Family-based Communities

Family-based_CommunitiesAn individual often struggles with identity when there is no larger context to give meaning. People pretty unanimously look for some greater cause to be apart of. A family structure has been called the first civil structure in society. And this is certainly not a new concept.

Families living in isolation can often struggle to thrive, just as individuals living in isolation can struggle. There must be a larger context for them to take an identifying shelter in. Often times though, no such structure in the community is common place. Families reside as units directly under the state. But there exists a model that offers presumably optimistic alternative. Families have always been the defining components of the Christian church model (at least the one seen Biblically). Families are a clear image of the triune God. Distinct characteristics of the family mirror that of God and His relationship with His adopted children. God, who exists as three distinct personalities, is in deep, intimately relationship with the Godhead. This is the first and foremost component of a family the structure – the horizontal marriage covenant. While the analogy is limited, there is a consistent metaphor for us as people to follow. Beyond that, God has adopted us as his children. So while the family of God can exist exclusively with God, it is extended with children.

But God chooses not only to adopt individuals, but whole nations. And it is in the context of larger communities that people are greatly influenced. It is more likely that an individual will grow if they have a physical atmosphere of peace and prosperity. There is evidence of this throughout Scripture, where God called individuals out of a destructive atmosphere (physically or mentally), and into a constructive one. But we see another example in Scripture of God working among people. We see God working with the corporate nation of Israel. The poetic language of the prophets suggests that God wants the greatest good for the nation as a whole, and actually sets up three kinds of laws for them to follow, which would later come to externally define the nation.

But Israel should not be the exclusive nation receiving the calling of God for it’s existence. Psalms 47:1 talks of all nations coming to give praise to God. There is a level of influence a nation has that an individual or even larger community does not.

God had called Israel to be a “Royal priesthood, and a holy nation” in Exodus 19:6.

As families choose communities to gather in, larger demographics develop that share a common worldview. This leads to a greater influence on individuals, which make up nations.

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