Reading through 1 Corinthians today, I came across these verses (4:15-17): "Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church."
Been thinking about that all day, about how the Corinthians had a reputation for being wild, living immorally and without any shame. And among the many reasons for this, I wonder what effect not having 'many fathers' had, what part it played among the people in Corinth. I can think of no more apt example than my brother. Don Miller's Father Fiction is good. And then there's all of those with our varying degrees of absent fathers and as many stories as there are mouths to tell them, hands to write them.
This is still mostly a string of questions and thoughts, all of which I intend to be thinking through, but Paul seems to know the importance of fathers and their role in leading spiritually. I'm wondering what guardians in Christ is referring to--does anyone know? And how is it different than being one's father through the gospel and what Paul is to them?
However, it also seems clear that, while this absence of fathers is (and has been) a big problem, it's one that God is fully at work in in many ways, not least of which being that one of his persons is God the Father. I don't mean that who he is is a response to it, but that these things are deeply connected. Not to mention, he's using us! God sent Paul and Paul is sending Timothy. Interesting observation: just as God sent his son, Paul sends Timothy, "my son whom I love." Sounds familiar, no?
Hrmm. Definitely one to come back to.