The term “father” in our day is almost synonymous with lazy, ignorant, selfish, and out of touch with what is really going on in any given situation. While I do not watch the current crop of TV shows, it is impossible to avoid the onslaught against fatherhood. The sitcoms portray fathers as remote control addicts with a low IQ, and completely ignorant of what their wise wife or teen is capable of grasping. The heroes of our day are usually more wicked than good and display little in the way of positive character traits. It is difficult to find a movie or TV show that actually presets fathers in a good light outside of Christian movies like Courageous. Why is this? Is it simply a reflective trend or an accident?
When I was much younger, fathers were presented as wise and understanding, displaying character traits like, hard work, courage and death-to-self for the greater good. Times have changed. Is Hollywood simply reflecting our culture or are they influencing it? Is the message that is subtle at times and sometimes not so much, really a fluke or is it part of something far more dangerous? For the record, I am not given to conspiracy theories by nature; however, in this case, I do not believe that this is random chance.
Jesus taught that a house divided against itself will fall. As the family continues to implode, I cannot help but think that this is the result of a concerted effort of evil. Most of us are painfully aware of the results of divorce, abuse, and the ever-increasing problems associated with the breakdown of the family. While it is easy to point out the results of the failure, the cure seems difficult to grasp. Even in the Church, it seems we have a hard time understanding this basic truth. A house divided will fall, and great will be the consequences of that fall. We are living in such a time.
While there are really no simple answers to a complex problem like this, that does not mean that there are none available! It would seem that if the breakdown of the family is causing so many issues to society at large, and to the Church closer to home, we should attack this problem with all of our resources and not simply give into it. We should begin to evaluate what we are doing and why. Perhaps a different set of filters need to be considered in the church and home. I believe we need to place more emphasis on prevention rather than recovery.
The Church-growth movement has produced some very large churches with huge budgets. How is that working in restoring the family unit? Mission oriented churches are reaching the corners of the globe, are their divorce rates up or down at home? I am not against any method of reaching the lost or expanding ministry to a hurting world. What I am advocating is that if we know our adversary is being successful in destroying marriages and the basic family unit, perhaps we need to rethink where our priorities lay. Jesus said if we gain the whole world but lose our own soul, what have we really accomplished?
Given the well-documented fact that the Church at large matches or exceeds the divorce rates of the world around Her, perhaps we need to look inward for a bit. If the studies are true, and there is no reason to doubt them, that 70-90% of our young people walk away from the faith in their late teens, shouldn’t we be concerned about what is going on in the home? What will happen to the next generation if we continue to walk down this path and do not stem the tide of family implosion?
I believe a restoration of the role of fathers is a critical part of the solution. In this series of blogs, I will attempt to explain why and how this will help defeat the foe that currently is being very successful. Fathers play a key role in the family and we don’t have to look any further than our own inner-cities to see the damage done by the father being absent. Even in homes where the father resides physically, while better than the ones without him, if he is not actively engaged in the battle, the war will still be lost.
Something to consider as I close this first blog: out of all the titles that God could have chosen for Himself, He chose Father. Why? Why not, Chief Emperor of the Universe, of Executive Supreme, President of the Universe, or The Ultimate CEO. God chose a family term instead, father. Hmmm.