Thursday, November 12, 2015
I Declare: A Father's Manifesto
I’ve gotten help from the foundational passages of Romans 7:4-6, and Galatians 5:1-6.
Romans 7:4-6 4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
Galatians 5:1-6 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. 2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
You may be asking, “What do these verses have to do with being a parent?” That they have not been important reveals our terrible trouble in every relationship, let alone for moms and dads. These verses are vital for you.
I am positive that the following declarations will be of no direct help for you. Really. They are satirical. But they might be illuminating and the beginning of something reviving for you. That’s my hope. That's my goal.
Here we go.
• I declare that, although I am dead to the Law through Christ, I shall come up with my own laws and standards by which to restrain myself, grade myself and be a good dad.
• I declare that, while laws and standards always lead inescapably to the inner production of “sinful PASSIONS,” my laws and standards shall minimize them into merely sinful ponderings and sinful contemplations. I declare that there shall be no passionate outbreaks of sinful stuff because of my laws and standards.
• I declare that, while the combination of laws, standards and sinful passions ALWAYS “bear fruit for death,” according to the apostle Paul, I shall work them so well that God will accept my work as His own work and His own fruit, negating that whole “always bear fruit for death” thingy.
• I declare that, in this new and, heretofore, futile way of attempting to be justified by law and rule keeping, rather than by grace and the gift of Christ, I shall get it right and succeed. I declare that there is, after all, a first time for everything.
• With lots of books, seminars and sermons available about how to be a good dad for me to depend upon, I declare that they shall become the leading of the Holy Spirit for me, and not at all the dressed-up way of the written code.
• I declare that, while the apostle Paul would surely call this the same old Galatian yoke of slavery updated for the 21st century, I shall prove him wrong and call it “educated,” “responsible,” and “freedom.”
• I declare that, while the noun, “Parent,” is a title and position in which God intends to work and to happily and powerfully reveal Himself in us, His vessels, I shall accept the recently invented new version as a verb, “Parenting.” By this I declare that I and everyone else who becomes a Parent shall become both independent performer and judge of the men and women brought into the same position. I, therefore, declare that “Parenting” shall become a whole new arena for human judgment and human condemnation, disconnected from God Himself.
• I declare that, in my righteous and zealous Parenting efforts, I shall escape the guaranteed frustration, exhaustion and powerlessness of being disconnected and alienated from Christ.
• I declare that, while the apostle Paul declared that all who attempt life in this manner shall have fallen away from the grace of God, my declaration shall cancel his declaration. After all, everybody knows that grace is hard work.
• I declare that, with voluminous volumes of non-biblical parenting material and standards in mind, I shall make myself and my family in my own image—I and they shall become the clay of my effectiveness. I declare that, while I shall be fearful of the results, I shall create my own legacy and be judged by others thereby.
• I declare that, while the pressure and exhaustion of Parenting shall keep me from actually knowing Jesus and of being impressed and satisfied by the Gift, Christ in me for my kids, God shall honor the nobility of my weary, sacrificial efforts, and I will settle for that as my good-enough goal.
• I declare that, although love—deep and true and godly—shall have fairly vanished from my family, rendering our relationships shallow and worldly, I shall accept a lesser valuation of love created by the hidden Satanic goal of fleshly produced, self-righteousness, instead of the Holy Spirit’s spectacular gift and production of love, grace and righteousness in me.
• I declare that, while there is no Biblical precedent, I shall be glad when my children move out and away from me BECAUSE I can then get back to life as it should be, free from the non-Biblical burden of Parenting.
• Finally, I declare that, although this worldly style of being a dad tortures me and my family because it fails to recognize us as the loved and holy new creation, God-indwelt, Spirit led, sons and daughters of God, I shall pass it on to others because I don’t know anything else—and I’m not looking.
I declare that it shall be so. Amen.
(This is a transcript of yesterday’s video, “I Declare: A Father’s Manifesto,” and is for those who might rather read than watch. To see the video, scroll down this blog page, or click https://youtu.be/rnW6xYyVrcg.)