The Desire For Family

by Anonymous

Within the human heart there is a longing to be loved, valued, accepted, celebrated and knitted into a group of fellow human beings. Companionship with other people was always God's intention for humanity, and it is usually within the context of family and extended family people find those needs are initially met. Then as a person matures, companionships are formed and developed in the wider community.

Since the breakdown of strong extended family groups in society, due to numerous reasons, including geographical isolation, people are searching for pseudo families - something to replace the bonds they desperately long for. This desire lies at the core of our innermost being and explains why people will even sacrifice their common sense for the sake of becoming an accepted member of a community. Our quest to be part of a group that accepts us has the potential override reason. This is why people are attracted to communities within communities, some good and some not-so-good.

God has designed a safe and caring network where our needs to belong to a group can be met in a nurturing and healthy environment. He called it the church. I am not speaking of buildings with stained glassed windows, meetings on Sunday mornings, and denominational affiliations. I am speaking of a collection of people who love Jesus.

In recent years an unhealthy church paradigm had arisen where the senior leaders have a utopic concept of a Christian community and have positioned themselves as mother and father figures to establish their own family-like communities. People find this concept appealing and some have sold all and moved interstate to be part of such a group.

In such a setting the leaders are calling themselves the Mama (Mother) or Papa (Father) of the 'house'. Interestingly, this is in violation to what Jesus clearly taught when he stated that in His family, no one should bear titles, one being 'father' (Matthew 23:9).

This mother and father figure appeals to many people, especially those who are from broken or dysfunctional families and have a desire to belong somewhere. Although Paul in the Bible likened his role as a father to people he ministered to, he did not become 'Father Paul'. NOWHERE in the Bible are church leaders to be called mothers or fathers.

When leaders call themselves mothers and fathers, it is insinuated the people are their children - in need of parental guidance and discipline. This is an authority structure that promotes controlling authoritarian leaders who breed passive and subservient children. Anyone who fails to come under their authority are sidelined and discriminated against, and treated like naughty little children. Anyone who dares question the mama or the papa are labelled as those who have a problem with authority.

The sad thing is that leaders in this environment are usually unaware of the harm they are inflicting on people. They do not intend to hurt people. They are so focused on building their own community, Kingdom advancement, and doing great and wonderful things for God that they fail to notice their style is actually damaging individuals within their group. When people exit, it's never the leaders fault. The defectors are rebels, and could become a threat to the unity of the community. Therefore they are labelled and treated as outcasts. The leaders then swing into damage control to protect their reputation and strengthen the bonds in their exclusive community.


This writing is the copyright of the original author and is reprinted on this site by permission.


Page added January 22, 2015

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