Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Review - Fatherless Generation

This week is the blog tour for Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story, by John Sowers. It's from Zondervan, who provided a complimentary copy to review for the tour. Sowers shares a powerful message looking at the question: "What does it mean for a generation to grow up without Dad? What happens when Dad walks out the door of your life, never to return? What happens when our givers of life give us a lifetime of tears?" Sower knows this answer first-hand, from personal experience and as leader of The Mentoring Project - a ministry whose mission is to address the significant problem of fatherlessness.

Fatherlessness is a huge problem in this generation. The numbers presented here (though he doesn't talk much about numbers) are staggering. In the US, 33% of youth are fatherless. Children from fatherless homes account for: 63% of youth suicides, 90% of all homeless and runaway children, 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger, and 85% of all youths sitting in prison. The implications in the life of each youth, and for society in generation, make this a tremendous challenge today.

Part One of the book describes the problem of the fatherless generation from various angles, paints a vivid picture of how widespread and important the issue is. Part Two 'Redeeming the Story' talks about things that can actually make a difference in reversing the trend and in reaching out to the fatherless generation. There are a number of great stories and examples here, from Matt Redman and Big Mike, to teenage elephants gone crazy in an unending musth cycle, cutting, teenage pregnancy, and boys and girls desperate for their father's love. The situation comes across times as hopeless, but the goal of the author is to describe just that - a picture of hope, one based in Jesus (who became fatherless for a time) and on the difference the loving, modeling and coaching of a community of mentors can make. He challenges us, and challenges churches, to stand up and make a difference.

I thought the book was very well written, informative, and challenging. I would have like to have seen more about The Mentoring Project, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, or other practical approaches to getting involved in being friends and mentors to youth. He makes it very clear that building trust and relationships takes a lot of time and commitment, done consistently. The huge challenge remains how do we fit something like that into already crazy schedules?! I would recommend the book to anyone unaware of the severity of the problem of fatherlessness and to any person or church leader who is wondering how to make a difference.

Fatherless Generation is available from Zondervan, Amazon or other retailers. (This week only, Oct 11-15th, there is a 50% off coupon from Zondervan). Or check out a free sample excerpt. The forward was written by Donald Miller, who has provided a short video review.

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