Recently I was asked to write some columns for a new publication, Christian Grandfather Magazine (CGM). It’s a great concept, designed to encourage both grandfathers and dads – especially when it comes to teaching, and modeling what it means to be a faithful disciple.
So this post, which should also run at CGM, (featuring the image above), is designed as an introduction, to let readers there know who I am, where I am coming from as an intentionally Christian grandaddy, and a little of my context. I’m kind of curious myself as to what I may say, because self disclosure always involves more than a little in the way of revelation for the one doing the disclosing.
I am all ears.
My credentials as a grandfather:
There is no such thing as a current or up-to-date photograph when it comes to children. Our crew are all growing like weeds, so these shots are simply a screenshot of a moment in time – February 2022. In Miami we have David (10), Beks (8), and Geoffrey (15-months). Then in Bahrain there is “Mr.T.” (two and a half). Neither his name nor his face are allowed online, but I think you can tell he is a cutie and a handful too!
I am convinced that these four children are exactly the hope and promise that this world needs. Yes, that is classic grandparent hyperbole, but my conviction is important to understand because it reveals a lot about my theology, and how I believe our identity as God’s children plays out in the day-to-day experience of living in a world where darkness, disappointment, and defeat are all too common.
So let’s start with John 1, and this amazing truth:
The Word gave life to everything that was created,John 1:4-5
and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.
“You had one job!”
We raised our own children, Andrew and Naomi, to shine and to encourage and to bless the world and – as John goes on to write – “to bear witness to the Light…” We have no less ambition for our grandchildren.
Because we know – and this is Truth with a capital T, truth down to the core of what truth is made of, from Genesis to Revelation to today and the days to come – we know that light always, irrevocably, triumphantly, defeats darkness. All we have to do is to shine, God takes care of the rest.
I can only imagine my “review” later, when I enter what Jesus refers to as, “The Resurrection.”
“Derek,” Jesus will say, gently but firmly, shaking his head, raising an eyebrow and trying hard to resist the facepalm he feels coming; “you had one job…”
And that job – mine and yours too – is to shine.
There is a kind of cascade of cause and effect that helps to put me and why I am writing into context. Here is the simple version:
- I am writing in this space because Andy Oldham asked me.
- Andy asked me because he reads my blog (derekmaul.blog).
- I blog because A) My publisher, Upper Room Books, suggested it, and B) Blogging keeps my writing current and fresh.
- I write books because I have a story to share, and a passion for ministry to men.
- I have a passion for men’s ministry because I need a band of brothers to help me “do” faith.
- I “do” faith because this is the path my wife, Rebekah, and I have chosen for our family and have followed through 43 years of marriage.
In the “other helpful info” category, I taught exceptional education in Florida’s public schools for 20 years. I was a columnist for the Tampa Tribune for a decade. I have been published everywhere from Newsweek, to Guideposts, to Chicken Soup for the Soul, to Presbyterians Today, to All-Pro-Dad, to many regional publications and websites. I have travelled coast to coast to speak at and lead retreats and conferences for men. I love to cook, take photographs, hike, travel, play golf, and play guitar.
The great privilege of my life, however, has been reinventing the role of preacher’s spouse, over the amazing four decades Rebekah was called to serve Presbyterian churches in Pensacola, Tampa, and Wake Forest. We experienced growth, and love, and transformation, and commitment that spilled over into service and mission. And the reason this all happened was the focus – not on membership but discipleship; not just showing up but following Jesus.
I mention this because discipleship (making disciples to be disciples to make disciples…) is how I see our responsibility – our opportunity – as Christian Grandparents.
That’s enough for now. Keep an eye open for my articles in Christian Grandfather Magazine.
And, if you want to read more, check out my author page at Amazon.
In love, and because of love – Derek Maul