Navigating The Hard Family Conversations After An Election
Our contentious and polarizing presidential election is over, and emotions range from angry and hurt to thankful and gratified. You might be wondering how to be in community with people in your church, your circle of friends, and your family who voted differently than you. We encourage you to find a measure of hope in the ancient Christian virtues, and to join us in making prayer our first response. You've likely found yourself in the middle of some tough conversations during the past week. With the holidays coming up, the potential for messy situations magnifies. Dr. Chuck DeGroat of Western Theological Seminary wrote this practical how-to about navigating fraught family situations this holiday season. It's full of practical wisdom and reflection challenges that line up with The Colossian Forum's vision of Christian communities that behave like Christ in the middle of tough cultural conflict. Thanks for sharing this with us, Chuck. Navigating The Hard Family Conversations After An Election by Chuck DeGroat “How in the world do I do Thanksgiving this year?” my friend asks, with tears in her eyes. Can you relate? No matter the election result a week ago, family conversations were sure to be tense. After the many really wise blogs on The Twelve this week, I’ve been asked by friends and students to offer something practical. I’m not much for how-to’s, but I’ll do my best to provide some navigational tools for you. Forgive me, in advance, if this post is a bit longer than usual. Honoring and Hating Mother and Father There are many fascinating apparent contradictions in Scripture. How about this one? In Exodus 20, we’re called to honor our mother and father. Yet in Matthew 12, Jesus asks, “Who is my mother/brothers?” In Luke 14 he makes hating our family a prerequisite for discipleship. To honor our parents is to see them as God’s image-bearers uniquely bonded to us as kin. We do not easily dismiss a relationship with a family member (I’m never, ever coming to Thanksgiving with you again!) like we may a work acquaintance. However, while honor implies respect as a kin and image-bearer, it does not require agreement. Moreover, it absolutely does not mean submitting to abuse of any kind. Perhaps this is why Jesus makes his case so forcefully. In Christ, a new family/community is being formed (Galatians 3, Ephesians 2). Those invited to the table in this new Kingdom/family don’t have the time for intramural family disputes. They are the poor in Spirit, the weak, the lonely, the marginalized. They are the refugee family in your community, the Muslim family in your cloistered white neighborhood, the blue collar rust belt family feeling left behind. Read the rest of Chuck's post on The Twelve.