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Gary Rogers: Unlocking The Power Of Fatherhood

Gary D. Rogers, Unlocking The Power Of Fatherhood (Charleston, SC: Palmetto Publishing Group, 2019), 142 pages.

Unlocking The Power Of Fatherhood (Unlocking) starts with the courageous story of Billy Ray and his parents as they confronted the diagnosis of his polio infection. Their decision to raise Billy Ray without concession to his polio-induced impairment (referred to frequently as his “bum leg”) indeed showed significant foresight and courage. All the more exceptional when you consider the era and locale. Billy Ray’s story of living life fully and victoriously, are used to illustrate many points within the book.

Despite its title, Unlocking is primarily a primer on living a structured, disciplined and principled life. Even in the first chapter, Sovereignty of Choice, much credit is given to Billy Ray’s mother for her character and courage. Author Gary Rogers is describing his own grandmother, with much warmth and affection, but not exclusively a father. The title points to fathers, but the contents are about living as “men (and women) of honor.”

I agree whole-heartedly with Unlocking’s eleven chapters; Sovereignty of Choice, Dark Night on Striker Creek; Standards; In Search of Destiny; The Measure of a Man; Protection, Provision, Perseverance; Transformation in the Storm; The Value of Failure; Culture of Honor; Foundational Pillars of Honor; End of Our Tale. The book is full of classic wisdom and traditional values, especially regarding personal integrity. Each chapter starts with an apropos quote from a significant artist or thinker. Still, I struggle with the lack of an explicit moral or religious structure or system to support Rogers’ assertions of truth or right living.

Knowing the right thing to do or say is important. Knowing why (or how) what right thing you do or say is critical beyond measure. While I came across gem after gem regarding integrity and personal responsibility, I failed to see any objective structure or system that makes the pattern plain or repeatable. Even the chapter review questions did not help me see the author’s pattern.

An astute listener will want to know how they can evaluate what they are hearing through critical thinking and reasoning. Unlocking does not provide the structure or framework needed for such analysis. If the structure were there, a reader could glean wisdom and encouragement from each re-reading of this text, even if they missed it in the first perusal.

As I read, I wondered about the author, his moral system and his motivation. Clearly, he loves his parents and grandparents. Is the author an atheist ethicist? A principled secularist? Is he a Christian attempting to (stealthily) mainstream Biblical values? I could not come to understand Roger’s intention through his work. I found these questions became a distraction for me as a reader.

After discovering the book was not what I thought it would be, I could not discover a reason to trust the reasoning of the author. I want to trust this author, but there is no discernable structure or system that allows me to anticipate his beliefs or evaluate his statements. I suspect that Mr. Rogers and I have a similar worldview, but I am not sure we have a common framework for that view.

Given the emphasis on personal integrity and honorable living, I can (only) guess that this work is intended for those at risk of, or recovering from, personal failures. Without a structure or system to support his comments, such an audience can only accept his words on blind faith. Blind faith may be part of the reason why they are such an audience.

Based on just the title of this book, I wanted to like it. I could have overlooked a miss-match between the content and the cover. I am disappointed that so much strong content does not add up to a good book. I am prayerful that the author will have a chance to edit up this work to match the potential I suspect is here.

Reviewed by Kirk Hunt

 

Author’s companion website: https://rethinkingfatherhood.com/

 

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Category: Living the Faith, Winter 2020

About the Author: Kirk Wesley Hunt, MBA, is a minister at Tucson Church International in Tucson Arizona. He is the author of Soldiers Of The Kingdom: Reclaiming the World for God (CadreMen Press, 2002) and Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals for Gospel Champions (CadreMen Press, 2015). He publishes a weekly devotional at: devotionals.cadremenpress.com.

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