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Olddad
Oct 12th 2008, 11:09 AM
Father-daughter relationships in the book of Judges are bleak.

In Judges 1:11-15, Caleb offers to marry off his daughter Achsah to the man who captured Kiriath Sepher. As a result, the girl is married to her uncle, and unless she had spoken up, they may well have ended up with desert land without water. Caleb had to be reminded about the water supply. Not a flattering comment on the man.

In Judges 11:34-39, Jephthah makes a vow to make a burnt offering of the first thing that comes out of his house to meet him. Jephthah reacts by blaming the victim for the consequences of his own folly: “You have brought me very low; you have become the cause of great trouble to me.” (verse 35)

In Judges 19, the Levite’s concubine returns to her father’s house. At first, her father welcomed her husband warmly (verse 3). However, at the end of three days, the father did his level best to delay their departure for as long as possible (verses 4-9). Nevertheless, they left, his daughter going to her death. Her father was not enough to save her.

Later, in Judges 19, 22-24, a mob of men surrounded an old man’s house, insisting on his bringing out his guest so that they could rape him. The old man refused, offering to bring out his virgin daughter and his female guest instead. His virgin daughter was only saved because the male guest threw only his concubine to the mob.

In considering these four accounts a reader could conclude that women in that society could not expect very much from their fathers. Would others agree?

RoadWarrior
Oct 12th 2008, 12:59 PM
In many societies today, women cannot expect much from their fathers. Human nature doesn't change much.

markinro
Oct 12th 2008, 01:11 PM
To quote the guidelines for this section...

1. This forum is not here for you to debate against Christianity, preach other beliefs, or to mock Christianity.

Do you have a serious question ?

tango
Oct 12th 2008, 01:45 PM
So what's your point Olddad? That a historical society was very different to ours?

chisel
Oct 12th 2008, 07:10 PM
Olddad,

Once again I must ask you if you're truly interested in woman's rights or are you simply trying a new avenue, in what seems to be a campaign against the word of God? You have asked many questions and you have received honest answers from many of the members here, but it doesn't seem that you're interested in answers at all. Once you've asked your question you simply move on to the next question.

Now, since you are so worried about women's rights, instead of trying to condemn the bible with these sorts of questions, what have you done to alleviate the suffering of women in Middle East, India and China, where oddly enough, Christianity is not the major religion, Olddad?

Or do you so fervently write complaints against the pornography industries' exploitation of women?
Do you send money to rape counselling centres?
Are you against the cosmetics industries that generally idolise the impossibly skinny young models and making normal healthy women feel ugly?
Do you help educate tribes in Africa against performing cruel female circumcisions?
Do you support organisations that help fight women abuse?
Do you speak to adolescent boys, teaching them how to respect the opposite sex?
Do you visit widows on weekends? Do you mow their lawn?

If you do any of these things then you've atleast done a little but you'll find that most of the charity organisations and shelters and soup kitchens and rape counselling centres are manned by Christians who believe and hold true, the word of God that you're trying to debunk...

But as I said to you earlier, your problem isn't any of those things... You've decided that you don't want a God running your life, and all these questions you're posing is simply you looking for reasons to make your decision seem like a really smart idea...

G K Chesterton - On the Modern Man

‘But the new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist. And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it. Thus he writes one book complaining that imperial oppression insults the purity of women, and then he writes another book in which he insults it himself. He curses the Sultan because Christian girls lose their virginity, and then curses Mrs. Grundy because they keep it. As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philosopher, that all life is waste of time. A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself. A man denounces marriage as a lie, and then denounces aristocratic profligates for treating it as a lie. He calls a flag a bauble, and then blames the oppressors of Poland or Ireland because they take away that bauble. The man of this school goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes on to a scientific meeting, where he proves that they practically are beasts. In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite skeptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines. In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything.' (G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 1909)

Tanya~
Oct 12th 2008, 08:50 PM
Olddad, did you have a question about the Christian faith you would like for us to answer for you?

apothanein kerdos
Oct 12th 2008, 10:28 PM
Olddad,

Didn't you already ask a similar question?

It seems you ask leading questions - "Oh, wow, look, these people in the Bible were evil."

Yes, we know and have no problem with it. Judges - as pointed out in a previous thread on this same issue - is a descriptive book. It is meant to show the depravity of the people. It shows how corrupt the judges and society were.

So what exactly is your contention?

Sold Out
Oct 13th 2008, 03:16 PM
In considering these four accounts a reader could conclude that women in that society could not expect very much from their fathers. Would others agree?

Yes, you are correct. And to understand this more clearly, the time of the Judges was not a glowing point in Israel's history.

Judges 21:25, "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes."

This is a PERFECT example of how men ignore God's commandments and do as they please. Anarchy reigns, and God's people end up doing bizarre things.

That is why the people rose up and begged God to send them a king.

Olddad
Oct 14th 2008, 01:04 PM
First, i would like to thank those who have commented. I appreciate your interest and concern. I agree with RoadWarrior and Soldout in that the conduct that I drew attention to is deplorable. Tango's question seems to imply that the conduct described is irrelevant to today's concerns and from this I must dissent, for women are treated badly all over the world. Apothanein kerdos has suggested that I might be asking leading questions, but he agrees with the fact that Judges is describing human wickedness. Markinro asks if I have a serious question, as if questions about the welfare of women are not serious or if raising them was to attack the Christian faith. TanyaP asks if I have a question about the Christian faith and Vim accuses me of attacking the Bible, and, - shock, horror - of asking a question and then asking another and another! I am not sure how asking more questions shows that I'm not interested in the answers, but there you are. Vim has wrapped all of this in a covering of ad hominem attacks and hostility and once again I request that this person quits making such remarks. They are not helpful.

I wish to state unequivocally that I have no intention to attack the Bible or the Christian faith. I believe that the Bible is great literature and I am raising matters where Christians may have different approaches from mine. When it comes to Judges, I have found reason to believe that far from being just a history of human wickedness it is a powerful condemnation of that evil from a feminist perspective. I wish to test this belief with conservative Christians to see if it passes muster. I began with asking about the foolishness of vows and then went on to the treatment of daughters by their fathers in this society. After that I want to examine what it reveals about encounters between men and women and then finally, I want to examine what it says about the heroes of Israel.

If my views of Judges and other books do not stand up to scrutiny, then too bad. But if they do, then it opens the possibility of interpreting Judges, not just a history of human wickedness but a scathing denunciation of it. And I don't think that this would damage the Bible or the Christian faith.

daughter
Oct 14th 2008, 01:12 PM
Jephtha's daughter was remembered by the young women of her culture, if you check the record. Her name was not recorded in the written account, but you can be sure that it was recorded by God. It really does bother me that her father was so feckless and reckless, and that he swore an idle oath without thinking about the ramifications. But there is an interesting point here... a child who loves her father so much that she will not allow him to break his vows to the living God. She could have just run away. Instead, she asks to see her friends, to "mourn her virginity" and is trustworthy enough to return.

Interesting idea by the way, that she "mourned" her virginity. It could be that she was not sacrificed by being killed, but that she lived a life of celebacy away from people. It's hard to know from the very stark, and compressed written record.

But it is obvious that this was a man whose only child was a girl, that he cherished her very much, that she was a woman of integrity who would not allow her father to be compromised, and she was honoured by the women of her culture.

And yes, as was pointed out above, women historically and today can't be sure that the men in their lives are reliable. Fortunately, God is a different kind of Father.

I'll write on the other father daughter relationships later... right now I have to do the mother son thing, and pick my lad up from school. Speak to you later OldDad.

Olddad
Oct 14th 2008, 01:23 PM
It really does bother me that her father was so feckless and reckless, and that he swore an idle oath without thinking about the ramifications. But there is an interesting point here... a child who loves her father so much that she will not allow him to break his vows to the living God. She could have just run away. Instead, she asks to see her friends, to "mourn her virginity" and is trustworthy enough to return.

Interesting idea by the way, that she "mourned" her virginity. It could be that she was not sacrificed by being killed, but that she lived a life of celebacy away from people. It's hard to know from the very stark, and compressed written record.

But it is obvious that this was a man whose only child was a girl, that he cherished her very much, that she was a woman of integrity who would not allow her father to be compromised, and she was honoured by the women of her culture.

And yes, as was pointed out above, women historically and today can't be sure that the men in their lives are reliable.

Great comment! Whereas Jephthah reacted by blaming his daughter, his daughter behaved with impressive and moving dignity and resignation. This contrast between male and female behaviour happens time and again in Judges and in another posting I will demonstrate that this is so.

apothanein kerdos
Oct 14th 2008, 02:52 PM
First, i would like to thank those who have commented. I appreciate your interest and concern. I agree with RoadWarrior and Soldout in that the conduct that I drew attention to is deplorable. Tango's question seems to imply that the conduct described is irrelevant to today's concerns and from this I must dissent, for women are treated badly all over the world. Apothanein kerdos has suggested that I might be asking leading questions, but he agrees with the fact that Judges is describing human wickedness. Markinro asks if I have a serious question, as if questions about the welfare of women are not serious or if raising them was to attack the Christian faith. TanyaP asks if I have a question about the Christian faith and Vim accuses me of attacking the Bible, and, - shock, horror - of asking a question and then asking another and another! I am not sure how asking more questions shows that I'm not interested in the answers, but there you are. Vim has wrapped all of this in a covering of ad hominem attacks and hostility and once again I request that this person quits making such remarks. They are not helpful.

I wish to state unequivocally that I have no intention to attack the Bible or the Christian faith. I believe that the Bible is great literature and I am raising matters where Christians may have different approaches from mine. When it comes to Judges, I have found reason to believe that far from being just a history of human wickedness it is a powerful condemnation of that evil from a feminist perspective. I wish to test this belief with conservative Christians to see if it passes muster. I began with asking about the foolishness of vows and then went on to the treatment of daughters by their fathers in this society. After that I want to examine what it reveals about encounters between men and women and then finally, I want to examine what it says about the heroes of Israel.

If my views of Judges and other books do not stand up to scrutiny, then too bad. But if they do, then it opens the possibility of interpreting Judges, not just a history of human wickedness but a scathing denunciation of it. And I don't think that this would damage the Bible or the Christian faith.

I agree that it's "feminist" in the traditional sense of the word (meaning that men and women are ontologically equal). I don't think it's a mistake that the only good judge Israel had during this time was a woman (other than Samuel...but in the book of Judges Deborah is the only good judge).

Also, I do believe that the book mentions these things to show the evil that was prevalent during those days.

Most conservative scholars actually look at Judges as a "scathing denunciation" of Israeli culture in the period, so you're actually siding with the more conservative scholars of the Bible. The more liberal ones would disagree with you.

RoadWarrior
Oct 14th 2008, 03:46 PM
....

I wish to state unequivocally that I have no intention to attack the Bible or the Christian faith. I believe that the Bible is great literature and I am raising matters where Christians may have different approaches from mine. When it comes to Judges, I have found reason to believe that far from being just a history of human wickedness it is a powerful condemnation of that evil from a feminist perspective. I wish to test this belief with conservative Christians to see if it passes muster. I began with asking about the foolishness of vows and then went on to the treatment of daughters by their fathers in this society. After that I want to examine what it reveals about encounters between men and women and then finally, I want to examine what it says about the heroes of Israel.

If my views of Judges and other books do not stand up to scrutiny, then too bad. But if they do, then it opens the possibility of interpreting Judges, not just a history of human wickedness but a scathing denunciation of it. And I don't think that this would damage the Bible or the Christian faith.

Hi OldDad, I'm being curious now. I believe you mentioned early on that your father is Jewish, am I correct in that?

I'm sure that you are aware that the book of Judges is Jewish literature, written thousands of years before the time of Christ. So I am curious if you are seeking to debate these subjects from a Jewish viewpoint?

What is the reason behind your train of examination in these threads? I also seem to remember that you started out being unhappy about the unequally yoked teachings for Christians (unless I have you confused with someone else).

Like I said, I'm being curious!

daughter
Oct 14th 2008, 04:05 PM
Hi Olddad!

I'm back again, but briefly, and I won't have time to write everything about the latter stories in Judges today. (I'll get to it tomorrow.)

Firstly, a little more detail on Jephthah and his daughter. Jephthah, if you remember, was a man who was despised and deprived of his inheritance, because people looked down on his mother. In those days a man who was married would probably have more than one child... Jephthah had only one. This would suggest that he had only one wife, who died in labour, or young. Either he loved her so dearly he wouldn't remarry, or he was looked down on, and as a result had difficulty finding a wife. Whichever one you go for, you're looking at a man who is at odds with his time, and an outsider to his culture. In a sense, he's as much a despised outsider as his mother, so you would expect him to be very sympathetic to women.

He has one daughter, and he loves her deeply. Many people didn't think too highly of their daughters, and would have been disappointed to have had "only" a girl. This was certainly not the case with Jephtha. (Sorry, my spelling is atrocious.) One thing that is clear from the account is that he loves her, and yes, he does blame her for his mistake, but what he's saying is "my heart is broken, I'm destroyed." He shouldn't have blamed her, anymore than say he should blame God for his own rash vow. But that is human nature.

Also, there is a parallel in this account to that of Abraham and Isaac. God tests Abraham, by giving him an opportunity to prove that he would give up his dearest and most cherished love for Him. Abraham passes this test, and as we know, God spares Isaac. In the account in Judges, it's inverted. This is not God testing Jephthah, it's Jephthah testing God... not something that we should ever do. (As you know from Deuteronomy, and as Jesus reiterates, "thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.") Jephtha seems to think that he can bargain with God, persuade Him to help him win the battle, and he enters into his rash vow, not because he trusts God, but because he thinks God might be partial to a bribe. God will not be mocked. The fathers in these two accounts are diametrically opposed... but the children, interestingly, aren't. Isaac was of an age where he could easily have escaped an old man, if he'd wanted to run. He knew something was up. Depending on which rabbi you ask, Isaac was either 12 to thirteen, or in his early thirties, when this incident occured. He chose not to dishonour his father, and was willing to sacrifice himself so that his father would not break his vow before God. So, Jepthah's daughter is in the same category as Isaac, although, unlike Isaac, she has no-one born from her to continue her name. The father who honoured God has blessings which continue through the son, whereas the father who tested God has no descendants. But this is not the fault of the children, who loved God, and are remembered for their love of Him.

Jephthah fails his daughter, but he's not by any means the worst father in Judges.

The story of Caleb I read differently from you. Caleb lived in a time when to secure safety and security for his daughter was a priority. To have her married to a courageous and respected warrior was the best he could do for her. (She marries her cousin by the way, not her uncle. This would have been perfectly acceptable in that period.) She was the prize, to be sure, which goes against the modern grain... but he was looking out for her. The "package" would have included a dowry... as indeed the account states it does. His daughter has so much faith in him that she asks him for an additional blessing, water, and being a loving father he gives it to her.

So, the way I read Judges... it starts off with a good father, who loves his daughter, and wants to see her provided for after he's gone. He secures her a good husband, land, and whatever else she asks for. (She's a shrewd business lady, who figures out a way to improve the land her father's already given her by a further blessing.) This is a picture of how God loves us, and what our relationship with Him should look like. We should trust Him to love us, we should thank Him for His blessings, and approach Him fearlessly if what we ask for is in His will.

Subsequent father daughter relationships in the Book of Judges deteriorate, until the end is one of the most appallingly tragic things in the Bible. I'll write on that tomorrow... but the picture of deterioration and catastrophic decay in society that we see in Judges parallels the fall of humanity, and our devolution after the flood.

Okay... I'm off now! Hope this is helpful. Feel free to pick holes in it!

Olddad
Oct 16th 2008, 12:23 PM
Hi, Daughter,

What a refreshing change not to be questioned on my motives! Yes, you're quite right about Othinel. The two were cousins, so that certainly does change the interpretation. However, the asking for water presents an interesting conundrum because the Septuagint differs from the Masoretic text here. The Septuagint says Othinel asked his bride to ask for water; the Masoretic text said she asked Othinel to ask for water. In any case, she dismounted and asked her father for the pools of water.

If the woman asked Othinel to ask for the pools of water and then went ahead and spoke to her father about it, it might suggest that her husband was a bit shy of asking for this favour. Also, if he asked his bride to ask for those pools of water it also suggests even more strongly that he thought his wife's entreaties would work better. The country the young people were given was in the Negev, a very arid region, so they really did need access to water.

So, yes, I have no doubt that the father was loving, though a bit formidable. Not giving the water holes could be an oversight on Caleb's part, or it could be a deliberate ploy to see whether they had the gumption to ask for it, or a bit of both. That's all a matter of interpretation.

Hi, Roadwarrior,

Yes, my father was Jewish but I am not. Judaism is passed down through the female line and we were not brought up Jewish. I don't seek to debate the meaning of the text but to exchange views, and I am quite willing to change my view if I feel I'm not right, as with Othinel being Caleb's nephew and not his brother. I voiced my concern with the use of the term "unequally yoked" to apply to marriages. Every marriage is a mixed marriage! I feel that 1 Corinthians 7 gives more practical advice for Christian-non-Christian marriages than the application of a metaphor to complex and varying situations.

Hi Apothanein Kerdos

Thanks for your helpful feedback. I'll pursue any further examination of Judges in another thread.

RoadWarrior
Oct 16th 2008, 02:57 PM
...

Hi, Roadwarrior,

Yes, my father was Jewish but I am not. Judaism is passed down through the female line and we were not brought up Jewish. I don't seek to debate the meaning of the text but to exchange views, and I am quite willing to change my view if I feel I'm not right, as with Othinel being Caleb's nephew and not his brother. I voiced my concern with the use of the term "unequally yoked" to apply to marriages. Every marriage is a mixed marriage! I feel that 1 Corinthians 7 gives more practical advice for Christian-non-Christian marriages than the application of a metaphor to complex and varying situations.
...

Good morning OldDad,

Thanks for clearing that up. I was wondering if your love for the OT (Tanakh) came from your father's studies in the same. I can understand you must have had some yanking this way and that, trying to understand yourself with parents in different religions.

The world is a mixed-up place. In a way, we are all trying to find how we fit.

Olddad
Nov 6th 2008, 08:42 PM
I was wondering if your love for the OT (Tanakh) came from your father's studies in the same. I can understand you must have had some yanking this way and that, trying to understand yourself with parents in different religions.

No. My father never tried to convert me. There was no yanking in different directions. On rare occasions my father referred to the Bible. A little boy I knew was run over and killed by the school bus. My parents went to their place. The parents were numb with grief; the boy was their only child. Dad referred to the story of David and Bathsheba's loss of a child. In a second instance, my father told me that the Hebrew word in Isaiah 7:14 was not virgin.

I see the Bible as evidence of people reaching for God rather than the other way round. When viewed this way, the contradictions and the cruelties don't overwhelm the very human stories and concerns that can be found there.

daughter
Nov 6th 2008, 08:49 PM
That's really interesting, OldDad... I do think that what "makes" a Christian as opposed to any other religion is the factor of whether we reach out to a distant God, or whether God is reaching to us.

Christians know that in the person of Jesus, God Himself reached out to us... that's what makes the Bible come alive to us. In Jesus God broke through into human history, and everything changed. It made a tremendous impact on my life when I realised that... and I'm infinitesmally small. It made a huger impact on all things, and we're still in the throes of that change now.

Well, I'll talk more tomorrow... I've got an early start in the morning, but I just wanted to pick up on that point of yours. Thanks!

RoadWarrior
Nov 6th 2008, 11:33 PM
...



I see the Bible as evidence of people reaching for God rather than the other way round. When viewed this way, the contradictions and the cruelties don't overwhelm the very human stories and concerns that can be found there.

Thank you for your response. It reminds me that each of us has a view, and all of us see only in part. This poem speaks volumes on that subject.



"American poet John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887) based the following poem on a fable which was told in India many years ago. It's a great example of how easy it is for us to close our minds and fill in the blanks with sweeping generalizations. Also, it is a good warning about how out sensory perceptions can lead to misinterpretations."




Blind Men and an Elephant


It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, "Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"
The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"
The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he;
"Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"
The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said:"E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant



Is very like a rope!"
And so these men of Indostan




Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!





Moral:
So oft in theologic wars,




The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

Olddad
Nov 7th 2008, 12:13 PM
Dear Roadwarrior,

Thank you for quoting that delightful poem. The story of the blind men and the elephant has been told and retold many times in many traditions. John Godfrey Saxe used it to attack theological disputants, blind men all! Other traditions drew different morals from this story. These are set out in the Wikipedia article on the story http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_Men_and_an_Elephant

The Jain version, for instance has the following moral:


A wise man explains to them: "All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently is because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all the features you mentioned."


This resolves the conflict, and is used to illustrate the principle of living in harmony with people who have different belief systems, and that truth can be stated in different ways (in Jainist beliefs often said to be seven versions). This is known as the Syadvada, Anekantvad, or the theory of Manifold Predictions.

Others take quite different morals from this story, including an attack on dogmatism, a warning to watch out for charlatans and a caution against attempts to harmonise conflicting stories. I appreciate all the versions but I think I like the Jain version best. I believe that we can all learn from each other. In the case of the Book of Judges, I think different readings can be particularly helpful.

RoadWarrior
Nov 7th 2008, 03:46 PM
Dear Roadwarrior,

Thank you for quoting that delightful poem. ....

Others take quite different morals from this story, including an attack on dogmatism, a warning to watch out for charlatans and a caution against attempts to harmonise conflicting stories. I appreciate all the versions but I think I like the Jain version best. I believe that we can all learn from each other. In the case of the Book of Judges, I think different readings can be particularly helpful.



I see the Bible as evidence of people reaching for God rather than the other way round. When viewed this way, the contradictions and the cruelties don't overwhelm the very human stories and concerns that can be found there.


Your words (second quote) have been in my brain since yesterday. The attempts of man to understand God are sometimes amusing and sometimes quite dreadful. We all know that the Bible was written down by the hands of men. What is different for believers, is that we also consider that the men who wrote these words were inspired by God. The Creator of all that is, had personally touched the lives of these men.

Often, people seem to get hung up on some detail or several, that are in the Bible and it is like a tree fallen across the road during a storm. They just can't get past that. Many people for example, want the Bible to be a science book, and that is not its purpose.

My view is that the Bible is where God revealed a measure of Himself and His character, so that man could grasp hold of what is provided, and be transformed by it. Yes, men are reaching for God. But what is truly amazing to me, is that God is reaching for man at the same time.

If a person looks at the Bible for science, history, geography, they find enough of those elements to keep them busy trying to make it fit into their own world. But if we look to it for wisdom and truth on a spiritual plane, there is great wealth and opportunity.

Your father comes from a long line of men who searched for wisdom and truth. It is a little bit sad to me that the chain gets broken and fathers fail to pass on the great love of the mystery of God. In your case, however, it seems that he has passed on enough that you are hungering for something. While you have not yet taken hold of it, it is not far from you.

Thank you for following up on the poem. I also agree that we can learn from each other. We just need to be willing to listen.