Father or Friend: Take Your Pick

TD ’14
Executive Director, Logos

One of my favorite parts of Mass is the “Our Father” prayer.

I love reciting a common, divine prayer, once uttered word for word by Jesus himself, with a large congregation. I love the communal pauses and the unified beats in the rhythm of the words. I also love the content of the prayer. I love the prayer’s simplicity and humility beginning with: “Our Father, who art in Heaven…”

This phrase brings to mind families and in particular, fathers, especially with the social issues in politics these days. You hear “the institution of marriage” or “institution of family” a lot.

It’s true – the concept of the family is an institution. It’s been around for as long as humans existed, according to Genesis. Humans have always had fathers and mothers, and we did not need Freud to tell us that our relationships with our parents greatly impact our lives and how we relate to others.

Having been raised more or less Christian and having been fully steeped in Christian rhetoric and symbolism, I never thought much about the fact that we called God “Our Father.” The connection – perhaps as one conditioned by a patriarchal world – seemed natural and even necessary. Of course God was Father. Of course he was sexed – and of course that sex would be masculine.

Another reason why I found it so natural to call the omnipotent ruler of the universe my “Father” was because of my own relationship with my Dad, whom I fully trusted, fully loved, and fully depended on. If God is like my dad, only better–infinitely better–then all is good in the hood right?

But now – now that I am bombarded with attacks against conventional articulations of the family, now that I more deeply know those who have had estranged or non-existent relationships with their fathers, I question the fact that there is one prevailing metaphor for God in the Bible. “Father” is, after all, a metaphor. God is of course not masculine. Nor do we have a divine mother, whom we extol on an equally raised pedestal.

I think it’s beautiful that Jesus came and shattered this metaphor–which perhaps functioned fluidly in the 150% patriarchal days of the Old T–knowing that the times were a-changin’ and the metaphor wouldn’t work so well anymore. Families would change. Many people would never know their fathers or mothers.

So He came down to us and clarified that there are three beings of the Trinity — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And the Son just happens to be our friend, servant, king, brother… (e.g.John 15:9-18:1). “I have called you friends,” Jesus says. Personally, the Father metaphor works just fine for me. But for others, for whom a good, perfect father is an inconceivable concept, listen to Jesus, who calls you His friend. Think of your kindest friend. Think of the most devoted servant. Think of your brother. Whatever works for you.

Welcome to Word: The Logos Blog

Co-Executive Directors, Logos

Welcome to WORD: The Logos Blog!

We have deliberately gone from Logos (λόγος), the Biblical, formal, rather complex moniker, to the English and conveniently colloquial WORD for the name of this blog.

The decision reflects our desire to create a forum of casual Christian thought–(more or less) weekly ruminations on anything and everything tangentially Christian. Our official semesterly magazine (which you should eagerly anticipate) is where the hefty editing and careful composing happens; WORD: The Logos Blog is where the casual banter between believers and curious non-believers happens.

The blog will be headed by the Logos Staff, but if you would like to contribute a short post, please email our Blog Managers, Evelyn at evelyn.robertson@yale.edu or Travis at travis.reginal@yale.edu.


Join Yale’s Undergraduate Christian Magazine: Logos!

Hey, Pre-Frosh students!

Interested in writing for a magazine? Want to play a bigger role in promoting Christianity and sharing Christian understandings/ideas throughout campus? Join Logos, Yale’s Undergraduate Christian Magazine! Come to our informational meeting during Bulldog Days!

What: Logos Informational Meeting

When: April 17th @ 10 P.M. 

Where: WLH 006

Free Wenzels will be provided. Hope to see you all soon!