In a culture that a man's career seems to be the defining characteristic of his life my father has an odd job and it has thus far made me an odd son. Every man will be nodding his head when I say this, but in less than 60 seconds from introducing yourself to another man whom you have never met, someone will inevitably ask you "so what do you do for a living". Most of us hate this questions but just cannot refrain from asking it. It is almost a space filler for awquard first moments in social situations. What are we suppose to say? Nice T shirt? Where did you get those boots? Do you like my beard? Uh....nope not gonna happen. Instead we probably think that we can gauge a lot about the kind of guy that we may be speaking to asking him to sum up how he spends most of his time. However this is such a crappy way to begin to understand what makes a man tick or to gauge weather we like him or not. Let's just continue to assume that a man's career is his highest aspiration and a direct reflection of his dreams. No thanks!
Being the son of a preacher is not the simplest kind of young man to be. But not because of the typical things that a preachers kid tolerates :moving often , big families, extended church families and never ending preacher jokes. In my mind being his son is very close to being the son of a professional jello wrestler. The jello wrestler never has to doubt that the ring will be full of jello and that things will soon be sticky but (or at least i imagine) probably doesn't get to pick the flavor.
My daddy is not just a preacher. Lots of men are, but rather his craft requires a very different skill set. He is less of a pastor and becomes more of a cultural engineer every day. For example my dad stood in front of a congregation this week and asked this question "If america has been a christian nation for the last 500 years shouldn't our country be better than it is now if Christianity is so great? When did the christian american church begin to care more about growing an economy than acting like Jesus?"
Do you think that is easy to say for a preacher/ pastor/ cultural engineer? I have to admit sitting in that chair listening to him preach I was sucked back into my chair hair blown back in a little shock but could feel my chest swell with pride to be his. And make no mistake i belong to him and he to me. I've had the catbird seat as far as i'm concerned. I was born when he was 20 years old so I have had a little bit of perspective watching him change from 3 piece suit red letter edition bible kind of preacher to theologian, then again to medical ethics and then become a fully immersed friend and mentor. The one constant to being the son of a preacher is we have always been in the jello. Mentoring his children that there are things in this world that are constant and you can bet the farm on. Even though the flavor of the jello may change as we grow older and gain compassion there are more important things that define us. His career choices are not defining and I would boldly say even his thoughts aren't defining of who he is , but his faith in the good things, the simple things, the real things have always been steadfast.
Wrestle on Daddy.