Dissing Dads? | Sojourners

Dissing Dads?

WHILE I FOUND MUCH commendable in Will O’Brien’s essay "Dare to Preach this Gospel," his Herculean efforts to be as radical as possible finally degenerated into just one more of the now ubiquitous attacks on fatherhood as ipso facto oppressive "patriarchy." Is it O’Brien’s contention that this is the only possibility of fatherhood presented in the scriptures? He states "fathers are left behind but not received back." This is precisely the stereotypical scapegoating of the nuclear family and fatherhood that convinces our ideological opponents that issues of biblical social justice can be dismissed as left-wing extremism.

At a time when much public attention has been given to "deadbeat dads" and the critical need for the participation of fathers in the rearing and guidance of children, must we embrace fatherhood-bashing in the effort to be as radical as possible? The father who receives back his prodigal son with unconditional love is the gospel portrayal of authentic fatherhood and a challenging example for all of us "oppressive patriarchs"...er...earthly fathers.

Michael Lane, San Bruno, California

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Sojourners Magazine March-April 2000
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