Are Strong Christian Fathers More Important Than Pastors?
Truth be told, the Christian father at home is actually a lay pastor who serves as a conduit not only for the Old and New Testaments, but also for the practical application of the church itself.
Without the support of faith-oriented parents, the church’s various programs fall spiritually short. Pastors today are being asked to minister to large congregations to bring in super-sized offerings.
The individual gets lost in the numbers. The pastor might be the general in battle, but the father at home is the leader in charge of the family.
Mothers must be in charge of the orderly home, just as fathers must assume breadwinner control and ultimate responsibility for the family’s success or failure.
Secular holidays like “Father’s Day” come and go, a mere 1/365th the year. The government promotes them as perks to let people off work. Stores only hope that more merchandise will go out their doors. Sure, holidays also serve as dutiful reminders for individuals who are unmoored from family and tradition. Public holidays, however, are a sordid substitute for the holy days and moral bulwark that the church espouses.
The historical role of the Christian father is worth far more attention in sermons than is currently being afforded. Too bad if wayward, modern fathers feel pinioned in the process. Being held accountable is just what they need. Most get too little instruction of the kind that overcomes built-in self-serving defenses.
Historical examples abound for those who read, such as fathers who lead families in prayer, even beyond just saying grace at mealtime or in restaurants, including fathers who openly pray in front of young children. I remember the strong Christian examples of fatherhood in Richard Llewellyn’s novel How Green Was My Valley (1939), set in a similar time of societal values being eroded by liberalism.
In her recent essay “God Bless the Conservative Father,” Betsy M. Galliher summarizes what should be obvious:
Many of us were fortunate to be raised by a responsible, moral, conservative father — imperfect though he may have been. He scoffed when his children cried, “that’s not fair.” He taught us work before play, the value of money, self-respect, right and wrong, and the limits of government and the power of personal responsibility — if not in words, by his example. I am grateful for many blessings, but a conservative father is chief among them.
My own father never organized anyone. He expected people to organize their own lives, and their own communities, free from the obstacle of tyrannical government preferably. He never presumed to rule over another, nor did he expect anyone to tell him how to live his life. He never lectured from stadiums grandiosely flanked by Greek columns, but his words resonated. He never padded a resume, nor embellished, let alone created, his own history. And yet, his history speaks volumes.
My father grew up with strong, Christian, honorable men who served and defended this great nation, knew hard work, God-given liberty, and right and wrong. My father grew up when Sunday was reserved for family and church; before helmets were required to walk to the mailbox; and before putting the playground bully in his place with a discreet right hook was criminal. He knew how to change the oil in his own car, and how to farm and garden before leftists commandeered produce for social change. He watched great men land on the moon, and even greater men returning from war. He understood why soldiers fought those wars, and he was grateful and humbled. He grew up before MTV was around to bash Christians, and glamorize teen pregnancy, victimhood, bad behavior, and hedonistic drunkards from the Jersey Shore. To my knowledge, my father never dealt drugs, ate dog, nor perfectly recited the Islamic call to prayer.
My father’s parents were teachers who believed education was rooted in classic academics — reading, writing, arithmetic, and real history — not lessons in social justice. My father was a disciplined national championship swimmer. He never received a trophy just for showing up at a swim meet. He put himself through medical school when medicine was still a calling. My dad must have been worried — even terrified — but he met every risk and sleepless night without complaint, even as more and more government crept into the practice he once loved and so ethically served. He never missed a day of work, never put himself before any patient, and never removed any tonsils or feet needlessly.