Father's Day From the Pulpit: A Crucial Message
Father's Day is coming and our national church response will be predictable.
Will you have the dads stand up? Will you pray for them? Will you show a funny YouTube video? Maybe have some classic cars or motorcycles on the patio? Maybe you will fire up some BBQ and serve up some beef.
This picnic will follow a message out of the can focused on the importance of dads, leadership or family. There's a file with the label "dads" or "father's day" on it or there's always the "act like men" passage from 1 Corinthians 16. I know you are going to do something for your guys, but the more important question is: Will it reflect reality, activate your men and launch a visible wave of men's community at your urging?
Probably not. The weekend will pass and you will pass right by the elephant in the room—the fatherless factor in your own community and congregation.
Unless you live in another galaxy, there are plenty of recent events and cable news commentaries highlighting the epidemic of unmentored young adult men wreaking havoc. Bored, unsupervised, fatherless boys of all colors have been to policemen what "unaccounted for" uranium represents to counter-terrorism worldwide—a threat to peace, to innocent people, and a major problem that demands attention.
Among boys, all it takes to "weaponize" the plentiful supply of youth-ranium in our country today is a really bad idea offered in vacuum of mentors and moral convictions. Deep within the brain at the center of a recent "boys gone evil" news story, a spark was felt, a neuron fired and words were expressed that were terrifying. "I got it!" he says. "Wouldn't it be cool if ... we killed someone?" The idea is welcomed and executed without filters and without objection by his other fatherless friends. This is gonna be fun.
Meet the lost boys.
The boys in this story have been on their own since they were little and have remained on their own as boys hoping to become men. They have been unsupervised and un-mentored by any male figure as long they can remember. The macabre and toxic excitement rising from this deadly brainstorm mentioned above is not just about a lazy summer, it's about becoming men in a cesspool of broken male culture, character, and conduct that becomes the norm for lost boys.
This broken culture produces beliefs (about self and others) and behaviors shaped by peer angst and self-loathing instead of fatherly concern and modeling. The result: broken male culture that trains young men to act selfishly and separate their hearts from their heads when a decision they make impacts others negatively. It's called alexithymia. Look it up. The root words that form the word mean to "repel" (alexo) and "the soul" (thumos). It is a picture of being emotionally dead.
Fatherlessness is creating these types of boys by the millions with multiplied billions of their social interactions creating a titanic wave of injustice and trauma for themselves and scores of innocent people. Emotionally unaware and socially detached, these boys cannot connect their actions with the feelings of others.
This emotional compartmentalization provides the inner freedom and sanction necessary to kill, make others suffer and then talk about it objectively like the young men in this case. The police interviews with the boys in our story are surreal. They talk about killing a man the way a person would describe building a roast beef sandwich. It's on the level of "We were hungry, so we ate."