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Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Heretical Families [repost]

I looked at heretical marriages here.   Hopefully marriages are wonderfully healthy and Athanasian.  If they are they will have a proper co-ordination of unity, distinction and equality (they should be in the middle of the triangle).

But when they go wrong they become either Tritheist, Modalist or Arian.  To recap…

At position A we have the Arian marriage: they are united and distinct but not equal.  Here you have the Noble Rescuer married to a Poor Unfortunate.  Or an Abuser and a Victim.  Or your garden variety Superior Patroniser and their Silent Admirer.

At position B we have the tritheist marriage: they are equal and distinct but not united.  This couple runs on parallel tracks, more like a working co-operative than a marriage.

At position C we have the modalist marriage: they are united and equal but not distinct.  Here the couple get lost in each other.  Not in the Christ-like way of losing your life in order to gain it.  This is more like strategic people-pleasing – squashing their distinctives for the sake of an unhealthy one-ness.

Anyway, read here for more.

What about families?  Well I aint no expert.  But wouldn’t it go something like this?

A tritheist family have 300 enagagements a week and no time together.  The children growing up have a lot of ‘freedom’ but they don’t feel ‘known’.  Christmas is hard because it’s impossible to get everyone under one roof.

A modalist family have very few outside friends – everything’s ‘kept in the family.’  Members think in the collective: “My family says…  My family wants…”  When the kids hit adolescence they will long for a bit of freedom but be terrified of leaving the nest.  Christmas might be cosy (outwardly) but it’s highly pressured.

An Arian family is dominated by an exasperating parent (i.e. this is not godly Ephesians 6:4 leadership – this is a power trip).  The children will feel the opposite of the tritheist children – they have no freedom but the interest their parent(s) take will either be abusive or manipulative.  The abusive variation is not difficult to explain.  The manipulative variation is easily seen when you think about one of Arius’s big problems.  For him, Christ exists for the sake of the worldsince what God really wants is a world, therefore He needs Christ to act as go-between. In the Arian family something similar can happen.  The children become mediators of the parents’ desires for success in the world – living through their kids and all that.  Everythings a power play.  And Christmas is just plain dangerous.

What’s interesting is that, just as in trinitarian theology modalism and Arianism are not so different, so too in families.  A modalist family will probably not survive adolescence without turning into an Arian family.  Once differences are asserted by those growing up, maintaining this unhealthy oneness is going to require the imposition of force or silencing of dissent.  You will probably see some serious scape-goating here.

Of course there are families that are worse than these!  You can think of many ‘families’ that experience only distinction.  But of course, many families are also healthy and exist towards the middle of the triangle.  And what’s more, when we go wrong it won’t always be in the same direction.  I guess we can identify with all of these errors to one degree or another.  And our experience of these types will change over time.

Imagine a woman who’s grown up in a modalist-become-Arian family.  After years of scapegoating she learns that she is a problem person that no-one would want to know.  If she enters marriage – a tritheist one might suit her fear of intimacy.

Or imagine a man growing up in a tritheist family.  When he finds Miss Right he determines that he’s going to get the intimacy he’s always craved.  They have a modalist marriage and raise a modalist family… until the wife or kids want to assert some freedom/independence/distinctions.  And then we enter Arianism.

Anyway, I aint no family therapist.  And I’ve only read a couple of books on family.  So take those sketches for what they’re worth and feel free to shoot me down or add comments…

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Happy Friday

Here’s the book they’re from.  Here’s where I found them.

More below

(more…)

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Here I spoke about trinitarian marriages.

Here I spoke about trinitarian families.

Here I spoke about trinitarian churches.

In each case it’s about differently aged/gendered/gifted people taking on different roles but united in love and common purpose.  I spoke about the heresies of arianism, modalism and tritheism which they could fall into.

But I’m just aware that these models of how community should be are Law.   Law is holy, righteous and good.  Law describes the good life – the life of the truly Righteous One.  But there is no power in Law to be able to effect what it describes.

We can day-dream about a truly Athanasian marriage/family/congregation.  And we can bemoan a Sabellian one.  But we can’t create one by simply defining the Original, despising the counterfeits and trying harder.

Which is why, when the Scriptures describe trinitarian community, they centre on something that I, in my descriptions, left out.  Christ’s cross.

So think of Romans 14 and 15 – a wonderful passage on crunchy community – unity with distinctions upheld by gracious deference to the other.  But at the heart of it all is the cross (14:9,15; 15:3,7) which creates such community.

Or think of 1 Corinthians 11-14.  We begin with Father-Son unity (11:3); we continue with the expression of this unity in marriage (11:3ff); we see it play out in the body (12 and 14) and in chapter 13 we see it all held together by love.  That’s fantastic.  But what have I missed out?  The Lord’s Supper – 11:20-34.  This community is not created by trying hard to imitate the trinity.  It is created by the cross as experienced in the sacrament.  The one loaf creates the one body – a body in which the weak and despised are received and knit together.

So anyway, just a thought that brings me back to some earlier posts:

Triune glory is cruciform glory

Participating in God means participating in the cross

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think you can become a triune community by trying to be a triune community.  Or can you?

Right now I’m thinking that a community created by and centred on the cross will be a triune community.  Descriptions of true triune community can diagnose problems in our communities.   But they can’t solve them.

Which means maybe I should just put away my fancy diagrams and preach Christ and Him crucified.

What do you think?

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Statism

Two perceptive comments on the evils of statism:

Pete Jackson

James Cary

And one symptom from the news today:

In the year since November 2008, when the [Baby P] case came to light, more than 8,000 children have been taken into care, an increase of 40 per cent…

John Hemming, MP, found that of the 8,173 care orders applied for in 2007… only 21 were refused outright [by the judge].  “In other words the judgment of risk of the social workers … was so good that they were only completely refused by the judge 0.27 per cent of the total,” he notes.  Nowhere else in the legal system is the hit rate so high.

Article

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I looked at heretical marriages here.   Hopefully marriages are wonderfully healthy and Athanasian.  If they are they will have a proper co-ordination of unity, distinction and equality (they should be in the middle of the triangle).

But when they go wrong they become either Tritheist, Modalist or Arian.  To recap…

At position A we have the Arian marriage: they are united and distinct but not equal.  Here you have the Noble Rescuer married to a Poor Unfortunate.  Or an Abuser and a Victim.  Or your garden variety Superior Patroniser and their Silent Admirer.

At position B we have the tritheist marriage: they are equal and distinct but not united.  This couple runs on parallel tracks, more like a working co-operative than a marriage.

At position C we have the modalist marriage: they are united and equal but not distinct.  Here the couple get lost in each other.  Not in the Christ-like way of losing your life in order to gain it.  This is more like strategic people-pleasing – squashing their distinctives for the sake of an unhealthy one-ness.

Anyway, read here for more.

What about families?  Well I aint no expert.  But wouldn’t it go something like this?

A tritheist family have 300 enagagements a week and no time together.  The children growing up have a lot of ‘freedom’ but they don’t feel ‘known’.  Christmas is hard because it’s impossible to get everyone under one roof.

A modalist family have very few outside friends – everything’s ‘kept in the family.’  Members think in the collective: “My family says…  My family wants…”  When the kids hit adolescence they will long for a bit of freedom but be terrified of leaving the nest.  Christmas might be cosy (outwardly) but it’s highly pressured.

An Arian family is dominated by an exasperating parent (i.e. this is not godly Ephesians 6:4 leadership – this is a power trip).  The children will feel the opposite of the tritheist children – they have no freedom but the interest their parent(s) take will either be abusive or manipulative.  The abusive variation is not difficult to explain.  The manipulative variation is easily seen when you think about one of Arius’s big problems.  For him, Christ exists for the sake of the world, since what God really wants is a world, therefore He needs Christ to act as go-between. In the Arian family something similar can happen.  The children become mediators of the parents’ desires for success in the world – living through their kids and all that.  Everythings a power play.  And Christmas is just plain dangerous.

What’s interesting is that, just as in trinitarian theology modalism and Arianism are not so different, so too in families.  A modalist family will probably not survive adolescence without turning into an Arian family.  Once differences are asserted by those growing up, maintaining this unhealthy oneness is going to require the imposition of force or silencing of dissent.  You will probably see some serious scape-goating here.

Of course there are families that are worse than these!  You can think of many ‘families’ that experience only distinction.  But of course, many families are also healthy and exist towards the middle of the triangle.  And what’s more, when we go wrong it won’t always be in the same direction.  I guess we can identify with all of these errors to one degree or another.  And our experience of these types will change over time.

Imagine a woman who’s grown up in a modalist-become-Arian family.  After years of scapegoating she learns that she is a problem person that no-one would want to know.  If she enters marriage – a tritheist one might suit her fear of intimacy.

Or imagine a man growing up in a tritheist family.  When he finds Miss Right he determines that he’s going to get the intimacy he’s always craved.  They have a modalist marriage and raise a modalist family… until the wife or kids want to assert some freedom/independence/distinctions.  And then we enter Arianism.

Anyway, I aint no family therapist.  And I’ve only read a couple of books on family.  So take those sketches for what they’re worth and feel free to shoot me down or add comments…

.

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