The World Needs Fathers

6.19.17

Father’s Day was yesterday. A celebration of Fathers is warranted for all that they do, not just for their kids but for society. The presence of a good father is celebrated for a day, but the absence of a father has nearly immeasurable impacts on the individual and then society. Our society is changing and one of the alarming changes is the indifference given to the powerful role that fathers play in society. Popular media rarely show fathers as strong figures to be admired. Generally you see a man that is aloof, someone to be laughed at. (Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin come to mind).

There are some within our culture who downplay the role of fathers by suggesting communities can raise children properly. Or relationships that lack a father can somehow replace the role of a father. I question these assertions in light of the evidence.

I won’t go much further on this point, but I fear we are making a significant societal error by diminishing the role of fathers.

Who is to teach boys how to be men if not their fathers? Certainly there are mothers who do their best to fill the gap, and I applaud them. But the fact is, they shouldn’t have to. Fathers should be there. But, in increasing numbers, they are not.

I know there are people who will read this (maybe), or at least people asking this when it comes to this topic – “How bad can it be?”

See for yourself –
– 33% of the 72 million children in America will go to bed tonight without their biological father in the home.
– Fatherless children are 5 times as likely to live in poverty, repeat a grade, and have emotional problems.
– 93% of all people incarcerated are men, and 85% of them have no father figure.
– 50% of children from broken homes have not seen their father in over a year.
– the United States leads the world in single parent families.
Source

The absence of fathers is an epidemic. An epidemic receiving very little attention.

If there was an epidemic impacting millions of Americans, costing billions of dollars, and inflicting unimaginable amounts of pain in our society… how do you think we would respond?

We have the answer. Silence.

How is that working out for us?

Personal Note:

Candidly, this frustrates me.

I carry a certain passion about this topic. Why? Because for all of the social justice advocacy going on right now, the church seems too quiet on this topic. This simply cannot be the case anymore.

I am reminded of what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 16: 13-14

 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.  Let all that you do be done in love.

Act like men. Be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

Where is the promotion of this ethos? Why is there not a chorus of people proclaiming this to our men? I am a man, I have been listening, and I have not been hearing this.

The Church needs to lead on this, and fast. Continued silence would be truly tragic.

Final Note:

I have a father. He wasn’t perfect and he would even tell you that, but he did the best he could. Honestly, what more could you ask for? Thank you Dad.

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To all of the Fathers out there. Happy Father’s Day.

Observations on the Passing Scene – 6.4.17

I do a lot of thinking about human behavior.

Many people say they love “people watching” for whatever reason, but I am more of a “people understanding” aficionado.

Why do people do what they do?

“What are my motives?” is the question that brings instant clarity to the condition of my heart when I am honest with myself or someone else.

What is the thought or emotion engine to the action undertaken?

With that being said, I have made some observations recently worth investigating further.

Run, Hide, Lie:

Have you ever been caught doing something wrong? (yes)

Have you ever caught someone doing something wrong? (certainly)

It occurred to me recently that humans will instinctively do one of three things when they are caught doing something wrong: run, hide, or lie. In time we may choose to confess or admit wrongdoing, but this is certainly not our instinct.

I think back to the story of Adam and Eve when sin entered the world. After committing the very first sin, they proceeded to run, hide, and lie.

They ran from the Lord and hid their shame

But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Genesis 3:9-10

 and lied about their actions by blaming (as if the Lord didn’t already know, the irony there is rich).

And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:11

We see this play out all of the time in our own lives, the lives of friends, the media, etc. How can we possibly deny the depravity of man and thus the existence of sin when such a universal instinct to run, hide, and lie is so clearly evident?

The Irony of American Liberty and Tolerance:

I just finished reading If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty

And I am currently reading The End of Reason: A Response to the New Atheists

 These books are obviously very different. One addresses the idea of American Liberty and its importance to our history as a nation while the other is an attempt to refute modern atheist thought proposed by Sam Harris in his book The End of Faith.

 I recommend both, but something else really struck me as I was reading these books.

We take so much for granted without understanding the foundation or origin for the very things we take for granted. If you were raised in America, you breathe free air without even thinking about it. You have protected rights to do some things that would still get you killed in other countries (especially other countries in different eras). Rights enshrined in our governing documents. Rights that we just accept as fact. Some may call them unalienable rights (see Declaration of Independence).

You see, as Americans, we are fond of pointing to our rights. Raise your hand if you ever said “oh yeah, well it’s my right to do this!” when you were trying to defend some sort of action requiring justification by appealing to a law we would all recognize.

What is this law though? We appeal to this law as if it is just there without stopping to ask why it is there, where it came from, or whom it came from? Perhaps its Natural Law, given by a higher power. Maybe they are endowed by a Creator as Thomas Jefferson said (again, see Declaration of Independence)

Now here is where the irony comes in:

We live in a culture that routinely belittles Judeo Christian values, while simultaneously raising the banner of tolerance… all while not recognizing the very liberty they DO have and tolerance they speak of were SECURED by a government built on the radical concept of individual liberty.

A concept drawn directly from Judeo Christian values…

To me, this is the height of arrogance and an abuse of Liberty that is undermining the fabric of our nation. We need to recapture the radical idea that America was founded on: Liberty.

Uncertainty:

If “Nature abhors a vacuum”, then humans abhor uncertainty. Recently the idea of certainty vs uncertainty has come to mind. Media, conversations, personal reflection.

Even if the situation is certain to be bad, it is better than not knowing. How else do we explain the desire to know the status of a loved one who is lost in a tragic accident? We hear the refrain time and time again that people just wish they knew what happened to their loved one.

In my experience, things that were certainly bad were better than not knowing.

Yesterday was the 6 year anniversary of my Mom’s death. I was thinking about that time and when my mom was dying, the certainty of her death was horrible. But the uncertainty of the timing was agony as well.

Uncertainty is like walking in the dark without an end in sight.

We take shorter steps in the dark.

You probably use GPS when driving in an area you have never been before, and nobody goes sprinting through their house in the dark for fear of losing a toe on a piece of furniture.

So why do I mention this, what’s the point?

Well the point is, the only certain thing in life is uncertainty. You really don’t know what tomorrow holds.

You have to make peace with uncertainty, which is against your nature.  Yet, we all try.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

We ALL cope with uncertainty through faith. I submit that we all place our faith in something. We all have a confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 

What explains this? Perhaps we were designed this way. Regardless of what you believe about the presence or absence of God, you have to contend with this reality.

I have made my decision. As a follower of Christ, I have placed my faith in Jesus.

Where are you placing your faith?