November 3, 2022

Why Modern Families are Broken (Part One)

Inside This Episode

Why does the U.S. have the highest rate of children living in single-parent households of any nation in the world? Why are men struggling to find meaning and significance at home? How are the messages women and children are receiving about family and identity so harmful? This is part one of Eric’s conversation with author and Family Teams coach Jeremy Pryor.

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Episode Transcript

Announcer: Today on Maybe God: The United States has the highest rate of children living in single parent households of any nation in the world. Our families are in crisis. Today's guest had an epiphany over two decades ago that the Western definition of a successful family is largely to blame. This is part one of Eric's conversation with author and Family Teams coach Jeremy Pryor.

[00:00:23] <music>

Eric Huffman: Jeremy Pryor, I'm really glad to have you here. Welcome to Maybe God.

Jeremy Pryor: Awesome. Eric, thanks for having me.

Eric Huffman: Tell us just a little bit about yourself and your family.

Jeremy Pryor: We live in the Cincinnati area. I got five kids. My oldest is 23. She's got married, is expecting our first grandbaby, so we're pumped about that. We have our son Jackson who lives in California right now. Sydney who's in Norway. We're gonna go visit her in a bit. And then Elisa and Kira are 16 and 14.

Eric Huffman: Wow. You don't look old enough to have a 23-year-old child. So whatever you're doing, you're doing it right. Tell me about your wife.

Jeremy Pryor: April and I met in Jerusalem. She's from Columbus, I'm from Seattle. So God really had to bring us there to meet each other. April has stayed at home and raised our kids. We work together on all the businesses that we've started. About four years ago, she started a quilt shop just at the top of our street with her mom and our oldest daughter, Kelsey. So it's kind of like a multi-generational shop. And they do now a lot of their business online as well. And you know, she and I then get to do a lot of other business ministry things together.

Eric Huffman: Wow, that's really cool. Before you even met April, you were raised in the Pacific Northwest, you said. What was that like? What was your family like growing up?

Jeremy Pryor: My parents were believers. They were kind of from the Midwest. So they weren't super familiar with kind of the West Coast culture that obviously we encountered growing up there as kids. As I was experiencing, I would say, family life there, this is where it was just a constant tale of broken families.

I kind of grew up in the era where that kind of the grunge thing took off in Seattle. And there was just a little ton of anger and angst, I would say. Just like, what is wrong with the world? I definitely was influenced by just living in that kind of environment.

Then after going to college, I came back and spent several years doing youth ministry, mostly with public school kids in our home church, and just, again, saw the devastation, you know, of how hard their family lives were and how predictable the brokenness was. It was extremely rare in that culture to see a functional intact, where the kids had any kind of depth of connection, meaningful connection with both parents. That was exceedingly rare. Even in the Christian culture that I grew up in, I feel that there was a lot of despair around family life.

There was a movement for sure that I feel like just was almost spontaneous around just rejecting family around maybe, do we need to get married? If we get married, do we need to have kids? So this was the same era where Seattle became the first city in the country to have more dogs than kids. There was a lot of talk about community, there was a lot of talk about friendship, there was very little optimism at all around family.

Eric Huffman: What do you trace that back to? What was the source or the root of those sentiments about family?

Jeremy Pryor: Well, I think in people's individual lives, it was just their experience. If you keep going down, deeper and deeper into the roots, we're living in a sort of an experimental age where we get most of our hope and the story that we're really leaning into culturally is one in which we are trying to become maximally expressive individualists.

So it's like if you really want to be free and experience life, the good life, then that means finding out who you are at the deepest level and having as little restriction between who you believe you authentically are and living that out in your life.

So this idea of sort of self-expressive individualism, I think, was at its real zenith. It's kind of weird we know what happens when you tell a mother and father that the highest expression of their life is their own self-expressive individualism. But then they start having children. What happens when the children get in the way of that pursuit and that story?

I think that for a lot of people they're going from relationship to relationship, discovering that, you know, maybe this marriage is not fulfilling me the way that I think it ought to. I'm just being totally unmoored culturally from any kind of norms that would cause you to think that we need to stick this out and that we need to become a certain kind of mother or father for our children in a way that would violate what I feel is authentically me. These kinds of messages make it very difficult to say, "I'm just going to embrace being a father or mother and all the responsibilities and opportunities and privileges that are created by that."

Generationally, if you keep leaning into this sort of individualism, this hyper-individualism, which really I think is hitting its zenith on the west coast of the United States, you kind of see it just has a devastating impact on family life.

Eric Huffman: So there was something about your first trip to Israel, to the Holy Land, that changed your life. I resonated with that because it's something everybody listens to Maybe God knows that something clicked for me in a really dramatic way on my first trip to the Holy Land. I saw things that I had never seen before and came back a Christian. But you came back from Israel in that trip with a very different view of families. Talk a little about that.

Jeremy Pryor: Wow. I'd love to hear that story, Eric. Yeah, I did have a dramatic experience. You kind of imagine I'm 23 years old, I'm single, I'm doing youth ministry in the Seattle area. Even on the trip from Seattle to Jerusalem, I just kept noticing this strange scene, which was fathers and children. Even on the plane, I saw more children on the plane from New York to Jerusalem than I normally see in the Seattle area.

Then getting to getting to Jerusalem, I saw this scene play over. And it sort of culminated for me when I was sitting on a bench by the Old City and I saw a group of fathers are men just pushing strollers with all these little kids in tow. It's sort of like I've seen a mommy brigade go by before with a bunch of strollers. I'd never seen a daddy brigade before.

This was really the first time I feel like the question really sort of crystallized in my consciousness. Like, what's going on here? What are these guys doing? Don't they know that kids are annoying, that they get in the way, that they're an obstacle, that they're not something particularly that we as men would want? I mean, these are, of course, very deep, almost subconscious beliefs that I had adopted.

Eric Huffman: I remember the same thing. I journaled about this when I was in the Holy Land. But I think what I observed were both Israeli and Palestinian families with a lot of these same dynamics. But I remember hearing the word "Abba" coming out of children's lips. I learned about the word Abba from the Lord's Prayer and other parts of Scripture where that's how Jesus referred to the Heavenly Father is Abba, this intimate word for daddy. And to hear it on the lips of children in the Holy Land, it really made an impact on me. But what did you do with that when you started observing this?

Jeremy Pryor: Well, I was trying to figure out what was it that these guys believed and why haven't they woken up to the wisdom that obviously I had discovered in all of my 23 years of wisdom, that children are really an obstacle to a fulfilling life.

As I started to talk to different Jewish and Arab dads, when you talked to them about why they valued family, the constant reference they would make is to Abraham. This really shocked me because I had actually just spent a semester studying under probably the top Abrahamic scholar in the country. So I was deep into this topic, but I had never once in that semester in all of our reading and discussions and papers and books had ever thought about Abraham as a model father. That never even occurred to me. He was the model of faith in the evangelical world. But in Jewish and Arab culture, they call him father Abraham. Jesus call Him Father Abraham in the story of rich man and Lazarus. I mean, youth groups call Him Father Abraham, because there's a crazy song that-

Eric Huffman: Everyone knows.

Jeremy Pryor: might have heard. But that was the exclusive reference to him being a father. But of course, if you're already in Hebrew, Abram means "exalted father". So there's something about Abraham that is all about fatherhood. And then when God changed his name. He made him Abraham, father of many nations.

Then I started to say, "Okay, I just assumed that Abraham's view of fatherhood was a relic of his primitive culture. It should have no impact on my life or the life of a Western person. But it was so strange to see modern dads walking around, in our day and age, with an understanding of fatherhood that was derived from this man who lived however many thousands of years ago.

Eric Huffman: Right. A lot of people today that I talked to, and myself before I came back to faith in 2013, I looked at Abraham as sort of this archaic, definitely out of touch, irrelevant figure. And as a father, I think the narrative around Abraham, for me and other people that have walked away from the Christianity that they were raised with, is that he wasn't the greatest dad, right? It's the whole Genesis 22 story of God telling him to sacrifice his son. That's the story most people with any tertiary knowledge of Scripture would think of when they think of the Fatherhood of Abraham. But obviously, there's much more to talk about.

But what you observed in the Holy Land was such a drastic departure from what you had seen of families in the West. And I'm guessing you came away with this impression that there's something that works about that, right, because it changed your worldview. But you came back home from that trip to this western civilization that values the individual and is full of families that are mostly or at least largely broken. What is the current crisis or situation of the family in the West as you see it?

Jeremy Pryor: Well, I think that there's a lot of various threads. But I would say the one that for me personally I wrestle with a lot is the abandonment of fathers in families. Today in our country, 60% of children will grow up in some part of their childhood and live in a house outside of the house of their biological father. So there's an epidemic of fathers.

Eric Huffman: Is that in the US?

Jeremy Pryor: Yeah.

Eric Huffman: Sixty percent?

Jeremy Pryor: Yeah. Will spend some time of their childhood... It was much worse than the west coast. But the majority of families are broken in this regard where fathers and children get separated regularly and oftentimes. In my experience, a lot of that was directly being created because fathers were not attaching and felt disconnected from their children. There's a culture-wide problem of fatherlessness that it continues to grow in ways that people that study they say they just never seen this. You know, in the history of Western civilization, this has never happened before.

Eric Huffman: Is it because families in the West mostly are aiming at the right goal and missing it? Or do we just have the wrong goal or definition of family in the West?

Jeremy Pryor: Well, I would start with there's an identity problem we have in the West. So we don't know how to form identities. Historically, you formed identities, first and foremost through your family. And that has been formally and almost universally rejected by our culture. And the consequences are devastating.

Like when you think about trying to embrace the identity of father, you're a young man, you're having a child that wakes up this part of your heart that says, "I love being a father. I am your father, you are my son, you are my daughter." This is a deep place in your heart. But the problem again with that kind of attachment to another person is that that will that always comes, at some level, at a cost to your own... what could be some an exclusively owned individual identity.

So we train men in particular to find their identity through their work, so in order to allow them to have a real self-contained identity that isn't going to be impacted by others, and so that they can fully live into that in that context. That is enormously costly in terms of the way that men relate to families. Whereas in the Middle East, you don't see that kind of identity formation. In the Middle East, they primarily look at their life through their family identity. So men see themselves as sons and as fathers and as a part of a multi-generational family line. And these kinds of identities are very important to them.

Eric Huffman: Right? What about women?

Jeremy Pryor: I think what we've been training women to do is to say that... And I think women tend to have a more innate desire—this is very generally speaking—an innate desire to embrace their family identity for the sake of their children because they feel a lot of empathy towards their children. So even in a culture of hyper-individualism, you'll have a far smaller percentage of women rejecting their connection with their children.

However, what does the culture say to women? I mean, that's very different, of course, which is that if you really want to form an individual identity, then these kinds of familial attachments are dangerous. I mean, you want to develop an individual identity. Again, I think we're encouraging them to be like men in the same area. That men have worship the idol of their individual identity through work and so we tell women that the pathway to freedom and self-expression and deeper individual identity fulfillment is the same pathway.

So we're having kind of this really difficult cultural moment because we already have an epidemic of fatherlessness that is appalling and is destroying families and creating enormous suffering for children. And now we're subscribing for women to follow the same pathway.

Eric Huffman: Is it all about work or is it about money and independence too? Or is that all the same issue?

Jeremy Pryor: I think it's really about identity. What's really interesting too is even the way we raise children today, and I think this is really an expression because mothers and fathers have really pursued identity outside of the home, you know, we tell children now that the best way for them to find out who they are is to not find any identity in the family but to go find yourself. Find out who you are. Who do you want to be when you grow up? That's such a powerful message. Who do you want to be when you grow up? And then to associate that exclusively with the kind of work, profession, or vocation you would choose. That is extremely strange. But that's the message we give.

And of course, what happens is, and this is... the way identity is formed is primarily by others—by what others say about you. So when we tell children that we're not going to give you an identity, we don't want our faith imprint on identity, I mean, we don't want our family to give you any root structure about who you are, we don't want that to impinge on you or on us, and so we want you to go find that out there. Well, what we're essentially doing is we're saying that their peers are the ones who are going to form their identity.

So when they go to school, it's not surprising that they suddenly begin to become hypersensitive to labels and groups, and subcultures that emerge in these peer-oriented environments because they are a blank slate from the identity perspective and looking for others to help imprint an identity upon them. Because that's the way identity works. It does not flow from some kind of magical core place and then come out of us. It's a deeply negotiated thing that happens in relationship with others. So this is extraordinarily dangerous thing to do to children. But this is something that we've just decided that this is actually healthy and good.

Eric Huffman: Yeah, it's really extraordinarily dangerous to children. But also, I mean, going back to women and to men, all of us really suffer under the weight of this yoke. I think about women in a sense of how they've been told just writ large in our culture that not only is family identity not the best way to find meaning and purpose in life, but it's actually oppressive and demeaning and objectifying in a way. It's limiting and all the negative messaging around women who invest in their families in such selfless, devoted ways as if they are inherently being oppressed by the, I guess, patriarchy. Right?

Jeremy Pryor: Right.

Eric Huffman: And they need to break free from that. And in the same way you could make the same argument about the expectations of men to define ourselves as successful, rugged individuals and not be shackled by any nagging wife or ball and chain or kids that run your life or ruin your life. It's sinister, man. There's a spiritual component to this, it feels like, that I can't escape.

Jeremy Pryor: I think that we're all really wrestling with a culture that has decided... Like we're seeing the end of this hyper-individualism. It is a really big deal in that I think that there is a world people are beginning to imagine on the other side of this, which is if you see or read what philosophers and sociologists say, if we want to keep doubling down, doubling down, it really is going to lead to a post family world. Because family does limit, family does tell you who you are, and family does put on you obligations.

But where does this ultimately lead? I mean, David Brooks, he said recently that when Americans become wealthy, they purchase loneliness. And what this really means is that we're all going to die alone. That we're not going to know who we are, that meaning is going to evaporate, that people are going to become hyper-narcissistic, that we're not going to know how to work together, and that children are going to suffer terribly. This is not a world that I think we should encourage.

But I think we're not being realistic. We don't understand the costs of moving in this direction. So we need to take a step back. And this is where I think ancient cultures can tell us something. Because sometimes the best way to recover something you've lost is not to keep pushing forward but to look behind you. Maybe you left something in the past that you shouldn't have left. That's what happened to me. It really felt like I was being transported to an ancient culture or to a time, you know, thousands of years ago.

Now there was all the modern conveniences of today, but people had a totally different way of thinking that I began to realize, well, why don't we leave this behind? And then as Christians, what really bothered me was, I felt like the church really did capitulate from the identity and family perspective to the culture. Like we have not preserved a biblical idea of family in the face of this hyper-individualism. We have really allowed family to be redefined by the culture, and then we accepted that definition. The church has accepted the definition.

Eric Huffman: Give me an example of what you mean with that. I'm not disagreeing but I just want to help our listeners really get a sense of what you mean when you say that the church has accepted the world's definition and then built on it.

Jeremy Pryor: So if you were to ask most people what a good family is, Western people, whether they're Christian or not Christian, probably the cleanest, clearest definition is a springboard for individual success. A good family is one that nurtures the children and mother and father get something out of it and then we all launch into our individual lives.

So I was sharing this with a leader of a major Christian family ministry once and I said, "Okay, let me tell you, there's two definitions." And I gave him that one. I said, "First of all, some people think family is a springboard for individual success." He actually stopped me and said, "That's exactly what I think family is and that's exactly what I'm trying to build on my family." I was like, "Wait, wait, wait, there's another definition." And I wasn't surprised because everywhere I talk about this... You know, probably the easiest analogy to think about is that family is the nest. It is a nest. That is a perfect analogy. It's like in a nest you nurture the chickies and then everyone abandons the nest. And success is simply launching the children into the next generation. Now-

Eric Huffman: And then you have an empty nest, right?

Jeremy Pryor: That's right.

Eric Huffman: And then mom and dad get divorced and dad finds a younger mom and starts a new nest.

Jeremy Pryor: There are pernicious elements of this narrative. One way you can know if somebody believes this idea of family is simply by asking them, like, "Can you name your great grandparents?" Because they're irrelevant to this idea. Like where you came from does not matter. If we're resetting the family every generation, it doesn't matter where we came from. So that's a very recent idea of family. Very strange historically.

Now, when I was in the Middle East, one of the things I noticed when I got to know some of these Jewish and Arab fathers was not that they were less loving or more loving than typical western dad. They weren't. They just saw family differently. They had different identity.

And this is what I mean. We have misdiagnosed the problem because we start from the premise of the hyper-individualistic Western culture. And then we work backwards into, Okay, how do we fulfill these commands given to us in Scripture to stay married, to not commit adultery, to train our children, and to love our kids? How do we do that in the face of the fact that we've already swallowed this idea that my family identity is going to be eroded and my individual identity is paramount? That's a really unfortunate premise from which to start the conversation because it's not going to lead to a good place.

Eric Huffman: Yeah, yeah. So men are expected in this framework to provide, which I think is a reasonable expectation. It's not inherently evil to expect men to provide for their families. But that becomes something of an idol in itself. That becomes the end goal. If I can work hard enough to make enough money, to put enough money back, to send my kids to college, then they've left the nest, and I've done my job, and if along the way, I make my wife happy, and all that too, it's great. But that's really the mission. What are men missing out on? And in the place of that, what should men or could men be focusing on instead?

Jeremy Pryor: They should be building a family, and not a career, not an individual identity. And that totally changes everything. The actual actions that you take are very similar in both these models, but you're doing it for different reasons.

So if you think like Abraham, Abraham was always a father. He wasn't going to work in order to express his individual identity. He wasn't going and saying, "I'm going to be an amazing camel trader, because I want to be known by my friends and by the community as an incredible trader of camels." He was trading camels because he was a father. That's the difference.

So the way that these men in the Middle East think, the way that everyone in most of history thought about their identity is when you get married and start to have children, you are now a father. And it eclipses your life. And work is a nested identity underneath your identity as father. Sociologists call this the atomization of identity where we actually pull our identities apart and they don't touch. This is hugely problematic.

So how do you overcome that? Well, you have to understand a larger overarching story of your life. I am a part of a family line, and I am being given, for a very short period of time, the stewardship of this thing called the family. And as a father my job is to receive the resources, the identity, and the history of that family, and then to, for a very short period of time, steward it and then faithfully pass it on to the next generation.

So when I go to work, that's why I'm working. It's great for you to do a good job at work. Of course, we I think it's important that in that identity you find projects to do that really bless the world. And I think you can do this. That is a vestige of the Industrial Revolution.

If you look at it like Little House on the Prairie... Some of you guys might have remembered this show but it was basically the way most of the world was before the Industrial Revolution. So when pa in that... he's pa all the time. He's pa when he's working in a town, he's pa when he's working in the field, he's pa when he comes home. He's wearing the same hat all the time. That's the way that we used to live.

When I'm talking to a lot of these middle eastern men, it's so interesting that they talk like that, they think like that. They see themselves as a father everywhere they go. Whereas in our culture, I take off the fatherhood hat when I go to work and I put on a different hat. So if I'm looking at my family saying, "Look, I am providing like I am giving you the money that..." Yeah, but you have switched teams. You're no longer on our team.

You know what's really sad is when the coach switches teams. That is so unfortunate. And that's what's happening. The coach is saying, "I'm going to go join somebody else's team at work and I'm going to use the resources to fund what these guys are, but I'm going to pull all the..." The family then cannot form an identity around... Your son or your daughter can only feel their sonship or their daughterhood to the extent that the father experiences his fatherhood. So if he's going to switch teams, then where does that leave his wife and his children?

Eric Huffman: Right. I'm struggling a little bit with that concept just because I never felt... I have and had as I was growing up a good father. I don't ever remember feeling betrayed by him going to the paper mill and not bringing me with him. Even just in his, you know, spirit or presence or identity wise. But can you help me understand maybe first of all where that comes from in the West? And why is it a bad thing that father, in this case, compartmentalizes work from family?

Jeremy Pryor: I mean, you're definitely going to see this play out very differently depending on the temperament of the man. So if you have a nurturing father or dutiful father, you're gonna experience the effects of this not as dramatically. If you have a really ambitious father, you're going to have a problem. To the extent that he uses those sort of hard-driving traits to push into the workplace, you're going to feel this distance. I think there's a huge percentage of men who are going to leave their family in the dust in the pursuit of their individual lives, either for selfish reasons or, like I said, for identity.

And I think that if we began to culturally, especially at least in the church, adopt kind of the way Abraham thought and begin to think about work as a subset of a family identity, I think that for, particularly men that are really trying to aggressively build things in the world, they're not going to feel this disconnection. And how that works out in a particular man's life and his family's life is going to look very diverse. It doesn't mean that he has to bring his kids to work all the time. I think it starts in the heart, you know?

Eric Huffman: Yeah.

Jeremy Pryor: It starts with like, "What is he doing?

Eric Huffman: Sure.

Jeremy Pryor: If he's distancing himself in his heart from his family because of his work, because I've got this calling, or I'm pursuing this thing, then that's dangerous. In my wife's family, her father, I don't think he thought about this theologically or philosophically, but he wasn't super excited about his career. He was more excited about his family. Just individually he was more excited about his family. And I think that because of that he did a great job as a dad. And that's what I mean by there are some dads who I think they're not going... This is going to play out 100% of the time. It's going to play out an enormous amount of time, though, particularly with certain kinds of men.

Eric Huffman: Right. Right. No, I'm following you now. And I think focusing on this issue as an issue of the heart of the father is really helpful to me to get to the heart of what you're talking about, which is that it sets a tone. It sets the tone in a man's life. It sets the tone for his identity. And it, naturally, just exudes from his heart to the world around him, to his family when he's home, to his workplace, to his peers, that he is first and foremost, finding his identity in God but also in his family.

One of the things that came to mind real quick is just how church involvement can be another compartment in that kind of framework where you go to church as a family, but it's just kind of a show or kind of thing you have to do an obligatory thing that you do as a family to show the world around you that, you know, this is a good family man, and isn't that a great dad? But the kids know who he really is at home, and there's a disconnect. And that seems to be leading to a mass exodus of kids when they grow up in the church, some churches, sometimes, you know, they leave and mass in young adulthood.

Jeremy Pryor: Yeah, 100%. I think that that's kind of what I'm describing. The more that we all see ourselves from the perspective of our individual identity, we're going to tend to live these very hypocritical lives where we compartmentalize... You're gonna have a very different experience of me if you meet work, Jeremy versus church Jeremy versus dad Jeremy versus husband Jeremy.

And what happened in the past was these identities... That's why they have to be properly nested inside of each other as opposed to atomized as very separate expressions of who we are. What used to happen is that the culture would just very much geared around this idea that you are a father. And so you cannot be a great man if you destroy your family. That was understood.

But today a man could pursue his career and leave his family in tatters and be considered cultural-wide a great man. We don't understand the messages that sends is so dangerous downstream to young fathers who are trying to figure out, Okay, what does it look like to pursue a good life? I mean, because family is tough. I mean, family is messy. Kids are challenging. Marriage is always very, very challenging.

So as a man, you're going to find yourself, and as women as well, you're going to find a work situation that's far more... You're going to find success far more predictable than family life. Family life is much messier. And so if you give people the option, it totally makes sense why they're picking option B, not the family.

Eric Huffman: I'm going to take off a practical advice hat and put on like a conspiratorial hat. Because what I hear a lot lately from people is that there is, and this is largely from Christians who observed culture and say, well, this anti-family move is a conspiracy of sorts. It's like movement that's intentional in some subsets of the culture. I hear words like Neo Marxist a lot lately. I hear like public schools/social agenda to indoctrinate our kids to separate them from family. Do you see any of that playing into this problem?

Jeremy Pryor: Yeah. I definitely think that there are lots of different causes. I would say that the ones like a Neo Marxist agenda, that's an extremely... If you think about this philosophically, there are philosophical throughlines that definitely make sense to destroy the family.

I don't think if you asked me how influential are those on why the family is broken down in our culture, I'd say, not very. But the problem is, you put somebody in a situation I was in when I was 23 and single and thought family was kind of messy and an experiment that clearly doesn't work well, and certainly not very beautiful or aesthetically pleasing, and then you start to present a philosophical way to get to the good life, to get to utopia that is post family, I'm going to be very susceptible to trying to understand that, if I'm, you know, philosophically minded and really want to understand things from that perspective. There's a book that just got published this month called Abolish the Family. You can read it.

So these kind of very overt calls that we will never get to a society that's equal if there's a family. That's true. Families are deeply... they create in the foundation of every society deep inequality. Far more inequality than anything else. If you were raised by great parents who loved you and provided for you and resourced you, there's absolutely no way that some child raised... You know, if you look statistically at a similar group of children raised by parents who abandoned them and didn't provide for them, didn't encourage them, I mean, this is the source of the deepest inequity in society.

So if you do have a philosophical sort of picture of society, that the good society is one in which we provide perfect equality, then the family is always going to be an obstacle to that. This is why I think the church is really... We really have to take a step back and think about this. Maybe as we pivot, so much is at stake here.

Like when we talk about family, the family is not nearly as important as the gospel. The gospel and presenting the gospel faithfully to the world is far more important. But the Gospel means good news. And the reality is that the gospel, the good news is always communicated through familiar language. Jesus came to reveal God as our Father. Jesus presented Himself... His favorite title for Himself was as the Son, and that God wants to create a family. And the church is supposed to be this family of brothers and sisters.

So what happens in society when you destroy fatherhood and motherhood in sonship and sisterhood and brotherhood? How can the gospel ever be received as good news in a society that all of those things are bad, all those experiences are painful, and that we have created another way of being that really eclipses those archaic ideas?

I believe that a family actually exists primarily to present the gospel. I think the gospel is actually larger and bigger and more important than family. I think that God wanted to tell a story to humanity and He created family as a vehicle through which that story would resonate with humanity. This is why I think the enemy is so adamant that it has to be destroyed because otherwise the Gospel cannot be received by people as good news.

[00:37:21] <music>

Announcer: Tune in next week for Jeremy's secrets for building a strong family culture that will last multiple generations. You can also find his book, Family Revision: How Ancient Wisdom Can Heal the Modern Family, wherever you buy books. Thanks for listening.