Familiarity Breeds in Families

Posted by on Jul 3, 2012 in Theology | 0 comments

There is something about proximity to others that makes you more aware of yourself, except when it is your very own family members. Then, in the comfort of your living room or the discomfort of your dining room chair, you can just let it all hang out. I recently ran into this over on somebody’s pin board:

Suck in Your Stomach

Did your mom ever tell you to suck it in? I remember my mom informing me of the capability to actually engage my core and put my shoulder muscles to good use too. She didn’t use those words, but I certainly appreciated her help, even if she didn’t take me to the mall to purchase clothing from the Gap until I found out about it all on my own.

When you first go off to college and jump into dorm life, there is this crazy feeling of wanting to fit in with all of the other people and at the same time wanting to hide all of the ugly stuff you do/have/participate-in-while-sleep-walking. It is an odd mix of letting your abs relax and hoping that people will still want to eat in the cafeteria with you once they notice your paunch, which is kind of the same way church life can be.

If you aren’t a part of a local church, then this may sound odd, but if you are in a community of people that are as healthy as the collective mental/emotional/physical/spiritual health of the lot of you, then you will understand, perhaps all too well. Around our house we talk about being a part of a church family and the word ‘family’ is carefully chosen, for mostly obvious reasons, not the least of which being that we’ve let our stomachs out when we’re around each other. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve still got our pants on (something we don’t necessarily do for EVERYBODY in the family, if you’re still following me with this whole analogy), but we’re not trying to look our best anymore. Being a part of a church family means we’ve all relaxed a bit. And that is a good thing.

It is a strange world though, and the problem with this level of familiarity is that it can sometimes mean that we don’t treat those closest to us with the level of respect and care that they not only deserve, but have often earned, like the way you can be dismissive of your sister and just leave the room when she is talking because she always talks like that. And sometimes you stop asking how your father’s day went because you figure if it was really bad or tremendously good, he would just offer that up while he munched his salad. The difficulty is that in the church family the only thing holding us together is our concern and care for one another. Once we start taking each other for granted, we start to think that there just isn’t any reason left to come to the table. Not true, of course, unless you’ve been living as the teenage slacker who only participated in the life of the family by consuming resources and never so much as tossing a thanks out of your mouth or taking the trash out.

So what does one do when all of the familiarity begins to make you invisible to the ones you hoped would notice? I don’t think there is always a right answer. I’m just wondering what you would do/have done/will do when your church family feels less and less like something you want to be a part of and more and more like something you have to endure?

Tell me, maybe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *