7 Takes on the Family

7 Takes on the Family October 23, 2020

It’s Friday, and everyone is still asleep, so I guess I’ll try to put something here, while I wait for them to wake up and start banging around. I blame the debate, which Matt insisted on watching over my strenuous objections.


I read this while it was going on—Rod Dreher’s brief look at some statistics that came out recently, like this one:

In 2009, for the first time in history, there were more unmarried women in the United States than married ones. And today, young women in the U.S. aren’t just unprecedentedly single; they also appear to be unprecedentedly uninterested in heterosexuality: According to private polling shared with Intelligencer by Democratic data scientist David Shor, roughly 30 percent of American women under 25 identify as LGBT; for women over 60, that figure is less than 5 percent.

Dreher goes on to work through the implications of this, which are dire, of course. Part of the trouble is that young people don’t know what it looks like to be in a functional family. They have no personal emotional connection to such an anachronistic blessing.


I noticed this with vague fascination as I watched (haven’t quite finished) the sitcom Community which, apparently, grew a bit of a following after it ended. It feels dated now, honestly, because a lot of the jokes are no longer culturally acceptable, a mere year or two after it originally aired. I liked, overall, the light touch and all the spoofs of other movies and programs. But I did find it so fascinating that the driving energy of the thing was that a cobbled-together group around a study table at a Community College would have the power—by the volition of its members who just met each other on the first day and spend many episodes being awful—to become a “family.” They say that over and over. Their emotional commitment to each other supersedes all others, including their actual, dysfunctional families, even the one who had a baby in season three or four or whatever.


I mean, they circle around the concept of family over and over, and each time they circle, they recommit to each other, rather than to their awful families, but then, of course, they have to leave the college, because it’s weird to stay there forever, whereas as a family is something that can overarch and supersede all the various life-situations in which a person might find him or herself. I guess it’s sort of shocking to say it, but that’s literally one of the things that it’s for.


The only thing that has the power to supersede the family—and this almost makes it worse—is the church, as long as that church is bringing people truly to the table of Christ, who has the supernatural power required to bring about the deep bond that everyone so longs for. The family can go a long way, and should, but the horrific isolation that so many people feel right now as the family frays and falls apart can only be remediated by God, who “puts the lonely into families,” the chief one being the body of his own son.


Not to be repetitive, but I do think Pope Francis’ thought that civil unions will be a good and fine thing for those who find themselves attracted to members of the same sex is ironically short-sighted, especially given the amazing statistic of taken number one. Civil unions cannot satisfy the deep need of people to be loved that only comes by obedience to Christ. The church should hang onto this so tightly, because otherwise, honestly, there’s no point. This letter is encouraging on that score.


The little video I did on Thursday is getting some nasty comments, so that’s exciting. What I like best about this moment in time is that you don’t have to be very well-read or very clever to combat any of the ridiculous lies being clutched by the lonely and miserable. I don’t have to go back and read great tomes of theology to be able to tell the truth. I just have to say obvious things, like, God is good, and, you’ll be happier if you obey him. It makes being a Christian so much easier than at other times like the middle ages or anything like that. Count your blessings, that’s what I say.


And now I will drift off to face my life. For those who prayed all week for my mom and dad, I would be so grateful if you would keep on praying. There is no sign of that truck, and the police and U-Haul are both wishing we would stop calling. We are methodically thinking through how we can get the things they need in the near term and the long term (dm me if you want to help) and are frequently stricken with grief at unexpected moments. I know that God is good, I just wish that in his goodness he would bring that lost truck back into the bosom of our family—one that, no matter what happens, I am so so grateful to have at a moment like this. Go check out more takes.

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