Thursday, February 2, 2012

Love Him Or Hate Him, Canada Needs A Ron Paul (Facebook Repost)

Let's face it. We are not the United States of America, and often times that is something to be thankful for. But the fact is, their culture influences ours. And that culture includes their politics. For those who have kept up with the current Republican primaries, you've probably heard of Ron Paul. Whether it's heated criticism for his extreme ideas and his old newsletter, or glowing adoration for a visionary who tells it like it is, his name has come up in the conversation somewhere. Most people write him off as yet another looney chapter in the current incarnation of the southern goat rodeo known as the Republican primaries. But perhaps we, the enlightened, peace-loving socialists of the North, ought to be paying a little bit more attention.

If you stick to the surface level of the story, there's not much to read. A lot of "blah-blah-Newt Gingrich-blah-blah-blah-Mitt Romney", as at the surface most have levelled this off at a two man race, and perhaps right now it is. But dig beneath the surface of these stories and you'll find out that there's something that's not being blown up on billboards and splattered on front page news. Underneath the political jargon, there is a story being written. It is the story of a potential country-shaking socio-economic shift in the very nature of the U.S. A 76-year OB/GYN-turned Congressman with political views that kept him quarantined from the political spotlight for a quarter of a century is suddenly threatening to create havoc with the electoral stage set this Fall.

And how has he done this?

How has such an unlikely candidate grabbed the hearts and minds of millions of Americans spanning practically every socio-economic dynamic possible, and consequently proceeded to grab the Republican Party's attention by the frank and beans?

Because lurking within Ron Paul is a monster of paradoxes, an antithetical nightmare, a creature never-before thought to have existed. He is a simple, down-to-earth, honest politician. He means what he says, has a track record to back it up, and his message never changes. His personality is honest, human; simultaneously caring for the people who he honestly believes he can help while being honestly scathing against those he sees exercising foolishness, hypocrisy, and deception. Whether you agree or disagree with his policies, it's difficult to make the argument that he is the same cut of politician worthy of distrust as the hundreds of others on both the Canadian and American scene. Hate what he thinks all you want, but try to find something against the man himself. His voting record and actions are consistent with his message, his answers are thoughtful and honest, even when it doesn't play to popular opinion.

And it's stirring something that should be making those who sit in Washington very nervous.

For the first time in decades, young people are taking a true interest in politics. Not like when Obama hit the scene and young people swarmed to a young, popular, charismatic politician four years ago. Young, educated people of all backgrounds are suddenly finding their voice, and many are uniting it behind a quirky geriatric. The under 30 crowd, those who are often considered lost causes in political pursuits, have found a path. Suddenly, they're not merely voting for the super-fly candidate, but they're actually being challenged by this wiry 76-year old to study their Constitution, research economics, contemplate foreign policy, and, regardless of what political side they fall on, to shout their -informed- opinion loud and clear.

For the first time in decades, the American two-party system is facing a real threat. Sure, Ron Paul is a registered Republican, but see how many of his supporters truly consider themselves that? Because of him, suddenly the line between "liberal" and "conservative" isn't so clear. Behind Dr. Paul is an army of democrats, republicans, blacks, whites, minorities, old, young, Wall-Street gurus and those who Occupied it. All of whom see themselves as not one party or the other, but as Americans who want to make their whole country better. As one Paul supporter put it, "my vote doesn't belong to the Republicans or the Democrats; my vote belongs to me and I'm putting it behind Ron Paul".

In the end, regardless of whether Paul wins the nomination or not, he's going to have a very large shadow cast over the Presidential election as a growing number of Americans are ever-less satisfied with the status quo.

And I am insanely jealous of the United States for that.

I live in a province where in the recent provincial election we watched a man who had openly, habitually lied to the Ontario public for two straight terms as premier get voted in for a third straight. And it's pretty easy to see why. Call it a mix of public apathy and political maneuvering. We think all politicians are liars and that nothing will really be accomplished no matter what. And so we had a "Conservative" party (who was supposedly the start-off favourites) that effectually said nothing, promised nothing, and did nothing. I don't know if they were huddling behind Queen's Park, tapping their sparkly red shoes chanting "there's no place like home", suddenly hoping to end up on the right side of the Assembly, but they were, in effect, useless, pointless, and spine-less.

Now, let me say that I know that not everything will be solved by politics; I am far from a Socialist. But whether we like it or not, our politicians influence our lives, and we pay them to do so. And so, call me crazy, but I would like to see somebody with a backbone, integrity, and a few crazy ideas blow our passe politics out of the water. I would like to see my generation get interested in politics again. I would like to see people believe in democracy again, because like it or not it's the best system we have. I would like to see an election actually mean change.

But right now, it's not going to happen. We don't have that figure stirring up the hearts and minds of the next generation. We don't have that figure uniting those on all sides of the political spectrum, united not for a party or for a special interest but for the betterment of Canadians as a whole. And until we wake from our political slumber, the fact is that nothing will really change in Canada. And so, I'll be waiting and watching, praying that maybe tomorrow, Canada might finally have its' very own "Crazy Uncle Ron."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Being Reborn (Cause Daddy Said So)

As a Christian, if you think like an adult, you will act like a child.
Conversely, if you think like a child, you will act like an adult.

Let me explain.

I've talked with a lot of people. Especially Christians. Usually it happens that they want to hang out and talk, and, inevitably, the conversation will turn to them ranting about some issue in their lives that is causing them trouble, and I usually end up playing some kind of de facto counsellor (usually because my charge is a large double-double rather than a small mortgage). And often times, the problem is somewhat self-inflicted.

A dude who is so desperate for sex that he'll look to marry even if the woman is far from a Proverbs 31 woman, sometimes her salvation even being questionable. A woman who is so desperate for affection and intimacy that she'll consider dating a guy, even if he's not mature spiritually, even sometimes a non-Christian, but who is "interested in finding out about Jesus" or "is just struggling right now". These are the two primary problems I've encountered among professing Christians.

For those who aren't, the issues are far more varied, but usually involve some sort of ineffective defence mechanism they've built up in their life to deal with whatever pain and hardship is currently affecting their lives, be it drugs/drinking, sex, work, family, etc.

However, this is in regards to those professing to be Christians. In my last post I made note of a huge shift in my entire thinking process that God really started blowing my head up with a week or so ago. Since then, I've been struggling to articulate what exactly happened, how exactly my entire mental framework readjusted and what the actual shift was. Not an easy task. Especially for someone who likes working out every detailed angle, and so I do tend to confuse myself once in a while, thinking through every word choice and working out the logic piece by piece. What I was trying to work out was how one views God as a non-Christian or immature Christian versus one who is a mature Christian, and for a while, I was coming up blank.

And then a particular verse came to mind:
“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)
And it hit me.

The analogy is like that of a parent and a child. When the child is young, the child trusts the parent absolutely. The parent is the ultimate authority, and the parent is the one who decides what is best for the child, and the child has no choice but to follow, for that is all he/she knows. Yes, a child will disobey, but wise and loving discipline will often correct the path of a child gone astray. Ultimately, the child has no real will of its own that is able to subvert the parent, for all a child knows initially is instinct, and all it learns, it learns from the parent. (This is, of course, assuming ideal parenting with a typical child)

However, as an adult, a child will often times take the parent's advice into consideration, but will have usually formed opinions of their own, stemming from sources beyond how their parents raised them. Parents' authority and wisdom are seen as finite and conditional, rather than absolute. Yes, the parent may have good things to say, and may have some influence on decisions made, but there is the freedom to obey or disobey, to agree or disagree, because that person is "capable of making their own decisions." Their logical and rational capacities have increased to the point where they no longer see themselves as dependent on their parents but are, rather, independent beings working on their own life.

What the Bible is saying, what Jesus is saying about becoming like a child is not in action or in thought, not being "childish", which, in regards to action or thought, is usually understood in the Bible as a synonym for foolishness. (ex. 1 Cor. 13:11) Rather, it is meant in relational terms, meant to explain how one who is a worshipper of God is to view that interaction and relationship. The ESV study note for Matt. 8:3 explains this as "a childlike trust, vulnerability, and the inability to advance his or her own cause apart from the help, direction, and resources of a parent." Essentially, the entire framework of the mindset of a Christian is one that surrenders the authority and autonomy an adult assumes they have over their own life, and viewing God the way a young infant child views a mature, loving parent: completely dependent in every sense. There is no real, rational room for disagreement or independence; such children are not capable of such things.

When I talked with those Christians who were making those foolish decisions, they viewed God as an adult child views their parents. They knew what the Bible said, and had a decent grasp on Biblical theology. And what I would hear would be that, yes, God had things to say about what they were doing, and yes, He really did disagree. Sometimes they would even nod their head and agree that yes, they had to change what they were doing. But ultimately, whether they could admit it to themselves or not, they felt that what they were doing was right, and although they would never say it, their life was saying for them what they couldn't admit, what an adult child says of a parent with whom they are at odds: they just don't get where I'm coming from, they just don't understand, they should be tolerant of the fact that I don't agree with what they say, they'll love me either way, and in the end, I know what is best for myself.

And in the end, apart from a miracle of grace and mercy, it almost never works out for good.

But when I've talked with Christians who have walked faithfully with Christ, grown to be wise, and have made good decisions, what I often hear is reminiscent of a young child: that's my parent, they love me, they know what's best for me, they know more than me, I have no reason to think otherwise, and so even when it doesn't make sense, I obey them. Or, to sum it all up, in the eyes of a child full of affection and respect for their parents, "cause Daddy (or Mommy) said so." And that's why, in the following verse, Jesus said that to be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, one would have to humble themselves like a child.

For so long as we try to hold on to any independence from God in any sense, we will continue to find ourselves stumbling into folly. So long as we view God as the parent who's too old-school to have any real idea of what we're dealing with, we'll continue to hurt both ourselves, those around us, and the God who redeemed us for the very purpose of making ourselves His children. This is what makes it huge when, of any title God could have chosen to reveal Himself as, He chose to reveal Himself as "Father", because whether we want to admit it or not, we are every bit as dependent on Him as infant children. And He is far more loving, wiser, and generous than any parent we could find on earth.

And this is the change that the Holy Spirit is continuously causing in my own mind.

Up until recently, if anyone asked why I believed what I did, and why I acted how I did, the truest answer would probably sound something like, "Well, logically, after all I've observed in both the Christian life and non, this is really the best and most fulfilling life, since I see the effects of sin and it doesn't hold much sway to what the Bible teaches is right and wrong."

Now, more and more every day, the truest answer I could give would be simply,

"Cause Daddy said so."

Friday, October 29, 2010

Nothing Makes Sense, And Everything is Wonderful

In the past couple weeks, I've spent some of my time engaging with those in what has been coined by most the "New Atheist" movement. For those unfamiliar, think Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris. The process itself is the intellectual equivalent of trying to break a brick wall by bashing it with ones head. However, probably unknowingly to them, God used them to force me to actually think about the faith that I hold as true, and the Bible that I hold as authority.

Every day moreso than the last, I'm convinced that God must be the world's greatest comedian.
But I digress.

Inevitably, a common point of antagonism for most people are the laws of the Old Testament. Of course most of this comes from a misunderstanding of the Biblical story as a whole, and particular themes woven throughout the Biblical narrative in particular, but it got me thinking. Sent me down an alley as to what my own understanding is of the Old Testament and its law, and the path God chose to use. And I have learned a great deal.

But where I hit a roadblock, was the mindset with which to approach the Old Testament. Essentially, in exactly what state of mind must one approach the Old Testament to be able to see it in its proper light? How does the Bible present itself in a way which allows us to better understand it?

And then, tonight, sitting on my couch watching Criminal Minds and playing out a fictitious apologetic conversation in my head, it hit me.

It doesn't. The Bible doesn't present any path by which somebody who is not a Christian can logically look at the Bible and recognize its logic and authenticity. This is because the Bible starts where none of us will ever begin. The Bible starts by the assumption that God exists. More specifically, that He is a person, and He has a will, and, simply put, God is God.

The Bible gives no basis for this. It gives no "10 logical reasons that you will accept and understand that the Bible is true" manual at its beginning. It simply says, "In the beginning, God..." It gives no room to question it, no insert for epistemological arguments. And I believe the reason why this is, is a reason that none of us are capable of accepting by our own strength or reasoning.

God is God. He is the all-knowing, all-powerful, all-sovereign God of the Universe, and He does not need to prove Himself to anyone. He has no need for us to agree with Him, He has no need for us to accept His reasoning, He has no desire to submit Himself to any inkling of our own authority, and that kind of being is absolutely terrifying to a finite, limited, insecure, egotistical human being. Regardless of the creeds we recite, regardless of the doctrine we possess, regardless of what we know in our minds, our human nature cannot take the crippling, fatal blow of insignificance. God does not need us, God does not submit to us, and God would be perfectly fine and well if we had never even existed. And our human minds, craving for need and significance (usually by our own terms) just cannot accept a relationship with Someone with complete power, complete authority, and who will do what He wants, how He wants it, without the need to take any consideration to our own input.

This is a God to whom we are completely indebted, with whom we have no bargaining chip, and against whom none could even hope to thwart. This is a God who does not have to answer for the morality of His decisions, for He is the ultimate judge. He is what defines right and wrong. And this God is terrifyingly, terrifyingly holy. Unsettlingly, unimaginably good. This is the God of the Bible.

And this is a terrifying God. This is an unsettling God. This is the God we cannot manipulate. The God we cannot control. The God at whose sight we should have no other natural response but to tremble and beg for undeserved mercy, because we are unsettlingly, unimaginably evil.

This is not a God a human can accept.

This is a God beyond anything our pitiful minds could imagine.

And this God answers to no one.

Of course, thankfully, the Bible doesn't end there. But that is where it begins. And that is the foundation on which the entire Bible is built. And ultimately, this is where everything had its beginning, and where it will find its end.

I'd heard these words before. I'd said them to others before. But for the first time, the Holy Spirit took those words and began to make them into a reality.

And suddenly, it feels like my mind is starting to twist upside down. Like to suddenly actually believe this reality in one's soul requires such a drastic rearrangement that it feels as though the brain is flipping inside out. It doesn't make sense to me, and it doesn't add up in my head, but it is the truest thing I have ever begun to know.

And suddenly, the Bible begins to make a lot more sense.

And it's this realization that I say with even more resolve, tongue firmly in cheek, that I didn't choose to be a Calvinist.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Guy In The Corner

Allow me to first begin by saying that I am a freak. My Apple dictionary defines a freak as: a person who is regarded as strange because of their unusual appearance or behaviour. I am a person who can't seem to fit in regardless of where he goes. I am a Christian, and yet I stand out among the church-goers because I smoke, drink, watch rated R movies, and think 98% of Christian music is a misnomer. Among non-Christians, I stand out because I believe the Bible, love Jesus, acknowledge the existence of Hell, and openly proclaim that I believe there is such a thing as right and wrong, truth and falsehood. In short, I'm a liberal among the conservatives, but too conservative to fit in with the liberals.

And if that didn't make things uncomfortable enough, I am an introvert. I don't have a lot of friends, I don't make friends easily, I seclude myself often, and, unless I am with people that I am very comfortable with, I get increasingly uncomfortable in groups of more than 2 or 3 people that I don't know very well. And it's a vicious cycle, because introverts often seem to have a giant "fuck off" sign written over their heads because of their behaviour, and so others are far less likely to approach them and make an attempt to befriend them. All the while, many of us long for meaningful friendships and relationships but cannot seem to find a way to cultivate them.

Being a freak and an introvert has led to one regular outcome: loneliness. I've even noticed that within the Christian church, there doesn't seem to be a place for people like myself. For a long time I thought there was something wrong about myself, something that needed to change about my personality, until, thank God, I found an article that felt like the first cool breeze in the scorching sun I'd been sitting in for years.

It's nice to finally realize that sociability does not equal spirituality.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Looking Ahead

I'm not even going to pretend like I'm a man. I know full well I'm not. I'm a boy with a beard, who yearns for the benefits of a man without the responsibilities. I know myself well enough to know that much, and by the grace of God I know the difference well enough that simple ignorance is not an option.

I also know that He loves me. I know that deeper than anything else I hold in the vast vault of useful/useless knowledge in my inflated frontal lobe. I know that God does love me, and the men that He loves He does not allow to remain infants. Those He justified, He sanctified, and will glorify. It is, unless my love for Christ is mere inflation in and of itself, inevitable that He will chasten and discipline me to become more like Jesus. Whether I go willingly or kicking and screaming is my prerogative. (weird spelling in my opinion)

And if I know myself at all, it will not be all that willingly.

And so, if we do a little theological calculation, there arises an almost certain probability:

God's love, sovereignty, and will + my stubborn rebelliousness = Pain.

I can almost put money on the fact that the next year, if not longer, will be a period of periodically intense, constantly throbbing, self-inflicted pain. I spent several years experiencing physical growing pains, coming a year or two earlier for me than most, having shot from four foot-something to just over six feet tall in two and a half years. And now, my soul has some catching up to do, and I have a feeling it will make physical growing pains feel like a rug burn feels in comparison to a gunshot wound.

But do not mistake this for complaining.

The thought of the probability of incoming pain and discomfort has never been so calming in my life. Occasionally borderline exciting. Not in the way a masochist anticipates their next lashing, but how a fresh recruit anticipates his first day of training, his first deployment, his first battle. You know what pain likely lies ahead and your body often trembles at the thought of what is yet to come. For men of God are called to be soldiers, and the best of their kind. And the training soldiers are called to undergo will test their every fibre. And yet it is the anticipation that through that tribulation you will know the taste of honor, the taste of glory, and that through what others consider Hell you will become something beyond what is currently in your grasp: you will become a man. Your spine develops an iron core, your chest develops a gentle spirit, your mind becomes a razor with which to cut the teeth of the ignorant and foolish, and your whole being stripped of all juvenile ambition and replaced with a dose of reality, molded to a cause of something beyond even yourself.

And so I sit, a fresh-faced recruit. Bright eyed and occasionally ignorant of what lays before me. Pain, discomfort, abandonment, betrayal, scars, casualties, loss, gain, victory, defeat, exhaustion, despair, depression, trauma, struggle, and what keeps the blood flowing is a vision. A vision of things that are yet to come and yet make everything now seem worth it. I see the promise of what lays at the end of the road. I see the face of a loving Father and the joy His purpose will supply with endless measure.

I see the storm coming over the horizon, literally and metaphorically. I know what lies ahead. And in everything, what sustains us is the knowledge of what lays on the other side.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I Normally Don't Do This

I normally keep personal stuff out of my blog, basically because I don't think it's the entire world's business to know my personal stuff. But I feel like screaming at the world and this is my only real way to do so.

I am tired. I'm tired of being in the middle. I'm tired of getting involved with groups of people, drama ensuing, and me always getting the short end of the stick for it. It doesn't seem to matter what city I'm in or who the people involved are. Somehow, something always happens. Some gigantic rift in some form occurs. And suddenly, I'm the one getting demonized and accused or implied in picking one side over another. Or I'm stuck there against my will with no explanation. Or I get ripped because I see the error in both sides and thus have both sides turning their sights on me. Or, because I'm associated with someone, I get shoved to the sidelines and am isolated because me being around reminds so-and-so of so-and-so and that creates awkwardness and it's better to just ignore the spare piece than to risk any awkwardness.

If I thought it would actually solve anything I'd give the finger to everywhere I've been and nearly everyone I know and move somewhere where nobody knows me at all. But it would happen again some time in some way because that's just simply what happens. And I know there will come a time, probably the following morning or week, that things will settle down, or at least my mood, and I'll be humbled by some reminder or some expression of my own pride and prejudice, lost within these feelings of self-pity, practically begging for God to smack me in the face and remind me of my place. I'll be able to suck it up and bear through another week. I've been through this before. I'm used to shit hitting the fan and splattering me in the face. I'm used to being ignored and forgotten about. I'm used to good intentions with no backing actions.

I am a Leaf's fan after all.

And, despite what Raine Maida says, I'm not all that innocent myself.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Fatherhood

I've been thinking a lot about fatherhood lately. The idea of God as Father, the impact of human fathers on our lives, positive and negative, the responsibilities of fathers and how it's all tied together.

I grew up with a non-Christian father. A father who had a horrible example of what a father was to be, like his father had before him. A father who was determined to be a better dad than what he had experienced. Growing up, the only real place my Dad and I really connected was with sports. I became a Maple Leafs fan because of the many nights as a kid sitting on my Dad's lap watching Mats Sundin and Felix Potvin, being filled with youthful excitement at every save and goal, talking with my Dad about the players, the coaches, critiquing plays and enjoying that me and my Dad had "our thing". I played many different sports as a child, from ball hockey, to baseball, to basketball, to golf, and my Dad was always alongside me in those pursuits, being my own personal coach (for better or worse) and always encouraging my pursuit of whatever game I was involved in.

Growing up, I became ever more aware of whatever deficiencies my Dad had in his fathering skills. Over time, I began to realize that outside of sports, I had no idea how to relate to my father. He had (and has) many deficiencies in his character, ones I grew bitter towards the older I became, in reflection probably because I saw many of those deficiencies in myself. I always felt that my Dad had a wall up around him, keeping himself at least partially guarded so no one could ever truly see everything that was under the surface, in retrospect probably because of so much of what he had been through. When my interests branched outside of sports, particularly into music, his withdrawal was noticeable. Observing this only caused me to become more bitter towards him over time, not realizing that it was probably because, not being very musically inclined at all, he had no idea whatsoever how to relate to this new passion I had thrust myself towards.

As my bitterness rose, it became outwardly noticeable. Lashing out at him for no good reason, poisoning my motivation to do well in school, since that was one area he was always pushing me hard towards, talking down to him, stealing things to get back at him...all because I felt like I had somehow been betrayed. My prime example for what it meant to be a man was, in my eyes, a failure, and, seeing as how I felt owed this one necessity of growing up, felt (in my mind) properly vindicated for my acts of aggression in retaliation for what I considered to be the cause of so many of my problems growing up. I was a young man, clueless in the ways of the world, and the one person who was supposed to help me figure it all out felt distant and often uncaring, leaving me to feel like I was fighting an uphill battle all by myself.

In the Bible, God describes Himself as Father. As Christians, the job of a Christian dad is to model, albeit imperfectly, something of what God is like as our Father. In scripture, men are given the leadership role in the Garden, called to work and cultivate all that is around them, reflecting the role of God as creator and cultivator, as He created all things and sustains it by his very will. Men were given the responsibilities over their wives and children, to lead and cultivate their families to be God-loving and fearing people. For example, in Deuteronomy 22, if a young woman fornicates with a man, she is to be put to death on her father's doorstep, since she is his responsibility. According to 1 Timothy chapter 5, any man that does not provide for his household is denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. It is the responsibility of every man who desires a marriage and children to model Christ in his relationship to his wife and God as Father to his children.

I ask myself, "why does God identify himself as Father?" It is a curious question, since he could have identified himself as "mother" or as "the ultimate parent, genderless in identification". And while John 4 tells us clearly that God is spirit, genderless in identification, the Bible calls God "He" and God identifies "himself" as "Father". Some have called this chauvinism and claimed that this shows that the Bible is sexist and degrades women, and that anyone who follows the Bible, at least fundamentally, will have a lower view of women than men. Yet I would greatly disagree. And here's why.

I don't think the Bible is trying to raise men up or lower women in terms of worth or value by identifying God with one gender and not the other. I don't think its meant to affect gender values, at least in the greater sense, at all. I simply think that the Bible, by calling God "Father", is revealing to us the answer to our sociological problems: that, regardless of whether you like it or not, although men and women are of equal value spiritually, everything is won or lost with the men. That the world is designed in such a way that the quality of the men really does determine the quality of life in general. For example:

-How many women become strippers or prostitutes because their mothers abused or neglected them?

-How many men become violent thugs because their mothers never gave them approval or cared about what they were doing?

While not all become so for such reasons, and perhaps a small percentage of them may have been caused by defective mothering, I would almost guarantee that the majority of problems in the lives of people in general are caused by men neglecting or abusing their role and responsibility. Would feminism be as prominent as it was if men actually loved, lead, and provided for their families, encouraged their sons, protected their daughters, cherished their wives, paid the bills, worked responsibly and cultivated as much as they could around them? Would there be a need for women to take many of the roles they do now if men simply started acting like responsible, cultivating, Godly men?

I've heard some say, "well yes I've failed as a man/husband/father, but it's okay because that is not a sin." First off, sin is not just doing what you're not supposed to do, but it's also not doing what you ARE supposed to do. Technically, it's defined as sins of COmission and sins of Omission. And systematic theology aside, you're seriously going to tell me that you can fail at your duty as Father, when GOD HAS TAKEN THAT TITLE ON HIMSELF?? That by failing as a Father, you throw dirt on the image of what God defines himself as?? That when your children look to you as a failing, impotent husband and father, and then read about God as Husband and Father, that it makes them want nothing to do with God at all?

By God's grace, He has allowed me to catch glimpses of what a perfect Father really is. So much of the damage that was done to me by my earthly father, whether intentional or not, has been healed by the glorious picture of the Father God describes himself by. The healing of those scars has resulted in the slow, painful sanctification in my attitude towards my Dad. I am nowhere near to where I should be, but day to day God patiently disciplines me, making me a tiny bit more graceful, a tiny bit more compassionate, and all the more convicted when I fail in those areas. I've learned to realize that I cannot expect someone who is not a Christian to act like one, and that my heart should not be for fixing him, but rather loving him with Christ's love and hope that God will change his heart.

I've been given the heart of God to be a husband and a father, and my knees tremble when I begin to comprehend the responsibility I will have, and the effect my job as father will have in the lives of whatever children God blesses me with, should he will me to have them. It is a terrifying thing to desire the title by which God Himself as taken on. And yet I am convicted of that duty for myself and any man desiring a family, and as my heart is being changed by God's grace, continue to look forward to it with joy knowing that with the Holy Spirit powering me, I am capable of doing such a job to the glory of God. I know I will fail to some degree, as I am human. I will not be the perfect father, the perfect husband. I will sin, will have to repent, and will have to rely on God's grace to enable me to repair anything I damage. But He who has started a good work in me will follow it through to completion, and by His grace I am able to do all things. And I am comforted that even in my trials and sufferings, his grace is sufficient, that his power is made perfect in my weakness.

To end this, let me just beg with anyone out there who is or may become a father. Please do not take your responsibilities lightly. You may never be able to comprehend the effects your role will have on any children given to you by God. For the sake of the men being raised up in your care, you may be the biggest blessing and example God will use to save and sanctify them. For those women in your care, you provide the example for the kind of man she will think is normative, the kind of man she will look to marry. As a man trying to figure out his way as a man, who loves a woman who has struggled to figure out what a Godly man looks like, I am begging fathers to do their jobs well. For the sake of the generations to follow, do your jobs well.