Our Beliefs Determine Our Family

Have you ever heard of the term "fictive kin"? "This idea is referred to as chosen kin, fictive kin or voluntary kin. Sociologists define the concept as a form of extended family members who are not related by either blood or marriage." (Wikipedia, 5.22.21) What do you think about those who you see as fictive kin in your life if any? I feel that we need to be more concerned about fictive kin and its meaning for us now more than ever before.
Fictive kin are the people that we know very well, are deeply connected to, and may even love, who are not our blood relations nor connected to us through marriage in any significant way. As an adult, we may have come to know and love a friend of the family who treated us like their own blood family, and that connection continued over distance and time. To this day you may hold them, her, or him just as close of a loved one as you do your own blood family and in-laws.

There may also have been someone who you got to know growing up in your neighborhood or at school or at a job, who became someone you could rely on to support you through the hardships and the joys in your life year after year. It could be the person or persons who provided a shoulder to lean on when you failed and felt so bad because you thought that you would never be trusted again by those who depended on you to come through for them. That person also was a friend who shared the joys of your life too, whether they were milestones that were hard-won or just tiny little triumphs that only your blood family members and that person of fictive kin could fully understand that gave you deep joy - things like making the dean's list or completing a college degree or finishing with a personal best in a 5K race, or figuring out how to fix a chronically clogged sink! Those milestones and tiny triumphs were shared together with your fictive kin who celebrated them with you like family.

If you have a person like that in your life, think about her, him, or them now because that person is a real family member. If you have someone like that in your life, you know that is true because sometimes certain of your blood family members may not understand you quite as well as your fictive kin family member does. You may wonder how God can make someone who is not a blood family member so close to you, while some of your own blood kin may never really get who you truly are like some of your fictive family gets you.

How does this concept of fictive family characterize itself in our spiritual lives? The Bible reading this week is from Mark 3:20-35. In it we can see a major distinction made by Jesus between those who are his blood family and another group of people that he considered fictive family. Why did Jesus decide to make those people his chosen family? What do you think Jesus' mother, sisters, and brothers thought about Jesus' worldview, lifestyle, and the conditions surrounding his sudden decision to make public his randomly chosen fictive family?

Copyright © 2021 First United Methodist Church, Downers Grove. Please report any problems to webmaster@dgfumc.org.