Thursday, September 12, 2013

Does God have pets?

           God as Father is at the center of worship for countless believers, even as fatherhood takes a few hits from sitcom laugh tracks, feminist affirmations and happy challenges to notions of centuries past that men held exclusive rights to vote, judge, own property, preach and preside.

            God is Father, fathers are male, it is said, and therefore God must be male.

            One drawback is that some of us picture Father according to the Gospel of Disney, the giver of things we ask for. We don’t usually ask for discipline, training, correction.

            Dads and moms try to steer their offspring from one learning experience to another, first encouraging them to crawl and then to stand up and walk. Along the way dads and moms press their kids to brush their teeth, pass the algebra exam, tell the truth, prepare to earn a living and to pass it on. Fathers and mothers are there when sickness strikes, jobs vanish and games are lost.

            Some fathers indulge aimless whims of their children, and that’s how candles get lit at both ends and children fill playrooms and garages with toys while their minds are on vacation.

            That’s the sort of Father who is expected to hear prayers for a lucky lottery ticket, passing an exam without studying for it, winning a race without training for it.

            But the Father sees each child, like the planet itself, evolve in understanding and competence. The Father’s love is not to affirm a child’s frailty and insecurity, but to provide the steps on a ladder to strength and confidence.

            The Bible, a book of conflicts, tragedy and hope, stirs emotions as no other. Hundreds of churches and denominations claim its authority. This book of the ages identifies God as Father. It is not asleep in the distant past it describes. Scripture, an inspiration for the American Constitution, is awake. Scripture is written in the present tense. It declares the Now. Its Father is always Love.



            After 88 years on the roller coaster, this I know:

I believe in God,

dweller in mystery,

provider of all that is known

and unknown,

timeless teacher

of uncounted Teacher’s pets.

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