God is initiating us as men. The wording of this quote implies that initiation is a process that is currently happening this very day with every aspect of our lives. It's not something that will happen, or that has happened or that happens sporadically... it's happening with every breath I take and every decision I make.
John Eldredge's book "Fathered by God," is designed for men. It looks at where we are in society today and some of the issues that have resulted due to the lack of real men and the subjugation of the rite of passage in American society to materialistic and superficial. We lack real men who have the ability to initiate the boys. This imbalance can be balanced! There is so much potential for the boys of this society to intentionally pursue manhood and to bring dignity back to our kind. This process requires tough questions to be answered and Eldredge presents them to us. As I go through this book chapter by chapter, I will bring those questions out and discuss them personally as well as with the theory that I have learned in my educational experience. Sometimes there will be many questions, sometimes there will be only one. The point is not in the number of questions and not even in the answer. It is in the process of thinking about the answer that the value is found.
As I journey through this book, I personally challenge you to answer the questions I am asking. This isn't my problem, it is our problem. We, the men of society, have the choice to continue to be adolescents and be egocentric or to be responsible, initiated men who are ready to journey with others and bring about a change in our society. A change that will return it to a culture.
What is the greatest gift my dad has bestowed upon me?
Early on, my dad was gone a lot. He worked long hours and traveled across the country for days at a time. Thus, my childhood was a journey led by a woman. A very strong woman. My mom was all that a child could wish their mother to be. Dad was there though. One distinct memory that dates back to when we lived in Montana (I was younger than six). I remember getting a bike for some occasion and was learning to ride it without training wheels. There was a small slope as you entered our front yard from one side of the house and it opened up into the wide expanse of the front yard itself. By dad stood behind me, holding the seat so that I could get a good start... and off I went. I don't remember how many times I tried and fell but I distinctly remember falling down and saying I wanted to quit at one point. My dad said no. Keep trying. And so I did, and was successful!
I remember playing catch with my dad in the front yard of the house we lived in for almost 18 years. What i don't remember is the amount of time we spent chasing after baseballs that had been over-thrown, under-thrown and widely-thrown! We would play with balls all the time! Outside, inside, footballs, baseballs, basketballs. All the time testing each other and showing off how hard we could throw or how accurately.
But dad wasn't there to teach me to build a house. He wasn't there to tell me about girls. He wasn't there to help me answer some tough questions at a time when I was asking tough questions. My childhood and adolescence was a time of short clips of dad, but mostly a dad who was working. And he worked hard.
As I look back and struggle with the idea that my dad wasn't there, I wonder if that is true. The older I get and the more clear my understanding of what actually happened and who my dad is, the more I realize who he is, has stuck with me on a deeper level. My dad is not a man of fanfare and wide acclaim. He gets done what he's supposed to get done and looks on. He is a compassionate man who never expects a thank you. He works with his heart, and gives with his heart.
The gifts that my dad has bestowed upon me are not necessarily the gifts of the hands or the feet. But the principles behind those gifts. Dad has showed me how to use those gifts with my heart and with a principle that does leaves little room for egocentrism and selfishness. Dad's gifts to me are ones that allow me to pull everything together and give back to my community with the purpose and conviction that promises growth and development.