Summary: The changes in the American family have been shocking. To one extent or another, all of us are struggling to find ways to make our households work. But the challenges we face today are much different than those faced by our grandparents.
The transformation of the American family during my lifetime has been nothing short of breathtaking. When I was a kid the television shows we watched were Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver. All three shows dealt with middle class families with mom and dad and the kids living happily in suburbia. The closest thing to family dysfunction was My Three Sons with Fred McMurray raising three boys without a wife around.
My, oh my, how times have changed! These changes are epitomized by the title of one of today’s most popular shows: Desperate Housewives. Think about it. In the short span of my lifetime our society’s ideals of marriage and family have shifted from Ward and June Cleaver as role models to a band of backbiting sexually indiscreet women.
The changes in the American family have been shocking, to say the least. But I don’t think it’s helpful to sit around moping while we pine away with long faces yearning for the good old days. That won’t do any good and it certainly won’t change anything. The fact is, we can’t go back in time. Often people bemoan this, but the fact is we live in the 21st century. And God wants to equip us to live here and now in the real world where we find ourselves.
So, with that in mind, we’re calling this new series “Desperate Households.” I think the title captures the urgency of our time. To one extent or another, all of us are struggling to find ways to make our households work. But the challenges we face today are much different than those faced by our grandparents. For instance, today 43% of the US adult population is single. In other words, 95.7 million Americans over the age of 15 are not married. The world has changed! To quote Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, “Todo, we’re not in Kansas anymore!” I think to some extent these changes have caught people off-guard; particularly those of us in the church. In general, the church has not responded well to the changes in the American family. All too often Christ-followers have tried to retreat by isolating themselves from what they perceive as a disintegrating society. But, I remind you, nowhere in the Bible do we find God retreating from hurting people. Quite the opposite! When God came to earth in the person of Jesus, he buried himself up to his elbows in the stuff of people’s lives!
Instead of retreating, I think the Lord wants us to move forward! The truths in God’s Word have never been more relevant than they are today! For example, I think people need to be reminded that there’s not one example of what we could call a perfect family in Scripture. Ozzie and Harriet simply aren’t in the Bible. Rather we have Abraham who committed adultery and bore a son thru his wife’s maid. We have Jacob a liar and cheat who had children by two different wives and two maids. We have Moses who grew up as a foster child in Pharaoh’s palace. King David is called “a man after God’s own heart,” but his family had incest and sexual abuse. The prophet Hosea married a prostitute and Jesus more than likely lost his father while he was young and lived in a single parent home.