The Family Debate: A Middle Way

Browning, Don and Ian Evison. “The Family Debate: A Middle Way.” Christian Century 110(21):712-716. July 14-21, 1993.

In “The Family Debate: A Middle Way,” authors Don Browning and Ian Evison offer a pro-family strategy to combat America’s family crisis, a strategy that advocates selected governmental and economic support for families, commends gender equality in the family, and encourages the church to recapture its interest in children. They locate the family crisis in the deterioration of children’s physical and emotional well-being, the increasing numbers of poor women and children, the absence of fathers, the feminization of kinship, the deinstitutionalization of marriage and family, and changes in family law. Both cultural and economic factors contribute to this trend. Churches should promote the intact mother-father team as the center of its family ethic while serving the pluralism of family forms. Churches should focus their ministry on young boys, realize that family law may diverge from inherited Christian morality without adopting publicly-held morality, and recognize the legitimacy of government support without abandoning its own message.