Shortly after it appeared in 2003 I read Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality. I connected with Miller’s hang loose, down-to-earth, sometimes unorthodox writing style and ways of sharing about Jesus and spirituality. I gave copies to my friends and did the same when Miller wrote A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. That book is about looking at our lives where they are now and living out a new, better, life story from this point forward.
I had not read Miller’s book on growing up without a father until this month when the original (2006) book appeared with a new title, Father Fiction: Chapters for a Fatherless Generation. We all know people who lost their fathers early in life or whose fathers abandoned their families and left their kids to navigate life without a father’s guidance or example. Other fathers never left home but disappeared into their careers so the families were psychologically abandoned. Miller is “raw and candid” as he writes about these topics, moving “from self-pity and brokenness to hope and strength, highlighting a path for millions who are floundering in an age without positive male role models.” How many counselees, coaching clients, or colleagues struggle with father loss and could benefit from discussion of this topic? Now I’m giving copies of Father Fiction to people like these without dads.
Father loss is a relevant issue with wide counseling, ministry and leadership implications. Even President Obama (who grew up without a father) has highlighted the impact of father loss. People building is about walking with people, including those without fathers, who sometimes walk alone or could use fresh perspectives from others who are further along on their life journeys. We can learn from from Donald Miller, including his ability to tell stories and connect with his audience. With a greater personal and spiritual maturity than we saw in earlier books, Miller writes a lively discourse that can benefit us personally and as people builders.
How have you dealt with father loss, personally or in working with others? Please click below on write comment and let us know.