Ryan shares a modern disparity between light and darkness. From 2 Corinthians 6:14 and Amos 3:3.
This is a pod-cast so click below to play.
I am in the midst of a storm. One that has me waking up and wrestling with demons night after night. These demons are loud, and speak to me in my own voice. They start out seemingly constructive. Offering ideas on how to alleviate this suffering asap. Promising me control and victory.
Once they have my attention they proceed to flood my mind with thoughts. If I recoil, they offer ideas, when I take the bait they offer hopelessness. The cycle continues for hours.
My tribulation is that I have been accused of something despicable in a very public way. Something that brings my second most cherished role into doubt. My own fatherhood. Care to guess my first most-cherished role?
While the accusation is wildly and slanderously false, for nearly a year now that hasn’t stopped me from reliving every tiny misstep or misthought I’ve made leading up to this.
As I type, my 15 month old son is cruising around me, babbling, tripping, falling, bumping his knees, bumping his face… “boom boom”… and the cycle begins again.
As he wanders around at my feet he’s avoiding different “no no”s, like the computer cord, or his latest favorite feats like standing on tables and chairs. He’s avoiding them, because he has been taught to. My wife and I are firm believers in: “house-proof the kid”, as opposed to: “kid-proof the house.”
There are a plethora of reasons for this. The most important being the conviction that our faith in Jesus gives us concerning the scripture: “raise up a child in the way they should go.” This conviction begins as a general thought but that general thought becomes the basis for some pretty specific practices. Since my 15 month old son is our 6th fabulous child, we do have the nerve to suspect we’re doing something right. That “nerve” is a rather large sin in our society today. Especially if we also have the “nerve” to credit the Bible and Jesus.
We live in a “progressive” world where the Bible is being eradicated from its stature everywhere. Even in churches. Part of this “progression” includes the general societal consensus that a traditional father role is problematic. Ironically, feminism does not work in reverse, as society’s modern philosophy develops contempt for gender roles of any kind there is one role that only women can fill to social satisfaction. It is the role of parent. The only way a man can safely participate in this from the world’s perspective is if he’s a “Mr. Mom.” Otherwise, he’s expected to sit in a recliner watching sitcoms with characters just like him, one hand in his waistband, and the other on a tv remote.
Don’t believe me? Consider every example in modern entertainment. Men are either “cro-magnon sperm-donors” or “Mr. Mom” there is no acceptable version of: “father” to be found any longer. From Al Bundy of “Married with Children” (cro-magnon), to Danny Tanner, to Homer Simpson of the Simpsons (need I explain?), to Joel Graham from “Parenthood” (Mr. Mom). We will never again find a Charles Ingalls, John Walton, or Ward Cleaver in popular entertainment. In fact, even families with any children at all are becoming unusual in entertainment today. (I would love to discuss the Adam Braverman character from “Parenthood” as the token partial “throwback” however that would take me on a longer tangent than I’m already on…)
Ok… a few more sentences on this tangent. When I watched the show (“Parenthood”) I did relate significantly with the Adam Braverman character. I realize that I’m little more than a partial throwback to the strength that used to be admired in fathers. Yet even a partial throwback has become too much for society to tolerate. If you naively believe otherwise it’s only a matter of time before your values will be challenged.
So here I am, a “hindrance to progress” with my “backward ideas” about fatherhood; now standing accused of a figment from the demented imagination of some very disturbing people who have established themselves as authorities on parenting. Ironically, the main culprit, is not even a parent herself. Twisting an accident (as attested to by multiple medical personnel) into an act of violence based almost entirely on my nerve to describe my faith and what it means to be an involved father. A million times since have those demons (and my attorney) reminded me: “if you’d only been an uninvolved father, if only you told her what she wanted to hear: that you leave the parenting to the woman of the house.”
She didn’t like my idea of what it means to be a father, and therefore declared me guilty of abuse. To do this she was willing to fabricate a list of “confessions” from me and sign her name to it. I can only imagine how she justifies the lies in her own mind. In her own mind she’s “protecting children”, but in real life she’s victimizing fathers who have the nerve to still lay claim to their God-given role in the household. I imagine the post-abortive mother has a similar method of rationalization. In her own mind, she’s “protecting her child”, but in real life…
My feelings are still raw. I doubt they will ever dull for the rest of my life after having experienced this injustice, but there’s something much more important here. I’m hardly the first to be a victim of injustice.
You see, the big shenanigan that I’m really guilty of, is allowing my children to fail, allowing my children to cry, and not always rescuing them from their own conundrums. We have 6 of them, and so far we’ve found that they learn pretty quickly that certain situations merit tears and others don’t. You see? I admitted to a non-parent that I watch my children approach stairs, I hide, and watch, and if they endanger themselves I rush in to rescue them at that second. This has worked with all my children. After a few events I still watch them, but they don’t endanger themselves. Then after a few more events, I simply trust them. Just because I trust them doesn’t mean we don’t have accidents, but we didn’t put up a baby gate, that led (partially) to an accident, and that accident led to my values verbalized, and my values verbalized led to false accusations.
The more important thing in the midst of these raw emotions is God. God our Father. God my Father. If He’s who He says He is, wouldn’t He behave the way He does? God’s parenting skills aren’t subject to feminist ideology and slanderous bullying.
If God behaved the way “the world” expects a Father to behave, He’d be putting up “baby gates” all over the place. He’d intervene every time we endangered ourselves and we could live recklessly without concern. Yet that’s not what He does. Instead, He gives us free will, and loves us enough to stay out of our way for the most part. That’s why John 14:17 says: “The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him.”
The more “progressive” society becomes, the less capable of recognizing our Father it is. As society redefines what it means to be a father, our Creator Father becomes more alien to them. For most, this is all the evidence they need to believe that they have no Heavenly Father at all, because in their minds, if they did, then: “he could never allow such things to happen.” But in real life… He must, otherwise we’d be slaves, even animals, but not beloved and trusted children. Sometimes He even allows His child to die. Here’s what Jesus had to say about that: “If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28)
If He’s who He says He is, wouldn’t He behave the way He does? He is omnipotent and omniscient far beyond myself as I vigilantly hide watching my son walk into the mud I’d warned him to stay away from. As I am wondering when/if I should intervene to rescue him, doesn’t God know exactly when the time is right? If/when it turns out there are some unexpected bees, or thorns, about to make my son’s ordeal worse, is there anything unexpected for God? “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give …” (Luke 11:13) !!!???
So here I am, stuck in some mud, stung by bees, scraped by thorns, and crying out for God to show Himself and rescue me. The son, telling my own Father, how to parent me. How silly I am when I tell God what’s best for me. So much more silly than my 7 year old telling me that he should play video games all day long. Why so much? Because, my opinions are not always going to be better than my kids’. God’s opinions are always better.
If He’s who He says He is, He would behave the way He does!
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"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it."