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Time to Decide (published in The Tribune, 3/5/11)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:16 PM by Fccea Webmaster
Years ago a graduate student at CSU began calling nearby Air Force bases looking for old missile silos to conduct some cosmic-ray experiments. While calling a base in Wyoming, he forgot to dial the area code and unknowingly got a wrong number. When the phone was answered, he asked to speak to the commander. There was a long pause before he heard the man on the other end holler, "Honey, it's for you!"

To me that depicts all too well a modern society where all too often men are passing on any meaningful leadership at home. Real men bring home the bacon, but they can take a pass on most of the child-rearing activities. It's for sure that real men don't do the Bible. And real men don't need God.

Is it any wonder, then, that our children think church is just for women and kids? Is it possible that this attitude has anything to do with the fact that something like 70% of young people leave church behind when they leave home?

I find this interesting because it is so contrary to what the Bible teaches. It is informative that when God set out to remind us of our parental responsibilities, He addressed "Fathers" (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21). This did not leave mothers out. Reference to the wise instruction of both mothers and fathers is mentioned frequently in Proverbs. However, even there, fathers are mentioned almost 2 to 1 over mothers.

I think God knew where the slippage would be. Without disparaging the contributions of mothers at home, our society needs men who are committed and who are not passing on their responsibilities as leaders at home. We need children seeing that the faith of their fathers is real.

Imagine what it would mean for children to see both Mom and Dad praying with them, reading and discussing the Bible on a daily basis and living their faith rather than just talking about it. They might even conclude that faith is just as important as TV and video games! And worth hanging onto even after leaving home.

The fact is that real men do "do" the Bible; do need God; and do leave a mark.

Wouldnt it be great to see a new generation of men who refuse to pass the buck, but who are eager to assume their God-given responsibilities at home and in society at large?

Anyone who follows baseball probably knows of the late Willie Stargell, a great hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates between 1962 and 1982. In 1979, with the Pirates down 3 games to 1 to the Orioles in the World Series, Stargell basically picked them up, put them on his back and drove them to wins in the next 3 games.

Most people dont remember that he had been part of an earlier World Series. In 1971, the Pirates also played and beat the Orioles in 7 games. But that time it was the immortal Roberto Clemente who played the key role. Meantime, Stargell, although he had led the NL in home runs that year went hitless in the playoffs and then batted .208 in the Series, driving in one run. His sufferings at the plate were almost too painful to watch. Yet he issued not a word of complaint or frustration.

Near the end of the Series, he was approached by writer Roger Angel and asked how an intense, proud competitor like him could endure such disappointment and humiliation with such composure. Willie pointed toward his four-year-old son who was playing at his father's feet in the dressing cubicle and said, "There's a time in life when a man has to decide if he's going to be a man."

He's right -- time to decide.

Dave McNeff is pastor of the First Congregational Church of Eaton and Ault