My post yesterday about Jedis in training generated a lot of email… about raising sons. So I thought I would share a letter I wrote to my small group about this topic:
Hey guys – during some prayer and study time this morning, I had a eureka moment about our current small group study – In a pit with a lion on a snowy day.
all know my story… Dad split just after I turned 14, and he wasn’t
much of one before that. Well I have been studying the process of
fathers developing manhood in their sons in scripture for some months –
basically answering the question "How does a boy become a man?" (BTW –
a great book on this is Eldredge’s new one – the way of the wild heart
– all parents of sons should read this).
Anyway – one of the development points for boys becoming men
is the Epic, the Adventure, as a boy turns into a young man. The
quest, the reaching for trials that will allow a boy to answer the
question "Do I have what it takes?" (think David v Goliath, Jacob
wrestling God, Abram moving, etc). God’s context is for the father to
be there, to guide to and through appropriate adventures and challenges
and to help the boy experience the "Yes" to that profound question "Do
I have what it takes?".
Here’s my eureka – why I think the Pit book resonates so
deeply with me. So many men right now are like me – had to
self-develop into manhood. And so many boys are desperately looking
for a guide for that journey… and at just the time they begin to
consider God in that development (every warrior starts to ponder
God-sized thoughts when he sees Travail for the first time) – mid to
late teens – what does the church have to offer?
Safe, squishy, girlie theology. Theology of no risk, of
follow the rules to get to heaven, of be good and walk the line.
Theology of a limp-wristed, milk-toast Jesus instead of the warrior-poet-king he is.
Part of my heart still yearns to be fathered through the formative
challenges of late boyhood, and I have had to turn to God to make that
happen. But the church’s response (really lack thereof) to the needs
of boys and young men is the reason, in my opinion, men have in large
part abandoned the church. Why most young men, including myself,
walk/walked away from it to seek something their soul desperately
needed at some late-teen stage. Since we all (in my group) parent boys, this
understanding should be revolutionary – our sons are being set up to
walk away from the church unless we are able to direct them to the
Warrior God, the OT God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob – that calls men
and women to risk something, to boldly go into His creation. To chase
Anyway – this insight came to me powerfully today… and you all are the first people I wanted to share it with. Blessings.