Water Is Thicker Than Blood: An Augustinian Theology of Marriage and Singleness

By Jana Marguerite Bennett | Go to book overview

6
The Political Household
of God

Against the Public/Private Dichotomy

The church offers a form of life into which Christians are baptized and invited to share. Thus far, I have argued that the sacramental image of households, as well as the eschatological image of households, is a vision of Christians united in a completely reconfigured and unified household in Christ. This vision of Christian households operates partly now, because we see glimpses of this reconfigured household, but it is also a future vision of the Parousia, when God will be all-in-all. The Household of God and its constituent, small households are concerned with the entirety of that reality; there is no part of the old life, theologically speaking, that can remain if the new life is to take hold. As Christ says, “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.”1 The Household of God is a new wineskin, a place to put the new wine of the reality in which Christ confronts us.

This new view of the world (this New Creation) is crucial for understanding the question raised at the beginning of this book about the relationship between the church and households. The dichotomies that rise again and again in theology of marriage are shattered. We have already seen that the male/female dichotomy cannot stand because salvation history does not tell of opposition between male and female, but speaks instead of relationship between male and female. This relationship between male and female is not limited, however, to marriage and a focus on that couple (and particularly

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