The Family of Man

There are varying views of the human fraternity.  The foundation and system of thought held by each individual determines their take.  Some emphasize commonality of existence, while others lean more toward common goals.  Certain pursue intellectual definitions, while, for others, emotions rule the day.  Human bonds exist on several levels being more or less strong accordingly.  In the end, such musings pursue the meaning of family and whether such units are universal or particular concepts.

Once upon a championship, The Pittsburgh Pirates adopted Sister Sledge’s hit, We are Family, as their theme song.  It’s an enthusing thought that the ball team is a family with care and concern for each member.  Certainly, working together for a common goal is a worthy quality in any group.  Progress may be well-nigh impossible without it.  As a member of several such teams over time, I can say that comradery based on athletic pastimes can be strong and has a long shelf-life.

Supervisors will promote the workplace as a family.  This is, of course, a morale-boosting technique and is given nodding consent by employees.  Few things in life occupy as much time as our work concerns, and it is far better to be involved in enjoyable and warm endeavors than the alternative.  Of course, this is one family from which you can be summarily dismissed without cause.  Such siblings are keenly aware that they may fall out of favor when there’s a new kid in town or the parent company remarries.

Each of us will be involved in several units which take the characteristics of family during our lifetimes.  Most of these will use the moniker when it is applicable and live in memory.  While it is cheering to have the feeling of belonging, it is no less heartbreaking to see solitary souls spend lifetimes searching for belonging to be met with resistance at each turn.  Life in a fellowless universe affects some more deeply than others, but we are all enriched by close bonds that undergird us even in our singular pursuits. 

It is true that all people are of one blood, and it is entirely proper to speak of the race as a family.  In addition, the bonds of humanity make us all far more alike than we are different.  People world-over have basic needs which are requited, or not, in strikingly similar ways.  Though customs may vary, principles designed to teach virtue and worth are at the root of each people group.  We are bound in and through our humanity so far as we share common goals and dreams with accompanying weaknesses.

Truthfully, the nuclear family should come first to mind when thinking of our closest bonds.  Parents and their children are the very definition of family.  However, the bonds of birth are not always the strongest ties.  Familial dysfunction is as pervasive as the sinful nature and a testament to the power of the Wicked to destroy the noblest institutions.  It could be that a part of the rush to term so many things “family” has to do with the breakdown of the essential unit.  “Family need” finds expression in all individuals.

Desires for closeness and commitment are of divine origin.  In the Garden, God observed that people are best placed in families.  Life can be colder than a three dog night.  The longing to be part of a group is present in all mankind.  To this end, we are offered the opportunity to be part of the family of God by means of the new birth.  In this gracious group, we find brothers, sisters, confidants and God as a Father.  There is no harm or danger of expulsion.  Our heavenly Father has built a home for the family of man.


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