The Importance of Family Connections

It’s hard to believe I have gone this long without posting anything. The run up to half-term break has been busy and when I’ve not been busy with work, I have been distracted by other things.

The last few days I have been absorbed with genealogical stuff as I have been revamping my family history website, trying to account for all of the descendants of my paternal great-great-great-great-grandparents who are over 70 or dead. It is the standard practice on genealogical websites to keep anonymous anyone who is living and under 70.

The downside of all this work is my worry that I am the only one of my surname who really cares about these things, so no one my ever access the site. Just because I think it is important for people to know where they come from and to whom they are related doesn’t mean anyone else does. But the information will be out there for the taking. Perhaps somehow an unknown cousin will be trying to uncover the forgotten past that their parents didn’t care about and find what I’ve provided.

There was a time when more people cared about who they were and realised that they were not simply a single identity.

The same attitude is common in the Church today. Christians reading the New Testament often read the words of Jesus or St Paul when they use the word translated “you” and assume that it is in the second person singular. Sadly, this is often re-enforced by preaching. “Me & Jesus” Christianity is not biblical. St Paul tries to get this across in I Corinthians 12, but sadly most people so many people even read that just to find out what spiritual gift(s) they have.

Likewise in our natural family, we need to appreciate, learn from, and be a part of the extended group of people, both past and present, of which God has chosen to make us a part. We often have no problem realising that family is the foundational institution of society. It was created by God. In wedding ceremonies we usually hear the “leave and cleave” passage from Genesis 2:24 and think of the new nuclear family as its own little capsule of love. However, if we look at the examples of family in the Bible, we don’t see that.

In North America and in some of western Europe, we have lost the sense of extended family that is still evident in much of the world. Somehow we think this loss is progress, when in fact it is regress. Just as in many areas, we have left behind the wisdom of centuries.

One of the things that has interested me as I have been doing research over the last few days is how names are important and passed on. My grandfather, my uncle, and my brother all had the same uncommon middle name and I recently found out that it goes back at least four more generations. Even though I use a pseudonym for this blog, there are a lot of real Solomons. The matriarch of our surname is remember in succeeding generations of Sarahs. Generations were connected.

Prosperity and technology has brought mobility and families have geographically grown further and further apart. I am probably the most extreme example in my own family. Fortunately in these most recent days it has brought advances in communications so that the world can be a smaller place. It has also allowed access to data that would not be so easily shared.

In this regard, I hope I am expended efforts on things that will matter.

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3 Responses to “The Importance of Family Connections”

  1. Donna Says:

    I think that it would be very interesting to be able to trace one’s family back pretty far. My family is not really able to do that on both sides. My father’s grandfather was illegitimate. My branch of the family doesn’t know them and doesn’t have access to the information about their antecedents.

    On the other hand, my mother’s side of the family has been traced back prior to the American Revolution to their immigration. We believe that several of her descendents served in the Revolutionary Army. But, that’s a little fuzzy, too. At some point in the 19th Century, one of my mother’s descendents married Mr. Burns (her maiden name) but spent most of her life and had her children with Mr. Klein.

    My mother has a book somewhere about that.

    I thought your other topic was well-written. And, it is certainly applicable to the English-speaking, Western church. But, I’m don’t know that it applies to those who speak other romance languages. Both the Spanish translations akin to the KJV and the NIV use “vosotros” in the Gospels and the Epistles for “you”. Vosotros is the familiar plural “you.” I don’t read any other languages. But, it wouldn’t surprise me if French, Italian, and German have the same type of word usage. Just a thought . . .

  2. sol Says:

    I’m sure that those languages that have a distinct second person plural form would use that in translating a second person plural from Greek. If the Bible had been translated directly into Southern English, then the “y’all” form would have made it more clear.

  3. Michael Says:

    I was living in Texas when a new Old Testament professor arrived at my seminary, and I gave him a plaque, which I found at a Jewish store in San Antonio, shaped like Texas and sporting the words “Shalom, y’all” in English as well as Hebrew (“y’all” transliterated into Hebrew letters). He was very pleased and mentioned that he actually had used “y’all” at times in Hebrew class to explain the second person plural (he’s as Minnesotan as I am).


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