Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Father's Day seems to have become a commercialized phenomenon where people go out spend copious amounts on their paternal figures. I don't know about your dad, but mine appreciates that stuff only so much as it comes from the heart. If I went out to Target and bought him something it might mean something to him whether or not he uses it. But honestly, I'd rather use the gifts God gave me to honor my dad, and one of them is writing. My dad has always supported my writing even when he didn't quite understand where I was coming from when I wrote it.

For those who don't know my dad, he's into classic rock music. He has a healthy collection of Styx, but one of the staple bands of his collection is Petra. At one point we owned nearly every album by Petra in vinyl, cassette, or CD. He even named one of my sisters after the band. Not because he's some kooky weirdo that names his kids after bands or anything like that, but because the members of Petra brought Christ into a very dark atmosphere of rock and did so unapologetically. They kept going even when prominent pastors and preachers like Jim Baker were speaking out against them, because they knew that the music was bringing people to Christ. Today Petra is officially retired after 33 years of ministry, but they recently released a Classic Petra album which features a very strong line-up of musicians and the vocalist from the older days of Petra. In addition, the original guitarist and lyricist Bob Hartman and vocalist John Schlitt for the last 11 years of Petra are also on tour as II Guys from Petra.

I tell you all this to give you a little bit of background on a band that I grew up listening to. When I was younger it was pretty much Petra, dc Talk, and whatever classical music my mom was listening to. When my mom and dad were the leaders of SonLight (the Awana for anyone who wasn't Baptist) they were playing "I Love The Lord" and tons of other Petra songs during praise and worship. I'm 20 years-old now and I've heard literally hundreds of bands and thousands of songs, but I still listen to Petra. Why? Because the music continues to bring me closer to Christ. I may have heard, "Beyond Belief" a million times, but just this morning I was having a really bad day and listened to "Just Reach Out" off the album Wake-Up Call and suddenly I was reminded that no matter what happens God is always waiting for me to call out to Him and He will answer. My dad may not realize just how significant Petra is to me, but I want him to know that because he exposed me to Petra I have had access to music that has helped me hold on to my faith.

My dad may not have sat me down and gave me one of those Hollywood five-minute pep-talks that made me suddenly become a super happy plastic Christian, instead he did something so much better. He gave me all the tools and support I needed to find God knocking on the door of my heart and the all the reminders I could ever want about God's unconditional, unfathomable, unmatchable love for me. He may not have stood at the pulpit and preached to a crowd of people, because he really hates drawing attention to himself (so he may have mixed feelings that this is public blog entry), but he very well might have raised the next Smith Wigglesworth (me), Gladys Aylward (my baby sister), Mary Wollstonecraft (my younger sister), or the next Tony Dungee (my younger brother). All those people were extraordinary people who served the Lord while doing things that even the rest of the world pays attention to.

So, Dad, thanks. This Jesus-Hippy is grateful for having a father who was there and tried his best to be the dad I needed.


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