Yet another harrowing indictment of modern family life recently came across my newsfeed. “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century” chronicles the ways in which American family life is falling in on itself. Apparently things are worse than we thought. We are surrounded by our belongings, our children are staring at screens, and no one is going outside. Also, it turns out everyone is eating chicken nuggets. Dammit, America, haven’t we talked about this already?
Mostly, all of the neurotic-as-I-am mothers are posting articles about this book and wondering what we are doing to screw our kids up. We see ourselves somewhere in the book’s sad evidence: if it’s not the hours of Disney Jr., it is the backyard swingset that no one is using.
The thing that I find most jarring about these scary assessments is not the information they hold but the clarion call for self-righteousness that they herald. Some people read this stuff and feel the weight of their sin, and some people read this stuff and feel very shiny in their righteousness….
The more “together” people want to tell me they are, the more I just assume (actually, know) that their lives are completely falling apart.
I forever want to be clear that it is not just the world out there that talks this way. The church, too, is a foolhardy enterprise of self-righteousness, much to her own detriment. If I have to hear another sermon about running a 5K (Hey girl! 1 Corinthians 6:19-20) or another mention made of the domestic prowess of the Proverbs 31 lady (everyone forgets she had servants), then I am going to lose my religion.
Just kidding. I’m going to cling to it. Because I am a needy sinner. Who does not run 5Ks, hates doing laundry, and needs a word of grace.