Though no cinematic masterpiece, Cheaper by the Dozen is not predictable Hollywood schlock. It is unpredictable Hollywood schlock. Loosely based on the 1948 memoir about two “efficiency experts” and their joyfully haphazard family of 12, Cheaper stretches “family” beyond the usual sentimental formulas of carefully controlled parenthood.
In his critique of “Living Faithfully with Families in Transition” (June 28), a report submitted to the recent assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)—and sent back to committee for revision—Don Browning argues that the report fails to give practical guidance.
Small differences in analysis and in the use of theological sources can make for big differences in conclusions, even among friends like Homer Ashby and me, who share many of the same commitments. My criticism of “Living Faithfully” and of Ashby’s defense of it is that each falls short on social analysis and on the development of relevant Christian themes.
Last month the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) wisely voted to send a five-year study of the family back to the committee that drafted it for revision. “Living Faithfully with Families in Transition” was weak precisely where it hoped to be strong—as a social-justice statement about families.