I was never into the Rocky movie franchise and so I didn’t make a point to head to the theater and catch the recent release of Creed II. But I did take notice of a powerful commentary based on the movie written by Greg Morse. He effectively used the fictional plotline as a magnifying glass to reveal the all-to-familiar reality of life for far too many black boys in America:
No man in his corner. No one to teach him how to throw a right hook or a left uppercut, how to propose to his girlfriend, or how to process hardship in his family.
I recently retweeted some alarming statistics from the CDC that demonstrate the consequence to the epidemic of fatherlessness in our country:
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
- 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
- 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes
- 70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes
- 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes
As Morse writes, men need a man in their corner. In the movie, Adonis Creed had Rocky as a father figure to spar with, learn from, argue with, forgive, and then join with to take on the world together. Some of us were blessed with that in the form of our biological dads, but sadly that is becoming an exception to the rule. So that seems to leave us with one of two options: (1) we can lament that reality and obsess over the miserable statistics, shouting about the importance of dads into the disregarding ears of society, or (2) we can go out and become that father figure to someone who needs it.
If you don’t have a spiritual father, pray for one. Ask men to meet with you. Ask them to mentor you in the word. Ask to spend time around their family. Ask how to balance a checkbook, change a tire, love your wife like Christ does the church. If you don’t have a spiritual son, it’s not too late. Even now you can change the life of a young man and the lives of many others through him. Entrust what you know to faithful men who will go and teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2). Find an Adonis to father.
It's a critical challenge, and Morse seems to direct it exactly where it needs to be focused: on Christ’s church. We have the example in the Apostle Paul mentoring and fathering Timothy, Titus, and others. And we, better than anyone else, should know that, “The streets and the world are lining up to recruit our men for other armies.” Our army – the Lord’s army – is better.
So men of Christ, let’s get to work.