Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Sermon

Today's lesson was about how fathers are disrespected in popular culture and what men are supposed to be like to be great men of God.

Does anyone ever recall a Mother's Day sermon that sternly advised women what they should be like? Of course not. Granted, there has always been a lot of unconscious assumption of what women should be like - likely more than unconscious assumption of what men should act like - but the specific Four-Point directive? On Mother's Day? Never.

I'm off-topic already. Hmm.

The descriptions of What Men Are Like were exactly like what popular Christian culture declared thirty years ago, when I was a new husband and father. That bit about generals always fighting the last war? Yeah, I think we've got Christian culture doing the same thing. Men who don't like to talk about their feelings. Men who resist being romantic. This was always an oversimplification, even decades ago, and I'm sure that one can still find examples of such men now. But does anyone think these are still the general problems of Christian men today? Really?

Has anyone bothered to go out and, like, collect any data on these assertions? Or is it just more fun to write books based on listening to old tapes of Focus on the Family from 1985-89? Well, somebody buys these books, so I guess it has value in that limited sense.

My wife asked me what I would preach on if I were giving the Father's Day sermon. (Hey, it could happen. I may not be talented, but I am highly experienced.) I don't know, though I am certain I would stick to one narrow topic. I am increasingly convinced sermons should do this. She suggested preaching on Being Present. Showing Up. Being There. That may he the place to start. You may not have to be that good, but you should show up.


Dubbahdee said...

Resist any temptation to preach a Father's Day sermon. Instead, preach the Lectionary. Yesterday's passages were:
Genesis 1:1 - 2:4
Psalm 8
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
Matt 28:16-20

Dubbahdee said...

Alternatively, it being Trinity Sunday, you could have preached a sermon on THE FATHER, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Barb the Evil Genius said...

Yeah, the sermon at our church was based on the OT reading for the day, which was Isaiah 6:1-3. But then I go to a church that is pretty weird by today's standards.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Yes, the newer idea is that the faith should be tied to our lives by worship.
The older idea, better preserved in the liturgical churches, is that it is we who are tied to the faith.

Or like a Christmas tree: the faith is not an ornament on us, but we on it.

Retriever said...

ALthough I think sermons should be drawn from the lectionary, I think it doesn't hurt to have fatherhood at least alluded to and honored from the pulpit on this day.

At our church, tho, we just had the adorable 40 munchkins sitting for the kiddie sermon up front turn around and holler "Happy Father's Day" and every grouchy heart softened at the sight and sound. Plus, we are so family oriented that every female in the place from 3 to 90 would go up to every likely dad and hug them and beam and say "Happy Father's Day" and tempt them with cookies and bless them. And they weren't even trying to dragoon them for VBS!

What about the radical (gasp) idea that one of the most important roles of a child's biological father is to give them their first template for their Heavenly Father. In working with abused and neglected kids, I was warned not to talk too much about God the Father with a new kid until I had figured out enough about their history to know if their "real" father had raped, beaten or abandonned them. Such children sometiHes hated God, sometimes turned to him in anguish only to reject Him in despair when He did not rescue them, sometimes had no use for Him.

Actually, it matters terribly being a human father. Not just procreating (as those heading off to the sperm bank will acknowledge) or financially (as the trophy brides in my neck of the woods acknowledge) or for two babysitters instead of just one exhausted one, but because God created us in His own image, male and female. And children learn about some aspects of God from their mothers, and some from their fathers. Of course God is bigger than any dysfunctional family system, but happy the children with a good Dad.

Not to mention if a kid hates their mom, they may get along with their dad...

back to my cubicle dungeon...