New Shapes of Christian Homes (Jan-Feb 2004)

By Matt Dabbs

by Greg Taylor
January – February, 2004

In college I took a course on Christian Home. Everyone did.

The shape of family was simply described. One man, one woman, and a quiver full of children. This was God’s intended shape of the family, the Christian Home book said.

Surely Scripture upholds such a model as a blessing to all. Yet in my Christian Home class, we weren’t adequately prepared for the shapes we would encounter, some gruesome and some beautiful and also approved and blessed by God. One class was not meant to—nor can it—prepare us for the shapes our families will take.

In the first decade after my college years, many of our couple friends and family had trouble conceiving children. They tried all forms of fertilization and several decided to adopt. Was this the shape of family they had envisioned?

In that same decade, many of our Christian friends—who had made the easy A in Christian Home like I did—were divorced. Is this the shape of Christian families God desires? Reeling from the shock of the destructive tornado to themselves and children, they were discovering that family had different shapes from what they had always envisioned, and they were wondering, Does God still love me and approve of me in this new shape?

In the second decade after my college years, some of our friends were remarried and started step families with children from previous marriages. Few have said anything remotely redeeming about step families for fear of what others may think such encouragement might imply about divorce and remarriage. Yet now, for the first time in the experience of many of us, the idea of a step family has been supported and upheld as a place where one can do more than merely survive but also thrive. Is this the shape God intends?

As we move into the 21st Century, racially mixed marriages and trans-racial adoptions are increasingly blessed by families and the pre-60s racist resistance to such families has waned. We didn’t talk much about these families in my Christian Home class. Perhaps we weren’t ready for it, or we weren’t sure that was the shape of family that God desired.

The shapes of Christian families are many and growing. Children are being raised more than ever in single parent homes. Is this the shape God wants? How are we to understand the shape of Christian families from a biblical perspective?

In this issue, we look at a variety of shapes of Christian families that God miraculously fits into a round and perfect place of his love. May God bless you in whatever shape you are in and prompt you to move toward his familial love, discipline, and wondrous grace.New Wineskins

Greg TaylorGreg Taylor

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This author published 1598 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of


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