Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Religion Isn't Masculine?

Focus on the Family's Boundless Line blog had an interesting post on why men dislike attending church. The post featured an except of an interview with author David Murrow, author of the book How Women Help Men Find God.

To appeal to men, Murrow suggested the church should make preaching short, make services more God- and mission-focused, and avoid "Jesus is my boyfriend" type music.

Although Murrow may be right in some ways, I think there's a deeper reason why fewer men go to church. Could it be that there's an underlying myth that many believe that real men don't need religion? That religion is only for women, children, elderly and for the weak? If so, the myth only exists in the modern Western culture, because the last time I traveled around the world (via Discovery and National Geographic Channel), I noticed that men are naturally and deeply religious, and that men are actually the dominant gender in other religions in the world. Who could ignore the throngs of Buddhist monks in Tibet, or the crowd of Jewish men praying at the Western Wall, or the sea of Hindu and Muslim men making their annual pilgrimages in India and Mecca respectively?

The problem is modern culture does little to remind men in the West of their spiritual nature and their need for a relationship with someone greater and more powerful than them. Stephen Arterburn once said in his podcast that all men were created by God to worship God for the glory of God. When men do so, they are expressing their true humanity and their true masculinity. So who says religion isn't masculine?

What do you think dads? Do you teach or model religiosity or faith to a higher god to your children?

(Image by Stephen Sawyer)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My "Political Illusion" is Officially Over. Congratulations, President Obama!

President Barrack Obama was inaugurated this week and for me it’s still a hard pill to swallow that he will be leading the United States for another four years. I campaigned for Mitt Romney and it was the first time I put in a lot of time, energy and high hopes to a candidate. Losing the election was hard to take but it’s a reality I learned to accept that most Americans still believe in the policies of the Obama administration.

The experience made me reflect on my perspective on politics. It taught me a few things on how I should view government and what I should teach my kids about America- because it’s up to us dads to educate our children about politics:

Lesson 1: Elections in the United States is generally peaceful compared other parts of the world. Watch the international news and you’ll see a culture of corruption in many political elections in developing countries. I still remember the National election in the Philippines back in the 80’s where armed men attacked polling places and snatch ballot boxes from election volunteers. Or, the murder of the more than 50 journalists and civilians in 2009 during a gubernatorial election.  I’m thankful that we’re free to vote and don’t live in a violent society.

Lesson 2: Don’t put all your hopes in politics. “Political illusion” is a new term I learned from the Colson Center; it is thinking that politics is the answer to every problem.  As Christians, we should know better. The Kingdom of God is bigger and more secure than any Western civilization, not because a particular leader but because of Jesus Christ.

Lesson 3:  Now is the right time to do what is right. This is not the time to sit back in sorrow because my candidate didn’t win. I like what my colleague said, “the cultural work that needs to be done to restore human dignity, to restore moral foundations to our society are much bigger than the political process. We need to work in all areas of society to reflect and show that Christ is Lord over all."

(Photo credit: @toniasanders, Instagram)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Do Fathers Have a Role in Gun Control?

Are boys obsessed with weapons? Is your home a toy gun-free home? I’ll be first to admit that I’m a toy-weapon tolerant dad. I allow my son to play with toy guns and swords. Boys naturally like to play with toy weapons and there’s nothing wrong with acting out make-believe combat with toy guns and swords.

I grew up without toy weapons at home. My solution was to make my own weapons. I made cardboard machine guns and grenade launchers like a young Sylvester Stallone in Rambo. I made Samurai swords out of tree branches and any L-shape object became a hand gun including my baby sister’s Barbie dolls.

Many parents forbid their children from playing with toys guns. Many view toy weapons as corruptors of children, exposing them to aggressive and violent behaviors and reinforcing gender stereotypes.

The tragic event in Newtown, CT put the debate on gun control in the spotlight again and many parents followed suit imposing their own toy gun control and zero-tolerance policies in their households. But is this the right response to the issue of violence? Should parents keep their sons away from toy weapons and impose a weapon-free zone at home? Should zero-tolerance policies be extended to playgrounds, schools and other public venues?

Boys naturally gravitate toward weaponry not because of their desire to kill or hurt another human being but because of their desire to be heroes. Boys have a natural willingness to do great things, be adventurous and to be rescuers. They need to feel like heroic warriors and toy weapons help bring out their imagination and act out their fantasies. It is one way boys are molded to be mature courageous men.

Play is play and violence is violence. What’s essential is that fathers educate their sons to understand and differentiate the two in their playtime. Their make-believe games are opportunities to teach boys to distinguish between what’s right and wrong and what’s good and evil. Penny Holland, author of "We Don't Play with Guns Here," says toy weapons were "part of...making sense of the world (imitating) timeless themes of the struggle between good and evil."

Parents should recognize and respect what young boys are dreaming to be and experiencing in their play. Fathers were once young boys too and played fierce battles with evil monsters and alien invaders. We usually grow up wanting to be heroes. Sometimes I wish my son would simply pretend he’s a magician or a race car driver; but right now he wants to be a gun-trotting Pirate and Captain America. All a weapons-tolerant dad like me can do is to play along with my imaginary laser gun and light saber and model to him the right and honorable way to save the day.

Do you let your child play with toy weapons? Why or why not?

(Article also published at The Father Factor Blog)

(Photo credit: The Hive)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Filipino-Christian Daddy Blogger is Going to Dad 2.0 Summit

I just booked my flight to Houston, TX. The Filipino-Christian daddy blogger is going to Dad 2.0 Summit. In my part-time and trying-hard blogging career of 4 years, this will be my first attendance in an out-of-town blogging and fatherhood conference. I’m very excited! I appreciate founder of Dad 2.0 and Laid-Of Dad, Doug French for the opportunity and encouraging me to attend the conference.

I honestly don’t know what to expect. But what I am hoping is that the conference will expand my connections with seriously concerned fathers like me, learn and develop new skills as a media professional, have a couple of drinks, connect with brands and get tons for freebies from conference sponsors like Kraft Cheese, Dove MenCare, Honda, Sears Auto and many more. Though I’ll miss my wife and kids for one weekend, I’m looking forward to the new opportunities this conference and the people attending it will bring to me.

Check out the video below for more information.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Filipino Christian Blogger: Raving About Duck Dynasty

Filipino Christian blogger asks: Does the success of Duck Dynasty prove that Americans understand and value strong, faithful families?

I rave about Duck Dynasty (on A&E Network) because it is one of the few shows on TV that is safe for my entire family to watch. My 8 years old daughter enjoys Uncle Si and she loves seeing the Robertson granddaughter, Sadie on TV. My 3 year old son also now wants a duck caller.

This article from Rob Sumrall said it all on why we love Duck Dynasty and why it makes my family's Wednesday night, "Happy! Happy! Happy!"