The other day my husband, Ken, and I splashed and swam in a pool, then ate burgers and drank iced tea at a barbecue hosted by our friends Ann Marie and Patricia. We are pleased and proud of the honorary titles “Uncle Ken” and “Auntie Rachel,” bestowed on us by this couple and the children they are raising. I’m also thankful for permission to tell their story, which has taught me much about what the apostle Paul calls “a spirit of adoption.”
Men my age are “bridge fathers.” We began being fathers in one era, and before the last child left the nest we realized that fatherly responsibilities and expectations had changed significantly. Now we find ourselves watching own sons practicing a new style of fatherhood based on assumptions which were simply not part of the culture when we started out.
By exploring the contradictions between official theologies and the actual behavior of religious communities, sociologists of religion help religious people to view themselves more honestly—a sometimes deflating and even painful process. Such may be our experience in reading W.
Paul was in Rome, the epicenter of empire, the magnet for people on the lam such as fugitive slaves. He was a “prisoner of Christ Jesus” not only because the Messiah had captured his heart but also because he had boldly proclaimed the grace and peace he had found. Somehow, through the Christian grapevine, Onesimus found Paul and sought shelter with him. Now Onesimus is going back to his owner.
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.