Saturday, July 4, 2009

Celebrating Father's

Another year has come and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day has passed. Several years ago, a friend of mine asked about why the church beats up the men during Father’s Day. Why is it that we remember and recognize the men of our culture that have failed; the ones that don’t hold a job and support their family; the ones that are into drugs and alcohol; the ones that are womanizers and have been with many and see nothing wrong with it; the ones that have left their homes and families. Ever since then, it’s caused me to watch and observe the way church leaders paint the condition of manhood. The contrast between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and the image painted of women and men has struck me over and over. I have yet to hear a Mother’s Day message where womanhood is not celebrated; where women aren’t praised for all that they have done and put up with and how they’ve held the family together.

No, I’m not in denial that some men have fallen short of their calling. Some have. The reality is, so have women. The question I ask is why are women celebrated and men condemned, or even reminded of their shortcomings? Not once have I heard a Mother’s Day message calling women to be a Proverbs 31 woman and how you should work to attain that standard. And then church leader’s wonder why men don’t come to church and yet admit “statistics show if the father would come to church, the family would stay together”.

I believe there is a fundamental error in this approach and the church is responsible for its role in perpetuating. I look forward to the day men of character are celebrated; or just recognized. I look forward to the day when the church paints the image of Godly character and calls men to their right position. The Bible gives the example of calling those things that are not as though they were. To speak about what men should be not as what the world projects them to be.

This point was really brought to light for me this year. I’ve always known and believed that my daughter was watching, observing, and learning what we her parents are doing. I've commented many times how amazing it is that she is like a sponge absorbing everything that is around her at this young age. I've always known it's important to spend time playing with her, feeding her, cleaning her, or just being with her. That it's important to build a strong relationship now so that later when she needs me, we have the strong relationship established. But know we've noticed she’s moved from watching what we do to wanting to do what we are doing. This year, our church played a video about kids following in their father’s footsteps. The reality is our daughter is following my wife’s footsteps also. And it’s vitally important that we do our best to demonstrate a Godly life for her. Yes, we will fall short from time to time but then we can show her how we forgive and ask for forgiveness; how we get up again from brokenness.

Over the last several decades, our nation has experienced both racial and gender movements; rightfully so as there should be equality. Anytime there is a major shift there’s a time of being out of balance, a time where we veer towards the opposing extreme before we find a true center. I believe there’s going to come a day when the church starts speaking about men the way they should be rather than the way the world sees them and men will be recognized within the church for their qualities and positive examples. And in doing so, more men will be drawn to church and more men will desire to follow the examples demonstrated and more families will stay together and our nation will prosper for generations to come.

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