Friday, November 5, 2010


One of the things God has laid on my heart in recent years is the fatherless. With so many “broken” families there are more and more children out there who have little or no contact with their father. Also with our men’s ministry I have been thinking about fathers and sons, particularly having read John Eldridge’s book “Wild at Heart”, which is very American in its examples, so what does it mean in the UK.

When I was at the New Wine Children’s Leaders conference I picked up Mark Stibbe’s book “I am your Father”, which I have been reading whilst away this week. Although I was reading it to understand some of the issues of the fatherless, I found myself reflecting on how I had done and how I viewed my own father. I know there are areas where I could do better (none of us is perfect!), I was also aware of how my view of my own father has changed over time.

There is one table/chart which Mark calls a Father Wound Inventory where you can scale 12 things, each from Wound to Blessing (you have to buy the book to find out what they all are!). It was good as it made me think not just about one occasion, but lots, we so often only remember the one bad one. I was able to think about it both from my own father, and me being a father. I also realized that had I scored my father when I was younger it may have been different, as it is only more recently I have realized the things he has done for me, both practically, but also in making me the person I am.

It is at times like this I really miss him and I also realise the legacy he has left behind. If I can be half the father he was I know I will have done well.

Mark describes what a good dad does. These are the headings
  • A good dad values fatherhood
  • A good dad displays affection
  • A good dad gets involved
  • A good dad provides security
  • A good dad sets an example
  • A good dad gives affirmation
  • A good dad shares wisdom
  • A good dad establishes boundaries
  • A good dad releases hope
  • A good dad leaves a legacy

Looking at how good we are as fathers, is not about beating ourselves up, but it can help us focus on the things that are important, making them a priority and striving to do the right thing.

Although Sarah and Peter are grown up, being a father doesn’t stop. The fact that they are 2 great adults tells me I can’t have got too much wrong so far. I know Karen will try and take the credit, but I’ll just point her to the part in the book which highlights that it takes 2 good parents! I may get them to read Mark’s book and then honestly tell me what I do well and there I could improve.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hope ?

I went to a funeral today of someone I had never met! Marie was the partner of Karen’s cousin. I just happen to be in Dundee and the funeral was in Arbroth a short train ride away. To cap it all the person I have been with all week also had a funeral to go to this morning!
With all that I felt that God was telling me to go. I am not sure that I made any different, or was really noticed, no great big conversations, no wise words, but I went. I trust God that he knows why.

The service was a humanist service to celebrate her life, which I found a little strange. It was nice to learn a bit about Marie and who she was, what she did etc., but with everyone in black and no hope of anything beyond, what was the purpose? I also found it strange that having picked a humanist service, that a poem about her talked about her singing with angels! The hardest part was listening to Alan (Karen’s cousin) speak his few words, which ended with the phrase “I love you Marie, wherever you are”. It is interesting that even when people “don’t believe” there is still something in them that yearns for something more.

One thing I will say to my family, is that I know that when I die you will morn and be sad, but I would love a funeral that was not in black, but bright colours. Please celebrate because I know I will be in the best place possible, with our heavenly father. To me it is not just a hope but firm belief.