Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Only Questions

I love to use this blog to share deep and meaningful insights which draw my readers closer to the great mystery of Love, Himself. However, recently I am full only of questions sparked in bizarre corners of my mind by Robert Kiyosaki. I wish to be a true man, knowing that if I live the truth, I follow Him who is Truth.

This book causes me to think it is truer manhood to be a business owner and investor than to be a well-paid employee. It is all difficult to ponder. Being a provider is one of the standard fatherly criteria which I accept, and now I wonder how independent a provider I have to be, even though I know I am entirely depended on the Provider of All Good Things. But He is independent, isn't He?

4 comments:

sophie said...

I might be posing more questions here, but I had a few thoughts, if you don't mind a woman making comments on masculinity. :-)

One thing I think is important is to be careful to distinguish between masculinity and fatherhood. They really are not interchangeable. For true masculinity we should always look to Christ for the best and most true example. Christ was not a father, in the earthly sense. In Catholic theology, it is my understanding that the *best* vocation (can't find the right word, but the vocation that is closest to Christ's example) is that of the priesthood. So really, true masculinity is best exemplified in the priesthood. In the priesthood, there is no role of provider of resources. Their role is only servitude, of the bishop and of their 'flock'. There is also no call to independence. On the contrary, priests are called to be in solidarity (even in living arrangements) with their brother priests as well as with their bishop.

All this rambling to say that in my mind the question still remains... If the role of provider is not inherent in true masculinity, is it inherent in the vocation of fatherhood? Certainly an arguement could be made from biblical examples, but is it part of Catholic moral teaching now? I would like to have a better understanding of that. I don't want to make rules for family life that don't exist in Catholic teaching, and especially not if they are contrary to it. And of course I don't want to dismiss something as merely cultural tradition (small t) if it has more weight than that in Catholic teaching.

...hoping I didn't garble all that too much...

Jen said...

I may have more thoughts later, but for now I wanted to just say that a priest, or rather a bishop, who has the fullness of Holy Orders, is called to provided for his flock. He is called to provide primarily spiritual goods, but it's still a call to be a provider.

I would argue to that Christ, as God, also provided for His "children," and this provision didn't exclude material things...I'm thinking of that "do not worry about what you will wear" passage of scripture. So in some sense a priest or bishop should also image Christ by helping to provide the material needs of his flock.

Certainly the focus shouldn't be on obtaining material goods, as in the world, but there still needs to be some thought to them.

I would also remind you that God is often referred to as Providence or Divine Providence, so obviously there is some provider role that we should be imitating. The key is learning the balance of spiritual and material goods.

JimmyV said...

Sophie,

I love when respectful, intelligent women make comments on masculinity. Not only because they see things from an outsider's perspective but because I believe that women are better at intuiting the correct answer from incomplete data.

I never pondered the distinction between masculinity and fatherhood. My initial thought is that fatherhood is the consummation of masculinity so the study of either is intertwined with the other. I find it interesting that you choose the example of the priesthood as masculinity, since the title most commonly given to them is, "Father."

I understand that there is no call to independence. I'm still trying to parse this feeling and independence is the best word I could come up with. Strictly speaking of independence as it relates to my work, I feel so much a cog in my current job that I don't think it is truly human work. I wish to be independent of such a large corporate structure so that I can develop more skills and better provide for my family. Keep in mind, I'm still trying to figure that out.

Jen,

I love the bishop and fullness of Holy Orders point, as well as the "Divine Providence" point.

JimmyV said...

Further thoughts on servitude:

A business makes money by providing a service or product which is helpful to people at a price they can afford. When I enter the business world, it will be with the intent to serve. It is actually the desire to serve that provides some of my motivation. I have been given so much that I wish to use it to do good, to help others. The profit that I would make would be to keep my family going and to provide more service in the future. I think this is why God points out that fathers are occupied with this world (rough paraphrase of a Bible verse which I can't remember).