“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed” – Mark Twain

My father only attended school to the 11th grade because his father had abandoned the family, and Dad had to take a job to put food on the table. Many times he told me of carrying three paper routes, the last one taking him by the potato chip factory where he could get a bag of crumbs to eat on the way home. The paper routes were before he gave up on trying to get an education.

He and my mother married in 1951, she was 27, he was 34. She came from a higher class than he did. Her father and uncle were partners in a drug store together, the old-fashioned one with a soda fountain like you see in the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. The difference in classes created a lot of tension between my father and mother. Only in his later years, did my father confide in me that he had always hoped his father-in-law would take him into the drug store business.

By the time my dad married, he had essentially already raised a family providing for his mother and siblings. After the wedding, he and my mom moved into the house that Dad had grown up in.  Mom became pregnant right away, so my grandmother, who was still living in the house, left so my parents could raise their family.

Dad was blue collar, working at the power plant for the electric company. With his limited schooling, he studied the newspaper every day from front to back and that provided his education. In those days, the local newspaper was a common point of reference. In fact, my parents subscribed to two newspapers, the Times Democrat (later to be called the Quad City Times) and the Des Moines Register. In those days, it seemed that the newspaper was trying to print factual and unbiased information. Opinions were saved for the editorials.

There is so much noise in the world today coming at you from every direction, not only giving you the information but also telling you what to think about it.  The media has done a great disservice by intentionally slanting the story in one direction or another, by centering their production around a particular political view instead of focusing on as unbiased a presentation as they can make.   Oh, that they would return to their roots.


Father’s Day


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?”