Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: First Nations

Strange ideas about strangers

“If a white person marries a black person,” my father said to me one day, “their children will be born with one black leg and one white leg, one black arm and one white arm.” I was still in my early teens but I didn’t think such a thing was possible and I told my father so. Then I asked him if he had ever seen anyone like that. He didn’t answer, but he never again brought up the possibility of people having Holstein markings.

Not all strange ideas like this should be labelled prejudice. If someone grows up only hearing thinking like this and never has opportunity to see whether it is true or not, they are just uninformed. In times gone by, when there was less opportunity to meet people who were different from yourself, these ideas might last a lifetime.

My father grew up in the USA around the end of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th. He absorbed the prevailing attitude toward black people of that era and never encountered anything in his adult travels in the USA or Canada to contradict that attitude.

My mother grew up in a very conservative Plautdietsch speaking home, yet she was much more open minded in her attitude toward other people. It seems that she learned that from her father. Before he was married he had worked in a community where there lived a black man who had been born in slavery and moved north to Canada. Grandpa learned some of the old Negro Spirituals from this man and taught them to his 14 children. While they lived in Manitoba, their home was a place where Indians often stopped for a drink of water, a bite to eat or just a place to rest on their journey. They knew they were welcome at the Henry Letkeman home.

Grandpa was blind, in more ways than one. My mother grew up in that setting and told those stories to me. One of my cousins lives not too far away. Our fathers were brothers, our mothers were sisters. He worked for years with First Nations (Indian) people in housing projects, and in evangelism. I observe his attitude towards people who are different and I know that he did not learn that openness from his father.

We both owe a lot to our mothers – and to Grandpa Letkeman, who we never met. He died before we were born. But, thanks to the attitude he inspired in our mothers, we did not grow up with strange ideas about strangers.

The Welfare Trap

Welfare systems began with the noble intent of helping those unable to help themselves. Well, actually those noble intentions were somewhat tainted from the beginning. Christians had long felt a need to help those most in need. Governments, motivated by the social gospel, decided people needed something better than to rely on charity.  Thus a bureaucracy was built step by step, and the bureaucracy needs clients to justify its existence. Therefore, it has become increasingly difficult for welfare clients to escape the system.

Whatever the faults of Christian charity, it did not encroach on people’s dignity nearly as much as organized welfare systems. These systems are structured so that there are penalties for every effort a person makes to become self supporting. Income from a part time job is deducted from welfare payments. Find full time employment and you lose your rent subsidy and many other benefits. Enrol in a government sponsored training program and you likewise lose all your benefits. Whether such disincentives are deliberate or not, the fact is that the system is rigged to keep people on welfare. After a while many people give up hope of finding a way out.

Then there are the child welfare services. One lady went from foster home to foster home during her growing up years and was left feeling that she must have been a difficult child. In her adult years she approached the welfare agency and was given a report of the times she had been moved. In every case there there had been some misconduct by the foster parents — she had never been the problem.

Here in Saskatchewan, many First Nations reserves have their own child welfare agencies. They try to provide some continuity in the life of a child that is at risk in the home of his parents by placing him with relatives. That seems like a sensible solution. The problem is that many families live off reserve and when problems arise they fall under the jurisdiction of the provincial social services agency. Children are placed in foster homes that may not have any understanding of their cultural background. At the first sign of trouble the child is moved to a new home. And on and on. What they most need is stability and only a few find it.

Some foster parents are able to manoeuvre through the bureaucratic jungle of social services and provide a secure and stable home for children in their care. They do a wonderful job, But they are not produced by the system The good that they do is the result of their personal convictions and principles.

The idea that governments can create a better world, where everyone is valued, everyone’s needs are met and everyone’s dignity is respected, has not worked out in practice. This is the social gospel, and it is a false gospel. Yet people are still looking to governments to fix what they have broken.

The hoary head

Continuing with the events of the day I was writing about in my last post, after finishing my supper at Tim Horton’s I went over to Dollarama. Two young ladies were just coming out of the store, loaded down with their purchases. I stepped aside to let them through and then one of them held the door open for me. I thanked her and was rewarded with a happy smile. I walked into the store filled with respect for a young lady who wanted to show respect for me as a Mooshum.

My white hair mark me as a Mooshum (grandfather in the Cree language). You see, both this lady and the two I mentioned in my last post were First Nations, or Indians. I respected the two young mothers who stuck to what they knew was right. Their boys are evidently getting different ideas from somewhere else. “Warrior,” “bow to no one,” indeed! Such an attitude, if maintained into adulthood, is a guarantee of a troubled life.

Earlier, on this same day, I had coffee with a friend who is pastor of an evangelical church. He told me that he and his wife are now home schooling their children and spoke of the change that has made. Their children, who would hardly look at them when they spoke to them, now look up and respond appropriately. What kind of stern discipline did it take to achieve such results? None. It was enough to simply remove them from a setting where their peers were the only people who really mattered in their lives.

Over 100 years ago, the founders of the public school system were quite open about their intention to remove children from the influence of the home to shape them on more “progressive” lines. They proceeded to implant in parents the belief that they were incompetent to raise their own children by incessantly repeating that children had to go to school and be with children their own age to learn social skills. We see now what kind of social skills children are learning in that setting.

The apostle Paul described our day well in 2 Timothy 3:1-5: ” This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

Perhaps I am starting to sound like the story of the two old Quaker men sitting on the front porch in their rocking chairs on a fine summer evening. One of them says, “All the world has gone mad, except for me and thee.” Then his rocker stops, he peers over at his neighbour and adds, “And sometimes I wonder about thee.”

Is it only the younger generation that has gone mad? What about those of us who are Mooshums and Kookums (grandmothers)? Can we really expect the respect that the Bible says is due to the hoary head if we don’t want to admit that we are old? Are we part of the problem?

Remedy for the Indian problem

Starting in 1701, the government made treaties with the Indians living in Canada. The treaties were rather open-ended arrangements, promising schooling and health care, giving the Indians parcels of land for their exclusive use, but not limiting their right to hunt, fish, and trap wherever they wanted.

Left to their own devices, the Indians would have found a way to prosper in the new reality of a land dominated by other people. But the government considered them to be a problem. Rather than establishing schools where the people lived, they established residential schools far away. All the better to teach the children how to fit in the new society, so they said.

At the same time, Indian agents were established on every reserve to manage things. Indians were not allowed to leave the reserves without permission of the Indian agent. So the children finished their schooling, where they were taught to be ashamed of their Indian heritage, then sent back to the reserves and not allowed to leave. Here we see the genius that a bureaucracy has for taking a small problem that would have corrected itself and transforming it into a great big problem that will last for generations.

In the course of time, the Indians began to develop their own bureaucracy. On the national level it is called the Assembly of First Nations; in addition each province has its own Indian bureaucracy, here in Saskatchewan it is the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.

Both bureaucracies have endeavoured for years to find a solution to the Indian problem, most of them involving the spending of large sums of money with little visible results. It is in the nature of bureaucracies to find ways to invent solutions to problems that just make the problem more complex. The Indian problem is money in the pocket for the people in both bureaucracies; if there ever was a genuine solution, a lot of people would be out of a job.

Twenty years ago a French language news magazine ran pictures of Cree Indian communities around James Bay. The communities in Ontario consisted of dilapidated housing and the text explained that in these communities most people were unemployed, there was rampant alcoholism and crime, and school attendance was sporadic at best. On the Québec side, the houses were neat, clean and well maintained, there was very little unemployment, crime or alcohol problem and the children were faithfully attending school. The article asked why there was such a difference, but offered no answer.

The difference is that on the Québec side evangelical missionaries had brought the gospel and it the people had received it. The majority of the people in those communities are now Christians. Once parents are converted, they stop drinking and begin to take responsibility for their homes and their children. They want to work and provide a living for their families. Those communities were transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. The communities on the Ontario side were not.

Billy Diamond grew up in one of those Québec communities at a time of 100% alcoholism, 100% unemployment and 100% welfare (his description). He went away to university, came back and was elected chief at the age of 21. Shamanism was the people’s religion, until an Indian preacher came and began holding services. A few people went at first, then one of the most powerful shamans got converted. News spread like wildfire and more and more people came and got converted. Billy Diamond and the band council cut off the welfare of those who got converted. This only seemed to make them happier.

About this time Hydro Québec began planning the huge James Bay hydroelectric project that would flood a large area of their hunting grounds. Billy Diamond became Grand Chief of all the Cree in Northern Québec and negotiated a very good settlement with Hydro Québec. Suddenly he was national news; he travelled across the country, sometimes speaking three times a day, appearing on talk shows and lapping up all the attention.

Billy Diamond was a big man physically and he became a very big man in his own eyes. Too big for his backward little community. He went home to say good-bye and cut his ties. His wife had become a Christian; too bad, she could stay if she wished.

A friend came to tell him that he wasn’t running away from his family, he was running away from God. He began to think bitter thoughts: “How dare these preachers come into my community and take over my people? We were doing okay before without them.”

Then he remembered the 100% alcoholism, unemployment and welfare and how that had changed after the preachers came. He began to get curious and the next meeting he went to church for the first time in his life, sitting near the door to make his escape if things got too uncomfortable. He began to shake as soon as he sat down and as the preacher spoke, the tears began flowing down his face. That night he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ, asking forgiveness for his sins against God and for the way he had persecuted His people.

Billy Diamond says he walked into that meeting a drunk and walked out a sober man. He is still living with his wife in that community and manages a local business.

There is the remedy to the Indian problem, the same remedy that worked for me and everyone else who comes to Jesus. It is not something that can be done by bureaucracies. It is not something that starts at the top with a Grand Chief. It starts with the little people at the bottom, but as their lives are transformed by the blood of Jesus Christ, sometimes even a Grand Chief will abandon his pride and ambition to become one of God’s children.

The power of turning the other cheekl

I had devotions at our school this morning. Part of what I told the chlidren and their teachers was the following story from the life of Albert Tait.

Albert Tait lived on a Saulteaux Indian Reservation in North-Western Ontario. The Saulteaux (pronounced Soto) are one of the most widespread First Nations groups in Canada, called Saulteaux because French fur traders first encountered them near Sault Ste. Marie. They are also known as Ojibway, and in South-Western Ontario they are known as Chippewa.

In his younger years Albert was a drinker, a gambler and a fighter. He was a real loser, he always lost at gambling, when he started a fight he always got beat up.  He never had any joy or peace, his life was miserable.

One day Albert became a Christian. That is not the story I want to tell here, but it is the foundation for the one I do want to tell.  After his conversion Albert was no longer a loser, he settled down, married and tried to help others. Eventually he became pastor of an evangelical church in his home village.

One evening his phone rang. It was a man in his village asking Albert to come over and help him. When Albert got to the house there was a group of people gathered, the man and wife were seated on the bed and the wife was crying. Albert asked them what the trouble was, but no one would answer.

Albert opened his Bible and began to read. The man stood up, grabbed the Bible, threw it on the floor and told Albert to leave. He grabbed Albert, started pushing him across the room and finally threw him into a big empty box.  Albert got out of the box, picked up his Bible and read some verses, then left.

A week later the same man called and asked Albert to come . He apologized for fighting with him and said he needed to talk. Albert went, not knowing quite what to expect this time.

The rest of this story is quoted from The Lonely Search, the story of Albert Tait:

“Albert, I’ve wandered away from the Lord,” he said. “I want to get right with God again.”

It was a joy to lead him back to the Lord. Maybe if I had gotten mad when he was trying to throw me out of the house, he might not have asked me to help him. You have to turn the other cheek, like the Bible says. This man follwed the Lord after that.

(Taken from the book, The Lonely Search © 1990 by Owen Salway, published by Indian Life Books, Winnipeg.)

Pigment triggered cognitive dysfunction

My personal observations, perhaps not very scientific but still quite realistic I believe, have convinced me that a substantial portion of humanity is afflicted with a strange malady.  This malady manifests itself when a person meets, or even hears of, someone with a different colour of skin.  The symptoms are that this person then seems to become unable to absorb any more information about the person of a different colour.  I have chosen to call this pigment triggered cognitive dysfunction.

This is not really the same thing as prejudice.  Many people afflicted with this disorder would profess nothing but good will for people of another colour.  They just seem unable to understand each other or to relate to each other in any meaningful way.

I know that a great many white people are afflicted with this.  Here in Saskatchewan, when a white person encounters an Indian (or First Nations) person, he tends to instinctively think of all the stories he has heard of Indians with broken homes, a drinking problem and an inability to hold a job.  Of course there are many Indians who are hard-working, responsible and sober.  We tend to identify them as being white people, thus not allowing their example to change our “knowledge” of what Indians are like.  It may take years of acquaintanceship before the white person is able to absorb any other information about what the Indian person is really like.

Many Indian people have their own knee-jerk reflex perceptions of what white people are like, thus both groups face major hurdles in learning to know each other.

No group of people is immune from this malady.  An Indian couple on a reserve in Eastern Canada adopted a black child.  The band council passed a resolution denying this child membership in the band and the privileges that would go with it.  A Christian Indian lady of my acquaintance says that her mother, who is of 1/8 white ancestry, is known as “White Woman” on the reserve.

The same symptoms are manifested, though to a slightly lesser degree in Canada, in the way whites perceive black people and the way black people perceive white people.  I recall an incident while we were living in Montréal and worshipping in a small mission congregation.  One Sunday morning a young black man stepped into church, saw only white people and immediately became very nervous.  I went to speak to him and invited him to join us, but he looked at our literature rack and seized upon that as an excuse, saying he had only come to get some information and he would come back another time.  He never did.  I have often kicked myself for my slow thinking, for there was a black lady seated on the side of the church that was not visible from the doorway.  Would it have made a difference if I had quickly called Esperanza and asked her to help this young man feel at home?

How would I have reacted if the tables were turned and I was the only white person walking into a church full of black people?  I would like to think that while I may not be totally cured of pigment triggered cognitive dysfunction (it seems to be a congenital disorder in most of us), I have had enough experience in being around black (and other non-white) people that I would not immediately panic and run for the nearest exit.

We might like to think that a disorder such as pigment triggered cognitive dysfunction could not exist among Christian people.  Yet I observed in Montréal that most evangelical denominations had separate congregations for blacks and whites.  There were only a handful of congregations where black and white people seemed able to worship together.  No one seemed to have a valid reason why it didn’t work in other denominations.  I would suggest that it is due to the undiagnosed presence of pigment triggered cognitive dysfunction.

The first step toward being cured of pigment triggered cognitive dysfunction is to admit that one has it.  This is pretty hard on our pride, for we like to think of ourselves as warmhearted, magnanimous people without a trace of prejudice.  But how do we react when we meet someone of another skin colour?  What if we meet a whole group of people of that colour?  Or do we perhaps do our best to avoid such a situation?

We can avoid any but the briefest contact with people of another skin colour and convince ourselves that we are entirely free of such a thing as pigment triggered cognitive dysfunction.  That is self-deception.  I don’t know of any other cure but to spend time with people who look different that we are and discover that they really aren’t very different after all.

Fur traders and Indians

The fur trade, in which millions of Canadian beaver gave their lives to provide felt top hats for European gentlemen, was the major impetus for the exploration and settlement of Canada.  The fur traders employed by the Hudson’s Bay Company were of French and Scottish origin.  They fanned out across the country, establishing trading posts to buy furs from the Indians in exchange for tools, weapons and other items.  One by-product of the fur trade was the maps and descriptions of the country which were sent back to headquarters and provided information for future settlement.

The fur traders were based out of Montreal, but  spent years at a time in the Canadian west where white women were loathe to go.  As a result, most of them took Indian wives.  There was a major difference in the approach of the French and the Scots.  When a French man took an Indian wife he considered himself to be married for life.  He would either settle down in the west permanently, or take his Indian wife and their children back to Montreal with him.  A  Scottish man generally had a Scottish wife in Montreal and an Indian country wife.  When he retired, he abandoned his family in the west and returned to his Scottish wife and family in Montreal.

The descendents of the French-Indian marriages became known as Métis and were themselves a potent force in the exploration and settlement of the Canadian West and established the first farming communities.

Some descendents of Scottish-Indian liaisons blended into Métis society, but most of them adopted the  Indian identity of their mothers.  Thus there are numerous Indian people today with names like McKay, McLaren, McDonald, etc.

A few years ago, folks in a small Scottish town discovered that there was an Indian band in Saskatchewan with the same last names as themselves.  After a little investigation, it was established that they were in fact related.  The Scottish fur traders who had given their names to these Indian families had come from this village in Scotland.  Thus began a round of visits where some of the Scots came to visit their long-lost Canadian cousins and the Canadians visited their Scottish cousins and were welcomed with much fanfare.

One thing that was never mentioned in news stories about this reunion is that there would be another group of cousins in Eastern Canada who most likely do not wish to be made aware of their Indian cousins in Saskatchewan.

The Indian people of Canada are known today as the First Nations.   There is a saying among them that goes like this: “The first white men who came respected our elders and our women; the second white men who came had no respect for either our elders or our women.”  Need I explain that the first white men were the French and the second white men were the Scots?

Yet when I was growing up, the general attitude was that all people of French background were good for nothing half-breeds and the Scots were all fine, upstanding Christian people.  Of such perceptions are prejudices born.

God’s way is still best

“For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7).

Progress and family have never been very compatible.  The economic development of the U.S. south depended on capturing large numbers of African people, who knew more about raising cotton than the plantation owners, bringing them to America and treating them as livestock.  African-American family life still has not recovered.

More than a century ago, the Canadian government thought that the development of the Canadian prairies depended on neutralizing the strength of the First Nations people.  Children were taken away from their parents and placed in residential schools, where they were taught to be ashamed of their origins.  Now we are faced with a crisis of dysfunctional First Nations families who understand more about partying than about being parents to their children..

The public school system was intended to bring unity and cohesiveness to society by overriding the supposedly divisive influence of the families the children came from.  Various social agencies have needed to be established to deal with the fallout from the weakened influence of the home.  These agencies only seem to further weaken the homes.

For most progressive thinkers, the family was the chief obstacle to their vision of a liberated society.  It has taken a couple hundred years, but their ideas have taken hold and personal freedom is now considered to be the ultimate source of happiness.  Why then do we live in such a hurting society?

I was volunteering at a local food bank and a young lady came in to explain her situation.  She had met a young man who promised to love and care for her throughout life.  She moved in with him, without benefit of marriage, and as soon as the young man heard that a baby was on the way he disappeared.  This young lady was poised, well mannered, and had enough education that she could have found a good job to support herself.  But now she was a single mother.  Stories like this abound.

The disintegration of stable families in our society is destroying the sheltering fabric that provided protection for the weakest members of society.  Granted, there have always been some homes where the weaker members were oppressed and mistreated, sometimes in the name of righteousness.  But the situation today seems to leave everyone vulnerable.  Violence against women has increased, sexual exploitation of women is now considered normal, teenage girls are targets of unscrupulous men.  The weak and elderly are often left to fend for themselves.

We have sown the wind and now we are reaping the whirlwind.  The plan of God for the family provided a shelter from the whirlwind.  That shelter has been rejected for spurious reasons.

Yes, the Bible teaches that women should submit to their husbands.  But this instruction is given to the wives and does not give the husband any excuse to demand or enforce submission.  Submission is only submission if it is voluntary, anything else is oppression.  Let us not confuse the two.

The Bible says that husbands are to love their wives, to care for them and provide for them as they do for their own bodies, and not to be bitter against them.  There is nothing found anywhere in the Bible that would hint of permission for a husband to mistreat his wife.

The Biblical pattern of the family is the only workable pattern for building a stable, cohesive society, where the needs of all are supplied and all are loved and respected.  All homes are imperfect, because all we as people are imperfect.  Yet, for imperfect people to discard marriage and family and try to build something better is sheer folly.

Rebels without a clue

I am struck at how clueless protest movements have become.

The “Occupy” folks seem to think it is the fault of government and business that they don’t have a job.  You worked hard and got your BA.  You apply for a job that seems to offer the pay and perks that you feel you deserve.  They ask about your work experience and you have to admit that you’ve never had a paying job in your life.

All the entry level jobs seem to have been taken by immigrants.  Who wants a job like that anyway?  Other immigrants are coming in who are trained welders and plumbers.  They are earning more money than you will ever make with your BA.  There must be someone you can blame for this mess you’re in.  So you and your friends set up tents in a park to complain about how unjust the system is.

Meanwhile, the immigrants who started out at the bottom are moving up to management level and even buying the business.  Moral?  Those who rebel against the supposed inequities of the system are getting nowhere, while others are going where the jobs are, working hard and succeeding.

Many of the Indian bands of Western Canada were making a good start at adapting to a settled society, until the government decided that they needed help.  That really botched things up.  It seems that in every generation the government realizes that their attempts to help the Indians are not working and they come up with a fresh idea on how to help them.  The “Idle No More” movement seems to think this is a good thing, but the government isn’t doing enough.

Meanwhile, some Indian bands are accountable and open for business.  There is a reserve not far from us that has a casino, a world class golf course, a tourist hotel and more jobs than can be filled by the band members alone.  There are at least four Indian owned gas bars in our nearest city, all are busy.  Other bands are in the forestry and construction businesses.  Moral?  You will get ahead faster by creating your own jobs.

The “Christian” scene is too confusing and depressing for a quick analysis.  The Christian book store that I frequently wander into is in the process of moving their displays of Christian music CD’s from a back corner to a more visible location closer to the front of the store.  One of the employees told me it is because too many CD’s have been walking out of the store without being paid for.  The rates of divorce, of cohabitation before marriage and of pornography addiction are not much different among those who call themselves Christian than among the population in general.  The most common form of rebellion is to just abandon organized Christianity.  The ranks of unattached, restless Christians are growing.  Are they finding life any more fulfilling outside an organized church?

“Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.”  Rebellion doesn’t fix anything, because we are rebelling against the wrong thing.  Rebels see the faults in everything around them, go about to set things to right and in the end things are worse than they were before.

The thing that is most in need of fixing is inside of us – our heart.  The first step to fixing it is to admit that I am solely responsible for the mess that I am in; nobody else made me do the things I have done or make the choices I have made.  The second step is to admit that only God can help me now.  This is called repentance and will lead to a release from the burden of guilt, a new heart, a new vision of the meaning and purpose of life, and genuine freedom.

It doesn’t work to admit that I have done wrong and try to reform my life so that God will be pleased with me.  Neither does it work to try to claim God’s salvation without admitting any guilt on my part.  Salvation is a complete package, only available on God’s terms.

Two thousand years ago the world was in worse shape than it is today.  It was said of the disciples that they “turned the world upside down.”  Who says it can’t happen today?

Dare to be a father

A single mother was complaining about the school her boys attended; there were too many First Nations children (“Indians” she called them).  I observed the conduct of her boys and thought to myself that they suffered from the same affliction as many First Nations children in our area: they did not have a father.

We don’t talk about it much, it’s not politically correct to say it, but most of the children and youth who get into trouble never really had a father to love and guide them.  Boys need a father; one who will give them unconditional love at all times, yet correct them when they need it.  They need to learn the rules of this game we call life; to learn that the only way to win is to play by the rules and give others the respect that we wish for ourselves.  Girls need the love and approval of a father.  A good relationship with an affectionate and respectful father is perhaps the best street proofing a girl can get.  If she is left to seek this affection elsewhere, it probably won’t be combined with respect.

The Indian residential schools are one of the most shameful chapters of Canadian history.  The government took children away from their parents and made a concerted effort to teach them to be ashamed of their own language and culture and everything that their parents stood for.  This was an almost century-long attempt to destroy the First Nations family structure.  Those responsible were seemingly ignorant that this is what they were doing, but the results are obvious today.  First Nations people are trying to recover from the devastation caused by the residential schools, but now there are so many “educated” and “progressive” voices in our society who downplay the importance of the traditional Dad & Mom home structure.  One Canadian writer has labelled it “The War Against the Family.”*

Jesus taught us to call God our Father.  This may present some difficulties for those who have no experience of a warm and loving father.  Yet it speaks to a desire in every heart, often misunderstood, to have a Father they can approach will all their sorrows and hurts, with all their longings and desires for a happy and fulfilling life.  When we dare to believe that God is such a Father and tell Him all our sorrows, confessing that most of them were our own doing, He will forgive us and give us a peace and assurance that are beyond what we hoped or expected.

There are more than a billion people in this world who claim to worship a God who sounds in many ways like the God of the Christians, but who is not a Father.  Is this not the root cause of the anger and antisocial conduct that is being expressed by so many of the people from this religion?

Bilquis Sheikh** was a woman raised in Islam.  She believed it was the only true way, yet she was deeply unsatisfied, lonely, unfulfilled.  She obtained a Bible and began to read it.  She would read from the Qur’an and then from the Bible.  Both made claims to be the truth, the only truth.  It was all so confusing.  One day she prayed that God would show her which book was really His book.  The answer came as a voice speaking clearly in her mind: “In which book do you meet me as your Father?”  She knew instantly what the answer was, and that answer forever transformed her life.

That same God wants to be a Father to all the fatherless people of this world.  Those of us who are Christian fathers, or grandfathers, have a responsibility to mirror the Fatherhood of God in our relationships to those who follow us.

* The War Against the Family, copyright 1992 by William D Gairdner. Published by Stoddart Publishing Co. Ltd., Toronto.

** I Dared to Call Him Father, copyright 1978 by Bilquis Sheikh. Published by Fleming H Revell Company, Old Tappan, New Jersey


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