Is the whole idea of absorbing the tension of the ... (you name it) the family; or of the community; or of the world; is it really a key component of fatherhood?
The word (martyr) means to witness. Simply to be the kind of person who when something begins to swirl, when the melodrama gets set in motion, when accusations are made, can we step into the breach and absorb some of that animosity and break up the little knot that is forming?
Not by going in as John the Baptist would do and fighting it back in the other direction. But simply by stepping into that world and absorbing that tension (like the old Rolaids commercial, absorbs 47 times its own weight in access stomach acids…).
Can we be the kind of people that can move into that place, and drink the cup and be part of Christ forgiveness? The world is going to choke on its own unforgivenness if we don’t. That is our role in the world.
It is not forgiveness on the cheap. So it is a subtle process, it requires character and dignity and courage and most of all it requires an enormous moral generosity. So Jesus is inducting us into service for history in a world which is going to now increasingly be deprived of its old mechanism for taking away its own sins on the cheap. He is bringing us into this mission of taking them away in such a way that not only honors our dignity and our freedom, but also rehabilitates us.It has always seemed to me that fatherhood actually is a major ingredient to tension build-up within the family. How does father help others to hear the cock crow AND absorb the tension that the crowing usually results in?
When we hold up the image of a human father does it reveal a side that fails, at least in all cultural terms? It seems to me that fatherhood is always on the verge of being sacrificed. In other words, his role will often take him on a path of being expelled either by his family or by the culture.
Pulling out another excerpt from the Bailie talk:
... Eucharistic Mandate. He says that Christ often calls us to failure, not success just as He Himself was called to the Cross.
“The marvelous religion teacher, the hard working bishop who manages his diocese well, the mother of a family strongly rooted in the faith have done no more works than the dedicated religion teacher whose classroom is like a drudgery, or the zealous and caring bishop whose administration is constantly criticized or the loving mother whose family, despite her efforts, have all abandoned the Church. In many ways the last three have received a higher calling.” (Bailie here quotes from Wm. Riley)
Isn’t that amazing? We are called to move into that place of brokenness and to take up our cross. And to do it in such a way that the world hears the cock crow, and that the world feels the forgiveness of God. And that the world recognizes that we are not doing it on our own, or that we are not doing it because we are nice, or morally superior. We are doing it because Christ has laid His Hand on us.
I suggest that fatherhood needs to be looked at in relation - in particular, in relation to the Body of Christ, the Church and priesthood - not independently, as the head of the family, as if we could separate fatherhood and Church. It is actually by way of this separation that we have been able to deconstruct and dismantle fatherhood. I think that what I am saying is that the only real way to define, model and/or re-present fatherhood is through the strengthening of the Church and the priesthood. What do you think?