Early Church Issues: Father Knows Best
Contributed by: Father Michael O’Donnell
Before I was ordained, I spent my life as a graduate professor of Human Development and Family Studies at a major University–with an emphasis on Fathering. So you could say I am a bit biased when it comes to talking about parenting. Yep, I value the role men play in helping moms to raise up the next generation of kids. And although our site will have a lot to say about Woman and the Early Church, I want to expressly focus on the early Patristic period and the early Christian Fathers of the first two centuries.
Some of them you know well, at least their names, and others not so much–that’s okay. My writing will hopefully be translated well into the historic laymen’s understanding; in other words, I want to talk to you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and not the academics among us. That’s why I left the so called “hallowed halls of academia” to have a more accessible dialogue with ordinary people who search the Internet for ordinary answers.
About my title, “Fathers Know Best”–of course this is a reference to the very popular American sitcom, “Father Knows Best”, whereby our TV dad, Jim Anderson, copes with everyday problems of his growing family (first aired October 3, 1954), dispensing wisdom from a father’s point of view. Yes, sexist and outdated, albeit humorous and even occasionally profound, I’m trying to draw a connection between this early Icon of pop TV culture and the so called “early Christian Fathers” of long ago.
Instead of a growing nuclear family, imagine dealing with an ever expanding early church. A church in its infancy, but needing the “milk” of the Gospel and a steady diet of Christian literature from the likes of Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, and Justin Martyr (to name but a few).
In a time when a fatherless generation is returning to their ancient roots of historic Christianity and rediscovering the writings of the “Fathers”, my prayer is that this blog will help aid you in that discovery and burning desire to be connected with an Early Faith for Today that will most certainly provide you with spiritual treasures, both old and new. And so, the journey begins … Father Michael O’Donnell