I visited a friend in the hospital yesterday. As I approached the reception area, I noticed a beautiful little boy accompanied by a couple that might have been his grandparents. This cherub couldn’t have been more than four years old. Round-faced with pinchable cheeks, big brown eyes and a fresh haircut, boyfriend couldn’t stand still, as the receptionist prepared the badges permitting them in the patient rooms. He was busy, busy, busy.
Suddenly he looked up and screamed, “Daddy!” Seconds later, he leaped into the open arms of his spittin’ image: a gorgeous brother that this child obviously adored. The little boy grasped his Dad’s cheeks and kissed him squarely in the mouth. His little fingers surveyed his Dad’s face, then rubbed his head and hugged his neck. The child was so breathless, so delighted to be with his Dad; I wondered if his parents were separated or divorced, and he hadn’t seen his father in a while.
“Are you ready to meet your little sister?” his father asked.
Ahhh, now the picture was in focus: Dad had been at the hospital with Mom through labor and childbirth, and Little Bit had stayed with his grandparents. But while their separation was a brief one, it had been much too long for this child.
It reminded me of Sasha and Malia at the Democratic Convention, when they saw their Dad on the huge monitor on stage. Remember that? You could almost feel their urge to go up to the screen and hug him. They had missed him so much.
Daddy love. More than that, it’s Daddy like—a much greater compliment to a father, in my humble opinion. Fathers can be anyone whose sperm fertilized an egg. Only fathers who treat their children well—and do it consistently, consciously and unconditionally—earn the name “Daddy.”
I’m not saying that abusive, caustic, negligent, absent and unsupportive fathers can’t be loved; they can. But rarely are they liked: Their children don’t feel an overwhelming urge to kiss their faces, rub their heads or hug their necks. These children don’t squeal with delight when they see their fathers—or jump up and down while squealing and clapping, as my daughter, Maiysha, used to do. Lordie, Lordie, that child would make so much noise when her Dad came home from work.
Most children have a deep affinity for their fathers. When they grow older, many notice that they resemble their earthly fathers, or maybe they were frequently told, “You look just like your Daddy!”
On the other hand, no one has told them that they looked like their heavenly father, God. When they look in their mirrors, they can’t see a resemblance, either. Why is that? What are we looking for?
That fascinates me, so I often ask Drama Queen Workshop participants, “What does God look like?” Their responses are always insightful.
Once, with great pride, a woman said, “When I look in the mirror, I see God. God looks like me.” Others nodded in agreement, though I noticed that none of them was a man. Perhaps it was the idea of God looking like a woman that they couldn’t accept—or maybe they had a more expansive view of what God is. Men can be great thinkers. Mean it.
In another workshop, for example, a man asked me, “Do you think God looks like something or nothing?”
My response: “I think God looks like everything. If it’s true that God is omnipresent, then there is nothing in which the spirit of God is not present.” He had no comeback. He just smiled, although I could tell that he initially intended to bait me into saying something stupid or shallow.
I’d only be in danger of that if someone had offered evidence that God has a physical body that resembles ours. Humans assumed that if we were made in God’s image, God looked like us. I can understand how ancient illiterate people concluded that. I’m not sure what our excuse is.
We believe that God resides outside of Earth’s atmosphere, yet we know indisputably that human bodies really can’t function outside of this atmosphere without special equipment such as space suits. So the likelihood that God is wearing a human body beyond Earth’s atmosphere is probably slim to none.
The ancient scribes didn’t know that, so they wrote stories claiming that the profound Jewish rabbi named Yeshua, ascended into the heavens in a body that had been brutally tortured and rendered lifeless after Roman soldiers crucified him. What, pray tell, was he going to do with that carcass, if he went where they said he went?
There’s also no evidence, aside from the conflicting texts of these scribes, that God—portrayed as both omnipresent and physically light years away, as in all ancient myths—would be so satanic as to orchestrate such an inhumane death. But many mythical gods were diabolical, so there’s a logical explanation for why they told the story this way. There’s no logic at all to why we still believe it.
You have to read books about ancient history and mythology before the light turns on and you realize what formed our beliefs—and how innocently those beliefs were formed. Everyone knew these ancient myths, so the scribes probably assumed that the rank and file would not regard their updated versions as news reporting. They were wrong. Once the religious giants at the Council of Nicea declared these books as the “Word of God,” myth mushroomed into fact. Allowing only a chosen few to read or interpret these words for more than 1,200 years cemented them into the human belief system.
Eighteen centuries after the confab at Nicea, we still believe these tales are true—and we vigorously defend the words, even though they desecrate God’s image as an unconditionally loving Father.
While discussing my first book, one woman argued, “God is sovereign! He can do anything he wants.”
I concurred. My question to her was, “But would God want to do anything inhumane or satanic?” She admitted that she hadn’t thought about that.
Perhaps, on this Father’s Day, we should think about that. Perhaps we should look at why we hold human males to a higher standard of conduct than we hold our Divine Father:
- If an earthly father raped his virgin daughter, he would be labeled a degenerate sex offender and could spend years in prison for incest.
- If an earthly father solved problems by committing acts of violence against his children, we’d label him an abusive parent and throw him in jail.
- If an earthly father plotted with others to brutally kill his only child by allowing others to nail him to a cross and subject him to three days of excruciating pain, we’d call him hateful and satanic, and our outcry for justice would be deafening.
- If an earthly father had a multitude of children who repeatedly committed crimes and hurt others, and he decided to stop them by killing his only good child, we’d label him criminally insane and send him away forever.
- If an earthly father kicked his naughty kids out of the only home they’d ever known, and banished them to the wilderness without any survival skills or visible means of support, we’d think he was demented, demonic—or both—and we’d press to convict him for child abuse (after we garnished his wages for lack of child support).
- If an earthly father told his kids to forgive others’ sins 70 times seven, but threatened to punish his kids’ sins with unending torture, we’d call him a hypocrite.
- If that same father told his kids not to kill others, but he was guilty of genocide, we’d lock up the hypocrite and throw away the key.
- If an earthly father,who had a huge mansion and lots of children, gave a known demon total control of those children’s thoughts and behavior, we’d move heaven and earth to free those kids from the gip of the demon and deprogram them so that they could function normally and harmlessly in society.
- If that same father declared that only the kids who outsmarted the demonic caretaker’s tricks could return to the mansion, we’d imprison both of the conspirators for child endangerment, sadism and more.
Oddly enough, when someone tells us that God—our Father—has done all of these things and more, our reactions are totally different. We respond with praise and worship. We look to the heavens and sing love songs. Yet we demonize earthly fathers who have done far less. It’s amazing how the human mind works.
A couple of years ago, a devout young man asked me a question I’ll never forget. He was planning a praise and worship festival, and needed public relations counsel. Sensing my discomfort with some of his dogma, he pointed toward the door and said, “If God walked in here right now, wouldn’t you drop to your knees and start praising Him?”
I took a deep breath. “That presumes that I believe that God isn’t here already—and that if He came from someplace else, He would scare or harm me. Is that what Love would do?” The young man hadn’t thought about that. All of his life, he only believed what others told him to believe.
I never saw him again. Hallelujah! I keep telling you: God is good.
On this Father’s Day, let us give our Heavenly Father a well-deserved break from centuries of bad publicity. Let’s give God the benefit of the doubt by challenging every allegation of inhumane behavior with the question, “Would Love do that?”
On Father’s Day 2009, let’s declare that while the word of God is inerrant, the word of some of the ancient scribes is verifiably inaccurate. Let’s dare to believe that God does nothing demonic, and does not solve problems by hurting people.
As a Father’s Day gift to God, let’s read more than one book—or vow to read the one we have more carefully. All the evidence that it’s time to stop blindly accepting other people’s answers and start asking our own questions is right there.
On this day, instead of simply declaring that we love God, let’s begin to like God as a Father who treats all of us well—and does it consistently, consciously and unconditionally. Today, let’s allow God to become our Daddy. Who knows: When we feel that Divine presence washing over us, we might begin to squeal with delight, rather than tremble with fear.