Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Tyranical Father

'Father-God' is a term used by a friend when he addresses God at the beginning of prayer. It is a term of familiarity which disturbs me somewhat. I relate much better to the term 'Heavenly Father' as it denotes reverence, formality, and for myself personally, creates distance. 'Father-God' places God in the context of one Who is not an impersonal deity, but one Who has an intimate relationship with me. This is both the comforting aspect of God's love in relationship and is also the discomforting aspect of God's love in relationship.

My personal history is such that intimacy with a Father is a place in which I am not comfortable, or familiar, or is even desired. My personal relational view with Fatherhood is one of waiting in anticipation of the next tragedy, when will the hammer fall? Even in the best of times there is an expectation of disappointment and pain. When life is based on a predicament for which the authority over life refuses to correct or change, then life is lived with the spectre or shadowing of failure and in that lies the tyranny of the oppressed. It is living in the presence of unyielding and inflexible authority that has little or no regard for the subject of love and that creates a problem of acceptance of any power over life with regard to anticipating a 'good' to result from the relationship. There is a constant cloud or apprehension in any blessing or gift received as it is expected that the eventuality of any benevolent action will be pain and suffering.

"How does what comes with you to the world find a place in the world? How does my meaning fit with the meanings to which I am asked to conform?"

C.S. Lewis said, "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but, those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

It should not be surprising that all of life's loves are based on a foundation of attachment. "The heart's image requires efforts of attachment to every sort of anchoring circumstance." Love and attachment are the only way that people understand love, it is the only way in which love is communicated, attachment is the only language of love for people. Not to overstate the obvious, but, love is personal, achieved by being 'in relationship', 'in community'. As children we develop the "internal working models" of ourselves and the " relational working models" for defining our relationships with others. That is, during childhood we develop and internalize the notions regarding both our intrinsic lovability and the trustworthiness of our caregivers. We learn how likely we are to be cared for and how likely promises will be kept. Hope enters or departs from personal history and personal psychology as trust in continuity is edified or torn down.

Justice is the avenue whereby we exact from our oppressors our 'just due'. It is expected of justice, as it is in the love of a Father, that the inherent 'good' and the welfare of the person is of the uttermost concern. In nurture, love and justice we expect that our weakness will be compensated for by the nature of parental care, love and compassion for the frailty of youth.

Justice hinges upon two points; allowing people to earn or receive what they deserve and giving opportunity for people to pursue what they envision to be the best for them. In an equal opportunistic environment with Malthusian principles in place the process of natural selection will win the day, leaving certain segments of a population without. There will be the creation of an elitist group, who will hold power and influence by either weight of superior knowledge, intelligence or resources. This is the 'law'.

"No human greatness is achieved without great nurture. Greatness follows on a patience with weakness and smallness that takes decades and even scores of years to achieve."

"It is laborious to 'work through' the 'parent-problem' because it is not a mere logical error or misplaced concreteness, or a difficult step in a therapeutic process toward individual self-determination." This working through may be about deconstructing the fallacy of parenthood - and the fallacy of belief in human casuality. It may be about the realization of God as the orchestrator and author of life.
It seems that in history there are as many success stories involving children who surmounted impossible odds and adversities as there are stories involving children born with silver spoons in their mouths. In fact, it could probably be illustrated that failure is the plight of the 'favoured' children more so that those faced with constant struggle and challenges.
At a certain point in life all people must come to the realization that "I am what I am, by the grace of God", and all that has happened before this point in time is merely the events and circumstances of life, what God has given me, both as memory and as my functional pschye. This construct of me, formed, shaped and influenced by parents, society, friends, and the world has profoundly affected the way I think, view and react to life now. That is how it should be, life revloves around reaction and subsequent action. Whether I am 'frozen' by circumstance or freed by opportunity, I am constantly evaluating and ascertaining my reaction by the mindset formed by memory.
I may never receive just recompense for the wrongs and errors of past events, receiving what I may have rightly deserved or getting back what was lost or stolen from me. Those things are in the past and are irretrievable.
Faith requires that whatever the circumstances of life that God has chosen and used, those events make me what I am today, and the place I find myself in, based on that premise, is the best place for me to be. Those are the best memories for me to have as they have placed me here to receive from God what is the best for me to receive right now.
Justice is held in the hands of God, ultimately. Justice, life, circumstance, the world are held in the hands of a Heavenly Father, Father-God, who loves.
In situations where Fathers are blind to the obligation to love, where Fathers failed to understand the vulnerability of childhood, where Fathers never sought justice for their own child, where Fathers never came to terms with their own pain and passed that on to their children, where Fathers never allowed the child to claim the right to be loved ...
there is a Father-God.

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