Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Family Circus

I’m sitting here in my room thinking about how I’m so excited to be able to live with the Graysons. Wes King is playing in the background as I contemplate all the family lessons I’ll be able to glean for future application. Then I think about the Kings. There are really only three local families--and some day soon, four--whom I’d consider my most advantageous of familial mentors. As I thought about the Grants, the Graysons, the Kings--and soon the Wilburs--I realized that I’ve already gleaned so much from them. And the “apprensiceship approach” only seems brighter and more substantive in the future with each family.

As I was thinking I had to ask myself why I’m thinking about family so much as of late. I honestly have as much intrest in marriage and family as I did several years ago. So why am I allowing the notions to occupy so much of my mind? I came up with several things.

First of all--precisely because I have no intrest in marriage or family. I could say “nuff said” but I’ll elaborate. In I Peter 4, the apostle tells his people that the end is near and then he gives them exhortations to live godly lives, be sober-minded, and to continue practicing hospitality--basically, prepare yourselves but keep doing the ordinary every day things you’ve been doing. This paralleled his admonition in chapter three, “be ready to give an account”, as well as Peter’s theme through out his letter to not be caught off guard and be prepared. So, basically, precisely because I can’t see what lies ahead, because I don’t want to be caught off guard, and because God has placed the examples in my life now--while I’m not interested. The learning begins where the teachers are.

Secondly, because of the excuse I’ve had all along--conscious or subconscious--for why I’ve never wanted to get married. I never thought marriage worked. I’d revel in the fact that my parents marriage used to be so rocky. I’d wallow in thoughts of the divorce of my dad’s brother and pity his second sweet wife and two small kids for the self-centered childishness they have to endure. I’d remember with horror the nasty divorce of mom’s sister but then to happier thoughts of the wonderful man she’s married to now who was himself married three times before becoming a believer. My own mother is the product of a second marriage. All these “examples” swirl around inside my head but I’m lead to remember that one of these marriages didn’t end in divorce. Some how--by the grace of God--my parents (or rather my mother--those Shore boys!) stuck it out, and I was able to see and grow with them through that time.

Still, I’ve always been afraid that that would happen to me so I wanted to protect myself and my future children by having no future children and thus never getting married. Since I’ve gotten older, the stories of divorce have gotten more and more numerous in the lives of pastors, close friends, and prominant aquaintances. But I’m beginning to see that marriage can work, and that if it didn’t, God would not have sanctioned and sanctified it within the context of His covenant. It’s taken me a long time to acknowledge that point, now I just need to see how it works.

Thirdly, the reason I’ve had so many thoughts of marriage and family are because I long so desperately to know God more and to better understand His covenant with man. There is no better way than to watch covenant parents deliberately raise their covenant children in the ways of covenant faithfulness and covenant remembrance. The reason the children of Israel didn’t claim all of God’s best for them--the reason they fell into alliance with the very peoples and idols they were told to drive out--was because they neglected to pass the laws of God onto their children. With every passing generation the forgetfullness grew.
Now is the season for me to look for covenant succession in action. I’ve noticed two ways of teaching/learning the ways of God to children/men. One seems to be the way the Kings and Graysons take--which I could parallel to what Jordan calls “theology proper”. They begin with God, who He is, and what He has done and everything else points back to Him--daily life, application, worldview, playing with siblings, ect. The other is the schooling which I recieved some what through necessity and by default. That is, by beginning with example, beginning with the “everything else” and showing how that points back to the Creator and Giver of all things.

I suppose it depends on maturity and background as to which method of teaching a parent will take, but I’m still learning more by example than by principle. Because I had so much baggage that’s how I came to learn from Der. Because I have so much baggage that’s how I’m going to learn from those families God has placed in my life--Show me, because I’ve never seen it done before.

Lastly, at least I’m making this my last point. The reason I’m thinking so much about marriage and family is because everyone in the world is getting married this coming summer, I’m in a wedding, and I’m trying to get all my engaged friends through school with some level of concentration and focus.

“Nuff said.”

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