Invited to Grow

Let me tell you a story that happened a few months ago. I was at an event in San Antonio, and a friend asked about the Foundation’s two areas of focus on spiritual formation and families and children. 

The person wondered, “Can you provide one without the other and still be who you say you are?” For example, she pointed to our community engagement initiatives. “Some of these,” she said, “don’t emphasize spiritual formation at all. Is that okay?” It’s a good question. 

Our first president, Mary Holdsworth Butt, often expressed her faith through her actions. She served the families and children of Texas by improving the social framework they needed to thrive. According to a memorial we wrote about her in 1993, she believed “society’s ills exist only at the sufferance of its citizens.” When Dr. Louis DeMoll, a professor of social work at the University of Texas who worked with her, tried to think of a word to describe Mrs. Butt, he said, “Perhaps ‘humanitarian’ comes closest because it embraces her religious beliefs as well as her deeds to promote human welfare and social reform.”

The legacy of Deborah’s grandmother lives on in our work with families and children.

Our second president was Deborah’s father, Howard Butt Jr. He helped start a youth revival at Baylor University that spread throughout the country. He traveled with Billy Graham on the weekends until the pressure of two careers affected his mental health. Through Laity Lodge, he rediscovered wholeness in Christ and invited others to find that same wholeness. “The sacred and the secular are one in Jesus Christ,” he often said.

The theology of Deborah’s father lives on in our work with spiritual formation.

We “invite people to grow ever-deeper in relationship with the triune God” and we pray families will “grow in mental, physical, and spiritual health.”

Of course, Mary Holdsworth Butt cared deeply about spiritual formation, too, just as Howard Butt Jr. cared deeply about families and children.

I think about when someone asked Jesus, “What is the greatest commandment?” His answer: Love God. So, we “invite people to grow ever-deeper in relationship with the triune God.”

Then Jesus says there is a second great commandment: Love your neighbor. So we pray families will “grow in mental, physical, and spiritual health.”

Two great commandments? That’s complicated, but so are all things worth doing.

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