Reformed Theology Seeking input/commentary on my own thoughts/thinking on family, trust and the Church  Calvinism

Seeking input/commentary on my own thoughts/thinking on family, trust and the Church

Reformed Theology Seeking input/commentary on my own thoughts/thinking on family, trust and the Church  Calvinism
Seeking input/commentary on my own thoughts/thinking on family, trust and the Church

Hello!

I wish to first say that I love this subreddit, finding it to be a wonderful collection of deeply intelligent, faithful, devout and dedicated believers. It is why I have come here for insight/commentary on my thoughts rather than other Christian subreddits.

So, I will get down to business. Last night I wrote a somewhat lengthy piece on the notion of family, what it means in Christianity (based on my own understandings, which I freely admit may be quite limited compared to yours), and how trust and vulnerability factors into that, and how all of this is affected and impacted by human brokenness. If I had to give a TL;DR to this, I would say that it is this: "Simply being a faithful, genuinely saved Christian does not, in and of itself, make one worthy of your trust."

Anyways, I'd love to hear your thoughts on what I've written so I can gain more insight into this matter and be made aware of where I may have slipped up here or there in my thinking process.

So, without further ado, if it's alright (and if it's not, just let me know), what follows is what I posted on Facebook last night. Hope you all enjoy 🙂


I want to touch on the notion and ideal of the Church as family (as laid out in Christianity), and the problematic nature of this claim, and the contradictions that result, when it is applied to the reality of human brokenness.

Let's first dissect the term 'family'. 'Family' consists of at least one of two states, but also – ideally – both simultaneously. This is – in my view – the case in both the Church (as a spiritual and cosmic entity) as well as human families.

The first state is that of intrinsic relation. In human families, this is the case of blood relation or adopted relation. Your birth mother is your family because you share blood with her and you are her child, and your adopted mother is your family because you share the relation of being her adopted child. In the Church, God is our Father and through Him, every Christian is a brother and sister to each other. In both cases, this is an objective reality, regardless of the closeness of our bonds with our familial brethren. My father is still my father regardless of our history or how I feel toward him or how he feels toward me, and the people at my church who are saved Christians are my brethren regardless of how we feel toward each other.

The second state is that of bond. This consists of a variety of dynamics – emotional closeness, love, loyalty, and more, often a number of these – if not all – operating simultaneously in concert. To use a relevant pop culture example, in the Fast and the Furious movies, Dom Toretto's crew are truly family, despite only one member of the crew (his sister Mia Toretto, played by Jordana Brewster) being related to him by blood. This is because the shared struggles, trials, triumphs and joys they have all been through together, and what they have sacrificed for each other, and their having proven their loyalty toward each other time and time again, have made them into a family by way of forging an ironclad bond between them that can never be broken. This is the case in real life – people who share no blood relation or adopted familial relation can become a family through a number of dynamics that forge a close bond between them.

Now, ideally, the bond should exist in families – human and the Church. It does not always, but this is the ideal. The Bible speaks of the Church as family with the assumption that this close bond of love and affection and loyalty will exist, or at the very least be actively strived towards with the ultimate goal and aim of achieving it.

But humanity is broken, and this extends to Christian relations as well. Numerous human families exist where various members of the family gossip and plot against each other, an where various members cannot be trusted and merely navigating the dynamics of the relations of your own flesh and blood become akin to the 'plots within plots' dramas and intrigues of popular soap operas. And in a number of church communities, there are those who – despite being loving and not hurting anyone – nobody can really stand and who are consequently only barely tolerated and largely unwanted and unloved.

What is to be done in this state of affairs? I will focus for this post on the Church. First, I think it is necessary to separate the two aspects of family within the Church. To identify the spiritual and cosmic reality of Christian relation, I would use the term 'spiritually related'. I am related to every Christian in the world, spiritually, just as I am related to my father – this is an objective fact, and cannot be changed by anything. This does not mean that I am close to every Christian in the world, and it certainly does not mean that every Christian in the world is worthy of my trust or that it would be wise or even desirable to entrust myself to every one of them or to make myself vulnerable to every one of them.

Then there is family – the close, familial bond. The people who will love and accept you no matter what, and will support you in whatever ways you need to be supported, and you them. This is the ultimate aim of the Church.

Now, to finally close in on what is to be done.

It is a reality that not every Christian, or even church community, will accept you, believer. Not every Christian community will want you or love you, even if the community is made up of genuinely saved believers. If you are in such a community, do not entrust yourself to these people. Do not make yourself vulnerable to them. To do so would only be to enable others to hurt you, either deliberately or through lack of care and consideration as to your feelings and your humanity.

I don't believe this is an anti-Christian sentiment, it is – in my view – common sense. It would be silly and wrong to ask a believing woman, who desperately wants to get married and be a wife and a mother, to completely entrust herself and to completely make herself open and vulnerable to a man whom she only met last week and has only been on a single date with. The same principle, in my mind, applies here.

It goes back to having people earn your trust. And ultimately, that means finding a healthy – biblically and socially – church community. One where you will be accepted by the community and invited into their lives despite the flaws and brokenness of your person. If you find such a community, and it has become clear that the people in it are worthy of your trust and vulnerability, then yes, entrust yourself to them and make yourself vulnerable with them, because they have earned your trust.

To sum up: merely being spiritually related to someone does not mean you should make yourself vulnerable to them. One should only make themselves vulnerable to a person or group that has truly demonstrated that they are family – that they are willing to love and accept you and to forge the bond of love and loyalty and intimacy with you that the Bible so casually speaks of and assumes.

That's about it. I hope this hasn't been a ramble. I'm still working and thinking through all this, and I totally would welcome your thoughts on this post, if you have any you would like to share.

Hello!

I wish to first say that I love this subreddit, finding it to be a wonderful collection of deeply intelligent, faithful, devout and dedicated believers. It is why I have come here for insight/commentary on my thoughts rather than other Christian subreddits.

So, I will get down to business. Last night I wrote a somewhat lengthy piece on the notion of family, what it means in Christianity (based on my own understandings, which I freely admit may be quite limited compared to yours), and how trust and vulnerability factors into that, and how all of this is affected and impacted by human brokenness. If I had to give a TL;DR to this, I would say that it is this: "Simply being a faithful, genuinely saved Christian does not, in and of itself, make one worthy of your trust."

Anyways, I'd love to hear your thoughts on what I've written so I can gain more insight into this matter and be made aware of where I may have slipped up here or there in my thinking process.

So, without further ado, if it's alright (and if it's not, just let me know), what follows is what I posted on Facebook last night. Hope you all enjoy 🙂


I want to touch on the notion and ideal of the Church as family (as laid out in Christianity), and the problematic nature of this claim, and the contradictions that result, when it is applied to the reality of human brokenness.

Let's first dissect the term 'family'. 'Family' consists of at least one of two states, but also – ideally – both simultaneously. This is – in my view – the case in both the Church (as a spiritual and cosmic entity) as well as human families.

The first state is that of intrinsic relation. In human families, this is the case of blood relation or adopted relation. Your birth mother is your family because you share blood with her and you are her child, and your adopted mother is your family because you share the relation of being her adopted child. In the Church, God is our Father and through Him, every Christian is a brother and sister to each other. In both cases, this is an objective reality, regardless of the closeness of our bonds with our familial brethren. My father is still my father regardless of our history or how I feel toward him or how he feels toward me, and the people at my church who are saved Christians are my brethren regardless of how we feel toward each other.

The second state is that of bond. This consists of a variety of dynamics – emotional closeness, love, loyalty, and more, often a number of these – if not all – operating simultaneously in concert. To use a relevant pop culture example, in the Fast and the Furious movies, Dom Toretto's crew are truly family, despite only one member of the crew (his sister Mia Toretto, played by Jordana Brewster) being related to him by blood. This is because the shared struggles, trials, triumphs and joys they have all been through together, and what they have sacrificed for each other, and their having proven their loyalty toward each other time and time again, have made them into a family by way of forging an ironclad bond between them that can never be broken. This is the case in real life – people who share no blood relation or adopted familial relation can become a family through a number of dynamics that forge a close bond between them.

Now, ideally, the bond should exist in families – human and the Church. It does not always, but this is the ideal. The Bible speaks of the Church as family with the assumption that this close bond of love and affection and loyalty will exist, or at the very least be actively strived towards with the ultimate goal and aim of achieving it.

But humanity is broken, and this extends to Christian relations as well. Numerous human families exist where various members of the family gossip and plot against each other, an where various members cannot be trusted and merely navigating the dynamics of the relations of your own flesh and blood become akin to the 'plots within plots' dramas and intrigues of popular soap operas. And in a number of church communities, there are those who – despite being loving and not hurting anyone – nobody can really stand and who are consequently only barely tolerated and largely unwanted and unloved.

What is to be done in this state of affairs? I will focus for this post on the Church. First, I think it is necessary to separate the two aspects of family within the Church. To identify the spiritual and cosmic reality of Christian relation, I would use the term 'spiritually related'. I am related to every Christian in the world, spiritually, just as I am related to my father – this is an objective fact, and cannot be changed by anything. This does not mean that I am close to every Christian in the world, and it certainly does not mean that every Christian in the world is worthy of my trust or that it would be wise or even desirable to entrust myself to every one of them or to make myself vulnerable to every one of them.

Then there is family – the close, familial bond. The people who will love and accept you no matter what, and will support you in whatever ways you need to be supported, and you them. This is the ultimate aim of the Church.

Now, to finally close in on what is to be done.

It is a reality that not every Christian, or even church community, will accept you, believer. Not every Christian community will want you or love you, even if the community is made up of genuinely saved believers. If you are in such a community, do not entrust yourself to these people. Do not make yourself vulnerable to them. To do so would only be to enable others to hurt you, either deliberately or through lack of care and consideration as to your feelings and your humanity.

I don't believe this is an anti-Christian sentiment, it is – in my view – common sense. It would be silly and wrong to ask a believing woman, who desperately wants to get married and be a wife and a mother, to completely entrust herself and to completely make herself open and vulnerable to a man whom she only met last week and has only been on a single date with. The same principle, in my mind, applies here.

It goes back to having people earn your trust. And ultimately, that means finding a healthy – biblically and socially – church community. One where you will be accepted by the community and invited into their lives despite the flaws and brokenness of your person. If you find such a community, and it has become clear that the people in it are worthy of your trust and vulnerability, then yes, entrust yourself to them and make yourself vulnerable with them, because they have earned your trust.

To sum up: merely being spiritually related to someone does not mean you should make yourself vulnerable to them. One should only make themselves vulnerable to a person or group that has truly demonstrated that they are family – that they are willing to love and accept you and to forge the bond of love and loyalty and intimacy with you that the Bible so casually speaks of and assumes.

That's about it. I hope this hasn't been a ramble. I'm still working and thinking through all this, and I totally would welcome your thoughts on this post, if you have any you would like to share.

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Submitted March 18, 2017 at 07:26PM by lone_wanderer1980s