From On Being Family: A Social Theology of the Family by Ray Anderson and Dennis Guernsey:
The church as the new family of God, however, is not formed by mere conssensuality between its members. Through spiritual rebirth, we each become a brother or sister of Jesus Christ through adoption into the family of God. Consequently, we are brother or sister to each other. This new criterion of worth has a transcendent source and thus a permanent status. Husbands and wives are first of all brother and sister in Jesus Christ before they are husband and wife. Sons and daughters are also brother or sister to their father and mother before they are sons and daughters. This precedence, of course, is logical, not always chronological. Nevertheless, because it is theological, it does constitute a real precedence in each relationship. (p. 147)
This quote was our opening reflection in Family Therapy this week. Students shared some of their experiences with these concepts, particularly the idea of a husband and wife being “first of all brother and sister in Jesus Christ before they are husband and wife.” It seemed to resonate as true theologically but as a concept that is seldom considered. Several students discussed the implications for how spouses think about one another’s spiritual well-being.