Archives For Fatherhood


Christian Piatt - PregMANcyHere is the book trailer video for

Pregmancy: A Dad, A Little Dude and A Due Date.

Christian Piatt.

Paperback: Chalice Press, 2012.
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ERB editor Chris Smith wrote a short review of the book for the Patheos Book Club

There is also an excerpt available on the SOJO blog –The Pee Stick

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A Review of

169162: Father Fiction: Chapters for a Fatherless Generation Father Fiction:
Chapters for a Fatherless Generation

By Donald Miller.


Howard Books, 2010.

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Reviewed by Chris Smith.

Writing in a conversational tone that is both humorous and engaging, Donald Miller is a superb writer, certainly one of the finest living writers of spiritual memoir.  And yet, for most of his adolescent years, he struggled with his schoolwork, wondering if he really was incapable of learning and doing just well enough in school to get by.  The son of a single mother, who worked slavishly to provide for their family, Miller attributes many of his academic and emotional struggles to the lack of a father in his life.  In his newest book, Father Fiction: Chapters for a Fatherless Generation (which some readers will recognize as a reworking of his 2006 book To Own a Dragon), Miller bares the scars on his soul left by growing up without a father figure.  Miller tells the stories here of the many men who mentored him on his journey, serving as surrogate fathers for various lengths of time and to varying degrees of success.  It was, for instance, a youth pastor in his church, who befriended him and saw the gift of words in him, encouraging him to write — even in a phase of his life where he had yet to read a book from cover to cover.

Father Fiction is not a light book, full of brutal honesty that will get its readers (presumably mostly men, or women who want to understand the experience of maleness in world dominated by fatherlessness) to think about their own formational experiences with their fathers, fatherlessness.  Miller observes that this book is about “the hard, shameful, embarrassing stuff … me secretly admitting to you I needed a father, and how I felt like half a man until I dealt with those issues honestly.”   Indeed, the road that winds its way through Father Fiction is a bumpy one that must be taken slowly and attentively.  Underlying Miller’s spinning the yarn of his life and speaking frankly about the wounds he suffered from growing up in a home without a father, is a deep stream of social criticism, a poignant assessment of the contemporary brokenness of the family and its psychological and sociological implications that never waxes nostalgic (as many religious conservatives are wont to do) for the stereotypical nuclear family of a bygone era.  Indeed, his frank critique of the Promise Keepers’ concept of masculinity — which has dominated evangelical understandings of masculinity over the last two decades — was a breath of fresh air.

Ultimately, Father Fiction is a hopeful book, inspiring those of us who are fathers to be more attentive to our fathering and to reach out in compassion to those young men around us (or even one young man) who are growing up without the presence of fathers in their lives.  It would be a fabulous book to be read in our churches, especially by groups of men (and even moreso if a diversity of ages are represented in the group).  This is perhaps the finest book I have ever read on the topic of masculinity (a topic on which, admittedly, I have not read all that many books), steering a wise course between the authoritarianism of the traditionalists and the drum-pounding psychobabble of new age men’s movements.



by Leonardo Boff.


Reviewed by Chris Smith.


I’ll be honest, I don’t believe I’ve ever read a book on St. Joseph, the father of Jesus, before, or even really thought too much about him.  But now, thanks to Leonardo Boff’s new book SAINT JOSEPH: THE FATHER OF JESUS IN A FATHERLESS SOCIETY (Cascade Books 2009), I realize that Joseph is a significant figure in the life of the Church.  Boff overviews the place of Joseph in the roles he played, in the text of the Gospels and Apocryphal literature and in the history of theology (there was basically no theological reflection on Joseph in the first 1500 years of the Church!).  Having laid this foundation, Boff offers up and defends his thesis that Joseph is a “shadow” representation of God the Father, and thus that in the holy family, we have a representation (on different levels) of God the Father (Joseph), God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit (Mary).  I’m not sure that I completely buy this thesis, but Boff has done his research well, argues persuasively for it and leaves me mulling it over.  Certainly, there are reasons that his argument is compelling: viz., providing vivid imagery for the Trinity and the Church as family and defending the significance of families in human culture.  Boff concludes with a striking “Prayer to St. Joseph,” which is worth quoting (in part) as an eloquent and concise summary of the book:

… Dear St. Joseph,
In your human face we see portrayed the face of the divine Father.
May He welcome us, protect us, and provide us with the assurance
that we walk in the palm of his hand.

Show us, St. Joseph, the power of your fatherhood:
Give us the determination in the face of problems,
courage in the face of peril,
awareness of the limits of our powers,
and infinite trust in the celestial Father.

Leonardo Boff.

Paperback: Cascade Books, 2009.
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