Socks, Jocks and Power Tools

So I open my letterbox yesterday and am confronted with the usual Monday afternoon pile of junk mail. This week there's a slightly different edge to it. On the cover of the K-Mart catalogue is not the usual top 3 options - Women's Clothing, Toys and Kitchen Appliances, but men dressed in appropriately boring polo shirts, smiling as if someone's just "dropped" something and no-one's owning up to it; there's plain white socks, a dart board and a block of Toblerone labelled "Super Dad"... It must be Father's Day soon. The only time of year when a male is not out of place on the cover of these recycle bin fillers.

I'm struck by the image of "Fathers" that society portrays at this time of year. Apparently, it's the time of year when mothers and children purchase our underwear. The only time. It must be, because that seems to be the overarching theme of these catalogues. Boxers, briefs, jockeys, Y-fronts. It's all there. But it seems the multi-packs are not enough, because apparently us fathers are unable, or unwilling, to purchase these seemingly "foreign" objects on our own throughout the rest of the year. Perhaps instead of 3 or 7 packs, we need a 52 pack. One for each week of the year. (That is how often us neanderthals change them isn't it???).

I mean, C'MON! We're not that barbaric are we? Is this the image of Father's that we find acceptable? Men who can't, or won't, buy their own underwear, and yet for some strange reason have the responsibility for feeding, clothing, providing and protecting young children. Have we gone MAD! Surely, we can give a little more credit to Fathers than that?

Now consider the image that we portray of fathers in the church. What does that look like? Is it suitable? Is it realistic? How do we encourage it? Do we just perpetuate the image that society portrays? Perhaps even more challenging, does it portray an appropriate image of the Father God? Of holiness? More specifically, do I portray an appropriate image of the Father God?

I've been wondering a bit about this lately, and considering the question "What does it mean to be a male and a Christian?" What is authentic maleness in the Christian faith? What does a Christian Father look like? Now I'm not a power-tool wielding, "lets build us a workshed", front-row forward, built-like-a-brick-dunny kind of guy. That's not me, and never will be. I'd much rather be reading a theological book than fixing a light bulb (which reminds me...) or knocking together a coffee table on a Saturday afternoon. I do like watching UFC but I'm certainly not about to jump inside the octagon! (Are you guys NUTS!?!?!?).

But I am a male, and I am a Christian, and I am a Father too. And I want to be a part of a community of faith that encourages me to be all of those things, and where I can encourage others to do the same. Similarly I want to derive my "maleness" and "fatherhood" from the faith-fact that I now am crucified with Christ and by the Spirit I am a participant in the Godhead. So to answer the question "What does it mean to be a male and a Christian?" I answer by looking to the Trinity. The "giving" Father (John 3:16), the "self-emptying Son" (Phil 2:6) and the "teaching and advocating Spirit" (John 14). This, for me, is what it means to be male. In fact, this is what it means to be truly human (male or female). To be co-crucified with Christ is to deny self, and take up the cross of Christ daily and follow him.

To be like Christ, to be holy, is to be like the Godhead who is "giving", "self-emptying" and a "teacher-advocate" (among many other things) and so that is what I must become. In Christ and through the Spirit that is what I am becoming. "On that day" that is what I will be. That's what it means to be truly Christlike and therefore truly human, and in my case to be truly male and truly a father.

What better gift could I give my kids everyday than that?

Comments

  1. Great Post Adam and good to hear you can buy your own undies. I saw an interesting doco on Compass on Sunday and Kings School is actually teaching a course at their school to seniors about Manhood and being a man because they think so many young men and young adolescent christians are lost.

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  2. I'm trying to target a promotion for a charity on father's day and your post helped me! Thanks and happy father's day!

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