I’m new to Steve Farrar’s ministry and writings. I stumbled across one of his books while researching fatherhood in Puritan New England. The few chapters I read were mostly good.
One chapter that I found particularly helpful was entitled, “Plymouth Rock Coaching Clinic.” Farrar argues, “The Puritans were great coaches. They knew how to teach. And they knew how to motivate.” Now, I hate his use of the word “coach” here. I’d prefer instruct, train, or father. Fathering defines coaching, not the other way around. Nonetheless, I agree with the underlying point of what he is saying.
Farrar then goes on to state what too many us already know to be true:
“It’s tough to be a good father if you didn’t have a good father. Your ability to father is greatly affected by how you were fathered. If biblical fatherhood was modeled for you, you’ve got a tremendous head start.”
Ain’t that the truth? Continue reading
A day is coming when we will eliminate Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, and all other forms of birth defects. It won’t happen because we discover some miracle cure in the Amazon. We will just kill them before they are even born.
I got thinking about this a lot last year when I listened to an episode of the Freakonomic’s podcast on “population planning.” The bulk of the podcast was dedicated to explaining the unlikely origins of China’s one child policy. This alone makes the podcast worth a listen but it was a short story tacked on at the end that really disturbed me. Here is its synopsis from Freakonomic dot com:
Finally, we talk to Stanford researcher Stephen Quake about a new blood test that can help pregnant women learn if their babies are likely to be born with Down Syndrome. This leads to yet another moral dilemma in baby-making: as parents can learn more and more about what’s in the womb, what kind of decisions will they make? And what will the consequences be decades later?
The answer to those last two questions should be obvious to anyone. What kind of decisions will they make if they find out their baby has down syndrome? They will abort their child. And what will the consequences be decades later? We will eliminate the world of down syndrome and all other birth defects. The West hates the weak, sick, and elderly. Quake’s test will help us move a little closer to ridding us of these troublesome barriers to pleasure.
Do you doubt it? Continue reading
Fathers must always remember that a struggle with lust isn’t limited to our sons alone but also our daughters. This is especially true when it comes to pornography. Most of us would immediately think of a boy if a parent said their child had a porn problem. However, a survey by Internet Filter Review shows that we need to rethink that assumption. Boys are still the main consumers of porn but girls are quickly catching up.
Here are few of the stats:
- Breakdown of male/female visitors to pornography sites: 72% male & 28% female.
- 1 of 3 visitors to all adult web sites are women.
- 9.4 million women access adult web sites each month.
- 17% of all women struggle with pornography addiction.
Keep in mind that these numbers are already several years old. I have read other recent reports that claim female porn users will soon surpass male users. I doubt that to be true but one thing to take away from such predictions is that this problem isn’t going away.
So, what is a father to do? How do we protect our daughters from the dangers of pornography? Here are a few places to start… Continue reading
“Although it is very easy to marry a wife, it is very difficult to support her along with the children and the household. Accordingly, no one notices this faith of Jacob. Indeed, many hate fertility in a wife for the sole reason that the offspring must be supported and brought up. For this is what they commonly say: ‘Why should I marry a wife when I am a pauper and a beggar? I would rather bear the burden of poverty alone and not load myself with misery and want.’ But this blame is unjustly fastened on marriage and fruitfulness. Indeed, you are indicting your unbelief by distrusting God’s goodness, and you are bringing greater misery upon yourself by disparaging God’s blessing. For if you had trust in God’s grace and promises, you would undoubtedly be supported. But because you do not hope in the Lord, you will never prosper.” Martin Luther, The Sermons of Martin Luther
(Read pt. 1 here & pt. 2 here)
“I’m sorry for your loss.”
That sounded pretty good, right? I couldn’t imagine what it was like to lose a child. I wasn’t about to say something stupid. Peter’s son, Nicholas, had died in his sleep for no discernible reason. What else could I say to a father that just unexpectedly lost a 4 month old boy? I want to communicate so much more to him. But everything else that popped into my head seemed over the top. So I went with the first and simplest option. He firmly shook my hand as I expressed my condolences. I remember his eyes. They were wet with sadness. Poor guy.
I walked my two oldest boys across the sanctuary towards the miniature casket. I wanted them to see little Nicholas. They needed to understand what is at stake in this fallen world. The writer of Hebrew warns that, “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” Everyone needs to be ready to stand before God. Even children. Shielding my boys from this reality would do them no favors. So I made it a practice to bring them with us to any funeral we attended. This was already the second one they had been to in 2012. I didn’t want it to be a weird morbid thing. I just wanted them to understand the wonderfulness of Jesus’ resurrection. Death has been conquered. We have a blessed hope.
On the way out to the minivan my oldest son, Hudson, said, “I don’t want Nicaea to die.”
Athanasius, the middle child, quickly chimed in too. “Nicaea gonna die?”
“No, no. Nicaea is doing just fine. Boys, don’t worry. You’ll be hugging her before you know it! She isn’t going to die.”
Hudson smiled. He had been looking forward to a little sister.
Eleven days later, that exchange kept playing over in my mind as we tumbled down State Route 45 in our minivan. How wrong I had been! Nicaea, like Nicholas, was with her Heavenly Father. There wouldn’t be any hugs from her big brothers. Not in this life. And I’d have to explain this to them in just a few minutes. Continue reading
The battle against porn starts while your son is still in diapers…
My youngest son, Caedmon, has developed a habit of requesting his dessert before he finishes his meal. This request always meets with a firm denial from me. And so my sweet little boy decides he will not eat at all. I am careful to inform him that this decision is okay, but that he will not be eating his dessert either until he clears his plate. Often, he will then attempt to persuade me to reconsider my position with an oh-so-polite, “Please, daddy!” But his manipulation only results in a much sterner reiteration of my earlier declaration. I do add a few qualifiers this time around. I tell him that I want him to enjoy his dessert. Desserts are gifts from God meant for our enjoyment, but they only come after meals and not before them. Sometimes my son listens to reason; sometimes he goes to bed with an empty stomach.
Regardless, this post is only kind of about desserts… Continue reading
This following quote from Matthew Henry serves as a check to our fatherly ambitions. Fathers will go to great lengths to see their children succeed in sports. Sadly, that same vigor is rarely matched in a father’s spiritual discipleship of his children. We fathers must remember that God has given us children for his glory. He desires each child to be a worshiper of him alone. Our job is to train them towards this goal.
Here are Henry’s words…
Consider what your children are now capable of, even in the days of their childhood. They are capable of receiving impressions now which may abide upon them while they live. They are capable of honoring God now, if they be well taught; and by their joining, as they can, in religious services with so much reverence and application as their age will admit, God is honored. Continue reading
The repercussions of fatherlessness are difficult to overemphasize.
God designed the family to have both a father and a mother. Those are essential components to the family. You remove either one and you’ll get an absolute disaster.
Here are just two examples of the consequences of fatherlessness. Also, remember fatherlessness often comes in the form of abdication and not just outright abandonment.
First, John Sower has collected some stunning stats in his book Fatherless Generation. He writes that children from fatherless homes account for:
- 63 percent of youth suicides
- 71 percent of pregnant teenagers
- 90 percent of all homeless and runaway teenagers
- 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions
- 85 percent of all youth who exhibit behavior disorder
- 80 percent of rapists motivated with displaced anger
- 71 percent of all high school dropouts
- 75 percent of all adolescents in chemical abuse centers
- 85 percent of all youths sitting in prison
Second, Robbie Low wrote an insightful article on the importance of fathers to churchgoing. Low explains: Continue reading
Every dad should check out this article entitled “Your Kid’s Facebook” written by Doug Wilson over on Credenda Agenda. It grabbed my attention because it touched on the largely ignored issue of social media and parenting. Wilson doesn’t tackle the specifics (e.g. privacy) as much as he deals with the underlining parenting issue. Still, what better place to begin?
Here is a little excerpt to hook you… Continue reading
I’m convinced that “father hunger” is our generation’s most pressing issue. Gloria Steinem, the de facto leader of the Women’s Liberation movement, once said, “It’s clear that most American children suffer too much mother and too little father.” Even radical feminist recognize the problem. Do you?
Pastor Tim Bayly has written an excellent article detailing the problem of father-hunger. He challenges us (aka the church) to do something about it:
God cares about the bonding of fathers and children and his servants ought to share this commitment. The recovery of fatherhood in the church, home, and society should not simply be ceded to social scientists or Dr. James Dobson; rather, it must be central to the strategic agenda of the Church as she witnesses to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
What is fatherhood and why does it matter? The subject is inexhaustible, but let’s focus on two aspects of fatherhood—the fatherhood of God over all creation and that of pastors and elders in the Church, the household of faith.
You can read the article in its entirety here.