Archives For fatherhood

Black Lives Matter

November 25, 2014 — Leave a comment

Listen, Understand, Act

What does a white, middle-class, cisgendered Protestant American male have to say about being black in America, especially in the wake of the Ferguson grand jury decision? Well, not too much. So, I’m not talking, I’m listening.

There are others with far more insightful and important things to say than I. The best thing I can do is shut up, listen, and amplify the voices that really need to be heard. One of those voices belongs to my friend, Drew Hart.

Drew and I first met when we both worked for the same campus ministry organization in Philadelphia in the early 2000s. We went on a weeks-long tour together, exploring the sites of the civil rights movement in the 50s and 60s. I did a lot of listening at that time, too. Since then, Drew has gone on to become a leading scholar in the #Anablacktivist conversation and writes a regular blog for Christian Century, called “Taking Jesus Seriously.”

In October of 2014, the book I edited on faith and fatherhood was published. Drew was one of the first contributors to sign on to the project, and he helped me find other important voices to include in the volume. His essay is a deeply honest exposé on what it is like to be a black Christian father in America, today. I spoke with Drew and received his permission to publish his essay, in its entirety, on this blog. Read it and share; it is timely and important.

Continue Reading…

A couple weeks ago I announced via Twitter and Facebook that I’m editing a book of essays about fatherhood. Here’s a little more information about the project.

The book is the fifth in a series called “I Speak for Myself.” The first book, published in 2011, contained 40 essays from 40 American women under 40 writing about what it means to be Muslim. It was co-edited by a good friend of mine from college, Maria Ebrahimji. Shortly before the release of the book, she and I talked on the phone and she expressed how it was her hope to take the book’s format, 40 contributors under 40, and expand it to other faith traditions.

This summer, the first I Speak for Myself book on Christianity will be released. Titled Talking Taboo, it features 40 essays from 40 American Christian women. It is being co-edited by Erin Lane and Enuma Okoro and has some great contributors. Among them are Julie Clawson, Micha Boyett, Amy Julia Becker, Sarah Thebarge, and others. Last fall, I was contacted again by my friend, who asked if I would help brainstorm some names for co-editors for a book of essays by American Christian men under 40. I sent her a list of names and figured I’d given her all the help I could give.

I was only partially right. A couple of week later, Maria and I spoke on the phone again and she asked if I would consider being one of the co-editors. I was shocked. I mean, I don’t have any “platform,” I don’t have a previous bestseller that will compel people to buy this book, and I don’t pastor some big church with thousands of congregants. I’m not that big of a deal, really. What I do have, Maria insisted, is the ability to pull together a broad number of perspectives around a central topic. And she’s right. Networking has long been a strength of mine and making sure that a wide and diverse group of people speak into a conversation is quite important to me. So, I agreed to edit the book and to find a co-editor with a bit more platform than I.

The next decision was to propose a topic for the essayists to explore. After batting around a couple different ideas, I settled on “fatherhood.” The subject is one with which people from all different faiths can relate: every man is a son, some men are fathers. I think it will be intriguing to see what role one’s Christian faith plays into understanding oneself as a father or a son, or the relationship between father and son. Maria and her business partner, Zahra, agreed. So, off I went on the search for a co-editor.

It is early still, but the book is starting to shape up nicely. I’m excited about the stories that are emerging. There’s a guy who is going to write about losing a child, and another about losing his wife and now raising daughters as a widower. I have a stay-at-home dad who’s going to pen something fantastic, and a dad writing about the anxiety of parenting a pre-teen girl. There’s a new dad writing about his first child and a man writing about being unable to have kids at all. There are more stories waiting in the wings, I’m sure.

Some of the contributors you will have heard of, like Jason Boyett, Andrew Marin, Shane Blackshear, and A.J. Swoboda. Other names will be new to you. All the stories will be worth telling (and I promise not all the contributors are white!). I’m humbled and excited to be part of such a great project. I can’t wait to see how it shapes up. I’ll keep you updated, friend.

On Becoming “Daddy”

February 7, 2012 — 13 Comments


I must admit, I don’t often write about my family in this space. For that reason, this post may seem something of a non sequitur to my normal theological, philosophical, and ecclesiological ramblings. On the other hand, it may be a refreshing departure! 

Several months ago, my lovely wife, April, introduced me to Sarah Bessey’s blog, “Emerging Mummy.” April has been reading her blog for some time and would occasionally forward me her posts. One particular post, “In Which I’m an Uneasy Pacifist” hooked me. Then she and I connected on Twitter and have had some wonderful interactions in that space.

This week, she invited parents to share their best practices for parenting as part of a Parenting Practices Carnival. Loads of people have chimed in, but few dads, it seems. So, I thought I’d add my voice to the melee. 

I’m father to two girls, Sydney and Rylee. Ever since I recognized that I wanted to become a father, I’ve wanted girls. This is curious since I am the eldest of three boys who were, for a time, raised by a single father. Yet I’ve never had that strong desire to have a son that many men seem to have (I would’ve made a horrible member of the European gentry). 

I became a father for the first time when I was 25, then again when I was 27. Only recently, however, have I become a Daddy. See, there are fathers all over the place. It takes very little to father a child. But I’ve learned that leaning into the role of ‘Daddy’ is quite different. Continue Reading…