My parents have recently sent a couple of books on marriage and family relationships (long story…). These books are authored by people with degrees from the Moody Bible Institute. They purport to give me biblical advice on dealing with relationships. As a biblical scholar—I’m underwhelmed. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think they’re chock full of conservative social principles with carefully selected biblical stories, vignettes and decontextualized sayings functioning as illustrations rather than real sources for the reflections. No, if I want a book teaching me how to have a good relationship as grounded in Holy Scripture, I want a book that wrestles with the hard questions and that seriously engages what’s actually in the text. Here’s a sampling of things I want to see and need advice on drawn directly from Scripture…:
- How should I handle it when my wives team up against me?
- What are the complexities and complications of family life when my wives are also sisters? Does sibling rivalry help or hurt a relationship?
- What’s the proper etiquette when one of my wives sends her slave to have sex with me?
- The parents of your wife/wives are your “in-laws”; what’s the proper form of address (and holiday gift giving requirements) for the parents of your concubines?
And this is just the beginning…