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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Let's imagine a creative future with God and each other together. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Fathers' Day with No Father

Yesterday I celebrated my first Fathers' Day without a father. I don't recall my dad ever making too big a deal out of Fathers' Day. I remember buying some gifts that said "No. 1 Dad!" or some such thing, and we probably had grilled meats, but mostly it was just another day. I would call him, though, these last years we lived in separate states, but that was about it.

Yesterday wasn't all that much different than most Fathers' Days (we don't do gifts much anymore, we seemed to have gotten out of the habit for all holidays), so I preached, worked in the garden, Maddy called and we talked soccer, and Rachel and I watched "Game of Thrones." Great Father-Daughter bonding that show! It's like going to the Renaissance Festival except with all the gory violence and misogyny to pick your way around...

And a Dad died on the show last night...and that's where the story gets interesting. First off, I love this show  I watch it twice every Sunday because I want to try and figure it out. (I haven't read the books, and have made plans to do so after the TV show ends. Although I do read one internet blog "Ask the Maester" on Grantland which explains what happened the night before using the books as a guide. You might say I have a bit of an addiction.) But anyhow, a couple of weeks ago, I had a dream...

One of the characters (my second favorite) Tyrion  has just had his "champion" Oberyn Martell lose a battle to "The Mountain," and was sentenced by his father to die. It's somewhat complicated to explain, but this is not the first time the father, Tywinn, has been cruel to his son. In fact, it seems like he's cruel to his son on just about every episode. Guy's a putz...but with power and money.

That night, after Tyrion is sentenced to death, I dreamed that Tyrion and I were trying to repair a dirt road that was constantly being washed out by rain, and we could never get very far along before all our work was washed away. We were heading to a big house (a colonial with big arches on the front porch--I think it was the house the Barkleys lived in in the "Big Valley" TV show.) Anyhow, all of a sudden, my dad (he died this past January) shows up and says "Guys, over here." And he leads us on a path we hadn't seen towards the house. As we are walking along, Tyrion points to my dad and says, "I never had one of these." I woke up immediately and realized how the show had to end this season. Because, you see, although Tyrion was a son, Tywinn had never been a "father." In order for Tyrion (and the show) to have made sense this season, Tyrion would have to kill the man who made him a "son." He would have to kill his father.

But it was just a dream. Chris actually thought Tyrion's brother Jaimie would kill Tywinn, and others, who hadn't read the books, thought that way as well. Those I'd talked to who have read the books (remember: possible addiction) would just nod and say stuff like "interesting." Anyhow, last night Tyrion killed Tywinn.
And also even more interestingly, throughout their last conversation, Tywinn always claimed Tyrion as his son, but never once did he claim to be his "father." As he tried and pleaded for his life never once did he say, "I'm your father." (Compare this to the famous Star Wars reveal where Darth Vader claims his role as "father.") Because he never was Tryrion's father. As Tyrion said in my dream, "I never had one of these." The "these" was a dad. And I had a great one. And in "Game of Thrones" Tyrion never had one at all.

What I learned from my Dad was that being a Father did not mean having a son or daughter. Being a Father means helping your children to be the people God invites them to be. A Father is all about guiding and leading a child to be kind, hopeful, generous, beautiful, trusting, honorable, noble, and loving. I know my Dad tried to show me down paths like these...I can only hope to find those paths. And those are the paths I want for my daughters, and when I look at them, I realize the biggest difference between my dad and me...I have much better children to work with than he did. 

May your tables be full and your conversations be true.

1 comment:

Chris said...

You should have given us a "spoiler alert!" We will have to watch the show again when I get home - Nice blog though! Happy Father's Day!