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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Are We Still of Any Use?

 Are we still of any use?



Verb: nurture

1. Help develop, help grow
2. Provide for and care for during childhood
3. Provide with nourishment

Noun: nurture

1. The properties acquired as a consequence of the way you were treated as a child
2. Helping someone grow up to be an accepted member of the community



Adjective: surrogate

1. Providing or receiving nurture or parental care though not related by blood or legal ties

Noun: surrogate

1. Someone who takes the place of another person
2. A person appointed to represent or act on behalf of others



As a Floridian I love to vacation in the mountains for there one is almost impelled to recognize the sweep of the forest. Today I want to contemplate society in the broadest terms. Let us ask what is the basic demand that most institutions exist to meet?  (I say “most” for in America we always maintain an underbelly of harmful “sin” enterprise often justified and even legitimized on the dubious claim of equal and ever-present free choice.) 

Institutions are created to meet unique demands arising from the multi-faceted need for nurture. I would like to discuss today two institutions – the family and the church. (Other institutions include government and the diverse roles reserved for the creative enterprise sector.)  In broadest terms, I hold all institutions are, in fact. service institutions in that they arise from the persistent need to nurture.

The unique gift that the family contributes to nurturing is the indispensable requirement for intimacy in human development and maintenance. Often, we are tempted to hold that “small things” don’t really matter that much. Absolutely nothing could be further from the truth. The unaffected knowledge that we are truly loved and that someone gives a damn whether we live or die can arise from a gentle touch on the shoulder—however irrational that may seem. Animal studies show that deprivation of intimacy can have long-term and profound debilitating effects.  The important question that confronts us is, can intimacy lack immediacy? Likewise, can surrogacy provide sufficient intimacy?

I would like to speak briefly of the church. Jesus asked us to pray by saying “Our Father.” (Some would even say “Our Daddy.”)  Nurture and extended family intimacy are very near the core of church life. When one says that we are to love one another – how different is that from saying that we are to nurture one another?  Can a  formal assembly lacking in intimacy or a family feeling still be the church?

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