Our Priorities Are Off When Family Is More Important Than Church – Jesus’ focus was on the family of God, not the biological family. by J. Hellerman

Our Priorities Are Off When Family Is More Important Than Church – Jesus’ focus was on the family of God, not the biological family. by J. Hellerman

I’ve been saying the same thing on this blog the last few years: American Christians have turned the Nuclear Family, and all that goes with it – Marriage and Children and Parenthood – into idols.

American Christians have done so to such a degree that anyone who is not part of such as family, anyone who is single or childless, is marginalized.

Edit.

By the way, Facebook group SCCL posted a link to this same editorial (link to SCCL discussion thread). Unfortunately, many of the participants in the thread have chosen to take the editorial the wrong way – they think it’s rude, inappropriate, or weird to ask or expect Christians to make spiritual family (other believers) a priority to them, over their biological family, or in addition to.

The posters at SCCL clearly do not understand – you have people (such as me), with little to no biological family, and people such as myself (older singles with no kids) are side-lined, minimized, all by a church culture that hypes and deifies “the nuclear family,” children, and marriage.

I do not think a Christian should so prioritize his church that he ignores his biological family, but we have the opposite problem in many churches today – people who are widowed, never married, divorced, or childless are treated like trash, and their needs go unmet, because too many churches cater to the traditional family unit, something Jesus expressly forbid them from doing.

(Link): Our Priorities Are Off When Family Is More Important Than Church – Jesus’ focus was on the family of God, not the biological family. by J. Hellerman

Excerpts:

…  American adults, according to (Link): a recent Barna study, are “most likely to point to their family as making up a significant part their personal identity.” Country and God come next. Christians are no exception; natural family has usurped God and his family as the primary identity marker for most church-goers.

Most of us prioritize our commitment to family above our commitment to the church. This is unfortunate, because the Bible offers us a different set of relational priorities.

….For instance, in Luke he [Jesus] says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple” (14:26).

While shocking to us, the meaning of Jesus’s statement in Luke would have been especially challenging to his first-century audience. Ancient Mediterranean society was a strong-group culture. The health and survival of the group took priority over the goals and desires of individual members. Loyalty to family constituted the most important relational virtue for persons in the New Testament world.

But following Jesus meant belonging to two families, a natural family and a faith family. Unlike his surrounding culture, what is most important to Jesus is faith family: “Pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother’” (Matt. 12:46–50).

….But both Scripture and Christian history reinforce the idea that the family of God should rank higher than natural family. Jesus did not primarily call individuals into a private relationship with him. He calls us to join a movement, to become part of a new family.


Related Posts: 

(Link):  Sexism, Protecting Women, Family Values, and Christians Placing Biological Family Above Everyone Else

(Link):  “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site

(Link):  Jesus Christ Removed the Stigma, Shame From Being Single and Childless – by David Instone Brewer

(Link): If Family Is Central, Christ Is Not

(Link):  Creepy: ‘Barna: [Christian] Women Value Family Over Faith’

(Link): Do You Rate Your Family Too High? (Christians Who Idolize the Family) (article)

(Link):  Francis Chan Challenges Christians: Stop Idolizing Family, Put Christ’s Mission First

(Link): Family as “The” Backbone of Society? – It’s Not In The Bible

(Link):  If the Family Is Central, Christ Isn’t, by John B. Carpenter, CP Guest Contributor

(Link):  The Bible Does Not Teach Christians to “Focus On The Family” – The Idolization of Family by American Christians (article)

(Link): The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings

(Link): False Christian Teaching: “Only A Few Are Called to Singleness and Celibacy” or (also false): God’s gifting of singleness is rare – More Accurate: God calls only a few to marriage and God gifts only the rare with the gift of Marriage

(Link):   Redefining Family (How Christians Exclude, Marginalize Adult Singles) – post from Sojourner’s

(Link):  The Isolating Power of Family-Centered Language (How churches exclude singles and the childless) by E A Dause

(Link): The Deification of Family and Marriage (re: Kyle Idleman book)

(Link): Salvation By Marriage Alone – The Over Emphasis Upon Marriage by Conservative Christians Evangelicals Southern Baptists

(Link):  Please Stop Shaming Me for Being Single by J. Vadnal

(Link):  Christian Blogger About Divorce, Pastor Andrew Webb, Thinks All To Most Mid-Life Never – Married or Single – Again Adults Are Mal-Adjusted, Ugly Losers Who Have Too Much Baggage

(Link): Statistics Show Single Adults Now Outnumber Married Adults in the United States (2014)

(Link): Salvation By Marriage Alone – The Over Emphasis Upon Marriage (and “family”) by Conservative Christians Evangelicals Southern Baptists

(Link): Christian ‘Married People’ Privilege – Most Marrieds Remain Amazingly Blinded to Christian Discrimination Against Singles Or Write Unmarrieds’ Concerns Off, As Though They Are Nothing Compared to Marriage/ Parenting.

(Link): Christians: Please Stop Telling Singles that Their Singleness is “For God’s Glory” /  Owen Strachan’s “Being Single To Bring God Glory” Essay

(Link): Really, It’s Okay To Be Single – In order to protect marriage, we should be careful not to denigrate singleness – by Peter Chin

(Link):  Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church? by Gina Dalfonzo

(Link): How Christians Have Failed on Teaching Maturity and Morality Vis A Vis Marriage / Parenthood – Used as Markers of Maturity Or Assumed to be Sanctifiers – Also: More Hypocrisy – Christians Teach You Need A Spouse to Be Purified, But Also Teach God Won’t Send You a Spouse Until You Become Purified

(Link): The Netherworld of Singleness for Some Singles – You Want Marriage But Don’t Want to Be Disrespected or Ignored for Being Single While You’re Single

(Link): Never Married Christians Over Age 35 who are childless Are More Ignored Than Divorced or Infertile People or Single Parents

(Link): Christian TV Personality ( Jimmy Evans ) Says You Cannot Meet God’s Destiny For Your Life Without A Spouse = Anti Singleness Singlehood Singles Bias Prejudice Making Idol out of Marriage

(Link):  Preacher Says in Sermon that Single Men Who Play Video Games Are Losers Who Have Retarded Spirits and This Creates Dating Problems for Women

(Link):  Christian Blogger About Divorce, Pastor Andrew Webb, Thinks All To Most Mid-Life Never – Married or Single – Again Adults Are Mal-Adjusted, Ugly Losers Who Have Too Much Baggage

(Link): Church Allows Pedophile To Lead Bible Studies, Hails Pedo as a “Hero” – Meanwhile, Many Churches  Refuse to Allow Celibate, Single Adults to Hold Any Sort of Leadership Positions

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2 thoughts on “Our Priorities Are Off When Family Is More Important Than Church – Jesus’ focus was on the family of God, not the biological family. by J. Hellerman”

  1. When my preacher said “We’re too busy – we need to make more time for the Church,” I was flabbergasted. The church has a workaholic mentality as it is, and truthfully, the family doesn’t get nearly enough attention for all they pour into church projects. Also, as a lifelong bachelor of 40 years of age, I identify with being neglected and marginalized by workaholic & family-centered believers. Thank you for this article

    1. @ Recovering Fundy.
      Thank you for visiting the blog. After you make your second comment, and I approve it to appear, any additional comments you make after that should automatically appear on the blog, as soon as you hit ‘post comment.’

      Anyway – I have many more blog posts (linking to other people’s material) on my blog about how so many Protestant / Baptist churches ignore singles, treat singles like trash, and/or deify and idolize the Nuclear Family.

      It was something I started noticing when I began attending church (alone) in my mid – 30s. Everything was about marriage, marriage, marriage and kids, kids, kids.

      If you’d like to see more of those posts, scroll up this page to check out the links under the “Related Posts” part. This topic is only addressed once every so often by Christian authors, but on occasions I do see it addressed, I try to save links to those pages and blog about them here.

      Starting about two years ago, the number of adult singles out-number married couples in the United States. Most churches either have not noticed this shift in demographics, or they just don’t care, because I am still seeing non-stop fixation on The Nuclear Family and Marriage in churches.

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