Life and Books and Everything
Life and Books and Everything

Episode · 5 months ago

"Lament for a Father," with Marvin Olasky

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In his new book, Lament for a Father: The Journey to Understanding and Forgiveness, Marvin Olasky, editor of WORLD Magazine , puts all his journalistic expertise and experience into uncovering the story of his father.

Life and Books and Everything is sponsored by Crossway, publisher of Recovering the Lost Art of Reading: A Quest for the True, the Good, and the Beautiful by Leland Ryken, Glenda Faye Mathes. 

Reading has become a lost art. With smartphones offering us endless information with the tap of a finger, it’s hard to view reading as anything less than a tedious and outdated endeavor. This is particularly problematic for Christians, as many find it difficult to read even the Bible consistently and attentively. Reading is in desperate need of recovery.  

Recovering the Lost Art of Reading addresses these issues by exploring the importance of reading in general as well as studying the Bible as literature, offering practical suggestions along the way. Leland Ryken and Glenda Faye Mathes inspire a new generation to overcome the notion that reading is a duty and instead discover it as a delight.

For 30% off this book and all other books and Bibles at Crossway, sign up for a free Crossway+ account at crossway.org/LBE. 

Timestamps: 

Do you want to hear about Abraham Lincoln? [0:00 – 1:13]

The Perfect Sponsor Book for LBE [1:13 – 1:53]

Marvin Olasky [1:53 – 5:05]

WORLD Magazine [5:05 – 8:10]

Lament for a Father [8:10 – 13:34]

From Success to Failure [13:34 – 18:52]

The Turning Point [18:52 – 24:08]

The Mercy of Reticence [24:08 – 30:20]

Mother’s Story [30:20 – 35:49]

Iron-Clad Chain, Daisy Chain [35:49 – 41:52]

Don’t Wait Until You’re Seventy [41:52 – 47:55]

The Single Biggest Social Problem in America [47:55 – 50:41]

Book Recommendations [50:41 – 53:25]

Advice for Those with Bad or Good Fathers [53:25 - 56:30]

Books and Everything: 

Messages from My Father: A Memoir, by Calvin Trillin

F reading and salutations welcome to lifeand books and everything. I'm Kevin Dy young joint with Justin Taylor andColin Hanson good to have you with us as we come to that as it may sound thecompletion of this season of life and books and everything Lord Willing willbe back with more er, perhaps after a break over some of the summer. Maybewe'll come back with special episodes in the summer we've had such aresounding reply to our question about. Should we do a special episode onAbraham Lincoln Books, I'm just thinking ye the baby wait in yeah bothof you only one related to us. No, maybe that would be a spell bindingepisode come fourth of July to talk about Lincoln books. I mean who whoactually goes out of their way to say: Hey. I heard you guys talking aboutAbraham Lincoln. Please don't do a podcast on that. I have no interest inthat WHO says that? Well, so so we'll see but glad to have you with us andglad. As always, they have crossway as a sponsor grateful for all of the greatbooks that they put out. We've mentioned many of them over. Thisseason want to highlight to day recovering the lost art of reading byLeland, Riken and Glinda fe Mathis, and what other sort of book would benearer and dearer to our hearts, life and books and everything a book on theLost Art of reading. We want to do whatever we can to encourage people tobe good readers and to read good books and, as this book says, to help uspursue the good, the true and the beautiful so check out that new bookfrom crossway and speaking of new books, we are joined with our special guest.Today, Marvin Olk of world magazine renown, Marvin good to have you with us.How long have you been at the helm of world? Oh about twenty nine years?Twenty nine years, I should know my history of the magazine. I think I'vesubscribed to it for all of those years, but are you the the first of theeditors, the only no Joe Bells started bill was before he started the magazine,one thousand nine hundred and eighty six and then I got involved first as amember of the board and then, when the board decided, I couldn't have me itdidn't want me. They made me editor because that's the way they getting meoff the board and we would we lived happily ever after yeah. Well, Iremember Joe started. I didn't know what the titles were and we'll get toyour book and just a moment, but you announced some time ago that you're ina a longish runway towards retirement- or maybe that's not the word you'reusing but a transition. How is that going? What are the plans for you andfor world? Oh, it's going well yeah. We have the right people in place, so Iplan on July, first, two thousand and twentytwo to no longer be editor in chief, no longer to be involved in editing. Still,I hope, as long as they'll have me writing a column and book reviews andso forth, but but all out of the process and ye the right people are onthe right seats on the bus. At this point, so it's kind o good, goodtransition. What I'm curious, what has been your one of your favorite parts about thisjob and what's one element we all have parts in our job that we say I won'tmiss that when I'm done what's that part for you, O favorite part isprobably been developing UN talent, we tend to have a very young group ofwriters. We have a world journalist institutethat that trains them and then we have interns. They live in our house with usfor a couple of months, so we get to know them and then usually we end uphiring them and that's been a lot of fun just seeing the development of therookies- and you know some of them now for have been with us for ten years andyou can just see how much they have progressed as as writers as people asChristians. So God that has been enormously pleasurable and what, if anything, will you be gladto no longer have to do good question, probably no longer having to engage in someextensive copy editing at the last minute causes? Is that true for you Justin and call,although I think Justin Man, whatever I send him something he seems to have-have great joy and copy editing, including text messages yeah, it's not above correcting textmessages right. Finding Salts is one of my spiritual gifts in other people andthat myself someone's got to do it so...

Margaret or for those who might not befamiliar with world just. Could you give a very quick overview of what themagazine tries to do? Who It tries to reach what its goals and missions aresure I mean right now. We have three platforms. We have a BI weekly magazinethat tries to assess, what's going on report, really emphasize street levelreporting not just sitting in our offices and sucking our times, butgoing out and seeing the stuff for ourselves and then telling storiesabout it. That's the magazine. We have a a website that basically functions isour daily newspaper and then we have a podcast a daily podcast, which is lots of fun and that's the onethat's been that's been growing exponentially the past few years, soyea, three things and the the emphasis and all of them is what we callBiblical objectivity, namely God created the world, he's the one whoknows how the world really works, and so we are only truly objective when wetry to follow what the Bible says and we try to do it in a way not to overuse the Bible and say it gives us a clear message about everything,politics and everything else, but also not to under use it and say it's all upto ourselves, because you know: There's no king in Israel, so yeah, it's aninteresting process of trying to avoid the under use of or the over use andpractice biblical objectivity which, which very few other people in thejournalistic world do so it's been fun developing that and training people init yeah. Well, thank you for doing thatand thank you for trying to walk that. Fine Line, I'm sure it it's always easier to do one or theother, and right as if, whatever our own convictions are equal, Biblical faithfulness or act as if the Bible is basically goodfor telling us that Jesus rose from the dead and obey the Ten Commandments. Andafter that we really can't say anything and I'm sure none of us do it perfectlyand world has to strain all that line. But we really appreciate how themagazine has tried to do that faithfully and really weighing inChristian world view, is sort of over use, but but doing that and yet notpretending that you know a conservative political takeautomatically has libica warrant in every instance yeah exactly we try toavoid polarizing as much as possible and avoid tribalism as much as possible,and since your your words are very kind. Let me just say you know: Justin andColin. I appreciate your writing and Kevin when I'm walking my dog, I listento sermons from from from Tim and from you Tim Keller, and you and you know,that's a pretty that's a pretty good league and well yeah. If I'm, if I'm inthere with Tim, I won't ask how the dog is behaving or what the dog is doingwhen I'm preaching versus Tim, but I'm just glad that I got to be in suchcompany yeah. We, we won't go there with what the dog is doing, since I'msure this is for families to be less for family very good. Well, I'm excited to talk about yournew book published by PR coming out soon, and it's calledlament for a father, the journey to understanding and forgiveness. It's ait's a short book little over a hundred pages, and this is a bit of a Cliche,but it was a page Turner and it went by very quickly- and I'm really interestedin asking you several things about this book. But I first want to ask: is thetitle a play off of the short book that Nicholas Walter Store wrote years agolament for a son? Well not in my mind, but it wasactually P N R that suggested that title. I had a title, something likeyou know, O honoring, my father or something, and they brought that and Isuspect it was in their minds. Well, I certainly made the connection.I don't know how many readers would, but it fit together nicely. Not manybooks will give you a kind of purposestatement from reading the dedication, but this book did, and so I want tostart there. You say: here's a dictionary definition of book.Dedication is a way for an author to honor a person or a group of people andquote, and then you say so in one sense: I'm dedicating this book to my father,who is the main character in it, but I'm also taking the unusual step ofdedicating it to you, the reader. You may be looking at this page right now,because you have unresolved conflicts with a parent living or dead. Youdeserve more than to go through the rest of your life feeling either guiltyor angry. I wrote this to blaze a trail through my own forest and to encourageyou to do likewise. I can't remember ever reading a book dedication thatmaybe want to go on and read the rest of the book so start from there andwe'll be a last specifics about this...

...story, but tell us your aim in thisbook and how the Lord brought you to a point that you wanted to blaze throughyour own forest. As you said well, two things about a year and ahalf ago I wrote a column for world in which I told about never playing catch with my father andtold that story about one time we lived in an urban area, nobackyard race like that, but one time I begged him to come out to the streetand just throw me some ground balls and he came out reluctantly and did it andthrew a ground ball to me that I should have stopped. But I did not and as youcan imagine, on cement, it just went rolling and rolling and rolling, andwhen I finally caught up to it- and I yelled back at him, why didn't youthrow it straight, namely blaming him rather than my own error and notgetting it? And as I got the ball finally and turned around, he waswalking back to the house, so that was our total amount of time playing catch,and I just wrote that column as something explaining about relations offathers and sons and so forth, and just got a tremendous amount of letters fromreaders. Guys saying telling me the stories about their own interactionswith their fathers, and so at that point I found I thought this wassomething more than more than a personal story was some that resonatedwith with lots of people and that really got me cranking on it. But a fewyears earlier I just been thinking. I had read one of theseone of these verses in the Bible that everyone skips over. It's pretty muchforgotten abandoned some somewhere in you know, and somewhere in the Bible.There's a verse called honor. Your father and mother know we- and I just was thinking atthat point. Well am I honoring my father and mother since I had somenegative thoughts about my father, because my mother had a hard childhood.A Hardy Young, adult hood grew up very, was hoping that marriage would turn aright life around and when it dent she was very disappointed and she took thatout of my father and I somewhat internalized her criticism, and so Ithought ill of him and then I thought ill of her for having Magda and yelled at him andthings like that, and that wasn't a good position as a Christian really foranyone to be in, and I thought well, I need to look further into this tounderstand them better. I think when we're children and youngadults we we tend to think of our parents as being of service to us,that's their that's their job, but we never stop, or at least I didn't stopto ask. Well what pains are they having? What are they going through? How can Ipossibly be helpful to them, and so belatedly? I started thinking about this and thendoing some research. This is, after their dad but startedasking my cousins, their perceptions and then going back in the records.What I could find out about what their lives were like and why they turned out, as they did, what painsthey had, what troubles they had, rather than just thinking about myself. So without making you repeat, the thewhole story, which is very well written, and I noticed in the book, you writethe whole stories in the you're writing with the present tens, even thoughyou're telling the past tense, and I think that must be a journalistic decision or a way to toreally bring the story to life and make sure that we feel itin the present. I just it kept me moving along. So you your Father Story,and you talk at the end to about your mother's story, but your father's storyin some ways- and I hope this isn't putting it to negatively, but we mightthink of the American dream as moving from hard scrabble life and earlyfailures, and you recover and you keep pressing on and you push forward andeventually you break through and there's a success and you move fromsuccess to success, to glorious sunlit up Lens and in some ways your father'sstory was from not failure to success, but in a worldly sense, almost fromsuccess to failure, maybe I'm putting it too harshly, butgive us just a little bit of that backbone of your father's story. Youknow from Harvard World War, two a series of jobs that didn't seem to goanywhere after that sure my mother, her big complaint was that my fatherlacked ambition and she said very explicitly, sometimes the top of hervoice, that he's lazy. And why doesn't he? Why doesn't he make something ofhimself? And I thought okay, this is who he is. then. I belatedly finallyasked Harvard College for his records just as transcript and after somenagging on my part, the folks there...

...finally did it. I had to produce a adeath certificate for him and information of myself and so forth, butthe something and it wasn't just the transcript it was his applicationmaterial. It was all the correspondence that went on among the professors andministrator concerning his performance in Harvard, and what I learned is thathe had been an enormously ambitious person. He had graduated from Maldonhigh school with Malden, a suburb of north of Boston working class fairlypoor at that point, also heavily Jewish and Harvard at that pine had a quota onJewish students, sometimes no more than ten per cent, sometimes no more thanfifteen per cent, but the Jewish dudes tend to be academically advanced andHarvard did not want to be over run with Jews. A lot of Anti Semitism atthat point in the Harvard Administration. So he applied toHarvard in one and nine hundred thirty five and was turned down. I turned downflat and his application material is fascinating. It was firm neighbors whosaid: Oh he's a fine Jewish boy he's in the tradition of the rabbis and thesages that was exactly the wrong stuff to apply to Harvard way he didn't give up. At that point, hesomehow finagled his way with a help, I think, of a mentor in Boston to a year,a supplementary year after Audrey already graduated High SchoolSuppentragen at Boston, Lanton, Boston, Latin was a feeder school for Harvardand he went there. His grades were good enough and the recommendations heattached to his application at that point totally different, not always inthe tradition of the rabbis, but he's a very manly man. He has good character, which were alldog whistles in a way saying he's one of us he's not like one of one of thoseJews. You don't like he's a Boston Latin graduate at this point and he'she is proper, he's a gentleman, a gentleman, a scholar at this point andhe got admitted his father- wanted him to be a doctor.This is what you did when you're really upwardly mobile. He did not do well inhis pre medical courses. He switched to anthropology after a battle with hisfather and just to keep the short he also in theprocess of Harvard Switch theologies. His father was Orthodox. He grew upbelieving in Adam and Eve as real people. He major an antiology and facessomething that's totally apathetical to that. It's all Darwinian evolution andhe has to decide whether he's going to accept that and fin it at Harvard fitAnn at Harvard or he's going to stick with his with his father's beliefs, andhe just totally throws over the Judaism and that's something I didn't know. Ithought he had had a developed later in life, but it's right there, a God, issenior thesis and in the senior thesis he says nothing special about the Bible,nothing special about the the Israelites just another ancient neareastern tribe, just another Ancien Erica new ecent document, so he triedto fit in. He had totally thrown over the Phythian of his of his youth andhis fan is and his father's beliefs, so that I didn't know, I didn't think itcame early. I thought it developed slowly over time, but he really wantedto fit in and that I found interesting and surprising. He was very ambitious.He wanted to do well at Harvard. He wanted his professor to think well ofhim and that meant changing his beliefs about some very basic and importantthings. So it was just fascinating to watch you put decades and decades anddecades of journalistic skills into researching your own father's historyand watching that transform and to change you and to challenge you as this.As this project progressed, won't you jump ahead to World War. Two. It soundslike you had to be a little bit speculative about what your father had,because I think his records had burned. Is that correct, right, right, servicerecords there so talks a little bit about how you reconstructed as WorldWar, two service, because you seem to identify that perhaps as the greatturning point in his life right well, the he had gone. He had been successfulenough for Harvard to gain admission to the Harvard Graduate School, anArtopolis, but after a year there they kicked him out- and I have somesurmises on that. But let me move on to World War Two, his dad. My grandfather worked at aplace that was making boilers for some marines, so he was able to get adeferment and he could have set out the war which which he would have liked doing,except he d heard what the Nazis were...

...doing to Jews, and so he enlisted hehad a draft of for him. But e enlisted went to went to. Europe was packingparachutes for fliers, and so he was first in England, then in France andItaly, for a while and then in France very close to Germany, the war ends.There are all these refugees there. All these people in concentration camps theones of the the few who survived, but a lot of them. Given the extent of theGerman constrain camps, my father grew up speaking giddish. He knewGerman. He actually got high honors in German from Harvard he was in after thewar. He was not demobilized until the very end of nineteen, forty five. Whatwas he doing during that period from May through December, the army had put out a call for anysoldiers who know German, who are fluent in German and can speak to thepeople in the camps and the refugees and so forth. I don't know this for sure, but on his when he was separated from the army, hereceived notices about all the various campaigns he had been in where he hadbeen, and one of which was basically central Europe, Germany. What was hedoing there? The arm, who would not have had him just sitting there for sixmonths when you have someone who's fluent in German, my surmise and again,he would never talk about this and the army records burned up. So they can'ttell me for sure, but my surmise what I think about eighty five percentcertainty, let's say, would be that he was sent to be a translator to the lockto the nearby concentration camps in Germany and that they also explain why he wouldnever talk to me about it because he must have seen if he were there again.I think you know eighty five percent, her int. He would have seen someactually incredibly horrible things. Just naked body, stacked up, you know, hands and feed and and various bodily organs keptin special jars, all all kinds of terrible stuff. He never talked aboutit. He came back quickly got married, but he changed his career at that plan.No Harvard had kicked him out, but he was allowed to go back to Harvard as agraduate school in graduate school in Semitic studies. He never did it. He was interested in preserving Judaismas a culture. Here, six million Jews, a third of the world wide tribe, had beenkilled. He thought, okay, we are possibly goingto go extinct because so many American Jews don't know anything about Judaism.So I am going to do what I can do forget about anthropology forget aboutgetting a doctoral degree. I am going to work in Hebrew schools and convincepeople to stick with Judaism. The odd thing about that. I think we can allrecognize. That is that he had missed. He was missing at that point, theessence of Judaism, a belief in God, I believe in the Bible. As God's word, hedidn't have that, but he still wanted people to as members of the tribe tostick with Jewish culture and that left him. I think in some ways in a veryuncomfortable position and though the rest of the rest was just a series offailures in various ways, particularly for my mother who married him thinking.Aha He's going to become a professor he's going to become I it's going to bedoctor and Missus Alasky I'll, be able to travel around see the world enjoythe esteem that he has and she was very disappointed that none of that happenedso, and I tend to trace that again. My surmise here to his experience in Harvard having goneall the way to accepting a different theology and ideology, and they kickhim out getting married with expectations ofhaving a loving wife and she turns out to be not so and then particularly justwhat he saw in the concentration camps and the effect that had him on wantingto keep Judaism cultural alive, because so many cows had been killed. You justalluded to the fact that your father was very reticent to talk about hisexperiences and the horrors of what he saw and I think in temporary culture.We think of that is a defect that someone is not willing to be candidabout their own feelings and own experiences, but as you reflect as amature Christian in the book, Looking back, you actually see this assomething of a mercy. Can you explain how you came to that conclusion? Howyou view that to day? Well, I do see it as mercy, because I became a Christianat age, twenty six, purely through God's grace. God All the way doing this, not not mydesire, not my attempt to learn things. Just just Godintervening in my life and turning me around, but the benefit I had because of myfather was what many Jews at least of the previousgeneration I did not have, namely they...

...had a history of Anti Semitism. Myfather, I suspect I had experience of Anti Semitism in Boston and thenparticularly seeing the the most graphic anti Semitism, namely all thosedead bodies stacked up. So he had that sense of hostility towards Christians.I didn't have that sense. I think there was a real help in coming to Christ.Again God, God pushed me all the way. God pursued me all the way, but Ididn't have those barriers, psychological barriers and, and my ownexperience telling me Christians or nasty people who beat me up. I neverhad that and if he had told me the stories of what he saw in Germany orperhaps even what he had experienced as a as a teenager in Boston, I suspect Iwould have. I would have had some of Anas till in and I just didn't so I'mvery thankful that he protected me from that. I suspect he also protected mymother from that, but in some ways that made his life harder because he couldnot explain to her really why he was committed to these jobs, teaching inHebrew, schools, teaching, kids, who really didn't wantto be in the room and and parents who didn't have much interest either,except for social reasons. So yeah this this in a sense- and thisis this- is taking it a step too far, and and it's a step he would. He wouldnot like to be even configured or referred to in that way, but in a senseit was Christlike. I mean he was. He was just keeping this on himself andnot not sharing the misery with others, even though it might have led others tobe more compassionate towards him. Colin. At one point you alluded to thisearlier Marvin. All of us as fathers realized that our fathers had been sonsat some point that realization made a big difference for you as well. We alsorealize that, as we age we become so much like our fathers, or at leastthat's what we worry about or have to deal with. You had such a dramatic conversion thatyou're talking about here is that the case with you I mean we were there. Anyof those are is where you saw yourself aging into your father. Was it justthat the break so definitive that you really saw no connection there? That's a very good question, and Iwould I would like to. I would like to deny any and any co comparisons of thatsort, but no, I suspect, in terms of psychologically liking, to read a certain introspection or yea, rather rather being being with and being in my house rather thanin doothe things. So I see some, I see some sum: LARRIES theres I've goneolder, but here's one big difference. If, if people people have asked me whatwhere's the where's your favorite place, I've traveled a lot internationally ine t BYASS, who is my favorite place, and I've sometimes just bonded? Well,it's the it's the next place, it's the place I haven't been to and that's mytendency I mean I do. I do like to like to go and see things. I've never seenbefore an interesting left with my father. He had this big adventure whichMooch, which is in some ways a very difficult adventure me first being inthe army and suddenly for a kid who would never eaten pork before basicallypork in beans and all that and being with a lot of people not having a lotof privacy and then along with the basic army stuff. Just seeing these Imean these this Herren, these horrendous sides in Germany that was sotraumatic for I imagined that he never went anywhere again unless heabsolutely had to. I mean the the stories my mother told with someexasperation. Is They at one point, took a trip to Washington d C to seethe things and he just stayed in the hotel room for two days he came once when I was working in inDelaware. He he went around on a tour of a placenear Delaware, with very few beautiful plants and flowers, a winataree, and hewas walking along through the through the vegetation reading a paperback bookcarrying in his hand, so there was something traumatic that he had. I meanI knew that and in that way I am. I am not like him, but I see similarities. I see different es,but at least I I the strangeness that I saw at that point. I think now, there'sthere's a reason for it and it's not...

...something. I blame him for it's thingsthat happen to him and he react in a particular way with basically ptst. Youknow post traumatic, stress disorder and I never appreciated that as a childor even as a young adult. I just didn't understand it all about that. Well, the story that you tell is isreally well to, and that Colin said you putting all your your years ofhistorical research, journalistic expertise, and you tell it really well,I want to transition a little bit and this touches on the biography,obviously, but talk about some of the the psychology. Even the theology,because that's sort of what I think it's driving the book and the subtitleis the journey to understanding andforgiveness, and you end the book talking about how Christ can heal eventhese difficult relationships. So I'll get to your relationship with yourfather and just a moment, but before I do that, there's a lot about your mom and heretoo, and she has her own story coming from a very difficult backgroundand her father very difficult circumstances as a Jew and emigratingto this country. Her family, but talk about the relationship between your momand your dad. And one of the themes I see in the book is: It seems like yourmom, wanting a husband that she can respect and provide for her and look upto, but then that coming out and some unhealthy ways and then your fatherfeeling somewhat constantly defeated by your mom's anger and nagging I'm nottrying to put words into your mouth, but talk about the relationship betweenyour mom and your dad. How that shaped each other and their disappointmentsand how that affected. You O that's a good summary You've. Given. Yes, my mother grew up with a hard and and sometimes brutal fatherwho had been brutalized himself and in in Russia before coming to the UnitedStates, had worked very hard, had achieved a lot economically but was not kind at all to his children andshe grew up, as she told us, never having a teddy bear, never having anyany real love in the family, at least from the parents. Her her mother, my grandmother, was,was abused by her husband in lots of ways so a miserable childhood, and thenshe had to be working. She was actually smart, but never got a chance to go tocollege and she is twenty eight at this pointin one thousand nine hundred and forty six and feeling her feeling miserableand she meets the sky who's just back from the from the war, and he pays someattention to her. She respects him. He's smart he's goingto go, places he's going to become again. You know doctor and MissusAlasky and I will receive. I will have reflect the glory. My miserable life isin the past. From now on we're going to have some money, but even more thanthat, we're going to have influence, fame admiration. He was my prince charming in a way andthey got married in late, one thousand, nine hundred and forty six, not allthat long after meeting each other and and he disappointed her- and you know I can.I can blame my mother for for not loving him, but she was desperate andshe was hopeful and all her hopes were were bashed. At that point I can blamemy father, in other words, there's plenty of blame to go around, but buthelped by the the Bible and and and pastors manymany good sermons. I I understand something about originalsin and that manifests itself in lots of ways, including our tendency to toblame others when, when our our hopes don't come through- and we realize that that I guess we are not married toprince, charming or or any anyone else with charm, we are married to thepeople, God has given us and are our task and marriage. Sometimes happily,and in my situation, I've been married for almost forty five years and I amhugely grateful to God for my wife but other situations. The marriages aremiserables with my parents, but I give them credit for sticking together today they would have gotten a divorce,I suspect, and that would have made life even harder for my brother andmyself. So I can blame them, but I can also look at the things they did for us.We had A. I had a teddy bear. My mother...

...never did. We always had food, which sometimes my mother did not so yea the the I had a car to drive. I had this I atthat, so both materially they protected me. I mean we weren't, we weren't. Wewere lower middle class, but we had enough materially they protected mepsychologically. They protected me. They were actually good parents,despite all the other stuff that came along, that, I was blaming for at thetime in terms of the basic stuff. Having US have I having US physically and more or less psychologically whole,they did their jobs, and I didn't give them credit for that. You know what an age where it seemsthat every person is blangin blaming their hang ups and their falls andtheir shortcomings upon something that can be traced to their parents. I thinkI would love people to read this book if, for no other reason, as a tributeto common grace, the way in which you are able to see God's grace throughdifficult circumstances, so just want to commend that as a model forlisteners. It's it's a beautiful book that is really well told, and and doeshonor your mother and father, even when there were less than honorable things. Thanks yeah this to me towards the endI'll read a couple paragraphs that you wrote so well Marvin this really gets.I think that the theological and the spiritual heart beat of the book. Yousay we are naturally wretched, passing on original sin in many ways that aresometimes creative but often repetitious at first glance, an ironchain, bonds, together generation after generation and I'm part of that chain.I've realized in the course of this research how self centered I was notonly as a child, but as an adult. Why did I have so little interest in seeingmy parents, not primarily as people to meet my needs or not, but asindividuals with their own struggles? I never really cared to find out aboutthem, yet sometimes with God's grace and mercy that iron chain becomes areadily breakable daisy chain. Those who see the miraculous transition cryout joyfully as a postle Paul did wretched man that I am who will deliverme from the body of death, thanks be to God through Jesus Christ. Our Lord talk about how you I love that you putthat iron clad chain and that daisy chain and that gets to what Justin istalking about. On the one hand, a generations passed,I think we could say people often overlooked in and didn'tpay attention to the ways in which they might have been shaped by their pass bytheir upbringing. By hard circumstances, it was stiff up her lip, grin and bearit, and we maybe didn't have sympathy for one another like we should have tounderstand how affected we are, and yet, if the pendulum has swung to the otherside, it's to say that we're only the product of bad experiences, bad peopleand perpetually at the mercy of those experiences. So how do you? How did Godhelp you Marvin and how can you or can we help? Others understand that? Yes,there is a chain, but it can be a daisy chain. What did you mean by this? Thesetwo paragraphs here will part of that comes out of some ofthe history writing. I did concerning poverty in America and thehistory Poprad America, so back in the s spent a lot of time talking withhomeless guys, particularly some who were still in that in thatsituation of misery, others who had changed and just about all always then there mayhave been some rare exceptions, but just about always what changed them wascoming to Christ and without that they they still with again, with some exceptions. They still had an iron chain aroundthem, they're still homeless. They would still rather be drinking anddrugging rather than getting their lives in order. So when I would talk with the people who run homocentric- andthere was a debate at that time, it is still going- let's say, you're offeringa you're offering a dinner free dinner to people who come in. I should youalso with that dinner, offer a sermon or a homily, or at leastsome discussion of spiritual things, and there are some folks to say: Well,no, we don't want to intrude on their religious liberty, so we are just goingto give them food and let them go off. I think, as Christians, we understandthat the spiritual food is at least as...

...important as the material food in manyways more important if, if a person is starving and es the material food rightaway, but he also needs the spiritual food and so you're not being kind topeople. If, in fact, you don't try to explain a little about Jesus andwhat Jesus does for us and why we should try to glorify God and enjoy himforever, so compate t e. The definition we have of compassion of just kind ofgiving people stuff is not a good definition. It's not agood understanding, and so I look at that history, and I see that that whenChristian charities have been effective in fighting, poverty is because theyhave had their understanding that the spiritual food and the material foodabove necessary and then, when I look more recently and see some somecharities that haven't been effective. It's usually for that as well, so Ibasically applied that understanding to my to my own life and the lives ofothers, namely. What's the what's the solution? It's Jesus, it'sJesus and all the other stuff once in a while. It may work to someextent, but it doesn't over a long period of time or from most people.Christ changes life. You know JI packers, great three words, God savecenters and nothing else works so en yeah, as that's it's so simple, and yet weneed to hear it over and over and again those of us been in the church a longtime. Sometimes we think we forget yet Jesus does still savepeople. It's not just in the missionary biographies. It's not just in Marvin alasky story. He still does it.He still save sinners, he still changes and lives. I Have I've three lastquestions, I'm going to ask the first one and then I'm going to let Justinand call and see if they have a last question and then I'm going to givemyself the last two. So here's my of my three Marvin. This is not been a flatter, but I think this isa remarkably wise and humble book. You you start with. You know my dadonly played catch with me, one time and there's obviously real pain and there's real ways in whichyour dad failed, and yet you come to the end, realizing you needed to learnwho he was as a person with all of his failings and understand even God'scommon grace in that. So it strikes me as very wise and humble, and I keptthinking, do you think? Is there a way for a sonor a daughter to come to your sort of God, given wisdom and humility atseventy? I think you said in the book you're seven years old. Now, yes, do wehave to wait till we re? Does it just come because you need to get to seventy a can. Can achild see this when they're, thirty or forty? I I hope so I think so. I can't I can'tgive you any any research results on that, but my hope is the case and thatthat's a large reason along a just working out, my own understanding,that's a large was when I wrote this book, namely while your parents werealive. You know talk with them. Try to learn their histories, don't think ofthem is just feeding tubes for yourself and what can you do for them and askthe questions while they're still alive? Do it that's and don't wait? I mean Ikick myself now. You know some of the things that I have. I have eighty fivepercent certainty about. I could have had ninety nine percentcertainty about again. I don't think my father would have told me very much,but I could have I could have talked with other people. I could have lookedearlier on for records that, or perhaps at that point would not have beendestroyed by the fire. The army record I I could have. If I had a beeninterested, I could have gotten his background and then sat down with himand said Hey. I have learned this about you and and- and I thank you for protectingme for not telling me about all this, but now I know it so tell me now talkwith me more about this explain what you were thinking of what you weregoing through and had I known had I asked more specific questions. Maybe he would have opened up, but Ididn't, and so my the other, that this book is for readers who and- and Isuspect, may be older they'll be older readers, but if there are people inthere in their thirties and forties, who read it or even you know people on but theirteenagers, teenagers yeah, that's that's the age in which I'm gifting ittoo. All of my children, I was going to...

...say, buy some copies for your ownfamily. There a you know it could be worse. I know Tana teenagers have atrinity me myself and I I mean that's not at least that's the teenager. I was so but yes, yes, give it give it to youwho knows, but yes, that's right as as parentsstart early and and suggest to your kids. I am here to talk with you aboutmy background. This is this is an open Mike talk ask as it anyway. Well, but Ido. I do love and I answer you the question, because I want people to hearjust what you said there and that is. I don't want to psychologize everybodyout there that the it's all about father wounds, but you just wonder theway people are on social media, the pain they carry the way that theyattack. I mean all sorts of things. We sometimes don't stop to really think,and especially as Christians and let the Lord deal with US speak to usthrough his word. How are we acting out of the various hurts and bitterness andpains that we have in our own lives and to read a book like this? Can at leasthelp us ask those sort of questions and explore some of those avenues and tryto come to a better gospel place before were seventy or eighty Justin and then Colin, and I have twoquick questions to close. Let me quote one of my favorite linesin the book. You Right, I didn't honor him when hewas alive, but I can tell his story now with appreciation for his sacrificesand sadness about his sadness, and I think in that one line it captures alot of the heart beat of the book. In your perspective and there's there's anhonor element. We are commanded to honor our parents,there's a telling telling the story that something you can do now. You canhonor them now. You can tell a story now. You can have appreciation for thegood. Nobody is pure evil. There is common grate in every life and thenthere is sadness. There's there's lament, there's empathy, there'sidentification, and so I love all four of those aspects of honoring tellingappreciating and identifying with- and I don't know if you intentionallythought of those in terms of a fourfold kind of scheme of, but that again to meseems like a model that we can learn from you before it's too late ofhonoring our parents, and we also tend to think of honoring our parents aswhen they're alive, and that's that's the idea, but we can continue to honortheir memory and I think you've done a wonderful job of that. Hey I can. I can see you a good editor.You have summarized better than I than I have so the thanks. Yes, it's greatgood summerin. My question is actually not on not on the book, so I thinkMarvin Man, I'd love to have. You have love to have you as a guest on Gospelbound in. We could just talk journalism that whole time and the things thatyou've seen the last thirty years and changes and what you think of theprognosis going forward, but I'll say of that, maybe for a different time, ifyou're willing sure, but I would be interested to know we're actuallyrecording this podcast when we've just got news that the Supreme Court isgoing to take up a direct challenge to Rove Wade Wow. Do you have any thoughtson thoughts on that? The Mississippi Band by the way is what they're takingup really wow? Now that that is, that is good news. I have. I wrote a little book calledcalled came out recently called abortion at the cross roads, which waslooking for something like that and preparing for something like that. So no I'm very I'm very glad to hear that,and as just a nos I'm starting a longer book for for crossway on the the full history ofabortion. America wrote one thirty years ago and thought I was done withit, but abortion still still haunts me as as it haunts all of you and, and Ihope, Hans Hunts, millions of Americans so yeah, I can't leave it behind. It isstill it is still the the single with everything else goingon. It's still like, like slavery. In the I S, I s, it's still the the thesingle the single biggest, of course, the biggest flaw it all comes out oftheology and Batholo Gy, but the biggest social problem. We have rightnow. I think much like slave in the e S, as is abortion of the thousand and is,and I'm glad to hear the court will be dealing with it and and hope theyactually are wise were just saying that I mean everyone knows that the historythat justice black an put forth in roby watshe full of holes, it's justterrible. It's the it was the decision and I usually have great esteem forSupreme Court decisions just the way, the logic albumwhether I agree with himor not. I just I'm thought I find them...

...thoughtful and interesting to read, andthat is just like a college paper that had a good professorwould flunk. So I hope the court right now, unlike in case one thousand ninehundred and ninety two, I hope the court will say hey. Yes, we understandthe principles of Sterry decisis. You know to leave it alone, but the historyis so bad. The judgment is so fallacious that we just can't let itstand it's just a much like dread. Scott decision to blond the screencourt robe way will go down that way and I hope the court justices at leastthe majority of them Mara, to fix it. That's great and men, men, so question life, books and everything.Are there any books in your writing of this book about your father that youwant to recommend that deal with Fatherhood, fathers and sons, family,anything from the bibliography or anything fiction or non fiction that you want torecommend on the subject, Calvin Trillin, who wrote for The NewYorker, wrote a an enjoyable book to read about about his dad and theirrelationship. It's in the Bibliography, I don't remember the title off hand,but that was that was the the most the most enjoyable read a lot of otherstuff was was painful, and no I mean there is a lot of stuffwritten from from the viewpoint of or one viewpoint of secular psychology,but it doesn't get at the real stuff so yeah, if there. If there are listenerswho, who know of of a Christian book, that really has good theology andexamines Father Son Relationships, I'd be interested in it. Do you haveany? Do you have any suggestions or anything you've read? Well, I'm interested in reading on thesubject, I'm blessed with a good father, and hopefully my kids will say: they'vebeen blessed with a good father, but I think it's A. I think it often doesn'tcome out as much as it should in our social commentary or understanding of the age.Was it Mary Everston who had the article infirst things last year, the the fury of the fatherless or something like thatlooking at some of the the social unrest and riot,and she was also connecting it to some of the major enlightenment figuresin the West, many of whom either had very bad fathers or absent fathers orthemselves who are not fathers, and so, as she's done in some of her books onfamily and understanding, the relationship between family ideologyand spiritual trends. I've read her stuff to helpful in thatarticle was helpful. Was It vit, Paul Fitz, who had the book fromseveral years ago that covered some of the same themes? So I'm making a noteof that Calvin trilling messages from my father, so that's in the the bibliography andmaybe some of our other intrepid readers. Listeners rather will haveother examples. I wonder last question: What would you say and just a few sentences hard to do, but tosomeone who's listening to this right now and they're listening to this wholething and they feel like while I have or had a bad father? What counsel wouldyou give them and then what would you say to someone who says well by God'sgrace, I'm really really thankful for my earthly father. You have a word ofcounsel encouragement to both of those groups yeah for the first person of WHOhas had a bad father or thinks of his father, as as a bad father try to be counselled for the defense.Basically, you know what would you think if youwere if this were a court and and your father were sitting there as a as a asan accused perpetrator, and you know what would you, what would what defensedoes he have? What would you want to if you're thelawyer for Your Dad, what questions would you ask him? How would you try tounderstand where he's coming from why he did what he did? I think that would that would be usefuljust to try to put yourself in this in this frame of mind, trying to be tryingto be generous to your father. You Owe your existence to him. So, even if he was a bad father, atleast you have your life and yeah. What can you do? How can you learn? What canyou learn to try to appreciate them? Try to put yourself in that frame ofmind, and if you have a good father, you know like every other blessing wehave. This is from God, and you know we can ask why it is what does God in hisin His Majesty and Wisdom and grace?...

Why does he in a sense? Why does hechoose some and not others, and we could get into all that? Why not this person? Why not thatperson? Well? Why did why? Did God give you a good father, we don't know, but boy thanks be to God,so I would just try to be in that frame of and on the first person they try tobe in an a lawyerly or detective frame of mind in the second situation. Justtry to be grateful and thank God for of her is that great blessing. It's a good word to end on. Thank youfor joining us and for this book again, Marvin Alasky is written. A book lamentfor a father. The journey to understanding and forgiveness comes outby Pan r looks like it is due to come out the very first part of June, so itmay be available at good retailers any time in the next days or week or two.So thank you for being with us. Thank you for the good work that you'recontinuing to do with world and Justin and Colin good, be with you for thisseason and we'll just tease it out there that maybe well try to get theband back together for a special episode sometime over thesummer, but we are taking a bit of a break. Now, I'm going on four weeks ofstudy leave to do some writing starting next week. So it's good to have beenwith you all were great hole for all of our listeners for life and books andeverything so until next time or if I god enjoy him forever and read a goodbook. A.

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