Monday, July 7, 2008

Vacation to the Glory of God

A few days ago I stumbled across a series of posts on C.J. Mahaney's blog. The title of the series is "Leadership + Family Vacations." In these posts he discusses the role of the father/husband while on family vacation. He writes about seven lessons he has learned in his history of family vacations. He suggests that the father must be the one setting the example in the following seven ways.

1. A Servant Heart
2. A Tone-Setting Attitude
3. An Awareness of Indwelling Sin
4. Studying Your Family
5. Skillful Surprises
6. Intentionally Together
7. Gratefulness to God

He concludes by saying-
Fathers, I hope some of the lessons I have learned over the years and the mistakes I’ve made and sins I’ve committed on vacation somehow serve you and make a difference in your vacation experience. Before you this summer is a sweet opportunity from God to deepen relationships between family members and create memories that your children will never forget, memories that will outlive you.

You can rest when you get home.

Dads and husbands - serve your families well on vacation. It doesn't matter where you go or what you do - point your family to Christ.

I would encourage you to read the entire article here (it's a .pdf).


Galatians 2:20 said...


Galatians 2:20 said...

You know, I agreed with most of the points in this article, but something about it really rubbed me the wrong way. For example, how long did it take this guy to figure out vacation didn't suddenly allow him to become consumed with himself?

Also, the last line has a serious problem with it: "You can rest when you get home." If everything he talked about in the article is important on vacations, how much MORE important are they at home? Those are the very things fathers and husbands can't rest from at home.

Anyway, again, for an article in which I agreed with almost all of the main points, it really ended up rubbing me the wrong way.


Vince said...

Greg - I am glad you read the article and I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I am not sure that I completely understand your first point about his consumption with self.

As far as his comment about resting when you get home - I cannot comment for Mahaney but I think what he meant was that the husband/father responsibility on vacation is to serve the family so that the family can have a memorable vacation. The husband/father can find time here or there to rest when he returns home.

Thanks again for your thoughtful response.

Galatians 2:20 said...

Hi Vince, I agree with you that this is what Mahaney probably intended. But in my opinion, his last line unintentionally conveys an underlying message that is more harmful than the positive one he hoped to convey.

Here's what I believe the unintentional underlying message is, and then I'll explain how I think it's conveyed:

"The vacation should be memorable for everyone in the family except the father, who just needs to work harder."

Ok, maybe that IS true in some cases, and, again, I don't think he tried to say this, but that's the way it comes off. Here's why I think that (and I'll offer what I think would have been a better way to end the article):

One of the most beleaguered positions in America is the Christian father. He is bombarded on all fronts.

1) He's bombarded by the world, which has captitulated to feminism (most people, even Christians, don't realize how much they've capitulated to it).

2) He's bombarded by liberal church leaders, who have totally capitulated to the world's view of feminism ("Men are the problem with everything" or "If men were only more like women, everything would be so much better").

3) He's bombarded by conservative church leaders, who have correct theology and therefore understand how much the father/husband influences the home (for good or for bad), but unfortunately are often clueless as to how easy it is for church-going women to get everyone to believe that all the problems in the home are because the husband is lazy, selfish, uninvolved, controlling, abusive, you name the accusation. The conservative church, with their right theology but often-too-insulated lives, is unfortunately far too willing to believe any woman even when she is lying through her teeth.

So here again, we have another article that tells Christian fathers, "You need to do more for your family's sake." If the attitude is, "You can rest when you get home," how much desire is any father going to have to take his family on any vacations?

I think a far better way of ending this article is to affirm that these are disciplines which should pervade the husband/father's home life, and should be practiced and built into habits at home over time, so that they are second nature on vacation, and then EVERYONE can have a memorable vacation, including the father, who will, if he is smart, build in some rest for everyone on the vacation (fits specifically into the "Tone-setting attitude").

Most Christian fathers won't consciously pick up on the underlying message I'm attempting to expose, they'll just feel guilty and/or ashamed about not being perfect...yet again.

That's why I didn't like his last line.