The New “F” Word

fatherlessSociety is now replete with examples of men who have fathered generations of frustrated, disappointed, betrayed, angry, and wounded offspring.

Through abandonment, divorce, substance abuse, incarceration, or the phenomenon of “absent while present” – fatherlessness is pandemic.

There are now multiple generations, who, due to their treatment by fathers, disrespect and distrust fathers.

A Google search of “rap lyrics father” or “rap lyrics dad” or variations on that theme will reveal millions of hits and an entire culture that identifies with fatherlessness.

Ever wonder why rap is so pervasive?  Even among the affluent white suburban youth?  They identify with the frustration, bitterness, and resentment stemming from their own version of fatherlessness.

In my experience, people under 35 years of age, on the whole, feel betrayed by the previous generations – by fathers.  Maybe not their “biological” – but by those who made decisions and took actions without consideration for future generations.

The frustration that fuels the Occupy Wall Street movement is less about financial inequities and more about betrayal – by the “fathers” of our financial system.

The exodus of believers from the Church is largely related to the abuses perpetrated by “fathers.”

The term economy comes from the Ancient Greek oiko nomia, “management of a household” or “household order.”

Fathers are the progenitors of economy.

Consider these men and the economies (order) that they fathered (the following from wikipedia:)

The Father of Science – Thales of Miletus: According to Plutarch: Solon visited Thales and asked him why he remained single; Thales answered that he did not like the idea of having to worry about children.

The Father of the Protestant Reformation – Martin Luther, author of On the Jews and Their Lies:  Luther was the most widely read author of his generation, and within Germany he acquired the status of a prophet.  According to the prevailing view among historians, his anti-Jewish rhetoric contributed significantly to the development of anti-Semitism in Germany, and in the 1930s and 1940s provided an “ideal underpinning” for the Nazis’ attacks on Jews.

The Father of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights – James Madison, 4th President of United States:  Owned hundreds of slaves during his lifetime.  The historian Drew R. McCoy believes that “The Constitutional Convention of 1829, we might say, pushed Madison steadily to the brink of self-delusion, if not despair. The dilemma of slavery undid him.”

The Father of American Public Education – Horace Mann:  Mann suggested that by having schools it would help those students who did not have appropriate discipline in the home. Building a person’s character was just as important as reading, writing and arithmetic. Instilling values such as obedience to authority, promptness in attendance, and organizing the time according to bell ringing helped students prepare for future employment. (Cog in the machine?)

The Father of Modern Economics – Richard Cantillon, author of (Essay on the Nature of Trade in General): Essay is considered the first complete treatise on economics, with numerous contributions to the science.  Cantillon was influenced by his experiences as a banker, and especially by the speculative bubble of John Law’s Mississippi Company, from which he acquired great wealth. However, his success came at a cost to his debtors, who pursued him with lawsuits, criminal charges, and even murder plots until his death in 1734.  Essentially, he was the Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, or Goldman Sachs of his day.

Patriarchal betrayal and abandonment have made “father” the new “f” word.  And this is interfering with the generative economy – the economy of heaven.

Jesus did not come to establish a religion – he came to establish an economy: the economy of the kingdom of heaven.  That’s why he prayed…

“your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven…”

The economy of the kingdom of heaven – the household order of God – the generative economy.

According to scripture, Jesus is the exact representation of the invisible God, and he did only what he saw the Father doing.  And then he went about healing the sick and lame, restoring sight to the blind, and feeding the multitudes…

…Human Experience Optimization.

You may be a corporate executive, business owner, church leader – a father – generating an economy.  What is the nature of the economy you are fathering?  Does it cohere with the values, passion, and purpose of the economy of heaven?  Does the economy you are fathering optimize the human experience?

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4 replies

  1. You provide good examples of how men in our patriarchal societies have struggled throughout history with the concept of fathering. Your interpretation of Jesus’ teachings – Human Experience Optimization, does offer the opportunity to move the concept into the realm of the spiritual, into the invisible God. I have seen many fathers achieve some level of HEO when they realize that they don’t lose their “manhood” when they embrace spirituality on some level and in some way. Happy Father’s Day!

  2. When we can forgive our father and pray that God softens their critical heart, it can come at a HUGE cost. After 78 years, a personality change can break the abusive cycle and leave you with the memory of a father who is day by day, more and more, kind, encouraging and loving. This is what I have prayed for, yet, I wonder at what cost to my father has God left his imprint?

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