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Holy Family?

June 21, 2015

TFATF‘More lies are spoken and written about the family than any other subject.’ Ferdinand mount

Lies by the church

Stability of past

Step parents – different mothers

is a myth.

In past women died in labour – new mother

so step-parenting as common before C19 as today.

In 1820s 36% of marriages ended before 20 years owing to death – same now with divorce

Single parents not new

At start of C19 60% of first births conceived outside marriage – same as now

Women staying at home a myth

Majority have always been working wives/mothers

Only few rich could stay at home – and they had nannies

Church bemoans living together

Yet Hardwicke Act 1753 wanted to protect against bigamy so insisted marriages be registered

Before that people got betrothed and started having sex – and could also separate

No formal wedding in Pentateuch – it was the act of ‘knowing’ – i.e. just like now

Jewish law later added bride price and written contract

Claimed that people who live together more likely to divorce

Yet not the cause

People with unhappily married parents more likely to be cautious and live together first

And that family background more likely to dead to divorce

 Church having a go at the wrong targets

Church keen on moaning at breakdown of family

But not of physical violence within it

1/6 US women physically abused by their man

39,000 US died in Vietnam – half as many women and children killed by family members 1967-1973

Moan about prostitution and pornography

But not look at dysfunctional family/sex which makes people want it


Ezekiel 36:25 I will make you clean from your idols

Talk of pair-bonding in nature – but actually pluralism – polygamy, polyandry, concubinage

Israelite society had levirate marriage

Appeal to biblical family

Solomon had 500 wives and 500 concubines

Abraham said his wife was his sister and slept with his maid

Jacob had 2 wives and 2 concubines

Lot offered his daughter to late night revellers

Friendship – Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan

Follow Jesus more faithfully

Mark 3:32-6 Jesus told his family are outside – he says his family are those who do will of his father

Elsewhere says cannot be his disciple unless hate father and mother Lk 14

Everyone who has left houses, brothers and sisters, father, mother children will receive hundred tomes more Mt. 19

Asked about marriage – says it is a temporary affair Mt. 19:12

Woman at well – tell your husband

She says she has no husband

He says she’d had 5 husbands and present partner is not her husband

Perhaps she held her breath and waited for him to tell her off

Then he says ‘You are right….’ and carries on talking to her –

No judgement

STC Perhaps church should

stop moaning

Instead encourage

Attempts to live committed relationships – and not giving up at first hurdle

Oppose sexism, homophobia

Better marriage preparation

– Lancs. Clergyman reckons most couples booking church wedding already living together –s so prep needs to welcome commitment they already have, affirm strengths

Welcome all for baptism regardless of parents’ marital status

Create rituals for engagement, living together, splitting up, divorce

Campaign against pressures on families – unemployment, low benefits, mobile jobs, housing costs

Campaign for more government funding for conciliation, marriage guidance, care for elderly and sick who strain family

Stop talking about family services

Welcome cohabiting, lesbian and gay people in church

Care more for single people – 6m live alone in Britain – ¼ households, 1/3 church members

Many of these recommended in GS Report Something to Celebrate 1994 – synod rejected as undermining institution of marriage

Sources: Something to Celebrate, The Fulcrum and the Fire – S. Walrond-Skinner

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From → Sexuality

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