Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Michael Phelps and the American Plight of Fatherlessness
Within our denomination, we tout the doctrine of Covenant Theology and celebrate our successes in sustaining traditional nuclear families. Many who have grown up in and around the denomination's doctrine may not have firsthand knowledge or experience with broken families. Amen to that! To the devout, broken families are hoped to be anomolies rather than commonplace. However, the reality in this country is quite different. Most people my age or younger (genX and genY) come from divorced families. More than 2/3's of the kids I went to school with had divorced parents.
Even given this stark reality, I'm shocked about the story of Michael Phelps' relationship with his father. Can you imagine the biological father of the world's most talented athlete being so completely indifferent? Link to NY Post article>>>
In some ways the whole situation is mindboggling. In other ways, Phelps is just a present day, commonplace reality for the postmodern majority of society. The situation presents both a sad backdrop and an outstanding opportunity. Some would say it is the opportunity to preach or teach the imperative of the sanctity of marriage and the nuclear family. Certainly, this would be one side of the coin. However, IMHO, the better opportunity is to share the Truth about our perfect Father in Heaven .
Our earthly parents can be stumbling blocks to our relationship with our Heavenly Father, not just by being poor examples, but also when they are elevated to the level of an idol. Those who have never set up their earthly relationships with their father as an idol are better open to the truth of what true and real Fatherhood looks like.
More often, it is the "orphans" of this world who are able to eagerly embrace the lovingkindness of our everlasting God. I see young people who have been abandoned (-not abused!-) by their earthly fathers as true "orphans," and I see o-p-p-o-r-t-u-n-i-t-y above challenge in the plight of American fatherlessness.