Even though you have 10,000 guardians ...you do not have many Fathers.
The above statement - spoken to a church - could just as easily be referring to our broken communities today. The absence of Fathers in the city creates chaos in the city. Where there is Fatherlessness – religion rules, shame rules, violence rules, addiction rules, dishonour rules. The city reels from a loss of identity, gives herself to trivialities and misses her God-given destiny. Today our cities are struggling, not because they lack monitors, but because they lack Fathers.
As monitors we are powerless and perplexed as the city experiences the influences such as addiction or alcohol. As monitors we exhibit a desire for protection and correction but carry little wisdom for supplying a solution. When we operate like this we will always perceive the problem as being the responsibility of someone else, erstwhile adopting the attitude that the mess would not have happened if everyone had simply responded to our rules. But when our cities are floundering in the sea of broken choices, we do not have the luxury of monitoring. We have to leave the comfort of our institutions, and find our way to intervention. We have to start to think like Fathers.
Fathers have a different mindset.
Fathers are not afraid of the city, because they know that they have more to offer than the city could ever take. Armed with this knowledge, they embrace the city in its pain and look for ways to lead it into life, restoring dignity and releasing peace. When we live as Fathers we don’t seek to lead our city from a position of moral superiority. Instead our authority is demonstrated through life-giving connection and compassionate action. Fathers always choose connection over control. Fathers remind the city that it has honour at its core, and commit to blessing it, so that it can be transformed.
Since, by definition, Fathers are those who have more life in them than one individual can contain, they seek to bring life in every environment; they intentionally gather hope and effectively bring healing as they live lives of radical hospitality and compassionate generosity. They view the city through the lens of favour rather than that of failure.
In the future, expect the church to Father the city, breathing life and calling out its unique design and ultimate destiny. In the future, expect the church to move from monitoring behaviour to releasing life.