Monday, June 27, 2011

Are fathers really the providers?

The answer to my post about fathers and what is expected of them really is simple. The explanation of that simple answer though is the difficult part of this post.

It sounds rather irresponsible to say that father's are not supposed to be the providers; though if you think about this situation from an abstract perspective, it can make a lot of sense.

We think ourselves to be autonomous and separate from almost every possible supplier of things that we need. We honestly think that we; as working adults; provide food, money and shelter for ourselves and our family. Is that the case?

From the practical aspect, yes the father should work to earn money which then can be used to care for the needs of the family.

To look at it from the abstract as stated in the beginning of this post, provision is truly much more than money.

Money cannot provide love.
Money cannot provide friends.
Money cannot provide a spouse.
Money cannot provide family.
Money cannot provide a home.
Money cannot provide children.

Money is in a sense powerless. It is the value placed in a currency that is exchanged for services rendered by a worker for the employer.

In past centuries, exchanging currency for labor was something that the wealthy were able to participate in with the upper class citizens. On the other side of the society a system called "bartering" was used to repay services. Most of the time the objects used in bartering were foods or clothing. In some cases a tenant would work for the land-lord to pay for that months rent of property and house.

Even still it is not the work which provides these needs. The father did the work, as also the mother may have engaged in some craft to barter for food items in the market.

The past centuries I mentioned where bartering was more practiced, could be the 1st through the 6th centuries and even as late as the 19th century. If in the 1st century someone were to suggest that God was not supplying their needs, they would receive a strong reaction from anyone who heard such an accusation, because atheism was unheard of and Gnosticism was largely unthinkable although growing.

Why such a strong reaction? Perhaps the better question is "Why such a weak response today?"

The answer is this; by our pushing further away from God there is less cause to draw distinctions between good and bad, right or wrong. In fact not only is there less cause to draw such distinctions but it has become offense to do so!

If atheism is true, because God does not exist then right or wrong is subjective and what is right to one person could be wrong for another, but in the end is not truly wrong because there is no standard to measure either right or wrong. So that distinction between right and wrong really becomes "I can do whatever I want." It sounds good; until you begin to see that you really are not able to care for your needs much less the needs of anyone else because it is just as right to do what you want as to do what someone else wants!

If Gnosticism is true, because God is aloof (meaning that He is not personally involved in our lives), then right and wrong is only as objective as I need it to be to preserve my wealth, health, family and pride. This also sounds good until you realize that everyone else lives the same way that you are and you really come back to the same problems with which the atheistic society is dealing.

If God is true, because God created the world and all the matter/substance in it; then He provides our food, clothes, spouse, family and shelter. He demonstrates true love to us because He created us and has been taking care of our needs ever since! We enter the picture and exchange our sweat for money and in turn exchange it for the things we forget He is providing.

It is our self-centered ideology which turns our reasoning into self-reliance or self-sufficiency when we could do nothing if He had not created us first; kept us maintained second; and third loved us so much as to let us go off in our selfishness so that we might learn He is really our provider!

This brings me to this simple answer I mentioned at the start of this post. "No, fathers are not the providers. Father are simply the person who is supposed to be in the presence of God (by prayer)  listening to Him as He asks the father of his family's needs and answering in humility with respect."

Can it get any more simple than that?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fathers Day

Fathers day is coming quickly. What bit of character would you say best defines a father (dad, or daddy)? Listed below are a few things I find frequently expected of fathers in our society that I cannot expect any man to actually fulfill.

1. Protection from evil, hate, lust, greed, crime and bodily injury.
2. Provision of home, food (balanced in medical suggestion and dietary calibration), weekly stipend, college tuition, transportation and clothing (just to get started in the provision category).
3. To raise or have raised children capable of benefiting society without having received a proper raising themselves.

What is fatherhood then?

Come back to find out what Contrasted Light does with the subject.

So much noise...yet one voice can speak above them all.

Have you ever noticed that all over the world there are a few choice spots where people go to "get away"? "Get away from what?" you ask? There are some people in the world that are more sensitive to noise than others; most of the time it is a sensitivity to the lack of noise.

What does this blog have to do with noise being titled "Contrasting Light"? I'm going to be up front with you reader by telling you that I will make statements and ask questions that should cause you to think and reflect on societal ideals, religious teachings, social morality, political viability and your personal beliefs. Nothing I write in any post on this blog is or will be aimed toward any one individual, but may arise from interaction with a person(s).

Back to the question "What does a blog named 'Contrasting Light' have to do with noise? Noise has a way of changing from a threat to warm greeting depending on the illumination of the person or object making the noise. Light is a basic and vital element to our existence.

What makes noise around you? What makes noise in you? I am referring to your thoughts and 'mindless' activity. Can you sit in a quiet room in peace, or must you occupy yourself with movement, noise or futile thoughts?

In the middle east lived a teacher who took authoritative command over the elements of weather and sea during a violent storm. Speaking to the stormy winds and turbulent sea said, "Peace, be still." Centered in the most unnerving circumstance, surrounded by noise he said, "Peace, be still."

Do you wish at times that you could tell the noise in your life to be at peace and be still? Is this the stuff of vacations; changing one noise for another, or more noise for less?

I write this not to make a case for a silent world, but to ask how comfortable are you with silence? If you had no music albums from your favorite singer, radio to listen to your favorite station or internet tools to search for noise on the world wide web, would you go crazy?

Jesus, the teacher in the middle east I mentioned earlier, accepted silence, as well as knowing the proper time to speak out above the noise to restore the peace and stillness. I have a desire to see more people working in wisdom knowing when to speak out above the noise, restoring peace and stillness to a mad, noisy and violent world. Many people are talking and pushing for "peace", "safety" and condemning violence, which only produces more violence, unrest and danger.

The only way I see peace and stillness will be restored is to swallow my pride, say to the person I am speaking to "I apologize. You are right and I was wrong in doing... Will you please forgive me?" That will stop the stormy winds, but still leaves us to deal with the turbulent sea and torrential rain.

I made the winds allegorical to relations man to man, but the turbulent sea and torrential rains are the results of my choices which I made,  choosing to ignore the results knowing all too well that I alone was to blame. When you fear the capsizing of the ship you are in and drowning by unforgiving waves towering over you, that is when everyone I know calls on God to save them. Why do they call on God? Why should He save them? He told them what would come because of their choices. He didn't do this to them. He didn't tell them to make a bad decision.

Why do people blame God if He does not save them from their rain and waves? If God is good, why does He allow bad things to happen to good people? After all isn't this the whole situation of noise in our lives...noise "Management", "Damage control", "Sanity salvaging"?

No, noise is a reminder to me that unless, I get my pride out of the way (humility) and depend on Jesus for all of my needs (redemption) while still surrounded by noise and confusion, I will drown in the sea of my own folly.

Until next time; I leave you with your noise (thoughts).