Author Topic: Nuclear Family  (Read 13222 times)

Norman Teigen

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Nuclear Family
« on: September 23, 2020, 11:32:29 AM »
Recently Pastors Engebretsen and Speckhard have made mention of "the nuclear family." I would be interested in reading comments about this topic.  What is meant by the term "the nuclear family"? Is  Is it a Biblical concept? Is the "nuclear family" a moral imperative?
Norman Teigen

Jeremy Loesch

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Re: Nuclear Family
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2020, 11:59:52 AM »
What is meant by nuclear family?  Mother, Father, children.  Perhaps grandparents, depending on the individual situation, but I think mother, father, and children.

Is it a Biblical imperative?  I think it is.  We have the example from Deuteronomy to talk about these things as you walk, when you sit down for lunch, when you get up in the morning, when you go to bed at night.  That would likely include the close family, but also perhaps the extended family of cousins, aunts, uncles.  And in the Biblical world, servants that lived in the household.  I'd even go back to the Garden- for this reason man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.

Is it a moral imperative?  This would probably get a lot more opinion, but an intact family is far better than a family that is not intact.  The way out of poverty is an intact family.  We'd go a long way to putting the brakes on crime and violence if more fathers were attached to their families through marriage.  A child needs the positive influence of their mother.  A child needs the positive influence of their fathers. I would probably say that a nuclear family is a moral imperative.

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B Hughes

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Re: Nuclear Family
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2020, 12:18:51 PM »
I'd recommend a couple of resources to open up the conversation, the first being our understanding of Oikos has been shaped more by the last 150 years in western culture then the last 3000 and clearly it has been a failure.

https://www.amazon.com/Family-Mission-Sally-Breen-ebook/dp/B00KFTJUTI


https://store.faithink.com/products/lets-kill-sunday-school-before-it-kills-the-church-volume-1-by-dr-rich-melheim-and-friends

D. Engebretson

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Re: Nuclear Family
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2020, 12:32:45 PM »
I didn't use the term "nuclear family," as such (I believe I said "traditional family"), but it works.  According to a basic Oxford Dictionary definition: "a couple and their dependent children, regarded as a basic social unit."

While single parent families do occur (I gave my own situation as a case in point), I do not believe that biblically speaking they are the norm.  Also, and this will immediately divide our group, I believe that the 'couple' in a nuclear family, biblically speaking, is composed of a man and a woman. 

To define the biblical norm, I would start with Genesis, which our Lord also appealed to as well. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
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B Hughes

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Re: Nuclear Family
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2020, 12:46:48 PM »
  There is also the Oikos Jesus created with the extended family members of his disciples. At a time when one's identity was determined by your family of origin's business (carpenter, fisherman, etc), Jesus called together an Oikos united in the business of the Kingdom. Thus the church is "family" in much more historically accurate ways than how we use that word today.

Until the industrial revolution individuals gathered in multi generational communities as Oikos (as the head of the household/Oikos shall teach ...), but then we devolved into mom, dad, kids and the dog and started calling that entity the nuclear family.   I would suggest it is the church, and only the church, which may reintroduce that older, more holistic understanding of Oikos: multi generational.

 By extension, that's also why Sunday School as a faith formation model has failed Protestants, all manner of such regardless of their core theology, in western culture. Age silos are the worst outcome of "nuclear family."  This has implications for reaching Millennials and Gen Z

« Last Edit: September 23, 2020, 12:48:52 PM by B Hughes »

James J Eivan

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Re: Nuclear Family
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2020, 12:47:27 PM »
What is the Biblical concept?

The Biblical concept is that marriage (if entered into) is a life long relationship till death parts the couple and is the foundation of the nuclear or traditional family.  Intimate conjugal activities are to be within the bonds of marriage only.

Marriage is encouraged ... but not Biblically mandates ... to be a blessing as are children ... however marriage is Biblical prerequisite for conceiving children.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Nuclear Family
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2020, 01:50:38 PM »
The 4th and 6th Commandments codify the nuclear family as God's design for procreation. The household is not necessarily coterminous with the nuclear family. Multi-generational households or households that include extended relatives, neighbors, or people in need are a blessing. But the pattern of father/mother/children is what any variations are variations on.

The facts of creation as expressed in biology (often referred to as a the facts of life) distinguish the nuclear family from other living arrangements as well.




B Hughes

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Re: Nuclear Family
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2020, 02:32:04 PM »

True - biology as well as how people "did life" collected together into households - not as simple, isolated biological parents with their children.  That's what I think we've been missing and may be, complete speculation on my part, why we are in the faith formation mess we are in (and the culture's confusion about human sexuality and relationships).

Extended households have an ability to emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically shape children - born into Oikos, etc.  Parents, many of them single, demonstrates IMHO the failure of nuclear family as western culture has attempted to redefine household life.  One parent is nearly defenseless against the eroding power of our secular culture.




Daniel Lee Gard

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Re: Nuclear Family
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2020, 03:00:20 PM »
I have become interested in genealogy. Sometimes you find things in ancestors that reflect the best or the worst of human beings.

One thing is obvious in my family tree and suspect also in all of yours: each generation consisted of a "nuclear family" of a man, a woman and children. Every single one. I cannot guarantee that each man, woman or child fulfilled their vocation as a father, mother or offspring. In fact, some most certainly did not and their children suffered for it.

My point is that the existence of each generation is made possible by God's creative ordering in Genesis 2. All the politically correct posturing about alternative family structures (two mommies, two daddies, etc) contradicts the Creator and can only result in the degradation of humanity.

DCharlton

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Re: Nuclear Family
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2020, 03:17:02 PM »
The 4th and 6th Commandments codify the nuclear family as God's design for procreation. The household is not necessarily coterminous with the nuclear family. Multi-generational households or households that include extended relatives, neighbors, or people in need are a blessing. But the pattern of father/mother/children is what any variations are variations on.

The facts of creation as expressed in biology (often referred to as a the facts of life) distinguish the nuclear family from other living arrangements as well.

In the 4th and 6th Commandments, God not only codifies but also sanctifies the nuclear family, "for God's Word is holy and it sanctifies everything that it touches."
David Charlton  

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peter_speckhard

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Re: Nuclear Family
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2020, 04:04:55 PM »
Rarely in my upbringing did our household consist strictly of my nuclear family. We were a family of 7 (I'm 4th of five kids) and lived in a three bedroom ranch with a half basement, but a lot of the time had one of my grandmothers, or an aunt and cousin, or a troubled teenager, or somebody in addition to the seven of us living there. My mom is youngest of eight children, and the parsonage she grew up in often had WWII refugees or military officers or others living in it with the ten in the "nuclear family."

The nucleus is not the entirety of something. But it is the nucleus of something.   

Weedon

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Re: Nuclear Family
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2020, 04:11:31 PM »
Yes, Peter, my upbringing was similar. A small three bedroom bungalow in the Maryland suburbs, but frequently a grandparent or a cousin was staying with us; later friends of mine who needed a place, my foster brother Wing Wai Leung and also a lad named Michael from the Eastern Shore. It seemed there was always a “guest” or two who were just part of the family (no special treatment; well except for my Grandma. She was a bit of a bear!). And in the parsonage, we often had Cindi’s mom and dad, or grandma and aunt for extended visits. And the children of the parish who were our kids’ age just treated the place as home. I still remember coming home from church to find one of them unabashedly hunting through the fridge for something to snack on. In our home now, Sunday usually finds my son and his family joining us for brunch, with my father-in-law who lives next door and his friend, Lois (who taught our kids at the school in third grade). The nucleus provides the basis for a haven of sorts that is by nature not at all closed off, but opened up. AND thanks be to God!!! My son-in-law has just accepted a call to a dual parish only 90 minutes away, so we’ll have all the grandchildren within an easy day’s trip. And my youngest and her husband live but two hours away to the south. So looking forward to the possibility of holidays together with the whole “nuclear family” (all 19 of us!).
« Last Edit: September 23, 2020, 04:14:40 PM by Weedon »
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peter_speckhard

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Re: Nuclear Family
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2020, 04:35:35 PM »
I remember one summer when my mom counted only three days we didn't have someone spending the night. She was nearly always washing bedding for the next guest, and that didn't even necessarily include the semi-permanent household members like my grandmother (whose presence was one of the reasons so many people visited. That and our location in Valpo, where so many of my cousins went to college). I think one reason we decided to do the foster parent thing once some of our own children began to move out was because it naturally seems to me like a waste to have a household at less than full capacity. It isn't always easy to pull off, though. Like I said (and I think Luther said somewhere, too, or if he didn't, he should have) it is a blessing to have the opportunity to provide a household for people in need of one. The household is the Lutheran monastery-- a place of worship, work/vocation serving the neighbor, and life together.


Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Nuclear Family
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2020, 05:18:16 PM »
I have become interested in genealogy. Sometimes you find things in ancestors that reflect the best or the worst of human beings.

One thing is obvious in my family tree and suspect also in all of yours: each generation consisted of a "nuclear family" of a man, a woman and children. Every single one. I cannot guarantee that each man, woman or child fulfilled their vocation as a father, mother or offspring. In fact, some most certainly did not and their children suffered for it.

My point is that the existence of each generation is made possible by God's creative ordering in Genesis 2. All the politically correct posturing about alternative family structures (two mommies, two daddies, etc) contradicts the Creator and can only result in the degradation of humanity.


However, many of the biblical family trees include multiple wives and children with concubines and slaves. There are no biblical prohibitions against these.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Weedon

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Re: Nuclear Family
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2020, 05:27:14 PM »
But from the beginning it was not so...Someone once observed.
William Weedon, Assistant Pastor
St. Paul Lutheran Church, Hamel IL
Catechist on LPR Podcast: The Word of the Lord Endures Forever
A Daily, Verse-by-Verse Bible Study with the Church, Past and Present
www.thewordendures.org

+Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum