I just finished Doug Wilson’s book on fathering with a friend of mine. We walked through a chapter each week–with the exception of a couple chapters (more on that below).
Wilson argues that we need to understand the fatherhood of God before we understand our roles as earthly fathers. He writes, “Perhaps our world is as broken as it is because our understanding of fatherhood was shattered first” (2). Further, the anemia we see in our culture today, even among professing Christians, is because of a rampant atheism when it comes to fathering. Sons have rebelled against their Father. As a result, our affection for our Father cools and we are left to our own interpretation of the world–right and wrong.
In light of Scripture and God’s fatherhood, men are primarily called to provide and protect. “Men don’t carry things because they happen to have broad shoulders. They have broad shoulders because God created them to carry things” (10). Pithy statements like this are replete in Father Hunger. Wilson provokes and challenges. Sometimes he provokes, it seems, for the sake of being provocative.
For example, must we really repent for the sins of our father–in an actual sense, not metaphorical, mind you (17)? Should National Geographic really be lumped in with trying to propagate a denial of the Creator (136)? Sure, a bald affirmation of macro-evolution denies the Maker (Rom 1), but is it most helpful to generalize so much? After all, their photo shots are exquisite and unknowingly, at times, exalt the Creator by offering them for us to witness. Is it most helpful to characterize the feminist movement as a bald attack on fatherhood? I think nuance could be helpful here in gaining a hearing. I doubt, after all, that all feminists are seeking to dethrone men because they desire to be on the throne. Could it be that they are reacting against actual despots in their own lives?
For all these question marks in the margin of my copy, there are many more exclamation points. Wilson’s final chapters–“Some Father Mechanics,” ch. 13, particularly–was exceptional. I believe this chapter alone merits the price of the book. It would benefit every church to have their leadership (male and female) read this chapter and answer the questions at the end of the chapter.