The Religion, Culture, and Family Project
Rationale of the Project
|Families in North America are in crisis.
Market forces require increasing numbers of parents to work outside the home to make ends meet. High divorce rates create a culture of marital instability, affecting adult's and children's economic and psychological well-being. Changing gender roles demand that we rethink the meaning of fatherhood, motherhood, and parenting. Children are suffering the ill effects of decreased parental involvement due to greater demands on parents from the workplace, divorce, and an increasing father absence from the home. And modern nuclear families lack needed support from their extended kin, their workplaces, and civil and social institutions.
The crisis in families hurts the broader society. Because children get less support at home, they drop out of schools at a higher rate and are responsible for more crime. Because adults have less secure home lives, they produce less economically and are less psychologically and physically healthy.
Attempts to address this crisis have engendered a great and historic family debate. Some argue that families are best helped by combatting social problems like economic decline, racism, and sexism. Some claim we must counter cultural factors like individualism and changing moral values.
However, until recently attention to issues concerning family well-being has declined among religious leaders, both liberal and conservative. On the whole they have been preoccupied with more specialized issues of social justice and sexuality. It is now time for churches, synagogues, and other religious institutions to broaden their concerns and to join the increasingly pressing and important family debate.
The Religion, Culture, and Family Project claims that religious traditions have valuable theological, ethical, and institutional resources to help revitalize North American family culture and families. It brings together over a hundred leading Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and other religious scholars of both liberal and conservative convictions to produce a major series of books on religion and the family together with conferences, articles, and media projects.
You may view the first few paragraphs of "Practical Theology and the American Family Debate: An Overview" by Don Browning for a deeper look at the Project's rationale.
|The University of Chicago | The Divinity School | The Marty Center|