Sunday, September 9, 2012

What Makes a Christian Family?

Tonight as I was watching Army Wives (one of my favorite television shows) the question of what makes a Christian family was posed.

A young girl was single and pregnant.  She had no family support and could barely manage to take care of herself.  She was honest enough to know this meant raising a child alone would be difficult.  As she came to the point of considering adoption she was connected with a lesbian couple looking for a child.  But she had been raised Christian and wanted her child raised Christian.  She was asking the question of whether these "sinners" could raise her child correctly.

As you have probably already anticipated, the story resolved with her deciding that perhaps this was an appropriate couple with whom to share her baby.  When she went to their home to tell them her decision she said, "I was raised in a Christian family...well, my dad hit my brother and I..." and then she went on to reflect on how if the household of her raising had been more like this household where a lesbian couple was wanting to adopt, perhaps she wouldn't be in this situation.

So, what makes a Christian family? 

Is it two parents...a father and a mother...married to each...married only once?


And sometimes it is a single parent...a gay or lesbian couple...a multigenerational family living together...people who are divorced and remarried...two straight partners who remain unmarried...or even a congregation that adopts children (a headline I read the other day).

What makes a Christian family?

Is it people who go to church regularly, who pray at dinner and bedtime, who know their Bible?


But more than going to church, hopefully it's people who go to church because they've found a loving community where they experience passionate worship, where they find support and challenge as all members of the family continue to grow in faith.  More than praying at set times, hopefully it's people who have developed a deep relationship with God that not only shows up before dinner is tasted, but that informs their living.  More than knowing their Bible, hopefully it's being able to think through the texts, to appreciate not what we want them to say but what they are were and are saying, to be shaped into people of love and compassion by them.

What makes a Christian family?

Maybe it's as simple and as complex as what Micah affirms...doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God.

Maybe it's as simple and as complex as what both the Jewish and Christian scriptures teach...loving God and loving neighbor.

Maybe it's as simple and as complex as compassion and forgiveness and love.