A THEOLOGICAL NORMATIVE TO THE UNDERSTANDING OF FATHERHOOD IN THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY
This thesis examines the theological correlation between the role of the church, the identity and role of the African American male, and the effectiveness of fatherhood. The study begins with an in-depth analysis of how absentee fathers cause a crisis in the family. The absence of fathers from the home causes children to suffer financially, socially and psychologically, and therefore causes a disruption in the community as a whole. Focus on the Family founder and leader, Dr. James Dobson, confirms that “our very survival as a people will depend upon the presence or absence of masculine leadership in millions of homes.” In person interviews of African American Christian males and interpretation of the scriptures are just two of the methods used in this study to explore the theological norm of fatherhood. Collectively, the case studies and statistical data within this study explore attempts to remedy the crisis through governmental policies and networking within the community. The final chapter examines the role of urban churches and clergy in teaching effective fatherhood practices. Within the conclusion, it is made clear that the church is responsible for establishing the theological framework and principles for understanding the intended role of being a father. Another conclusion of this study is the acknowledgement of the African American community’s role in shaping and reforming the identity and role of the African American male as a father in the home. The African American community and the church must continue working in tandem to encourage organic social networks that will promote a model for effective fatherhood practices.