NICK EICHER, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: It is possible we expect too much from family?
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Russell Moore is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He often speaks for the nation’s largest protestant denomination on moral and public policy matters.
But when he’s outside the beltway, Moore fields lots of questions about family. Some come from parents, others from young men and women afraid to commit because they’ve watched their parents’ marriages fall apart.
EICHER: In this week’s Listening In, Warren Smith talks to Russell Moore about the ways we both idealize family and denigrate it.
WARREN SMITH: We either have a view that is overly sentimentalized, that doesn’t make enough of this notion that love is about service, that love is about submission and humility, on the one hand. Or on the other hand, that it’s all about me, that the culture is a disaster, that I don’t want a piece of that. I’m out for myself. Both of those in some ways kind of ignore what you’re trying to talk about here, which is yeah, things are bad. We live in a broken world. But the cross is kind of that place where both of those false views can be redeemed.
RUSSELL MOORE: Yeah, and I think those two views tend to loop into one another. So, you think about those people out in the culture who say, well, family’s just a social construct. We don’t really need it. Let’s just have whatever arrangements we can put together. That’s one way of looking at things. And then you often, though, have people who seem to be on the opposite end but who have this really sentimental, idealized view of what the family ought to be. Where the family ought to provide everything that I need. My spouse needs to be my perfect soulmate and constantly meet all my needs. My children need to be picture-perfect, or my parents need to be picture-perfect. My church needs to be picture-perfect. And they tend to end in the same result, because often the people who are expecting family to meet all of their needs tend to eventually denigrate the family. That’s often what happens. When I see the person who walks out on his or her spouse, often this is not somebody who has lowered his or her view of marriage, but in one sense kind of heightened it, to say marriage ought to be everything that I’ve ever expected. And this is a situation that has problems and brokenness, and hard times and even just sometimes is ordinary, and so I need to be looking for something else. I think the devil works in both of those ways.
EICHER: That’s Russell Moore, speaking with Warren Smith. You can hear the full interview tomorrow on Listening In. It’s available on your favorite podcast platform.