Ode to Fathers and Dads!

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“Ode to Fathers and Dads”

Father’s Day 2015

By Deborah Church Worley

There are fathers who are tall, there are fathers who are short;

there are fathers who drive tractors, there are fathers who play sports.

There are fathers who have moustaches, there are fathers who have beards;

there are fathers who like to be liked by their kids, while others prefer to be feared!

There are fathers whose work is chemistry, engineering, physics, or math;

there are fathers who like to take showers, while some prefer a bath.

There are fathers who are late sleepers, while some fathers like to rise early;

there are fathers without a single hair on their head, some with hair that’s thick & curly.

There are fathers who wear glasses, there are those who sing off-key;

there are fathers who fight fires, there are fathers who like to read.

There are fathers who tend to drive too fast, and fathers who tend to run late;

there are fathers who like to keep the peace, while some love a lively debate.

There are fathers who like to drink coffee, there are fathers who love a cold beer;

there are fathers who like to look at the stars when the sky is dark and clear.

There are fathers like to spend money, there are fathers who like to save;

there are fathers who live to follow the rules, while some like to misbehave.

I could go on and on, of  course–there really are all kinds of fathers!

But I won’t, since the last thing I want to do is to be any kind of a bother!

But before you go, a few thoughts about dads. . . although you may think

there’s no difference;

You may be right, perhaps there’s not. . . but how about this, for instance?

“Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.”

There are dads who play with their kids, no matter how much they have to do;

there are dads who stick by their children, no matter what they put them through.

There are dads who laugh with their kids, and teach them life is not all hard work;

there are dads who work with their kids, showing them responsibility

is not a thing to be shirked.

There are dads who teach their kids respect, for themselves and all others, too,

that each person has an inherent worth, no matter what they do.

There are dads who reach beyond themselves and teach their kids to care by example,

who show by doing what it means to give, that opportunities to share goodness are ample!

There are dads who listen, who take the time to find out what’s on their kids’ minds,

and in so doing, perhaps unaware, they teach them what it is to be kind.

There are dads who wait to give advice until they are actually asked,

who let their kids make their own mistakes, who are still there once the crisis has passed.

There are dads who in so many different ways show their kids they are deeply loved,

‘cause they know in their hearts that their children are gifts

from their Heavenly Father above!

There are all kinds of fathers, there are all kinds of dads;

it’s no easy job–that’s for sure!

But if you’re one or the other (or both!),

I hope in these words you can feel secure:

You are doing the best that you can, and it is enough.

You are important, you are valued, you are loved!

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!

TO BE-long to a Faith Community OR NOT TO BE-long to a Faith Community: That is the Question!

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TO BELong to a Faith Community OR NOT TO BELong to a Faith Community:

That Is the Question!

By Deborah Church Worley

May 2016

 

And no, I do not have the answer!

I know there are a lot of classic reasons to not go to church, to not belong to a faith community–church-goers/people of faith (Christians, in particular, it seems) are perceived and/or experienced as hypocrites and judgmental….Sunday is the only morning families have to sleep in and/or hang out together….the sermons are too long and/or boring and/or irrelevant….the music is outdated and/or boring and/or irrelevant….faith in God is for the unthinking and/or unintelligent, for people who need a crutch to get through life….etc., etc., etc.

In asking friends and relatives for additional suggestions regarding reasons to not go to church, I learned of more–for example:  “when being there is toxic to spirit and soul” [due to theology, priorities, hypocrisy]….“When you feel lonely, isolated, and uncared for in spite of attempting to reach out to others”….“When the God that is followed there is too small”…. “Too conservative and not gay-friendly or too ‘free-spirited’ [and no structure]”…. “Not wanting to finance an institution that does things I don’t support”… “lack of respect for diverse opinions or views”… “lack of support or insight into real-life issues”… “hijacking of church by extreme conservatives on abortion, marriage equality”…and more!

Certainly many valid reasons.  Many certainly valid reasons.  There is no doubt that a strong case can be made for not going to church, for not belonging to a community of faith.

Can an equally strong case be made to go to church in these times?  Are there equally valid reasons to belong to a faith community in today’s society?  Simply going to church because it’s what you did growing up isn’t always (ever?) enough; going to church just because it’s what you’re supposed to do on Sunday morning doesn’t hold much water any more.  In the face of so many and such compelling reasons not to, can a case be made, today, to be a person of faith, who belongs to a community of faith?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and the answers have not come quickly or easily.

Which may be surprising, given that I am an ordained Minister in the United Church of Christ!  Not to mention a “cradle Methodist,” having grown up attending a United Methodist Church with my family, having sought out and attended a Methodist church when I was an exchange student for a year in Brazil, and having attended a United Methodist seminary (Go Boston University School of Theology!).  I also spent two years as a United Methodist young adult missionary at the United Methodist-related McCurdy School in Espanola, NM, and later served as a part-time pastor at a lovely little adobe United Methodist mission church in El Rito, NM, while also serving as the Chaplain at the aforementioned McCurdy School, having returned after seminary!  Did I mention that I am a “cradle Methodist”???  

And so I figure that if even I, former lifelong church attendee/missionary/seminary student/chaplain/youth pastor/ordained minister, can have doubts about–or at least be seriously asking myself and others–what are the reasons to go to church, to belong to a faith community, there might be others who are, too.

I will offer several reflections, therefore, as part, hopefully, of what is already an ongoing, genuine conversation and, yes, the struggle surrounding the question:

“TO BE-long to a Faith Community OR NOT TO BE-long to a Faith Community?”

Stay tuned!  🙂