We often times lift a certain standard above any other when it comes to relationship by relegating that standard to the position of a series of automated responses to normative circumstances. Therefore, when a person calls me a friend, it is because of the way in which i have fit his criteria for friendship. And when I am called family, it seems that i have earned that title by almost supernatural means and my actions now seem to become representative of that force of blood coursing, metaphorically or not, through my veins. Family is an interesting and loaded concept. Wrought with angst and a trepidation, we trapse around the word’s meaning while often times never really bestowing upon it any sense of certain understanding. We find family in bonds that often times are unexplicable, unreliable, and often times unhealthy. Yet, that blood coursing through us seems to gel us together despite these things… even with immanent death looming on the horizon of our choices. When I see family, I acknowledge my blood, but I find myself drawn to those that have a like mindset and understanding as myself. This is not to say that these people must be at the same level as I am, or that they play the same role, but instead that they value the same values and uphold the same principles that I do in my daily walk. Perfection is not a criteria, it’s an ideal worth striving for, but often a lifelong chase after the unnatainable. I’m not describing a relationship of perfection, but rather a relationship which respects and perpetuates a like context. I find myself calling people family when they get who I am in the now, and who I will be in the next… knowing that it won’t always be the same. This is not to say that they accept who I have become… but rather that they expect the same standard of me that i have touted about myself. Thusly I think a true test of family lies in our expectation of someone to follow through, regardless of circumstance or convenience. This is often a difficult standard in and of itself because consistency requires a fortitude of will and an intentful direction which cannot be handed out in a handbook or a 12 step program. The human being thrives in rules and regulations, but not on them, and the family that is founded upon rules and regulations rather than intent for relationship and common values is a house without a foundation. This is the first truth of family. I often see colleagues and cohorts rise to lift friendship out of its rightful place and bestow upon it the name “family” only to watch that family fall past its own origins and disintigrate into nothingness. I for one seek something more. I long for a day when I can look at my family and see that it is based in friendship and mutual understanding first… and that this first cause inspires a relationship of blood and heritage. As I strive to see this family within my friends, I cannot help but step back with a sense of awe and excitement as I often feel that i peer into a future filled with generations like us… sitting on the cusp of relational greatness, fortitude and wonderment… If only we would see and hold each other as something beyond the circumstances and the trials and this mortal shell

Published by Josh McGary

MY NAME IS JOSH MCGARY. First, I am a Pastor of a small church in Portland, Oregon named Aletheia Bible Fellowship. We call it ABF. I have been a pastor there for the better part of 20 years. I am very eclectic. What I love, I love loudly and immersively. I have notable collections of toys, funko pops, and vinyl. I also infamously love pop culture, comic books, technology, the arts, psychology and philosophy.

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