“Who’s your daddy?” originated in the mid-20th century as a playful or boastful way to assert dominance or authority, particularly in competitive or confrontational situations. Over the years it’s become more widely known and popularized in mainstream culture and is often a humorous way of joking around about one’s authority/dominance in a particular area. Even sports commentators, when they are talking about a particular team’s amazing winning streak will use the phrase, “Who’s your daddy?!?”


Odds are that’s not what Jesus meant when he began the Lord’s Prayer with, “Our Father . . .”, as far as inferring dominance and authority. But can’t you just hear him sitting around, talking with his closest friends, and saying, “Look! We’ve got this prayer thing ALL WRONG! It isn’t about empty words and phrases! Talk to God . . . the creator of all. The one who is in all. The one who shaped you, formed you in God’s very image. Come on! Who’s your daddy?”


There’s an old Roman story that tells how a Roman emperor was enjoying a victory in battle. After the triumph, as often happened in Roman culture, he had the privilege of marching his troops through the streets of Rome with all the captured trophies and prisoners as a part of the parade. So, a particular emperor was on the march with his troops. The streets were lined with cheering people, and the tallest soldiers lined the streets’ edges to keep folks from invading the processional. At one point there was a point where a small platform, on which the empress and the children were sitting to watch the emperor go by in all the glory of his win. As the emperor approached, his youngest son jumped off the platform, pushed his way through the crowd, and tried to dart through the legs of the soldier to run out to meet his father’s chariot. The soldier swooped down and gathered the little boy up in his arms.


“You can’t do that, son! Don’t you know who is in that chariot?”


The little boy laughed, “Of course I know. He may be your emperor, but he’s my father.”


As religious people  we have made a dangerous mistake in that we have taken our very human understanding of a father, and given those attributes to God instead of the opposite. We cannot put human attributes on God, but instead can take the attributes of God and then aspire to be those attributes as human beings.


God transcends both our definitions (and limits) of male and female. Ultimately, all of our language about God is anthropomorphic, making use of human metaphor so that we can comprehend the God who is beyond our comprehension. God transcends all of our metaphors, but they are helpful and allow us to know God, and to be able to understand and relate to God in our everyday lives. There was very clearly something important to Jesus about the metaphor of father when it came to his relationship with God. So I ask you, who’s your daddy?


Grace and Peace,