"Family" has been a hotly discussed topic recently in our nation. The Republican Party selected Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as its vice-presidential nominee.
She is a mother of five, including a baby with Down syndrome and a teenage daughter who is pregnant. Partisans on both side launched into the family dynamics of the Palins to support political agendas, arguing about the best course of action for this woman as she and her husband and children are thrust into the political limelight.
"Is it prudent to take on such responsibility at work when so much is needed at home?"
"Is it prudent to treat her family differently than those of her male counterparts?"
Questions fly around in national debate, generating plenty of opinions but few facts.
While fascinating politically, I'm not writing to make a political point. I'm simply observing that the debate serves a greater purpose. It focuses our attention on foundational beliefs. We cannot make judgments until we understand our own source of authority. Thankfully, for Christians this drives us to look more closely at God's word and his views on the family.
The scriptures implore us to take family seriously. Family is the object of discourse (such as Paul's admonitions in Colossians for husbands and wives to submit to and love one another); family is the object of example (such as the life lessons of Abraham's family); family is the object of instruction (such as guidance in Proverbs for parents).
We must not be hasty to form judgments about others and their families before we look to God's positions on those same issues. The family unit is established and upheld by him. We must take care to read his positions on what actions are appropriate and what results are desired. Then and only then will we be qualified to give an opinion on what makes a family successful.
- Steve Howell is minister of adult education at Tonganoxie Christian Church.