Seeking the Manifold Wisdom of God on Indianapolis' Near-eastside

From Ellen Adams.

by csmith - October 22, 2007 - 2:02 pm

 I feel as though I am being dragged into this “blog” thing kicking and screaming.  I do not think it is at all indicative of who we are as a body and what we are all thinking.  I think it reflects the conversations of about 10% of our body, most of whom are under 35.  It is not a manner in which I wish to participate in such conversations, but the most effective way to communicate to those who need to hear my protest is to post it on the blog. 
        In regard to the comments of Chris and Kyle about Focus on the Family and idolatry of the family – In David Langford’s paper “Church:  The First Family” in the section titled Family, Culture and the Kingdom he states that “Family is the primary institution for the transmission of culture.”  He does not elaborate on whether he is talking about all families in general or church families in particular.  Within the church the family should be the primary institution for the transmission of the Christian faith – not culture.  Later in the article in the section titled A supernatural Community he says “. . . faith best supports the family by creating a community in which the counter-cultural values of the Kingdom are taught and parents are encouraged by their spiritual family to have their family life transformed and renewed by those kingdom principles.”  Early in the life of our family, when our children were small, Englewood encouraged us to utilize the resources available through Focus on the Family.  We found them to be tremendously helpful in giving us practical tips and great resources to help us transmit our faith to our children.  The monthly magazines, newsletters, and many books we read from Focus on the Family did indeed encourage us to have our family life transformed and renewed by kingdom principles.  Chris’s statement that Focus on the Family “has usurped the Kingdom of God and the mission of God in the world” shows a sad lack of understanding as to what they are truly about.  When someone in the body of Christ (a hand, for example), through the “manifold wisdom of God” is given a particular passion for a particular area of ministry, I think it is tragic when other parts of that same body (the elbows) are critical and destructive in regard to the function God has given the hand.

4 Responses to “From Ellen Adams.”

  1. Ellen,

    I have surpassed that over 35 year mark, so I guess I am not included in that 10%. I think I understand Chris’ critique of Focus on the Family is that it views the family as the primary unit of the kingdom of God and not the Church. From my experience with them growing up I would tend towards this view, but cannot say so definitively. I would say that I valued Dobson much more when he was giving counsel on child rearing much moreso than when he entered the role of political advocacy. I appreciate your post. I think you see the blog as some sort of threat to who we are. I think that this conversation should be open to all to participate, just as the newsletter. There may be some better ways to do this, but I don’t think we need to be fearful of it.

  2. I would agree that I wish Dobson would just stick to child-rearing.

    With that said, political advocacy vs. child rearing wasn’t the issue at the heart of Chris’ original comment.

    For those who feel FoF views the family as the primary unit of the kingdom of God: are there specific examples? As a new parent, I’m just now starting to read through Dobson’s books on children, so my own knowledge is limited.

    To be clear: I think there is a difference between idolizing on the family, and focusing on the family as a specific area of ministry within the church. Is that a fair distinction?

    I should also note: I’ve read the paper Chris was blogging on since our original exchange of comments and it really didn’t change my opinion that Chris’ criticism of FoF was 1) incorrect and 2) discourteous; a cheap shot.

    One final comment to both Chris’: the newsletters generally go out to those involved with ECC in some way. It is, at best, semi-public. The blog is available for reading by all, in a very public and open forum (the WWW). It seems like there’s a verse somewhere that discourages Christians from airing their disagreements in public for the sake of unity… does that ring a bell with anyone? I may just be off in left field.

  3. I am frankly more interested in following Kyle’s line of questioning regarding “Christians..airing their disagreements in public for the sake of unity…” than I am in bashing FoF. And by the way, just to avoid being cowardly about it, I feel that FoF does tend to elevate the family to a more primary position than perhaps they originally intended. What started out as one guy (Dobson) who wanted to encourage godly parenting mushroomed into a giant conglomerate-something I am sure they never anticipted. We at ECC can certainly relate to things going directions WE did not expect!
    The question on my mind is this: given that technology will continue to develop more rapidly than we sometimes like, what will our participation in it be and why? There does seem to be a generation gap (which perhaps could be compared to gaps in musical preferences we have experienced between generations, Ellen)and clearly this medium has the potential for previously unimagined connections with brothers and sisters around the world. Can we use and manage it, without being used and managed ourselves in the process? I wonder what painful lessons we might learn from the history of Christians attempting to use television as a platform? Let’s not stop talking just because this is difficult. As one of the “older folks” (yikes! I am 44 years old!) in this discussion, I am a user of technology who still prefers a real life to a virtual one.

  4. Susan: very well said on the technology. I know some ECC folks are Wendell Berry fans; as they may know, he had some very stringent standards for adopting technical innovation.

    To be clear: I’m not advocating that ECC adopt those standards or Berry’s dogged opposition to computers.

    With that said, there are things that even I (as a programmer and technically-inclined person) can take away from his example: technology should not be adopted without discernment and a healthy dose of skepticism.