[image by Pink Sherbert]
I mentioned earlier last week that my wife and I are thinking through where we want to move in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex when our lease is up in August. And I stated that as we contemplate this move all sorts of questions have arisen in our mind (stewardship, finances, mission, family, vocation, etc.)…put those all in the mix and they will help determine where we want to settle down.
On Thursday I took a look at the issue of financial stewardship as a reason for why people often make a move to the suburbs. For all the jokes and criticism suburban life gets, there are legit reasons why families move there and often finances is one of the top reasons. That’s one of the reasons why we are possibly thinking about settling down there.
Another reason for why families often make the transition to the suburbs is because of family. They are trying to keep the family life intact, and hoping that life in the suburbs can guarantee that with its good schools, convenient ball fields, central shopping and lots of churches to choose from…family life will remain central.
That seems like a great thing…so you might be surprised to find critiques regarding that value. As a Marriage and Family Therapist, family life is obviously very important to my work, and what I believe as important. That’s why I struggled with my reading through the really great book, Families at the Crossroads: Beyond Traditional and Modern Options by Rodney Clapp. He says this:
In the postmodern world the market and its ways have swallowed our lives whole, so that living in genuinely Christian family is almost a lost art. Recovering the purpose of Christian family, on the distinctive terms of the Christian story, requires two declarations–one negative and one positive.
The negative declaration: The famly is not God’s most important institution on earth. The family is not the social agent that most significantly shapes and forms the character of Christians. The family is not the primary vehicle of God’s grace and salvation for a waiting, desperate world.
And the positive declaration: The church is God’s most important institution on earth. The church is the social agent that most significantly shapes and forms the character of Christians. And the church is the primary vehicle of God’s grace and salvation for a waiting, desperate world. Putting the church first, of course, runs counter to the interpretation of many evangelical traditionalists. They put the biological family first. They emphatically place family at the center of God’s purposes and work on behalf of the world…..
Yet, we cannot put Jesus first and still put family first. (pp. 67-68)
So as my family and I ponder our move, one of the questions we have been asking ourselves is, “Is our desire for a certain way of family life taken the primary importance of God’s mission or call on our lives?
What do you think about what Clapp says?
How do you wrestle between call and family in your own life, and where you choose to live?