Category Archives: Fathers

FATHERLESSNESS AND THE FATHER WHO NEVER FAILS

By: Trevin Wax

Cross-Posted From: The Gospel Coalition

Adapted from Trevin’s foreword to Jonathan Edwards’ book,

Left: The Struggle to Make Sense of Life When a Parent Leaves.

Parents are important.

We know this. We recognize the need for a solid education, a stable home, and parents who are present and involved in the lives of their children.

But too often we think of parenting in generic terms, and thereby minimize the distinctive contribution of a father to a family.

How important is fatherhood?

Sometimes, you don’t know how important something is until it’s missing.

A few years ago, my wife and I were caught up in the popular television drama, Lost. The intriguing storyline and compelling characters had us coming back every week to see what would take place next.

Midway through the series, I was struck by how many of the main characters had “daddy issues.” Much of the ongoing struggle and personal conflict was traced back to the characters’ unresolved issues with their fathers – some who’d been present (and bad) and others who were absent.

Most disturbing was how, in some cases, the anger toward fathers led to patricide. Lost presented a frightening picture of what can take place when the biblical vision of fatherhood is missing. Suffering, anger, pain and violence followed a father’s abdication of responsibility.

Flash forward a few years, and I’m sitting in my living room with a group of college students. We’re talking about the subject matter for a new book I am writing – a work of fiction that teaches theological truth in story form. As I talk with them about the main character, a young college student struggling with big questions about Christianity, they advise me.

There needs to be a dad problem.

I was puzzled. But they insisted.

If you want this book to resonate with lots of guys, the dad needs to be absent. College students will relate.

There needs to be a dad problem.

Those of us who seek to proclaim the gospel today cannot ignore the massive implications of a distorted vision of fatherhood – fathers who have failed or fathers who have left. Due to fickle fathers and distant dads, our culture’s view of God has been massively affected by the failures of our fathers.

And yet, the gospel becomes all the sweeter when it gains a foothold in the heart of someone longing for a Father who never fails. A Father whose gracious love for His creation led Him to reveal Himself as our Creator and Redeemer. In the gospel, we encounter a Son who was abandoned that we might be accepted, cast out that we might be brought in, crucified that we might be raised.

Jonathan Edwards understands the pain of fatherlessness. He also understands the sweetness of the gospel. His book, Left, is a raw and riveting series of reflections on life in the wake of parental abandonment.

If you are fatherless, you’ll resonate.

If you are like me and you’ve been blessed with an earthly father who faithfully models our heavenly Father, you will find this book to be a window into how best to minister and serve our friends from broken families.

Here is a book that gives us a taste of a particular kind of pain, a pain felt by those who are seeking to remember what’s good and forget what’s bad, cherish the true and discard the false, love and forgive…and hope again.

READ ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Comments Off on FATHERLESSNESS AND THE FATHER WHO NEVER FAILS

Filed under Fathers, God

Single Moms – Mapping Their Son’s Masculine Journey

THE MASCULINE HEART

Wild HeartOn a recent vacation, while driving round trip from Southwest Washington to Northwest Wyoming, I finally managed to finish a book a friend had loaned me this past winter. It was The Way of the Wild Heart, by John Eldredge. It’s a follow-up to another of Eldredge’s best-sellers, Wild at Heart.

The subtitle of Wild at Heart is: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul. Its back cover expands on that by saying: “In Wild at Heart, John Eldredge invites men to recover their masculine heart, defined in the image of a passionate God.” In the book, Eldredge lays out three main longings of every male on their journey in life. Each man longs for: A battle to fight, An adventure to live and A beauty to rescue. In The Way of the Wild Heart, Eldredge expands on this theme by noting six major phases of a man’s life: Beloved Son, Cowboy (or Ranger), Warrior, Lover, King and Sage. This book’s main point is that God wants to come and father us through each of these stages. The key underlying theme, though, is the vital role earthly fathers and male mentors are meant to play in accomplishing this.

SHOWING THE WAY Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Family, Fathers, God, Making a Difference, Single-Moms, sons

Land Where The Fathers Hide

WHERE’S DAD?

missingparentAccording to my Pastor, “…human relationships – particularly when united in fellowship with God – (are) the foundational building blocks … and the backbone of (our) local communities and culture.” I wholly agree with that and I’ve added to it by saying, “Without that foundation, secular goals – e.g. a thriving and stable economy, affordable quality healthcare, affordable quality education, justice for all, etc. – are unattainable. When communities and culture come apart, so do all things relying on the support of that foundation.

In another recent Teaching (from Matthew 19: 13-15), my Pastor touched on the dramatic deterioration our culture continues to experience with one of these “foundational building blocks”. This aspect of cultural devolution has been labeled “Fatherlessness”. Since this reality has significantly impacted my life, from near the beginning to the present day, raising the topic touches me deeply.

Before delving into this matter, first, I must issue a disclaimer. I am not fatherless in terms of not knowing who my father is nor that he had no presence in my life. Although I didn’t grow up in my Dad’s home, I knew him and I love him dearly. When he died, at the age of 56, I was devastated. With that said, when I was only three years old, he left my mother, making her a single-parent … a term that wasn’t even used in those days … and I, along with my older brother and sister, became what were then known as children of a broken home. Looking back over the decades since that event, I’ve recognized that a male role model and mentor has always been lacking in my life and I’ve often wondered how different my life would have been if that void had been filled.

My “broken home” experience began over six decades ago, around 1950 to 1951. In those days, I and my siblings were the only “children of a broken home” that I knew. Sadly, since then, this has worsened exponentially. According to an article entitled Father Absence and the Welfare of Children, by Sara McLanahan:

“Increases in divorce and out-of-wedlock childbearing have dramatically altered the family life of American children. Whereas in the early 1960s, nearly 90 percent of all children lived with both of their biological parents until they reached adulthood, today less than half of children grow up with both natural parents. Nearly a third are born to unmarried parents, the majority of whom never live together, and another third are born to married parents who divorce before their child reaches adulthood. To further complicate matters, a substantial number of children are exposed to multiple marital disruptions and multiple father figures.”

WHAT HAPPENED?! Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Baby Boomers, commitment, community, Crime, Culture, economy, Education, Family, Fathers, Healthcare, Justice, Marriage, Substance Abuse