Christmas 2020: Week 4, Day 3: Family

“Family is the first community you know.”

I was listening to a British Asian woman speak about her experience of living in the UK. Her parents and grandparents had made a huge effort to settle in the UK. It hadn’t been easy and she felt a weight of responsibility not to disappoint them – especially in the life choices she made. Her family was, after all, the first community she had known. 

I find the idea of family so hard to reckon with at times. Who is family? What is family? When do we see family happening? 

Children can be unjustly burdened by the expectations and demands of their parents. But children can also unmake or misuse the hard-won rights their parents fought for. When I ask what family really should be, I don’t like the idea of blanket obedience, but I can’t shake off regarding elders with respect. 

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Christmas 2020: Week 2, Day 3: Stories

In an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the crew of the spaceship meet an alien race that values stories. (Prime Factors, season 1, episode 10.) The ship’s library of stories, and permission to tell them, was valued as highly as powerful transportation technology. 

I found this idea thought-provoking. 

Personal stories can be immensely precious, but they’re also vulnerable to appropriation – especially when it comes to identity and faith. And the church does not have a good track record here. 

In the millennia since Jesus was born, we have systematically stigmatised the Jewish people, and claimed their literature as our own. I’m not proud of this. That’s why when I write about the Bible, I try to distinguish between what the text says, and how Christians interpret it. I want to remember that this text is not mine; it was not written for me. 

And many Jews do not agree with how I interpret it. 

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