For the average guy, a “Hallmark Holiday” like Father’s Day often means running the risk of getting sucked into an episode-blubbering sentimentality, a challenge made only slightly more endurable by the hope that there will be a slab of red meat on a grill somewhere with his name on it, and maybe a hardware store gift card. But whatever else we are here at Gallagher’s Pen, we’d rather not be “average,” so we’re going to leave nostalgic reflection on the shelf next to the greeting cards and do something different. Given the significance that God attached to fatherhood, celebrating that relationship deserves more from us than another sappy poem, even if it comes with a gift card and steak dinner.
Fatherhood—Not Just Biological ~
Forgive me for emphasizing the obvious, but fatherhood is a major issue with the God who created us, and it’s worth remembering that the concept was not dreamed up by a cadre of narcissistic sociologists sporting Harvard credentials. Neither is marriage, for that matter—or any other role in the relational constellation that from the beginning of human history has been known as a “family”. Fatherhood is the product of God’s creative genius, and He designed it so that its nature and the power of its influence would extend far beyond the mechanics of biological reproduction.
The family unit was God’s choice as the most effective mechanism for transferring the practical application of His truth to the surrounding culture, and fathers were ordained to be its primary guardians, caretakers, and defenders. In God’s design for maintaining social order among us, core concepts such as authority, respect, personal responsibility, accountability, the recognition of boundaries, the value of cooperation, and what love really means were to be taught interactively in every family – and led by the fathers. That design has long been a target for sabotage in this country.
Toxic Philosophies, Sabotaged Families, Devastating Fruit ~
We have elevated political liberals and social “progressives” armed with their impressive credentials to positions of policy making authority in nearly every vital arena, and they have replaced God’s design with their own at every opportunity. Apparently, they don’t emerge from their think tanks long enough to consider the harsh realities as reported in “The Fatherless Generation” that result when their godless philosophies are translated into public policy. Their mockery of God’s design and the toxic doctrines they use to sabotage traditional families—especially fatherhood—has borne awful fruit. The following are a few of the examples cited:
- 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the national average.
- 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Center for Disease Control)
- 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)
- 70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (U.S. Dept. of Justice)
- 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction)
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes – 5 times the average. (US Dept. Of Health/Census)
While the current situation for fatherless kids is sobering enough, the implications for their future, and what it might mean for their children is heartbreaking. Consider this:
- Daughters of single parents without a father involved are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers
- 711% more likely to have children as teenagers
- 164% more likely to have a pre-marital birth
- 92% more likely to get divorced themselves
A Promise and a Warning ~
God closed out the Old Testament with a promise to send His prophet who would “…turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” Then He added this warning, “…lest I come and strike the earth with a curse” (Mal. 3:5-6).
The collapse of traditional family units and the values associated with them has left in its vacuum a moral, ethical, and spiritual petri dish breeding toxic social bacteria. The current anarchy playing out on our streets and in our homes and schools is, to a great extent, the product of kids being raised without fathers—and especially without strong, loving, spiritually mature fathers. We don’t have to wonder whether the curse God warned about is already upon us, but what to do about it is the question confronting us this Father’s Day.
When God said, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4 NKJV), He had more in view than a peaceful home. He was drawing a blueprint for a nation where baseball games, prayer meetings, concerts, nights out at the movies or a footrace don’t constitute an open invitation for enraged people to kill those they disagree with.
Lighting a Different Kind of Fire ~
We’ve been hearing a lot about “inflammatory rhetoric” since the attack on those Republican congressmen last Wednesday, and lots of calls to tone down the incendiary language. I agree with much of that but have a related suggestion. Maybe it’s not that we’re using our words to strike matches, maybe it’s that we’re using them to set the wrong things on fire.
What if we ignited something on Father’s Day besides charcoal? What if our words and influence could help ignite an effort to push back in ways that matter, like ending support for anti-family politicians, for instance, and like not sending our kids to morally bankrupt, anti-Christian colleges and universities?
What if the incendiary language God uses against our destructive tendencies got us fired up enough to stop watching propaganda machines posing as mainstream journalism, and enough to stop supporting profane ‘entertainers’ who take our money and use the platform we give them to undermine and attack everything we believe? What if we got fired up enough to devote some of our money, influence, and energy toward keeping another kid from becoming somebody’s sex slave?
What if we threw some of our sinful proclivities on a sacrificial fire and re-ignited in our hearts the power of that ‘Father’ relationship that Jesus made possible? That could be some inflammatory stuff that would make Father’s Day unforgettable.
© 2017 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S. All rights reserved.
To follow this blog for more ‘Right Side Up Thinking ~ In an Upside Down World’, sign up just below the Search box in the upper right sidebar for regular email notifications of new posts.