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Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Family

When we look at contributing factors in the development of addiction, there is a very clear pattern that family life is a major player in both the development and prevention of addiction.  Children in healthy, intact, and religious homes fair the best in all the parameters: happiness, mental illness, academics, sexual experimentation (rather, the lack thereof), drug abuse, etc.

Of course, this share of the population is dwindling in the West.  Religion went out the window in Europe after WWII, largely thanks to the rising popularity of social policy as the 'New Salvation.'  Of course, the weakening of divorce laws both in the US and Europe, along with the generous support for 'single motherhood' without the need for a family's assistance, broke up the traditional networks that protected children.

In fact, the West's destruction of marriage began long ago, when marriage was seen as a 'contract' between two individuals that was sworn out in a church with the exchange of "I Do"s.  Then comes the Romantic period, which added, well... romance.  Marriage gradually becomes more and more about the couple and their feelings rather than the family.

That's not to say that the West hasn't held on to some idea of family.  I would say that it has, but as a matter of instinct rather than as a theological truth.  That's why Dobson & Company occupy only a limited territory within the larger Christendom.

The Roman Catholic Church also did no one any favors by turning over its theological teaching to eggheads who write unfathomable stuff that, when summarized in a manner that most lay people can understand, ends up being something like "No divorce, no birth control."  The theology behind these 'absolutes' became lost in complex arguments that theologians love to have, but people don't understand.  I would say that if it is that complicated, it ain't true.  The truth is always very simple.  When God speaks to Moses, he doesn't do it in a language that Moses' people can't understand.

When Judaism became ruled by the Scribes, Christ had to come.  The Law is not complication, but the regulations were killing everyone.  Kind of familiar...

The truth is that marriage has never, ever been just about a couple, but the foundation of a family.  When a couple only thinks of themselves, children are emotionally neglected, and they go 'looking for love in all the wrong places' as the song goes.

I think this article is important because it underlines the problem of the couple-only philosophy, which is, I think we can safely say, failing.  In fact, I think this idea is largely behind the recent precipitous drop is social morals with the 'advent' of 'gay marriage and now, at least in Utah, the resurgence in polygamy.  And, you guessed it, in typical American fashion, a reality TV show was involved.  Imagine that?

Many commentators have noted that the deterioration of traditional marriage would lead to all kinds of excesses.  Well, at least excesses from our prudish standpoints.  Polygamy is Biblical from an Old Testament perspective: Kings David and Solomon were just two of the examples.  But, then again, the foundation of the Old Testament rests on Adam and Eve... and the family they produced, down to us.  Most of us do not read it that way, but to an ancient reader, that is exactly what was being described.

All of us need family.  In fact, when deprived of family, we will often try to build one out of available materials.  When it comes to recovery, we must always look at both our family history and our present family obligations.  

It is important for all of us to realize that we have lifetime obligations, both as parents and as children and as siblings.  Addiction alienates us from these vital and much-needed connections.  We must repent and ask God to heal not only the addict but the entire family, since people often try to cope with the loss of relationship with the addict in other, often unhealthy, ways.

Family is important.  We never stop needing a dad and mom.  If we are parents, we must remember our obligation to be healed so that we can fulfill the roles that parenthood requires.  Children simply cannot be told, "We've decided that this is what we want, and you need to just go along."

Humans just don't work that way.

1 comment:

  1. I really love this piece, Father. I would only add one side comment not pertinent to the main thrust of this blog. "All truth is simple" disposes me and my personlity to the bins of nonexistence! My character structure is built for complexity. Therefore, I do need to work all the time at simplicity. But I personally hold to the philosophical Truth that I believe is the foundation of Orthodoxy, and that is the antinomy. The best antinomy in Orthodoxy is the person of Christ--both God and man and we can't adequately explain or reason it out. Same this with you statement regarding truth, Father. Truth is BOTH simple and complex--this is the antinomy. The fact that we believe in a revealed God that is trinitarian is automatically complex not simple. Thanks so much, again, Father, for this blog and all your tireless efforts in behalf of recovery.