Well Fathered Strike Force
Gutter to glory stories have become cool in the last few decades. There are many stories of badly unfathered men who became icons in the fathering movement.
Far less celebrated are those who have had excellent fathering and were able to build on that in their lives and in the Kingdom.
Frankly, the counseling community and the HR community do not even have good language for what "Well fathered" produces in a man or a woman.
If you are new to that concept, the album "An MRI of Fathering" explores the sequence of seven facets of good fathering. This is an adaptation of Jim Wilder's excellent work on the topic.
That album focuses on the process while "The Office of Personhood" has a LOT of process tools available, but is overtly about the product: being in the offices of personhood, son/daughter and man/woman.
Many of you have experienced fathering by God when you grew up in a dysfunctional home. Your slot will be in the next set of seven strike forces.
For this one, I am looking for men and women who were well fathered by their earthly father, in one of the seven points from "An MRI of Fathering" or one of the three offices mentioned above.
If you have an abundance of solid areas, all the better, but for now, I am just looking for a single area that you can confidently stand on and celebrate your wholeness.
Our Christian culture does not have much of a venue for celebrating wholeness. When was the last time you have been invited to share in a live setting or in writing, something beautiful and wholesome in your life? Or the process God used to get you there?
Many do share their story AT THEIR OWN INITIATIVE, in a blog or book or podcast, but that is not the same as someone seeking you out and asking what is right about you and how your parents produced that in you.
I have never done this kind of strike force before (Yay for new) but I have some fascinating strategies to celebrate the spiritual life that flows from wholeness, as a blessing of presence.
I think the blessing of presence produced by our celebration of the art of fathering, could shift the environment significantly. How? No clue.
But I sure am game for finding out!
Copyright by Arthur Burk
When you applied for this strike force, you wrote describing some aspect of your life that were solid, due to good fathering.
Most of the people who desperately need a transformed heart at this event, have glaring father-wounds, blocking them from receiving and responding to the love God shows them.
Thus, you are quite a strategic strike force, as you bring the strength of your journey, against the damage in theirs.
There are a million faces to fathering. I don’t expect any one of you to be able to push back all the wounds of all the unfathered people there, so let’s develop a mindset of going deep, not wide.
Assume you are warring for five or ten people who have a stronghold that YOU were prepared to take down.
For this first exercise, I would like you to draw out three things from your own journey.
-First, language one to three things that are assets in you, the result of good fathering.
-Second, see if you can deconstruct the process by which that happened.
For example, I am relatively unafraid of problems in need of a solution. Part of my good fathering is the freedom to fail several times, on the way to success. Dad was very mellow about many of my experiments that did not deliver, and would talk through what ‘the next step’ was that would move me closer to the goal.
So put clean language (in your head) for how you got that asset.
-Third, study the issue of intimacy through the grid of that asset and process. In what ways are you able to leverage THAT item, into intimacy?
Again, problem solving. If I HAD to get it right or be punished, I would have to solve things on my own. Since I had huge latitude to learn through a process, I had the freedom to go to Dad and brainstorm strategies. There was intimacy in my problem-solving process, not fear.
Once you have gotten to that point, go back to the beginning and put language to the brokenness that would be the theoretical opposite of your wholeness.
So, for my illustration, fear of failure would block a person from experiencing the intimacy God was offering.
Once you are at that point, pray for the handful of individuals who have a wound exactly the opposite of your strength.
From your position of strength, ask God to hack their real, experiential firewall – a father who blasted them for imperfection – and remove that card from the devil’s hand, before they arrive at the event, so they can receive from Father.
No one has uniform intimacy with others. We have to pick our point of connection with each person.
With Paul, I can talk for hours about books and the compulsion to buy books we don’t have time to read. I wouldn’t discuss carpentry with him.
With Amy, I can discuss God meeting us in the place of broken dreams and creating dramatic healing in short periods of time. Every time we connect, there is a new healed place we can explore and celebrate. I wouldn’t discuss the impact of the redemptive gift mix on the government of the EU during the formative years of the 20th century.
Same with us and God. Each person experiences intimacy differently.
Don Potter knows intimacy with God around music as an instrument of change. He could tell a hundred stories about going into a context with scattered emotions and conflicted spirits. He experiments with this chord, that theme, and soon the Spirit tells his spirit where the key to the spiritual structure is that day. He savors the process as he executes the product with sound.
Have you noticed I don’t have music at my events? I can’t do that. I don’t know the God of Music as an Instrument of Change.
He does. Big time.
Am I less-than, for not having THAT flavor of intimacy with God?
Not less-than, just different.
Betcha Don Potter has never smelled sassafras wood being run through a jointer nor has he met the Creator in that fragrance. (Smells like root beer because that is what root beer comes from – sassafras roots. Most beer is made from fruit, not roots!)
The devil knows every person’s language of love in terms of connecting with God.
And God has a plan and a strategy to make a fool out of the devil, by bringing people to intimacy in a unique way.
Let’s take a two-pronged approach here.
First ask God to cleanse the intimacy “portals” He has designed into each person who will be at the seminar, and each one who will be listening to the audio. Restore the intimacy connection points that have been marginalized.
Second, create the right hunger. I can only go so long without touching wood, then I have to go make progress on some project, even if it is only ten minutes, doing the next step. In preparation for a divine encounter, ask God to ramp up the hunger for intimacy in each person’s own key of music.
Third, pray for supernatural encounters that lead to intimacy for those who have been unfathered or who had their capacity for intimacy severely damaged by their father.
I grew up with a mysterious dynamic called “your place.”
Many times I could see something wrong and wanted to speak into it, but was vigorously warned by my mother that “it is not your place” to speak to that person about that problem.
Times have certainly changed and every blowfish these days feels free to publicly call out anyone, anywhere, about anything or nothing.
But setting that aside, when a person has been battered for a long period of time, they sometimes embrace a small place as a right place.
Look at the difference between Ruth and David.
Ruth knew her place. Woman. Gentile. Barren widow. Po’. A commodity who should keep her head down, her mouth shut, stay out of the limelight and just work hard to support her mother-in-law.
When Boaz loudly announced that social media was full of chatter about her amazing character and he was thrilled to have her in HIS field, she freaked out. She literally went on her face in the field and meekly informed him that her place in the social structure was so low, he shouldn’t even be talking to her, much less valuing her.
Contrast that to David. He was part of the family genetically, but functionally he was a low value commodity, exiled to work the high risk job, alone, while his upscale brothers lived life in the fast lane and dissed him and his character.
They were particularly offended because David did not stay in his place. When David skipped protocol and addressed the king directly, he said, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” I Samuel 17:32 NKJV
And he delivered.
Even though he had been repetitively put down by the culture, he believed in the gifts of God in him, and was able to step into his moment in history, from a low place to a high place, in a single step.
Mary and both Josephs were also able to do that. The four fishermen. And others.
But the world is still full of Ruths.
She was designed by God to not only be a one percenter, but to inject into the Messiah’s bloodline something God could not find in Israel. That IS who she was. But she felt her place was face down in the dirt.
There are a bunch of David’s coming to this event. They are sure this is their moment of destiny. They are ready to step into a supernatural heart transplant.
All good. May their faith be rewarded and may every single one of them leave massively transformed.
My heart is for the Ruths who will be there. They “know” their place, and are coming quietly, hoping that there is a crumb or two that will help them make a step or two in the right direction.
I have often pondered the whiplash of Ruth’s journey. From face down in the dirt, she went home and told Naomi the shocking event. It sounded like Ruth was planning to find a different field to glean in the next day.
To her surprise, Naomi was over the top excited and spun out some tale about shirttail relatives, inherited land and what not, encouraging her to stay with the guy, and follow his crew from field to field.
Then at the end of harvest – probably a very few weeks from when she first met Boaz – Naomi instructed her to crash the party, wait until Boaz was drunk then propose marriage to him.
He bit and fast tracked the inheritance bit.
From face in the dirt to marrying the biggest landowner in the area in a few weeks time.
What did she feel through that process? Probably ten thousand raging emotions.
How did she walk through it all?
Apparently, only because she trusted Naomi, and was willing to allow herself to be acted on by her.
Let’s stand in Naomi’s shadow for all the Ruths who are coming with extremely low expectations.
I think of the father of the epileptic boy who said, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.”
He clearly had enough faith to come and to stay when the nine were useless. He clearly did not have enough faith to heal the boy himself.
And Jesus CLEARLY was willing to accept what he brought, and to complete the faith package with His own faith.
An epic story.
Clearly each Ruth coming to the event has some trust in God, or they would not come. We who have been blessed with a far richer experience with our Father, can add our faith to theirs, and to call forth the ability for all the Ruths to stay the course when God moves in them, in ways far bigger than they ever asked for or expected.
Let’s not let a single Ruth run away from a monstrous engagement with God, just because they think they know their place – face in the dirt.