Christianity Should Be Able To Work Regardless of Culture, Childed or Marital Status / Article: Unlike in the 1950s, there is no ‘typical’ U.S. family today by B. Shulte
Christianity Is Designed to Be True and to Work, Regardless of One’s Culture or Marital Status or Family Structure
Before I address the article about the changing nature of the American family, I’d like to point out that God designed the Christian faith so that it could work in any era, any time period, in any culture, and regardless of a person’s childed or marital status.
American Christians, however, continue to behave as though the Christian faith itself will become moot or bogus unless the predominant culture consists of 1950s era like nuclear families, where every one is married with a baby.
If Christianity can only work if people are married with kids, then Christianity is false.
If the only measure of success you have that Christianity is “working,” I don’t think I’d use marriage and baby making as the only, or primary, yard sticks, as the Bible does not hold up either one as a barometer.
I’d also like to remind any Christian readers that Jesus Christ died for your sins, not to save or defend marriage, parenthood, or the “nuclear family.”
The Changing American Family
I first saw this headline tweeted by Janet Mefferd, Christian radio host. I listen to her program regularly, and I think I have a fairly good handle of her views. I think she probably thinks that the following information is sad or unfortunate. I have a different perspective. Here’s the link:
As much as I like Mrs. Mefferd on a personal level, I disagree with her on one or two topics, or emphasis placed upon them.
I have corresponded with Mrs. Mefferd in the past about how the church ignores adult singles, and she kindly, a few weeks later, devoted about half a program to the topic, so kudos to her on that. I was truly grateful she brought the topic up on her radio program.
On the other hand, I still sometimes read or hear Mrs. Mefferd discuss the American family falling apart, and she seems to find this very sad.
I am right wing. I’m not a “family hater.” I don’t hate marriage. However, I’m no longer entirely like other social conservatives on some of these topics.
I don’t think it does any good to constantly criticize people for not marrying, or for getting upset that people don’t have their first marriage til later in life, and so on.
It doesn’t accomplish anything to try to convince people to marry, marry young, and have ten children. We are simply not living in the 1950s any longer. I notice a lot of my fellow right wingers idealize the 1950s, the two parent family model.
That ship has sailed, and it’s not coming back.
I’m not saying it’s wrong for preachers to speak out against divorce and other, related social topics on occasion, but the constant upset and worry over these things the past 40 years has not halted the decay of culture.
It’s a waste of money, time, energy and resources to try to put the horse back in the 1950s barn.
Rather than complain or cry endlessly that the 1950s family model is pretty much dead and gone, I believe Christians need to meet people where they are. I don’t think churches can force society to go back to a 1950s mindset any longer, but they are constantly trying to do so.
The iconic 1950s family of the breadwinner father going off to work and caregiving mother taking care of the homefront, has been described by economists as the most efficient family structure. Everyone has a distinct job to do in their “separate spheres” of public and private life. And in the 1950s, the majority of children were being raised in such “typical” families.
We all know that’s not true anymore. But perhaps what we haven’t fully understood yet is that today, there is no one “typical” family. The breadwinner-homemaker family, the norm since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, is being replaced by a new norm of diversity.
“There hasn’t been the collapse of one dominant family structure and the rise of another. It’s really a fanning out into all kinds of family structures,” said Philip Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland. “Different is the new normal.”
In a (Link): report for the Council on Contemporary Families being released today, Cohen notes that in the 1950s, 65 percent of all children under 15 were being raised in traditional breadwinner-homemaker families. Today, only 22 percent are.
Many people assume dual-income families are now the predominant family structure, Cohen said. And while the greatest percentage of young children do live in such families, they make up just 34 percent of all young children, not even close to a majority.
And the rest of the kids?
23 percent are being raised by a single mother, only half of whom have ever been married.
….“The big story, really, is the decline of marriage,” Cohen said. “That’s what’s really changed.” From the 1950s to 2010, married couple families dropped from two-thirds of all households to 45 percent, less than half.
…And yet, despite the diversity now of U .S. families, most of the laws and policies that affect families’ work and life have not changed. U.S. tax policy, the Social Security system, laws governing work hours, all still favor married breadwinner-homemaker families.
“People may be disappointed that we don’t have more stable, long-term tradition marriages, but people have to understand that, inside that model, was a lot of suffering, heartache and exploitation,” Cohen said, referring to Betty Friedan’s chronicling of the silent dissatisfaction of many 1950s housewives.
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