I write all of this knowing that the majority of ministers will ignore it, not because it's unbiblical (though some will cry it is), but because this message is not part of the script they rigidly follow. We just don't encourage Christian men to be shrewd, which to contemporary ears is synonymous with criminal behavior. It just doesn't sound "Christian," and so the unnecessary suffering continues. Also, as the Barna study shows, it's hard to teach something that you don't possess.

We can be grateful that C.S. Lewis did not think he needed to be nice when writing Mere Christianity and instead decided to be wise and good when he critiqued the worldview of Sigmund Freud, referring to him as an "amateur." If your minister is one of the many who refuses to fill in the picture on Father's Day, do it yourself. Keep a journal of the wise and tough teachings of Jesus. Study Proverbs each day. Graft into your personality the kind of wisdom that brings clarity and blessings to you and others as it helps you conform to the image of the real Christ. But be warned: you will become a prophetic agent of change.


And change has its enemies.


Paul Coughlin is a former newspaper editor and is the author of eight books. He is the Founder of The Protectors, which provides values-based and faith-based solutions to the cruelty of adolescent bullying.

As a popular speaker at men's, women's, parenting and anti-bullying conferences, he has appeared on Good Morning America, Nightline, 700 Club, Focus on the Family, C-SPAN, The LA Times, The New York Times, Newsweek and other media outlets. His anti-bullying curriculum is used throughout North America as well as England, Canada, Australia, Uganda and South Africa. He is a frequent radio guest in Cork, Ireland.

He is the Boys Varsity Soccer Coach at St. Mary's, where he was voted Coach of the Year, and where he is also a member of the Board of Directors. He is a member of the Southern Oregon Leadership Team for SMART: Start Making A Reader Today. He and his wife Sandy have three teenagers and live in Southern Oregon. Paulcoughlin.net