See, this is what I love about blogging--when a blog sparks a conversation sparks a few more blogs, and pretty soon an important conversation that otherwise might have remained unspoken is aired out. Like the conversation about family my friend Alaina and I had the other night. You can read her thoughts on the topic here and here.
My (limited) knowledge tells me that the idea that "family" is a very exclusive term hasn't been addressed before in the church, or at least, addressed properly. Especially since like Alaina said, many churches are just now starting family ministries. Exactly what does "family" mean? It's an important question. Many people would say that their friends are their family, mainly because they were able to live life on the same plane, same generation, same understanding of culture. X and Y Generations grew up in a society that re-imagined family--it had to when things like divorce, gay marriage and cohabitation became more common. But in addition to that, families don't often live within 100 miles of each other anymore. I think of my friend Joanna who is moving to India next month to pursue her calling as a full-time missionary. Of course she will always be close to her blood relatives, but she's moving to a new country. She'll need to set down roots--that means finding a family among the people she spends her daily life with in India.
I owe the beginning of this conversation to a lovely book called "We Were the Mulvaneys" by Joyce Carol Oates. Beautifully written novel (although I haven't finished it yet). It's centered around one event that shattered the lives of the Mulvaney family. The event is a tragic one, but the exact ways in which it impacts the family is unexpected, heart-breaking and sometimes difficult to understand. I appreciate Oates portrayal of complex emotions. And interestingly, the one ray of hope in the book (so far) seems to be the ambiguity (and therefore flexibility) of the term "family."
With that off my chest, I wonder if anyone else has struggled with the same feelings, or has anything else to add to the conversation?