Had dinner with Damien and Jen O'Farrell Tuesday evening. Two people that we have had the great fortune to get to know more and more. We joke at how close we are geographically, but how hard it is to make time to get together. Such is the way.
Holly shared about her Gandhi book (I know it must seem like that's all we ever talk about, but...). She said that he was an awful father and husband. Damien said that he guessed that showed that he was human. I thought, "You know, even Jesus himself didn't really seem to uphold the 'family first' idea all that well."
While he was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers showed up. They were outside trying to get a message to him. Someone told Jesus, "Your mother and brothers are out here, wanting to speak with you."
Jesus didn't respond directly, but said, "Who do you think my mother and brothers are?" He then stretched out his hand toward his disciples. "Look closely. These are my mother and brothers. Obedience is thicker than blood. The person who obeys my heavenly Father's will is my brother and sister and mother."
And isn't there some other passage where Jesus is quoted as saying that he will put a wedge between mother and brother? I mean isn't this a pretty 'unhealthy' look at family (from both Jewish and American perspectives?).
Perhaps Jesus (and most other people who sense a higher calling than just being a good member of society and family) recognized that his family was much broader than that, his loyalty beyond just blood, beyond just nation-state. Sounds a bit like Gandhi, who feeling so strongly about non-violence, wouldn't even allow a needle into his wife for an antedote to what was killing her. She died because of the extreme-ness of his cause.
I am not saying that Jesus and Gandhi are the same. I am simply saying that perhaps some who live in this "Kingdom of God" mindset release the family and society nearest to embrace all of humanity.