this blog. I thank you for that. I pray that God will continue the healing process in your life and that you will soon “hear the music again.” Shalom.

  11. Maria Says:

    Sorry to hear about your struggles but I am thankful to see God’s grace shining in your life. I have been blessed through your posts, keep up HIS great work ! =)

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