Confronting the Idolatry of Family by Janet Fishburn

Confronting the Idolatry of Family by Janet Fishburn

Apparently this book was first published in 1991 (or 1990?) but can be read online (or portions thereof) at one or more of the follow sites:

(Link): Confronting the Idolatry of Family: A New Vision for the Household of God by Janet Fishburn – hosted on “religion online”

(Link): Confronting the Idolatry of Family (PDF)

From religion online (please visit their site for a complete list of the links. Below is a partial list.):

Janet Fishburn is Professor of Teaching Ministry at Drew University Theological School in Madison, New Jersey. This book was published by Abingdon Press, Nashville (1991). This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.

(Link): Prologue: Protestant Ideals and Historical Realities
This Prologue summarizes the book. There are three parts: Part 1 is an analysis of the origins of current attitudes about church and family. Part 2 is a discussion of the way values often believed to be “God-given and biblical” are related to the values of the American Dream. In Part 3, describes the role of church leaders in planning educational programs that are supportive of members of traditional and nontraditional families, but not dependent on “the Christian home” as the primary agency of Christian spiritual formation.

(Link): Chapter 1: The Church in Domestic Captivity
Americans tend to uncritically identify loyalty to family with loyalty to church. Congregations in which loyalty to church and family are virtually synonymous are engaged in an American form of religious familism.

Chapter 2: “The Family Pew” and the Church Today
This chapter is about the way “the family pew” ethos affects program planning and leadership roles in congregations. If family loyalty controls the events that matter most in the life of a congregation, the faith commitments of that congregation are misplaced. If love of family is stronger and deeper than love for Jesus Christ, this is family idolatry.

(Link): Chapter 3: The Effect of Family Idolatry on a Congregation
The focus on ministry as spiritual direction requires the pastor to become the servant of all, the person who enables the ministry of every other member of the congregation. To accomplish this objective would require a redistribution of work in most congregations. In that process, both pastor and congregation will find that their understanding of the nature and mission of the church is changing.

(Link): Chapter 4: A Biblical Critique of Family Idolatry
The habit of associating biblical concepts like the Providence of God and the election of Israel with a nation and Protestant Christianity has greatly influenced the way American Protestants regard the nations of the world, the church, their families, and themselves.

(Link): Chapter 5: The Christian Life, Spirituality, and Sexuality
Where the longing for God is satisfied, human sexuality is enriched because spiritual discipline gives form and direction to desire. The mystery of sexual union is heightened for partners who love each other in Christ.” Conversely, exaggerated or compulsive love of any kind is a sign of alienation from God, of a lack of spiritual direction.

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