Photography by D. Plasman
I ended up at the website of the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC). It was an honest mistake on my part, but that’s hardly an excuse. Founded in 1980, TVC is a father-daughter operation that claims to be “America’s largest non-denominational, grassroots church lobby, speaking on behalf of more than 43,000 churches and millions of like-minded patriots.”
TVC’s homepage banners include: Battleground 2016 – Our Fight For Religious Freedom and Obama’s Push to Normalize Transsexuals Put Your Children at Risk. Further down the rabbit hole, several bullet points caught my eye: Securing the Constitution against the growing threat of Islam and Shariah Law and Protecting traditional marriage and family as the cornerstone of society.
Admittedly, I don’t know much about Shariah Law, but I do know that Jesus knew a thing or two about traditional families. Here’s a reflection entitled “The New Traditional Family” in my book Jesus, a Life – Daily Reflections on the Gospel of Luke.
Jesus’ mother and brothers were looking for him, but they couldn’t get near him because of the crowd. Some people said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are here and they want to see you.” Jesus replied, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear God’s teachings and do them.” (Luke 8:19-21)
Considering how often the phrase “traditional family” is uttered by religious folks, Christian talk show hosts, and some politicians, one would think the Bible has a lot to say on the topic. It doesn’t!
A traditional family, some say, consists of a man and a woman (gay couples not included), preferably in their first marriage (though no points are deducted if this isn’t the case), along with their children (adopted children count). The husband is the head of the home. Oddly enough, it’s nearly impossible to find a traditional family in the Bible.
I tested this out on Hebrews 11 where we find a spiritual Hall of Fame of fifteen biblical notables. I applied the following “anti-traditional family” filters: the person was part of a family where members murdered each other; the person murdered someone outside the family; the person got drunk and exposed himself to his children; the person offered his wife as a sexual partner to a world leader; the person was willing to sacrifice his son; the person had more than one wife (simultaneously), or one wife and many concubines (simultaneously), or many wives (simultaneously) and many concubines (simultaneously); the person was a prostitute; the person murdered his own daughter; the person was such a lousy father that God despised his sons.
After applying these “anti-traditional family” filters, only Enoch is left standing. We know little about Enoch other than that he “walked with God,” and apparently didn’t die a normal death (Genesis 5:24). If Enoch was married, you can bet he enjoyed the company of many concubines. The “anti-traditional family” filter would toss him out.
Jesus reminds us that the only family that ultimately counts is the community where the hearing and doing of the life-giving word is practiced. All other definitions are neither biblical nor moral.
By the way, the folks we met last November in Dublin and throughout Ireland think our election process is a source of great entertainment and craziness. We raised a few beers to that sentiment.