Dear friends in Christ:
On behalf of our family; your prayers, expressions of concern, and wonderful tributes to my dear wife Barbara, are sincerely appreciated. We have experienced your thoughtfulness and care. Thank you. To God be the glory!
While we all miss her, we know that she now experiences the eternal presence of our Lord and Savior. She will celebrate Christmas in Heaven. Could never ask that she leave that glory – and we know that we will see her again when we join her in eternity.
Barbara really loved and cared about each of you – her colleagues in ministry. I know you often had to struggle with this woman with her strong feelings and opinions based on the searching and studying which characterized her life (I know I did). She listened to you (whether she agreed with you or not) and she asked the same of you. She not only listened, she heard. That was one of her great gifts.
Barb was indeed passionate about her church. She really wanted so badly for her church to find a way in which ALL members could be affirmed and encouraged to use the gifts that God had given them. The theme of her Memorial Service was Ephesians 2:10…God has plans for you…good works He has planned for you to do. She really believed that scriptures affirmed the concept that God would not give gifts to men or women that He did not want them to use. Barb did not want to be a Lutheran pastor but she most certainly did want to teach the Word of God. She felt compelled to teach God’s Word. It would not be from a pulpit in the LCMS and that was fine with her…but to tell her and other women of our church that because they are not male, they should not teach. No way! That is not what we believe scripture teaches.
Barb was certainly disappointed in the “results” of all of those hours in St. Louis with the CTCR project. The 3-10 resolution that started the whole thing was never really addressed as it should have been. I believe in my heart that Barb did not have to answer for that before God’s throne…someday, someone may. In my mind, a great opportunity was missed.
While she was in a coma induced to slow bodily functions down with the hope that brain functions would return or that the Lord would miraculously touch her with His healing hand, I talked with her and asked her if she had seen the Lord as yet. I wondered that if she had, might she be able to slip me a couple of answers to these hard questions that I might help some more back here on earth. No such good fortune. I do find some joy in knowing that she does indeed have the “answers” to the questions she pursued.
Through her work with “Women in Union with Christ Jesus” in the Dallas area, Barb hoped to build up Christian women to find their gifts and use them in sharing Jesus with others. She really supported LCMS clergy and their wives in the often difficult ministries into which they were called. She tried to help those who had determined that they wanted “second careers” in ministry to examine their gifts, their goals, their personalities…their call to public ministry. She was always available to members of our clergy and their wives to listen, pray with them, support them and help them in any way possible. Those gifts were also freely shared with those in the various teaching ministries of our church.
I really believe that, more than anything else, Barb wanted to help our church find a “theology” through which ALL of our members would be respected as part of the Royal Priesthood given the command by God to share the Gospel with all people. HOW…that was the problem. She was keenly aware of the difficulties involved in dealing with the traditional teachings of our church. She was very in touch with the “power issues” which were present. She also knew about teachings and practices which she felt had gone beyond what most considered reasonable.
Her great concern was the number of women in our beloved church who were being lost to the work of our church. These are gifted women (gifted by God) who are being told that they cannot participate. She felt that there must be some way in which honorable, God-fearing men and women could come to some agreement on this important issue. Some way in which personal opinions and personal interpretations could be put aside as not nearly as important as the spread of the Gospel and the building up of the body of Christ.
I thank you each again for your kindness and I ask only one thing of you. PLEASE do not give up on the goal of moving our church to a place where all of our people (including our women) are encouraged to use all of the gifts God has given them to reach those who do not know Him as Lord. Through the shock and pain of the last two weeks in my life, I cannot imagine not having that hope.
Your brother in Christ,
(Thanks to Jerry Brunworth for allowing us to share this note.)