It was a moment frozen in time, as if all things in all places stood still in awe of the innocence held in my arms. It was a beautiful moment in which I was privileged to commune. I looked at my wife and saw my hero.
Nothing else mattered.
Then the moment ended and the real soul work began.
I fell down into a chair, exhausted and thinking to myself, “How on earth can people do that more than once?”
I then started to freak out a bit. I was overwhelmed by the prospect that I was to play a significant role in this child’s life. The innocence I had just held in my arms was absolutely terrifying.
Strangely enough, I remembered a book I read. Out of all the books on parenting I worked through, the one that carried the most significance to me was a novel by Cormack McCarthy called The Road.
It is a story about a man and his boy thrown into a cannibalistic, post-apocalyptic world. Anything goes. No rules. Just survive. They walk together with their cart down an old interstate highway looking for a place of refuge. It is just the man and his boy.
There is no food. The landscape is rugged, and there are gangs of cannibals travelling the roads looking for ‘food.’ Yet, as if faithful to an old world that no longer exists, the man refuses to be a cannibal even to the brink of starvation. He stunningly teaches his son of a different morality and ethic of a world past while fully and completely protecting his son from the violence of the new post-apocalyptic reality. They march to the beat of a different drum.
The man is navigating a dualism between two worlds, his present reality, and the different world of his past. He was not only teaching his son how to survive, but he was teaching his son how to live. This book ultimately posed the question to me, “How will you teach your son to live?”
In John chapter 17, Jesus prays these words on behalf of his disciples:
I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.
Jesus was aware of this reality. Oriented to the Kingdom, the way Jesus lived his life in first century Palestine meant death on the cross. The disciples knew this; they faced persecution because they marched to the beat of a different drum. The way in which the Man and his boy lived meant that they could very well die.
I have learned that being a parent passing on faith to a child is a subversive act to a predominantly post-Christendom world. It is equipping my boy(s) to see the world with a divine imagination, of a world not-quite-yet in a particular time and place.
Here we are, staring down a due date for our second son IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS. I am attempting to mentally prepare myself for delivery and desperately praying for the health of my infant son and heroic wife. Yet amidst all the emotion and uncertainty, I find myself thinking again about being a follower of Jesus in a post-Christian landscape. Faith in a sovereign God who is all loving empowers a different kind of thinking, different kind of being, and Again as we add to our family, I hope I can teach my son(s) about reconciliation, shalom, and grace.