Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Blue Like Jazz

A couple years ago I was blown away by a book I found on the clearance table at Family (the only good stuff at Christian bookstores tends to be on the clearance rack). It was called "Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance" written by Donald Miller. What impressed me the most is that his writing style is unmatched. He effortlessly blends true stories with theological treatise. In Blue Like Jazz the setting has changed. Don uses events in his life to talk about theological concepts. His first chapter introduces his childhood where he talks about being raised only seeing his Father three times.

Growing up in a single parent house I understand some of what he went through. He says when he was young he remembers the years between phone calls and then magically he would spend a weekend with his dad. After sixth grade to phone calls stopped. Luckily for me the phone calls never stopped. I do remember the phone calls saying "I'm comming" living in Idaho made travel tough but I remember the hours I would spend perched on the couch waiting for a car or a call. Just hoping he would not call to say he wasn't coming. When I was a child I was not close to my Father either. I loved him I desperately wanted to spend time together. One year I saved up money from my paper route to buy tickets to a Mariner game. I used what money I had to buy things for him so he'd know I cared. But our relationship was still distant. Within the next 18 months Tolani and I are planning on having a child so I will be a Father. I can only promise to not be a distant father.

Back to Blue. Don uses his story to talk about something very few people understand.

Today I wonder why it is God refers to Himself as “Father” at all. This, to me, in
light of the earthly representation of the role, seems a marketing mistake. Why would
God want to call Himself Father when so many fathers abandon their children?
As a child, the title Father God offered an ambiguous haze with which to interact.
I understood what a father did as well as I understood the task of a shepherd. All the
vocabulary about God seemed to come from an ancient history, before video games,
Palm Pilots, and the Internet.

Why do the vast majority of Christians and the Bible use this Father analogy? I hate it. But if I said "in the name of the Mother, the Son, and the Holy Spirit" I would be branded a heretic. It would be worse then any of my thoughts and there must be some actual heresy to some of them. The whole Father thing really sucks though, but so would mother, damn I hate language.


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