Father-son Rivalry & the Chas/Andy Stanley Conflict

Cnn.com had a compelling story yesterday regarding televangelist Charles Stanley and his televangelist son Andy.

The story grabbed me first because it so vividly illustrates the complexity of family dynamics, even in an evangelical faith which has historically not addressed the issue. Andy clearly had…and has…father-son issues and needed to draw boundaries with his prominent and powerful father. He needed to “differentiate”, to use a clinical term. He had to “cut the cord” from his family of origin and as a reward appears that he is being blessed in a ministry that his now his own.

I was also impressed with the humility of both men and the respect that both men maintained for each other even in extremely painful times. Usually in these “father-son” conflicts, one or both parties will dig their hills in and not budge.

Finally, I admire the faith of both of these men. Charles has suffered greatly, not just with this conflict with Andy but in the break-up of his marriage. In evangelical culture, persons and families are supposed to be squeaky clean and the Stanleys were not and are not. That is because they are human.

And, as shared in the past, I am an “ex” evangelical. But I appreciate seeing how two men could suffer like they have and maintain their faith. Sure, their faith is defensive, compensatory, and ever has its “denial system” features. So what? So does mine. So does yours. We are human and we “hold this treasure in earthen vessels.”

I encourage you to “cut and paste” the following link into your address bar and read this very moving report of an eternally recurrent tale of “father-son” power struggles.




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