“Men have lost the ability to pass on the wisdom & experience of their life. All they know how to do is pass on roles, money, and opinions, but not who they are. I would see that as the single greatest lack of power, dysfunction, & disability in civilization today…In so many of the countries that I have visited men are no longer authoritative or empowered – leaders in any true sense. They have not (experienced) any spiritual journeys, so they have nothing to offer. All they can do is go in the direction of clichés, control, comfort, legality, & all the rest…As a result, there is a tremendous father hunger within many societies today…No civilization has survived if the elders did not see their task as passing on the fruit of their experience to the young through some kind of initiation rite. We, however, look forward to old age so we can retire & move to Florida.
The most common words people use to describe their relationships with their fathers are “absence,” “sadness” and “I don’t know him.” Men have not been given the permission or the skills to pass on who they are to their children. We often know what makes fathers angry, but not the deep desires & dreams of their hearts, much less their loneliness & hurt. That vacuum creates a similar emptiness in the hearts of sons & daughters. Dad is an unnameable mystery, which only calls forth fear, doubt, & (sometimes) endless rebellion.
If fathers could pass on their feelings, their excitement, their grief, their touch, & the process of their struggles to their sons and daughters, I believe that we would have a very different world. There would be less mistrust & anger toward power & maleness, much less need for war & competition, much less fear & demonizing of the unknown enemy.
We have to back to Genesis where we were created in the image of God – male and female. So this Godhead, this beginning point is called Father. Father is not, in all truth, the most perfect word in all cases, but it will always be sacred because Jesus used it. We have to keep reminding ourselves, nevertheless, that this Father’s love is so perfect, it is like the love of a mother. This Father is father, but this Father is also mother. (See Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life” trilogy in which the Divine is manifest through the Feminine.) That is not new liberal theology. You could not be any more traditional than that. It is just that we have denied that reality for centuries in our false masculine interpretation of the Church (which is entirely led by males, of course)." – Richard Rohr, OFM (Malick analysis – Kyle)