Friday, October 23, 2009

Reading culture into things

I met a dear friend for a bite to eat and some good conversation yesterday.  She had told me previously about her dad being laid off, and that she and her husband were considering moving in with her parents in order to help get them through until her dad could find another job.  She had spoken to a few friends about this, including me, to seek out counsel on whether they should go through with it.  At the time, I told her that it would be great for them to honor her parents in this way, and besides, our parents take care of us our whole lives, so it made sense to turn it around and help them out for a change.  I figured this is how families live all over the world, and have for centuries.

Yesterday she mentioned to me that I was the only one who said that.  She said that most people were telling her it was not “natural,” that it wasn’t what we did in our culture.  Some even used scripture to say that parents are supposed to “store up an inheritance” for their children, not the other way around.

Of course, that does not take into consideration what the culture was like when that scripture was written.  Families generally lived together – or at least very close to one another - at that time, and so everyone sort of contributed to the household in general.  People weren’t out pursuing the American dream, and planning to spend their inheritance, because that culture was not our current culture.  Not to mention the much more communal nature of the economy of that time.

Which is why we must use caution when we read the Bible and try to determine answers to questions and what advice to give people.  Because we read our culture into it so naturally and so automatically that we don’t even realize we are doing it.

At any rate, the rest of the story is that my friend and her husband decided to go through with moving in with her parents, and put their home on the market.  And then, as they were taking steps of faithfulness to honor their parents, circumstances miraculously worked together for her dad, and the need for the whole thing was removed.

Very cool.

Posted via email from suedensmore's posterous

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