Earthly Fathers, Our Heavenly Father & A Contest

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.'” Romans 8:15

Father’s Day Celebration

As Christians, we–make that I–often forget just how startling it would have been for Jesus’ followers to hear Him call upon God as His Father.  A God whose very name had at times been thought unspeakable.  A God who shook Mt. Sinai and parted the Red Sea.  A God who holds the heavenly bodies in their orbits and who speaks in thunder.

But of course, unlike any other man, Jesus is God’s Son.  And as we are found in Christ, our elder brother by faith, we too become children of the living God.  What a truly unspeakable privilege!

Our fathers here on earth, though, have the special privilege of teaching us about our heavenly Father.  And while that may look like catechism memorization or leading family devotions, it can also be in deed.  A father who wraps his arms around his son after a disappointment or makes surprisingly good pizza for the fam so that mom can take a night off for Bible Study.

Guest Authors

During the next two weeks, we’ll be exploring fatherhood, primarily with two Christian authors we are thrilled to share with you.  Jonathan Rogers’s work has been called C.S. Lewis meets Mark Twain, and his most recent book, The Charlatan’s Boy, was described this way by secular Publisher’s Weekly: “The unusual settings and characters keep the surprises coming, while Rogers’s lovely descriptions and distinctive voice keep the pages turning….” Our second guest, Douglas Bond has written nearly twenty books, and one of which is perfectly titled for today’s topic: Fathers and Sons, Volume 1: Stand Fast in the Way of Truth.  You can read more about his very manly work at his website,  We look forward to telling you more about these authors in the days to come!

A Contest

Click on the comments below and tell us something you learned from your earthly father or father-figure about our Heavenly Father.  (Faithfulness, kindness, love for nature via weekends spent fly-fishing…)

Some of us can’t do that because, sadly, our relationship with Dad wasn’t that good.  I once heard about a young woman whose home life was so dysfunctional she got her best views of fatherhood from TV–specifically, Jim Anderson of Father Knows Best (one argument in favor of sentimental sit-coms).  So, if it’s easier, tell us something you learned about fatherhood from a fictional father–either in a book, movie, or TV show.  Next week we’ll select a few of the best responses to receive books by Douglas Bond and Jonathan Rogers.  Let the games begin!

While we’re on the topic of parenting, you may have missed our Mother’s Day post by Emily, or a look back at homeschooling in The Graduate by Janie.  Or sample the parenting wisdom of some of our readers in What Would You Do Differently?



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11 Responses to Earthly Fathers, Our Heavenly Father & A Contest

  1. Corinne June 22, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    My Grandpa Bob was the most selfless and giving man I have ever known. My grandmother was crippled for 3/4 of her life (I never know her to walk), and my grandfather never failed to care for her. He bathed and dressed her, did all the cooking and cleaning, refitted a camper so they could take us grandkids camping and so much more. He truly exemplified the importance of sacrifice in marriage, keeping his vows to the end of his days. What a wonderful legacy of a faithful, devoted and loving marriage he showed us! My Grandma Hazel also lived out her faith, enduring daily pain and the loss of mobility with humbleness and acceptance, yet remaining joyful throughout her life. I miss them so!

  2. Kathy June 18, 2011 at 12:54 am #

    I’d say CS Lewis is an intellectual father-figure for me: he cuts through jargon/relativism with clarity to point towards truth and then sends me off to sleep at night with lovely, adventurous tales.

    I wish all dads would take the time to nourish their children with both ideas and fun.

  3. Chris June 17, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    As a father to three young children, there are often times where I wish I could draw on some wisdom passed down from my earthly father. And if not explicit wisdom, at least recall an experience or moment in time from my past where my earthly father modeled for me the role of a father. But I can’t because my earthly father was absent. He chose to walk out of my life when I was five years old, never to return.

    However, as I tried to come up with an answer to your question, I realize that even through his absence, my earthly father taught me a vital lesson. He reinforced an innate desire that I have always had to have and know a father. I believe that it is this desire that was used of God to soften my heart and draw me to Himself.

    The absence of my imperfect, never present, and unloving earthly father is one of the primary drivers that encouraged me to seek a relationship with my perfect, ever-present, and loving Heavenly Father.

    For that, I am eternally grateful.

  4. Janie June 17, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    Beautiful, Charles–Thank you!

  5. Charles Atkinson June 17, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    Thank you for hosting this and conducting the interviews. I just read your interview with Jonathan Rogers and really enjoyed it.

    My father has taught me a lot about my heavenly father, in word and deed. Last year for Father’s Day I wrote this poem for him [I hope the formatting works!]:

  6. Michelle L. June 16, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    My dad has spent over forty years as pastor in the same little church preaching and ministering to the elderly and unprivileged. Although he has gone through many hard times as pastor there his love for God’s unchanging truth inspires him to persevere. He has few earthly riches but has surely laid up treasure in Heaven where moth and rust do not corrupt nor thieves break in and steal.

  7. Jessica B. June 15, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

    I come from a broken home and lots of dysfunction. But I have a dad who has shown me how to forgive. I look at the depth of his forgiveness and wonder how he has the grace to forgive and am reminded that the forgiveness God offers is so much bigger and stronger than even my dad’s! I am thankful for the hardships of our past because they serve as a reminder of the power of the cross.

  8. Marlo June 15, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    I’m so blessed to have the dad I do: hardworking, fun-loving, forgiving, thought-provoking, God-fearing. He has and continues to show me glimpses of the Father in the every day faithfulness and consistent integrity he displays in his life, plus the creativity and resourcefulness he has used over the years in running a small family farm. Because of Him, I see a loving, generous Heavenly Father that cares about righteousness, yet has compassion on His creation.

  9. Jess June 10, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    My dad has unknowingly taught me to be endlessly surprised and uplifted by the love and grace of God. Papa coached my little brother’s all-star baseball team one summer. It was a tense and exciting season that resulted in him getting on his knees and praying, “God, let this team win this tournament, I love these boys so much and they deserve so much to win. I love them, God, please.” We won the tournament. And Papa cried because he found that God cared enough about him to get involved in a 9-10 yr olds’ baseball tournament.

    Ever since then I’ve found so many things like my dad found that summer, and I am constantly shocked at the things God will do for me just to say, “I love you.” My favorite band coming to my state for a concert; a much-prayed-for fine day after a week of rain so our planned hike can happen; a wonderful project that I thought had no hope funded and over-funded; a blazing shooting star flying across the sky just as the first words of a song I love cover my arms with goosebumps. I never know until after the storm, but when it comes, I see how marvelous love is.

    Thank you, Papa. Without you I would have missed those bursts of wonder at God’s everlasting love and grace.

  10. emily June 9, 2011 at 7:08 am #

    That is such a sweet comment, Arline. I’ll pray for your father this week.

    I think one thing my dad taught me was to take risks. To overcome my fear and get out in the real world and just try. I saw my dad try many things–including hiking, fly-fishing, skiing, even a version of hang-gliding–and he wasn’t always the best at those things. But he wasn’t afraid to mess up. He didn’t mind other people thinking he looked silly. And he encouraged me to be the same way. Not that it totally sunk in. But I would never have had the courage to start this blog without his influence, and his life’s testimony that God doesn’t need us to be perfect to be able to use us.

  11. Arline Erven June 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    My daddy is not a believer, but he’s always said, “You can’t look out at creation and not believe there’s a god.” So close, daddy. So close.

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