Writing on the principle of ‘church is an extended family’ (see 1 Tim 3:14-15) Tim Chester and Steve Timmis note regarding our difficulty with living this out in our churches;

“Perhaps the problem is our image of the ideal family: father, mother, 2.4 children, mortgage and a Mondeo. Complete, self-contained and – all too often – self-absorbed. The problem with ‘family-first’ comes when our notion of family is too narrow. Families in Israel were very different. They spanned generations and they included slaves. They offered immigrants a place of belonging. And their boundaries were blurred: clan, tribe, even the nation itself could be viewed as a family. And that is what church is to be like: inter-generational and inclusive; a place of belonging and identity; both local and global.”

(Taken from The Gospel-centred Church p. 73)

If there are any of my South African friends reading this, especially Sihle, I’d really value your comments with regard to your context. From what Sihle describes the context of Soweto sounds much more like that of Israel with an identity of wider family. How does 1 Timothy 3:14-15 work out in that context? How does it encourage things in your culture/challenge things in the culture?