The Storm-Tossed Family

Michael WilburnChurch Blog

storm tossed family
Russell Moore earned Christianity Today’s 2019 book of the year with The Storm-Tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home. Dr. Moore serves as the President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. The book’s goal is to shape the family in light of the cross, a reference to the Gospel that Jesus died for sinners in order to adopt sons and daughters into God’s family. Moore writes, “These families of ours can be filled with joy, but will always make us vulnerable to pain. And the joy and the pain are pointing us to the same place: the cross.” (p. 3)

Moore is vulnerable about his own family, candid about Christian families, and at times blunt about the brokenness of many families. I encourage you to read Moore’s book, not only for family fixes but for the hope that God can redeem what is broken. On Sunday, August, 18th, I will give away three free copies of The Storm-Tossed Family in the 5:00 pm service gathering.

Explicit in each chapter is the Christian Gospel, that a cross-shaped life moors a family to the Lord Jesus Christ preserving them through the storms of life. Moore talks the reader through each phase of family life—from childhood to adulthood to death. His examples of broken family life leave the reader thinking, “Lord, I hope that never happens” then confessing “Lord, your grace is sufficient if it does.” Moore reassures, “The only safe harbor for a storm-tossed family is a nail-scarred home.” (p. 5)

Here are quotables from the book for each family stage:

To Husbands and Wives

“A cross-shaped masculinity walks not with Esau’s swagger but with Jacob’s limp. A cross-shaped femininity comes not with the glamour of Potiphar’s wife but with the Bible-teaching prowess of Eunice and Lois.” (p. 82)

  • “The cross-shaped marriage is one in which a wife cultivates a voluntary attitude of recognition toward godly leadership.” (p. 88)
  • “Headship will look, in many cases, like weakness. So does the cross.” (p. 89)
  • “The wise path would be to choose a mate that one can imagine not only lying in bed on a honeymoon, but kneeling by a bedside at hospice.” (p. 112)

To Mothers and Fathers

  • “Children bring with them the sense of our responsibilities, and with that the tremor of terror that we won’t be able to live up to those responsibilities.” (p. 190)
  • “The love of a parent is seldom seen any clearer than when a parent exerts the effort to affirm the gifts and callings of a child, especially when those gifts are different than those of the parent.” (p. 228)
  • “If laughter and joy are not part of our families, something is wrong.” (p. 235)
  • “If ‘good’ children were merely the result of technique, then we could boast of our own righteousness through the lives of our children. It is not.” (p. 252)

To Grandparents

  • “When we see godly older people pouring their lives into younger generations and churches doing the same, there is almost always one common denominator: the older generation is remarkably free of bitterness and jealousy.” (p. 204)
  • “When I was a younger father, I assumed that much of this relaxed grand-parenting mode came from the exhaustion of age or of being out of touch with the day-to-day needs of childrearing. I suppose that is true in some cases and in some ways, but it is probably more true that age and experience teach one how to better differentiate between immaturity and disobedience.” (p. 273)
  • “If, though, we judge the value of our own lives by our ‘usefulness’ and our ‘independence,’ we will despise the revelation in those who once seemed strong and independent that things are quite otherwise….Dependence is not weakness. Weakness is not failure. Failure is not fatal.” (p. 286)

To the Church

  • “A church that focuses on the family is in line with the Bible, but a church that puts families first is not….a Christianity that puts family first will soon find itself uncomfortable with Jesus.” (p. 51)
  • “The church is not a collection of families. The church is a family. We are not ‘family friendly’; we are family. We learn the skills within the church to be godly sons or daughters.” (p. 60)
  • “We tend to remember the storms that threatened our lives more than the rains that saved them.” (p. 291)

Michael Wilburn

 

Michael Wilburn, Senior Pastor
Immanuel Baptist Church
mwilburn@ibcrichmond.org