Dysfunction in the Family

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For those of you who are participating in The Bible Challenge, isn’t it nice to know that your family isn’t the only one that suffers from some level of dysfunction? How can I assume that your family suffers from dysfunction? Because all families are dysfunctional on some level. After all, families are made up of human beings, and since Adam and Eve, we all live East of Eden.

Not surprisingly, the Old Testament portion of the Bible Challenge begins in the beginning, with the Book of Genesis. At this point in the Challenge, we have worked our way through the two creation narratives, Noah and the flood, and we now are embroiled in the story of Abraham and Sarah, and their wildly dysfunctional family. The stories of Abraham, Sarah, and the three generations that follow are some of my favorite in all of Holy Scripture. I commented to Emily that it’s going to be a long year of reading the Bible, because we’ll finish perhaps my favorite book in the first month!

At Theology on Tap this evening, we discussed what the purpose of the Bible is. Is it a guide for moral, ethical living – a sort of roadmap for how to conduct ourselves? Those of us who are participating in the Bible Challenge were pretty quick to point out that it seems like the Bible tells us as much about how not to act as it does how to act. It includes the stories of flawed people whose flaws seem to run in the family so to speak. So far, none of Abraham and Sarah’s descendants have escaped the dysfunction.

Another question we pondered this evening at Theology on Tap was “What is the purpose of these stories, and why do we read them? Why don’t we just skip ahead to the New Testament and read about Jesus, and let his story serve as our roadmap to ethical, righteous living?” For me, I need to embrace my brokenness before I can embrace the salvation I repeatedly find in Jesus Christ. And I need the stories of dysfunctional people like Adam, Eve, Cain, Jacob, and Jacob’s sons to remind me that I am not alone in my brokenness, and God claims me as God’s very own not because of who I am, but because of who God is. That takes a lot of pressure off of me.

And this point not only applies to us as individuals but to us a church as well. After all, the individuals we are reading about in Genesis aren’t a random collection of folks. They are part of God’s chosen people who are part of a family system whose stories are deeply intertwined. And such is the case of our church. Christ the King is not a random collection of individuals. Together, we are part of a family system that has been called together to participate in God’s mission here in 32459 and beyond. And with our family – like any family – comes some level of dysfunction. But that is to be expected, and that is ok. We are not perfect – as individuals or as a (church) family. And we have our Holy Scriptures to remind us that God doesn’t choose us because of who we are, but because of who God is. And that, my brothers and sisters in Christ, takes a lot of pressure off of us. So this year, as we continue to read the stories of God’s chosen, flawed people, let’s enjoy the stories and enjoy ourselves!

See you Sunday!

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