Father’s Way (Walk In It)
In the face of children declaring to their parents any number of LGBTQ+ selves, I always listen for the father’s response. Not much to hear. The man who helped make them is either absent or mute.
I am convinced: rainbow confusion can only be clarified by good fathers.
Jesus shows us Father God who first envisioned us and fights for our best. Human fathers can reflect something of His divine face. Children cry out for this. We the created need fathers ‘in the flesh’ who reveal an image greater than our hunger, superior to our strengths to which our own lives can be united and restored.
Men who incarnate fatherhood well embody what psychologists call ‘salience’: a fusion of strength and tenderness. Attuned to sensitive souls, salient fathers meet us in our divides and confusing needs; in kindness, they coax us out of shame, into confession of our conflicts. They can help us take next steps in the right direction.
Good strength commands respect. Wayward hearts discover in good fathers the security of being second. Maybe we’ve never had that privilege! At once indulged and alone, we need a fighting chance to surmount our limited ‘LGBTQ+’ horizon. Good fathers help us resume the journey to wholeness, a stern and splendid path on which we refuse childish things and reach for more.
Good fathers are key to our realizing the virtue of magnanimity—believing in our dormant greatness and disciplining ourselves to realize it. Let me introduce you to two such fathers, and a glimpse of their fruitfulness.
Father Paul Check just celebrated his 25th year as a priest. Marco and I had the privilege of honoring him along with 500 members of Christ who each count themselves as having been fathered by this man. I knew many there from the Courage and Encourage family (Fr. Paul led that apostolate for a decade); marrieds and singles, aging parents holding fast to a wandering adult child’s best and young parents ensuring their toddlers don’t wander off, each increasingly clear and chaste and hopeful through Paul’s fathering. Salient in truth.
Swiss pastor Werner Loertscher parlayed one Living Waters group in Paris to a national movement. He has pastorally impacted thousands in France while prophetically incurring the wrath of the French government. Strange. He doesn’t come out of homosexuality yet has allowed Jesus to take him down to the end of himself so he can comfort anyone with the comfort Jesus gives him. He and wife Charlotte have immersed cities throughout France, French-speaking Switzerland, and French Guiana in ‘living water’ over the last 26 years.
78 going on 60, Werner wisely passed his baton to excellent leader Claude Riess. Yet his fathering lives on in leaders who serve in a culture actively hostile to their compassion. Werner and his faithful ‘children’ count all resistance, including death threats, a cross they would die on.
Both Fr. Paul and Pastor Werner are salient; they father divided children well. When they ask us to follow them as they follow the Lord (1 Cor. 11:1), we are wise to do so. Grace to know our trues selves, and to endure hardship, is liberated by good fathers.