An interesting day in church today. At the children’s sermon, the minister asked the children about their fathers, who they are, what they do, etc. presumably to emphasize the role of the father in the family. All in all, the children remained pretty unresponsive. One child finally responded, “My dad puts criminals away in jail.”
I’m sure I would be told that I am reading far too much into this, but it seems that the role of “father” has been greatly reduced. The researcher in me took over and I came across Marlena Graves article from Christianity Today in February, 2012, “Role Reversal: The Problem of the Increasing Marginalization of Men”.
Graves states, “Men in the West still enjoy vast preferences in most sectors of public life, including in professional hiring, government leadership, and, some charge, the church.” A real boon to men that may be on a power trip, but not much solace to those of us trying to have an impact on lives. Graves points to an overall decline in respect for men’s roles and offers great analysis and debate. Maybe it was born out by the response of the children in church this morning.
The point of Graves article was a call for the end of gender wars. “Let’s embrace biblical notions of shared power, humility, mutual submission and sacrifice, and the unfettered use of our spiritual and natural gifts within the family, church and world.” An ideal, yes, but one worth striving for. It’s taken hundreds and thousands of years for us as a human culture to recognize the value of this goal. The value being that maybe not next year or the year after, but soon, children will voice as loving a response to “who is your father?” as they do to “who is your mother?”