I sat in a room with 5 strangers and two friends and talked before eating chicken together. We talked about community, family and fellowship. (Yes we talked mainly about the lord of the rings)
Family, i feel, is the essence of community. Where we learn, how to do it, live in it, build it, redeem it, learn from it. Family effects how we function in a world especially because of how much developing we do in our first 5 years of life. The stories we are shaped by are usually those lived out or told to us by our parents and grandparents.
Instead of making huge generalizations about what i think is the perfect family i am just going to talk about my own first. My family is not perfect by anyones standards. In fact my father wouldn’t let us watch simpsons when we were young partly because homer reminded him of himself too much as a parent.
But starting with my parents. They share a love that is committed forever. They are two completely different individuals who have clashed a whole bunch over the years i’ve known them but they have both learned a myriad of truths from each other. They have learned how to love others more and live life – i think – a whole lot better because they are married and committed to each other. Having children out of that type of committed relationship that they always had each others backs to help out.
I have three siblings. All of differing amounts of both or one parent. We all went through stupid periods of hating each other and wanting to physically destroy one or all of our fellow randall children. But we also went through huge periods of being best friends, sharing imaginary worlds and love of specific sports and games. We are now all past our quarter centuries and seem to have come to an understanding that we all love each other.
Within this 6 person unit i have learned how to think, how to reason, how to serve, how to honour, how to be competitive whilst not being a jerk, how to cook, how to relate with multiple people at a time, how to hold a very good conversation as well probably a hundred other relational skills. My experience speaks of the strength of family. I have been blessed hugely by having a father and a mother. In fact when you watch me in social situations sometimes i look insane because i have this deep down knowledge and security that I am alright. I think part of that is my parents reaction to me as a child.
At the basis of the Randall family was the Stephen and Willie marriage. Now what makes a good marriage? Servant hearted-ness, hilariousness, committed-ness, in fact for all those in the no all of the youthstreet values – if its not honouring, developmental, inclusive, multiplying (this ones interesting) or dynamic, its not a marriage. Once again not saying my parents marriage is perfect but how many marriages do you see now that are boring, dishonouring, unmultiplying or developmental – in the ways that their children don’t grow, the couple doesn’t grow, they don’t grow in any ways around them. Un serving – how does one be one with another without serving each other?
Ok so i’ve told a story that i have lived. now to a story of utopia. If every family was secure and committed to each other, friend to all, the world would totally still not be perfect because we still get choice and so we can easily make bad choices out of good families, but the likely hood, i would argue, is much less.
on fatherless kids just for a little look. There is something about Sons having fathers. And just think about the other different shapes of families. Motherless, parentless, losing children, foster children with multiple families. The rejection, the loss.
Humanity was built for comfort and security, that i believe we were supposed to get from God and the family unit. We are designed for close knit community. Beginning with the family, into the body of Christ. But echoes of those are seen in everything we do. I have written extensively about sports teams, bands, house mates, clubs. We aren’t solitary creatures. We almost magnetize together. But as truth is absolute, we need to see family through the eyes of – not experience – not culture – not history, but LOVE, which is the only truth – GOD.
So what is the most uniting and most intimate part of family and why?