Day 18: Notorious D.A.D.

No, it doesn't work this way, but a boy can dream, can't he?

John 6:41-51

Common English Bible (CEB)

 41 The Jewish opposition grumbled about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”

 42 They asked, “Isn’t this Jesus, Joseph’s son, whose mother and father we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”

 43 Jesus responded, “Don’t grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless they are drawn to me by the Father who sent me, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, And they will all be taught by God.[a] Everyone who has listened to the Father and learned from him comes to me.46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God. He has seen the Father. 47 I assure you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that whoever eats from it will never die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

You ever have some baggage that just won’t make it through the baggage check without calling every TSA agent in the airport?

That’s kind of what it’s like to be a pastor’s kid.

For those who don’t know, my dad is a United Methodist pastor. For those of you just checking in, I am also on the path to become a United Methodist pastor.

Which means I have some explaining to do.

First things first: I love my dad. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without his guidance love and support. I’ve already given my shoutouts to my Mom, so this is Dad’s turn.

Secondly: Every time I tell people that I’m going to be a pastor, I always quickly add that I’m not going into it because he is a pastor. I’m not trying to be my dad. In fact, I am hasty to add, I never wanted to be a pastor at all until a few years ago, I didn’t have any plans to go into the family business, and … you get the picture. I mean no disrespect to my dad by saying this, it’s just I like making the distinction between he and I because I like to think I’m an individualistic sort of person who can make his own decisions. I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel. You don’t want to get mixed up with a guy like me.

The sad truth is… I’m not a loner, and I never will be a loner. And I’m never going to be able to escape the fact that my dad is Rev. Barnes the First.

And that’s not a bad thing.

For one, he knows practically everybody in the Texas Annual Conference (the larger governing body for my region of the US.) Conversely, everybody knows him. Which means a couple of things: 1) when I go to the annual conference every year, I get to meet all kinds of interesting people through my Dad. Big plus. 2) Every time I meet someone who knows my dad, without fail, I get the same kind of reaction.

“Hi, I’m Grant! I’m Jay Barnes’s son.”

“Oh! Oh. I’m so sorry to hear that. I’ll be praying for you.”

Without. Fail. It’s good to know that almost every clergy in the UMC is super sarcastic.

Knowing people is good. At the same time, almost everybody who’s met me and my dad know that we are completely different; we are not the same person. My dad doesn’t have any kind of political pull that can override the Methodist bureaucracy (much to my nepotistic and egotistic chagrin), but just being able to meet people helps a lot.

However, that also means I’m going to have to work double time to make sure that they know that I’m not him, and my trajectory for ministry will more than likely not mirror his. I’ve got aspirations for the Academy, which means already I’m on a different track than he is. Also, the UMC is a very different place nowadays than from when he got into it, and my path is going to be an uphill battle from the get-go, despite the fact that he’s in the system.

Which brings me back to this passage.

Jesus tells people that he’s the bread of heaven.

Again, not a perfect representation, but close enough.

Jesus tells people that his Father is in heaven. The problem with that is… these people know his Mom and Dad on earth, Mary and Joseph.

Which means things get confusing real fast, at least for people who haven’t made the connection that Jesus wants them to make. Jesus wants them to know that his true Father is the Heavenly Father, and that he is the Messiah, the Son of God. Confusing for 1st century people, I’m sure. But that was his battle to face.

No, I’m not saying my situation is the same as Jesus, that would be ridiculous. However, who’s to say that Joseph didn’t do some embarrassing Dad things? From what I’ve been told, embarrassing your kids is one of the awesome parts about being a dad.

I can't freaking wait to have kids so I pull stuff like this.

But when you’re trying to prove a point, it can get bothersome so I feel ya. That’s why it’s important to emphasize that you aren’t your parents. You are an individual with your own goals, your own trajectory. For Jesus, that was to do the Heavenly Father’s business.

For me… Well, I’m working on it.

As much as my dad is not me, I realize that he’s still my dad. He raised me, cared for me, taught me, encouraged me, and helped out when I needed it most. I love that guy. Here’s hoping I can be half the dad he was to me whenever I have kids. Thanks for everything, Dad.

Jay Barnes, my dad, with a chainsaw. THIS WILL NOT END WELL.

About grantimusmax

Grant Barnes, aka Grantimus Maximus, aka The Nerdcore Theologian. Currently, he is a PhD Candidate at the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley, California. He is a graduate of Perkins School of Theology with a Masters Degree in Divinity. He graduated from Texas State University Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in English, minor in History. He watches way too many movies, reads too many books, listens to too much music, and plays too many video games to ever join the mundane reality people claim is the "Real World." He rejects your reality, and replaces it with a vision of what could be, a better one, shaped by his love for God.
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