Guests: and

Key Passages:

Psalm 127 — Labor is vain unless the Lord builds the house.
John 2:1-10 — Jesus blesses family life at a wedding in Cana.
Eph. 5:21-31 — Spouses are to be subject to each other.
1 Cor. 13:4-8 — Love: patient, kind, not jealous or arrogant…
1 Cor. 7:1-7 — Spouses submit to each other in marriage.
Luke 10:38-42 — Mary and Martha: spiritual vs. practical.
Luke 19:1-10 — Zacchaeus: the influence of Jesus on the home.

Discussion Questions:

1. In what ways would the “ideal” secular family differ from the Christian family? To what extent would the ideals and/or the practices be different? Does the Christ-centered home primarily offer a source of power which is not available to the secular family?
2. To what extent would the ideal Christian home move in the direction of self-denial (asceticism)? To what extent in the direction of pleasure (hedonism)? How does one balance those two impulses in the personal life and in the corporate life of the family? Does Jesus’ willingness to attend the wedding at Cana provide any guidance for us?
3. The issue of equality vs. submission has become prominent in our day. Some devout Christians believe that the wife is to submit to her husband. Yet 1 Corinthians 7 and Ephesians 5 both use language of equality. Is it possible to have a healthy, happy, and Christian family on either model? To what extent have feminist concerns affected the Christian view of the family?
4. If one takes 1 Corinthians 13 as the ideal, the virtues described there are almost entirely gentle and would correlate with the apparently “submissive” counsel given by Jesus in the sermon on the mount (e.g. turn the other cheek, go the second mile). Is there a place within the family for the sterner virtues to be practiced? What steps can be taken to prevent the advocacy of the gentler virtues from leading to a form of oppression?
5. Mary and Martha are often taken as typifying contrasting virtues: Mary is said to illustrate genuine spiritual interests while Martha illustrates the more practical side of life. How can a Christian family be “spiritual” and still get the necessary work done?

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