Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Family of God

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:" Romans 8:16, KJV

I know I've never spent a whole lot of time talking about family, but I think it would be a good issue to get some discussion on. For those of you who don't know I have a large family, 3 brothers, 1 sister, 2 parents, 23 first cousins, 1 living grandparent, 16 aunts and uncles, and several great aunts, uncles, second cousins etc...

I have a huge biological family, and there are many people with families bigger then mine. However, as a Christian the people I consider family isn't limited to biological persons. Everyone is a child of God; everyone on Earth. Not everyone is in good standing with God and not everyone will make it to Heaven because not everyone wants to be in relationship with God, but we are all God's children.

That being established there are several things about families that make them special.

We have some kind of connection to them: Even in the blogosphere there are families and groups. Blogvillage would be one, I can go to any blog on blogvillage, know there won't be innappropriate material, and comment on someone elses blog. If the question comes up "well, what connection do I have to you?" I simply reply that I'm a villager on blogvillage just like them; we have a connection. Outside of the cyber world we also have connections to family groups. Our biological family is of course the most basic one we share common ancestors, common nationalities, common traits etc... We are connected to our families.

Now what does this connection bring? We'll there are really several things that we could bring up. It often brings unity, loyalty, commitment, trust, openness; we can experience all of these things in a family because the connections that bind us are so great that more or less there is nothing that could tear us apart.

A family is also a support system, when we can not bear everything life is throwing at us family is there to help us out; to share the burden. We often are able to put aside differences just because someone is family and we know that they need us.

Now don't get me wrong there are fights in families and arguments and all of that bad stuff; but all around, families are a pretty good deal.

Now the family of God is unique from our biological families in a few ways. I can honestly tell you this; my closest friends that I talk with the really deep stuff in life about are not always biological family. There is stuff I could tell a brother in Christ that I couldn't tell a biological family member. One of my closest cousins is so close not becuase of our biological relation, but because of our relation through God. "A man [that hath] friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24, KJV. I have friends that I would say in many ways are closer to me then my biological brothers. Jesus is closer to me then anyone else on Earth, and He always will be.

I have one close friend that I worked with at Church camp, and I talked with him about stuff that I could never have talked to my brothers about. Because he and I were closer in Christ then my brothers and I.

The point I'm trying to make is families are good, but a Church family can offer you things that biological families can not.

Often biological family members are not believers; and that puts a gap between us. For me it's a pretty big gap too. It's discouraging to be around people who can't support you in your lifes purpose, and who can't grasp who you really are because they can't grasp who you really serve. It makes it difficult.

Well, I think I've gone on enough, let me know what you think. This may not be my most cohesive post ever, but it is emotional.

God bless!


Blogger Hopeful Spirit said...

Your ideas connote sincerity, conviction, and a desire for belonging. Sadly, it has been my experience that the desire goes unfulfilled in institutional religion more often than it is fulfilled. Too often, churches end up becoming about committees, meetings, planning task forces, blah, blah, blah with precious little time spent focusing on spirituality. Too often church members get so wrapped up in achieving a specific goal that they forget what brought them to the church in the first place. The reality is that the people who most need the kind of connection you write about are the least likely to ever find it within the structures of organized religion.

Sun Jan 21, 11:44:00 AM 2007  
Blogger sweetswede said...

To your first sentence I say thank you. I would sooner write two paragraphs with sincerity and conviction then an entire book about something I don't care about.

As far as institutional religion goes I think to often we think people in our denomination are the only ones going to Heaven. I tell you there will be Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Pentecostals etc... in Heaven. And anyone who is sincerely a Christian is a brother in Christ. You are right, in many ways the Church fails to be the family it should. The Church in many ways has become so wrapped up in other things that it has forgotten it's true purpose.

I know the last thing you said is all too true. The broken and oppressed, the prostitutes, the destitute of morals are the least likely to find these connections because the Church isn't reaching out the way it should, and in some cases as you mentioned the Church doesn't foster the kind of family that it should. I think the Church has the potential to foster this kind of family; however, it isn't using this potential.

I can only hope what I write has a massive impact on the Church. I doubt it will, but I can hope. Even if there is no massive impact if one person is somehow positively affected by what I write then it is not in vain.

Thank you again for your comments. God bless!


Sun Jan 21, 03:59:00 PM 2007  
Blogger CyberCelt said...

Here from the Blog Village Carnival. I have searched for a church family but was always put off by the "if you are not a member of my church, then you are not worth my time."

Luckily, there have been individuals who have welcomed me and given me the feeling of community in Christ.

God bless.

Fri Jan 26, 05:02:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Janey Loree said...

I thankfully have the best of both worlds with my family! We are a close family and share the same belief.

I am visiting from the Blog Village Goes Gonzo Carnival!!!

Fri Jan 26, 06:48:00 PM 2007  
Blogger JAM said...

This is a well written and obviously heartfelt post. I agree with what you have said here.

Churches aren't any more perfect than any other kind of family, but they sure go a long way to helping complete our lives. We live very far from our biological families, but our church family helps hold us up. I'm sorry that so many are turned off by "organized religion" or "institutional churches."

Church families take the same time and effort to make work as any other family. Jesus travelled with 13 men for three years and one of them betrayed him, I reckon there's that many or more bad apples out of every 13 in any church. But you have to deal with them too, just as any family member.

I hope that those who shun churches, or are shunned by churches find peace with God through Jesus.

(I'm visiting from the Blog Village Goes Gonzo Carnival.)

Fri Jan 26, 07:03:00 PM 2007  
Blogger JAM said...

Uh, that would be 12 men there John, that Jesus travelled with. Duh Huh.

Fri Jan 26, 07:04:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Heather in Beautiful BC said...

I'm here via the carnival. Thanks for sharing your story :)

Fri Jan 26, 11:15:00 PM 2007  
Blogger RUTH said...

Here fom the carnival. A thoughtprovoking post

Sat Jan 27, 12:28:00 AM 2007  
Blogger The GateKeeper said...

Right you are. After 30 years I'm finally beginning to have some sort of relationship with my brother. Differences aside now. And when my husband left his family it was my church family that stepped up to the plate and went as far as carrying the burden with me. Thanks for your insight.

Sat Jan 27, 05:17:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Marion said...

I agree. There are few members of my biological family that I can share my beliefs with.

But my spiritual family...well, that's another story. I am lucky to have both.

Thanks for a great post!

Sun Jan 28, 08:05:00 AM 2007  
Blogger sweetswede said...

I greatly appreciate all of your comments!

I seldom have this many comments and am sorry I don't have time to respond to them all individually.

Actually as far as the number of men Jesus traveled with though there were 12 traditional disciples if we look in the beginning of Acts there were at least 2 more men who traveled with Jesus. They were the men chosen as candidates to replace Judas Iscariot. So there were at least 14 men who traveled with Jesus, only twelve disciples though.

God bless you all!

Sun Jan 28, 06:24:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Dirty Butter said...

I have such a small family that there are few I can share anything with. But our daughters are both good listeners, and both are active Christians, with strong beliefs. Both have been fortunate to find church homes they feel comfortable in, one a Catholic, the other a Baptist. We have a close knit church family who are great at caring for each other and those in our community. There are times when my DH and I get frustrated by the tendency to fill up church time with committee meetings and other such institutional time wasters, but all in all we belong to a great fellowship of believers.

Some who have commented here have not been so fortunate, and for them I feel their sense of betrayal. It's a pity, but the only word I know to give is to keep looking. After all, churches are filled with sinners, not perfect people.

I, too, am reading your post as a part of the BLOG VILLAGE Family Blog Carnival.

Sun Jan 28, 06:56:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Tomas Karkalas said...

While reading your post I comprehended better how blessed I am by God and thus you helped me to be more grateful than I was. You wrote about biological and spiritual families and I recognized full identity between them in my concrete case.
While reading your post I was shining with joy I understood that my family was increased by you. Thank you.
As I am not English speaker, my expressions may sound cloudy, but I hope my sincerity will break through all language barriers and we will stay in one huge Christian hug.
Let my blogs be your home, and please feel there as at home. I will greatly appreciate all your remarks. What should I to clean in my writings?

Mon Jan 29, 01:11:00 AM 2007  
Blogger sweetswede said...

First I would once again like to thank you all for your comments and feedback.

Dirty Butter I understand what you mean, actually the Church I attend is much smaller then my biological family (probably 80% of American Churches are) but I think it's great when we can find a good, healthy Church family where most of the attenders really care.

Tomas, I understood you fine; and greatly appreciate the feedback. In most of my writings it is my sincere desire to reach someone in someway and all of your feedback has shown, with God's help, I've achieved this. The only thing I really saw with your writing was things like a, an, do, and small words like that which you could put in places like "what could I do to clean my writings" and things like that. But your English is pretty good all around.

God bless!

Mon Jan 29, 06:18:00 AM 2007  

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