Awesome Families: The Promise of Healing Relationships in the International Churches of Christ

By Kathleen E. Jenkins | Go to book overview

CHAPTE R 6
Brothers and Sisters for the
Kingdom of God

I think more of the church than I do my own family.
Not that my family, when I say my family I’m talking
about my brothers and sisters, not my own kids and
we are part of the church so we are family. The people
who are in our lives at the church, that’s our family.
My siblings and their families, we have a good rela-
tionship, but it doesn’t compare to the depth of in-
volvement we have with one another [in the church].

—Jeremy

TO SAY, “I am a Protestant, Jew, Muslim, Catholic, etc.,” can mean that you are a member of a particular church or congregation you attend once a week, once a month, only during religious holidays, or perhaps not at all. In this respect, individual identification as a Protestant is probably one among other significant social groups in which a person claims membership. But when religious affiliation involves adoption of new kin, the religious community takes on a different character, possibly becoming an individual’s primary group. Religious/ spiritual organizations like the ICOC, groups that resemble what some researchers have named “identity transformation organizations,” organizations that teach members to rethink everyday behavior through seemingly clearly defined social roles, values, and new images of self, often present a more consuming primary social transformation of kin. Some researchers have called such processes “radical conversion” (Bankston, Forsyth, and Floyd 1981) and “self-role transformation” (Sarbin and Adler 1970; Sarbin and Nucci 1973). When ICOC members took on new roles and images of self as sisters and brothers in the ICOC, they

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