Friday, April 15, 2016

#68: Fatherhood

In this posting we discuss fatherhood, placing it in a somewhat different light.  Hopefully we will upset some of you and encourage you to think about the comparison raised.  Truth needs to be examined periodically and refreshed for a new generation, let this be a part of the discussion.  Betty Lou and I are getting more settled into our home in western North Carolina as well as enjoying the scenery and the critters around us.  Among the regulars around the bird feeder is an old raccoon that apparently cannot see well and has trouble walking.  The photos are mostly of critters in this area.

Since fatherhood is the topic of this posting, this is also the topic of the quotations used.

The Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man present the paradox of the part and the whole on the level of personality. God loves each individual as an individual child in the heavenly family. Yet God thus loves every individual; he is no respecter of persons, and the universality of his love brings into being a relationship of the whole, the universal brotherhood.  The Urantia Book (138.3)

Chill Out

(Not exactly wild life.  In late January we got a little snow so we just waited it out inside where it was warm.)

Fatherhood, and motherhood, is such a universal phenomenon that there no doubt have been countless commentaries on the subject, what more can be added to this discussion?  Is there some new way we can reexamine this topic and gain fresh insight, perhaps gain a better understanding of fatherhood in general?  It might be instructive to look at it from a different perspective, from the viewpoint of faith.  I am confident that this presentation will shake some people up, but if it makes them think for themselves and consider something new then it will be worth it.

No doubt many of you are parents, fathers and mothers; in love you have created children.  It may be instructive to consider and compare fatherhood: human and divine.  In this discussion we compare what human parenthood should be to God as our parent.  We recognize that there are mortal parents who do not live up to the standard of normal human parenthood and we also know their children suffer because of this.  Our goal here is to gain an insight into the nature of God by comparing loving human parenthood with God’s.

Tufted Titmouse

(This is the most common bird at our feeder, though we have also seen goldfinches, nuthatches and two sightings of a rufous-sided towhee.  There has also been a hummingbird but I have not been able to identify it yet.)

You created children in love, you nurtured them, with pride watched them grow and learn.  You taught them values, lovingly cared for them when they were sick, hugged them when they were afraid, saw to their care when they were injured and gave them a kiss before they went to bed at night.  If they did something wrong and came to you with tears in their eyes asking forgiveness you were filled with love and mercy, you forgave them and told them everything will be all right.  Your love for them is a fact of parenthood, a consequence of your participation in their creation.  They did not need to do anything to deserve your love except to draw breath.

Based upon this, think: are you a better parent than God?

Put aside everything else that you may think or may have been told and consider this question.  Are you a better parent than God?  You may have heard that God will not love you unless some ritual is performed, some price paid or unless a blameless man is brutally murdered.  Are you a better parent than the God who created you?
Song Sparrow

(We occasionally see this one in the late afternoon under the feeder.)

We naturally know how the unbelievers answer this question, but we are people who do believe in God and His love for us.  How do we of faith reconcile this dilemma, answer this question?  In fact our Heavenly Father is a far better parent than any of us can ever hope to be.  He does love us and care for us.  His love is unconditional and is activated by our recognizing Him as Father; this is the crucial aspect.

Yes there are fathers who because of their actions and attitude are not worthy of the title father.  They appear to be motivated by selfish emotions, or by poor upbringing, or by a simple desire to do evil.  These unfortunate few must not be the measure of fatherhood; rather they must be recognized as an aberration.

This does not mean that life for those of faith will be a bed of roses without any thorns, rather that He will be with each of us at all times to assist us.  God respects everyone’s free will choices and will not interfere with these choices.  If someone chooses to do something bad to you, God will not immediately strike him down, though there will be possible eternal consequences for the evildoer; God will however, help you deal with the situation, if you let Him.  How do we obtain the assistance of God in our daily lives and in our tribulations?

Tiger Swallowtail

(These are fairly common and it makes sense that they are here, tulip poplar trees are one of their food plants and we are surrounded by tulip poplars.)
In Abraham’s time a covenant was made that promised God’s favor if Abraham believed.  Each of us today can also accept this covenant that God’s favor is based solely upon faith, declare that we also accept the Melchizedek covenant.  Here is a restatement of this covenant for our times.

I accept the Melchizedek covenant
That God’s favor is based upon faith alone,
I pledge to follow His guidance
And share the Light of Truth
With my brothers and sisters.
Simple isn’t it?  All we need do is believe and God does everything else!  For many that is too simple, that there must be some kind of catch, something in the fine print.  No.  There is no fine print, no catch.  God is our Heavenly Father and He truly does love us as do our earthly parents, even more so.  Just as an earthly son or daughter naturally accepts the love and care of their earth parents, so must we accept the love and care of our Heavenly Father.

Does this discovery detract from the meaning of the cross of Jesus?  On the contrary, it enhances its meaning.  The meaning of the Cross is a transcendent illustration of the love of Jesus for his mortal children.  His dedication to doing God’s will and showing his love even for the evildoer is shown by the calm dignified manner in which he underwent his ordeal.  The resurrection from this death signifies the salvation Jesus offers us.  Jesus said he is the way and if we follow after him our own resurrection is assured.

To summarize these thoughts.  Our earthly fathers, again we are considering normal fathers, see to our needs without requiring anything from us.  They naturally love us and care for us because they participated in our creation.  Their love is unconditional.  God, who is infinitely higher than us, can be no less than this.  God, our heavenly father, loves us as certainly as our earthly fathers do, no less.  But more than this, His love is ideal, more complete, more lasting.  God’s love, which is activated by recognizing Him as Father, is boundless and endless.  Our earthly fathers love us in the here and now; God loves us for all eternity.

So be it, Heavenly Father and may we each accept your guidance.

Jesus said: “The people of another age will better understand the gospel of the kingdom when it is presented in terms expressive of the family relationship — when man understands religion as the teaching of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, sonship with God.” Then the Master discoursed at some length on the earthly family as an illustration of the heavenly family, restating the two fundamental laws of living: the first commandment of love for the father, the head of the family, and the second commandment of mutual love among the children, to love your brother as yourself. And then he explained that such a quality of brotherly affection would invariably manifest itself in unselfish and loving social service.  The Urantia Book (1603.5)

All photos are by Doug Cable