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🚨 URGENT: Mere Orthodoxy Needs YOUR Help

Matt Anderson on "Focusing on the Family"

September 15th, 2010 | 2 min read

By Andrew Walker

Matthew Lee Anderson, lead writer at Mere-O, is without internet access for the moment and asked me, apologetically, to put up a link to his newest article at Christianity Today, "Culturally Focusing on the Family." As expected, it's excellent.

A few quotes

Traditional evangelicals and their descendants tend to divide on differing points of emphasis. While our parents' generation was preoccupied with their focus on the family, my peers have replaced  that focus with a near obsession on objects and structures of culture and how we can engage with and create them. There are some sociological reasons for the transition: Even though most younger evangelicals haven't experienced the much-discussed dissolution of their own families, we have been witnesses to the cultural decline of family life, a decline that has affected us more subtly than we know. And as younger evangelicals have begun to delay marriage and have continued to uproot themselves geographically from their local communities, it has become easier to emphasize "culture" as a way to find our identity, especially when culture is narrowed to the consumption and creation of artifacts.


The family might be, in fact, the strongest bastion against the consumerism that pervades American life. While we might choose movies, music, and art that we want to appreciate and understand—and the friends or church we enjoy them with—we do not have the same freedom to choose our family. It is an arrangement formed almost by accident, or as G. K. Chesterton would have it, by magic. In his lively image, the day we are born, we are dropped into a house of strangers we did not choose and forced to learn to love them. The family's unique power resides in the fact that the ties that bind are not ties we choose—a fact that does not easily fit souls shaped by consumerism.


The real question is whether hipster evangelicals have escaped the consumerist mindset that they shun. The besetting sin of hipster evangelicalism is self-deception, a problem that we are more prone to than other generations because of our fascination with and emphasis on being "real" and "authentic."

Check out the entire article.

Andrew Walker

Andrew T. Walker is an Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.