Brent opened the weekly discussion by asking, What is your image of God? My image before was of a distant, demanding, God, (like my dad), who if I broke His rules, he’d roast me forever and ever. A better, biblical, picture is conveyed in the poem that Benedicio shared with us last week. Could you read a part of it, Ben? Yes: “To call you father is to inherit your prodigal love and to suspect that the last black hole of the last galaxy is not a barren, howling tunnel but a room with a fireplace and chair, and the dry, full burgundy of home.. . .And then the tree without leaves and the nails turned against the carpenter and the second opening of Adam’s side.”
Pastor Cortez: Powerful! “Abba, Father” means “Poppa God” (Romans 8:15). Who relates to God like that? If we can, we’ll be better fathers. I’ve been reading a blog by Brian Fisher, who works for an agency which provides alternatives to abortion in the U. S. He says: “As a father, the process of watching your son grow into a man is both beautiful and frustrating. Our kids do some wonderful, amazing things; and then seemingly in the very next moment, they say something boneheaded that reminds us of their humanity. When we are the father of young children, we perpetually correct them and rescue them from poor decisions. But as a father of young men, we find ourselves correcting and rescuing less often. In order for our sons to complete their journey to manhood, we must allow them to make mistakes and fail. If we don’t, they won’t complete their journey.
“Much ink has been spilled bemoaning the state of fatherhood in America. In our narcissistic, sex-obsessed culture, too many men have abandoned their role as protector, provider, and priest in their homes. Too many have traded the tough, mundane work of fatherhood for short-term pleasure and selfishness. As a gender, men have led very, very poorly.
“While the criticism of men in general is warranted, we must also stop a moment and praise those men who’ve stood the test of time and been fabulous fathers to their daughters and sons. Though somewhat ignored in our current culture, these men quietly, consistently love and care for their children through good times and bad. We celebrate those men on Father’s Day.
“And we pray for those who’ve been poor fathers – that they might repent of their idolatry and step back into their role as sacrificial, loving leaders in their homes.
“Many of the women we see at Human Coalition are pregnant, single moms. And although we just celebrated moms in May, I would be remiss if I didn’t again say thank you to those moms who chose life for their children – even when the baby’s father is absent. Single moms are compelled to be both moms and dads to their children – an extraordinarily difficult and somewhat thankless job.
“Ultimately, men, we must look to our heavenly Father for wisdom and guidance on how to be fantastic dads. When we make mistakes, we apologize and repent. We train, correct, discipline, encourage, promote, and praise. We model biblical manhood for our sons and daughters. But perhaps the best thing we can do as fathers is to cultivate loving, growing marriages.
“I am eternally grateful to be a dad to my two sons. My dad was, and is, supportive, eager to listen, and always present. I hope my two sons say the same the things about me.
“The importance of godly fathers cannot be overstated. Let’s pray that God would strengthen good fathers and raise up the next generation of dads to be bold, compassionate, gracious, and loving. May abortion and the exploitation of females perish at the hands of men who refuse to demean and destroy women and children.”