Subject: KINGDOM UPDATE: "In Pursuit of Godly Fatherhood" by Greg Schlueter | RADIO: "Cultivating the Soil of Home" with Greg, Stephanie & Seph Schlueter [SANCTUS SERIES Ep5]

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by Greg Schlueter

SOME OF YOU MAY REMEMBER the comedic genius of Looney Tunes. In addition to Bugs Bunny, Speedy Gonzales, and Pepe Le Pew, one of my favorites was the ongoing battle between the sheepdog, Sam, and Wiley E. Coyote, Ralph. Every morning, before beginning their respective "jobs" of defending the sheep (Sam), and preying upon the sheep (Ralph), they would meet to clock in and cordially exchange: "Morning Ralph." "Morning Sam."

BECAUSE WE WERE BLESSED with six children in 7 years, it was not uncommon, typically just after midnight (just after I fell asleep), for me to find myself downstairs rocking a toddler back to sleep. Shortly thereafter, heading back up the steps with a sleeping toddler on my shoulder, I'd often pass Steph coming down the steps with an awakened newborn. Exhausted, through squint eyes, we'd muster the humor: "Morning Ralph." "Morning Sam."

SO IT WAS THAT "TAKE CARE OF THE CRYING BABY" became a guiding metaphor. To us, it meant that most demands in life we don't choose. They choose us. We respond because they are a duty demanded at the moment. Taking care of a flooding toilet. A broken car. Sickness. Difficult people. Obstacles at school or work. These demands don't care how you feel. Or if you understand. Or have the energy. They're not served up with a cup of hot cocoa, a stuffed animal, and a word of encouragement. They are the crying baby. You either respond, or you don't. 

IT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR PARENTS to build relationships and cultures that foster emotional intelligence, empathy, and attunement to the souls of others. It's important to understand what sorts of things are brewing below the surface that might be causing one to act or speak in certain ways. It's important to build the kind of relational currency and structure, the kind of contexts where those things can be discussed and addressed. And, arguably, such parental EQ attunement is decidedly missing in most homes. 

THAT SAID, A KINGDOM PERSPECTIVE, revealed by the King throughout all of scripture, also entails something quite harsh. Not only in its nature but in its approach. The lines of the road are immutable. Not unlike concrete berms lining a highway, we cannot break them so much as be broken against them. We do not determine them, we are determined by them. 

THUS, if we are fair to scripture, we ought to note the attributes of the loving Father. He communicates the rules, and His first children are banished for breaking them. For something as seemingly inconsequential as eating fruit. Note that He doesn't lean in and say, "I know the mean little serpent said some nasty things that confused you," or "I know you've got Daddy issues." No. There are rules. And there are consequences in our reception or rejection. Noah's Ark. Sodom and Gomorrah. Babylonian exile. Jesus Christ continues this authentically loving style of teaching. Oftentimes, He leaves things less than clear. For us to take Him at His Word. And at every turn, making the implications clear: heaven or hell.

AS IMPERFECT AS WE ARE, if we parents are not seeking ever greater, real attunement to the souls entrusted to us, but also fail to establish the ultimates… atmospheres of real guidelines, demanding real acceptance of faith, regardless of what they feel, or understand, or like, we are not forging disciples. We're potentially forging confused, emotionally enslaved, LGBTQ+ devotees. Or Harvard Law students. Or Democrats. We're not preparing them for the real world. Certainly, not for the real eternal world with God. Because that's the way God operates.

RESPONDING TO THE CRYING BABY is what it means to have the heart of Christ. A purely therapeutic culture deprives children of harsh but beautiful realism. Awareness of how "the baby is crying." In every situation. And equipping them to respond. Regardless of feelings. Or understanding. Or preferences. Because it's the right thing to do. Feelings do not guide the ship. They are subordinate to truth and reason. Duty. The likes of which Christ conveyed on this earth. With implications for our acceptance or rejection.

I'M NOT QUITE SURE HOW THIS FITS, except that it conveys the generally messy and imperfect world in which all this plays out. Recently a friend's teenage daughter engaged in the time-honored ritual of imparting a litany of her mom's faults. "You're a horrible parent." Having truly heard these numerous times, having apologized where necessary, she calmly retorted, "Don't worry. One day you’ll be able to mess your kids up in a different way." The message? Welcome to humanity. Get over it. Get on with it. We parents are all working it out. We are under construction. As are our children. 

THE MAN FACTOR. This past Saturday we had a delightful gathering with three other couples. Collectively we have close to 30 children, most of whom are now adults. Notably, every single father was the spiritual leader of his home. With a committed, daily prayer life. Initiating prayer and meaningful conversation. Actively seeking to forge disciples through every opportunity. Each embraced the difficult, harsh task of clarifying the rules of the road, with implications for acceptance or rejection. 

Though not without deficiencies, every single child is on the continuum of intentionally pursuing the Kingdom. 

There is something catastrophically lost in the absence of godly masculinity in parenting. Dads being dads. Not binky dispensers. Not sissified, sidelined, morally ambiguous, leadership-bereft flabby-flabs. But real dads. Men after the Father’s own heart, whose ultimate task is to forge His children to attend to the crying baby. A disciplined way of life. Cultivating self-mastery and virtue. Knowing, living, and loving deeply, authentically, joyfully, and personally Jesus Christ in the fullness of the Catholic faith. Responding to however the Supreme Value that is God reveals Himself through every human circumstance. A capacity to live fully our identity and mission in this world and through all eternity. 

GOD OFFERS THIS. And wants to forge us for this all the more. Whether you're starting at the beginning, or are down the road and need to be recaptured, in this season of Advent great grace is being outpoured. And we are on the journey with you.

OUR MISSION: We're about uniting families in building the Kingdom. We help families make their homes places of saint-making, culture-building, and territory-taking disciples of Jesus Christ. Over the past ten years, thousands have been blessed by a "family roadmap." We've been united in gathering in our respective homes on a weekly basis to talk and pray using a fun, meaningful "Live IT Gathering Guide" based on subsequent Sunday readings. Get your free LIT Guide at ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠ or the Live IT App at ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠.⁠⁠ Commit right now to the ⁠Seven Week Challenge⁠.

Right now we are in particular need, and would be so grateful for your prayers, engagement, and ⁠⁠Partnership⁠⁠.

Holy Spirit, come!

Greg Schlueter
Mass Impact | Image Trinity | (814) 449-8808

GOAL: $5000/MONTH 
WEEK 2: 11%


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