A Theology of Divorce

Article by Robert G. Sinks

The phenomenon of divorce has long been an embarrassment to the Christian church. At best it has been regarded as a reluctant concession to human sin and frailty, a painful reminder of our failure to fulfill the exalted standards which God holds for marriage. Circumstances in our own time, however, force us to a fresh …

After Divorce

Article by Lauren Winner

  Book Review: Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce. By Elizabeth Marquardt, 288 pp.   Elizabeth Marquardt’s book sat on my shelf for many weeks. I really wanted to read it. I had heard about her research and had been intrigued. Yet I kept avoiding actually opening the book. It does …

Children of Divorce

Article by Elizabeth Marquardt

The parable of the Prodigal Son is often used to illustrate the gracious and steadfast nature of God’s love. Most of us can recognize and even identify with the characters — the younger son who strikes out on his own and makes costly mistakes, the responsible elder son who always does what is expected of …

Day Care: A Need Crying to Be Heard

Article by Donald E. and Bonnie J. Messer

Clearly, the American family is experiencing unprecedented change. The nuclear family system has been described by some commentators as dead or dying. But while change cannot be stopped, one important way of reinforcing the family is to establish, throughout the nation, day-care centers to which parents can entrust their young children. Indeed, the Harvard child …

Families in Crisis

Article by Garrett E. Paul

Book Review: From Culture Wars to Common Ground: Religion and the American Family Debate. Second edition By Don S. Browning, Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore, Pamela D. Couture, K. Brynolf Lyon and Robert M. Franklin. (Westminster John Knox, 496 pp.) Though media and church debates suggest that the most pressing sex-related issues today are homosexuality, sexual violence …

Forming a Family

Article by Adrian Thatcher

More Lasting Unions: Christianity, the Family, and Society. By Stephen G. Post. Eerdmans, 205 pp. Paperback. Christianity and the making of the Modern Family. By Rosemary Radford Ruether. Beacon, 284 pp. These two books should nudge Christians toward a more compassionate, gender-conscious and tradition-aware understanding of marriage and the family. On the basis of empirical …

Heart of a Child

Article by Linda Lee Nelson

Book Review: The Child in Christian Thought Edited by Marcia J. Bunge. (Eerdmans, 513 pp., paperback). Neil Philip’s Illustrated Book of Myths includes a story the Algonquin Indians tell, titled “Glooskap and the Wasis.” Glooskap, the mightiest warrior of all, returns home after a lengthy period of conquests, only to be defeated by the mighty …

How Faith Shapes Fathers

Article by Don Browning

Book Review: Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands. By W Bradford Wilcox. University of Chicago Press, 337 pp., and paperback.   By exploring the contradictions between official theologies and the actual behavior of religious communities, sociologists of religion help religious people to view themselves more honestly — a sometimes deflating and …

Idolatry and the Family

Article by Leo Sandon, Jr.

One of life’s most cherished values is the experience of familial community. The love between husband and wife, parent and child, and between members of the extended family ranks high among our blessings. For most of us, home ties provide enduring joys. Unless we are world figures or persons of great office, our most important …

Marriage Today

Article by John Wall

Marriage After Modernity: Christian Marriage in Postmoder Times. By Adrean Thatcher. New York University Press, 329 pp. In the past few years, Christian theologians and ethicists have paid increasing attention to the state of modern marriages. Out of this concern has grown, among other things, a new Christian marriage theology that supports what has been …

Marrying Well

Article by Don Browning

Book Review: The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier and Better off Financially By Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher. Doublday, 256 pp.   Recently Time magazine published a cover article titled “Who Needs a Husband?” It chronicled, if not celebrated, the trend of women “flying solo” — never getting married, and even …

Meditation of a Middle-Aged, (Upper) Middle-Class, White, Liberal, Protestant Parent

Article by Joanna Bowen Gillespie

Recently on late-night television news, some vivid footage showed a college campus protest against current legislative attempts to reinstate the draft. The New York Times contends that today’s students are apathetic about such issues, but apathy wasn’t what I saw. The students were screaming “Hell, no, we won’t go” at Representative Pete McCloskey, effectively preventing …

Moms’ Malaise

Article by Valerie Weaver-Zercher

Books Reviewed: Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety. By Judith Warner. Riverhead, 304 pp. The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women. By Susan J. Douglas and Meredith W. Michaels. Free Press, 400 pp. The Myth of the Perfect Mother: Rethinking the Spirituality of Women. By Carla …

No Good Divorce

Article by Elizabeth Marquardt

In her book Between Two Worlds; The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce. Elizabeth Marquardt examines the impact of divorce on children. Her book is based on a survey of 1,500 young adults which allowed her to compare the experiences of children of divorced parents with the experiences of children of married parents. Marquardt, a …

Parenting and Politics: Giving new Shape to “Family Values”

Article by Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen

BOOK REVIEW: The War Against Parents: What We Can Do for America’s Beleaguered Moms and Dads. By Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Cornel West. Houghton Mifflin, 302 pp., $24.00. It was a nice irony that Sylvia Hewlett and Cornel West came to Philadelphia to promote their book the night the last episode of Seinfeld aired. As …

Pro-Family Public Policy: Creating a Just Society

Article by Robert V. Thompson

In their introduction to Domestic Revolution: A Social History of Domestic Family Life (Free Press, 1987) Steven Mintz and Susan Kellogg paint a portrait of family life today: Today the term ‘family" is no longer attached exclusively to conjugal or nuclear families comprising a husband, wife, and their dependent children. It is applied to any …

The Collapse of Marriage

Article by Don Browning

Book Review Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage. By Stephanie Coontz. Viking, 400 pp. The central message of Stephanie Coontz’s history is that marriage is in big trouble. In fact, it is about to collapse, she says, and there is little anyone can do about it. The forces disestablishing …

The Practice and Theology of Adoption

Article by Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner

Father Ron meant well. He would never have intentionally excluded some children from his sermon. It was Wednesday mass, and the congregation was primarily children — kindergartners through eighth-graders — with a sprinkling of teachers, administrators and parents. The text was Colossians 1:15: Christ is "the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all …

The Risk of Divorce

Article by William Willimon

In the past ten years, the number of marriages in the U.S. that end in divorce has doubled. While the rapid rise in the divorce rate does appear to be leveling off as we end the 1970s, the numbers confirm what most of us have already experienced among our own families, friends and parishioners: that …

Towards Reclaiming the Symbol of the Family of God: Identity and Sexuality

Article by Christopher Wemple and Suzan Stafford

When we were given this topic, we were pretty confused as to what to discuss. Identity is part of sexuality and sexuality is part of identity — both are big topics. So Chris and Jim talked and faxed back in forth for a few days to help us focus. Jim told us that this topic …

What Teens Believe

Article by Carol E. Lytch

Book Review Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. By Christian smith, with Melinda Lundquist Denton, Oxford University Press, 368 pp.   Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton have conducted the most comprehensive and reliable research ever done on youth and religion. For the next 50 years writers on the topic will …