Was family really 1+1+1=3 Or was family in OT scripture mostly a multigenerational and often even more extended structure that would have included cousins, aunts and uncles, maybe multiple wives, slaves or servants?

And did Paul ask for offerings to go to support other churches in need?

I am not arguing against self-sufficiency when appropriate. But it seems to me that the very language of church in family that you are referencing is that we should be caring for those that have need because they are family.

Some will never be fully independent and self sufficient. That is part of the reality of family. There are single aunts or uncles that live with their parents or their siblings and support the family as they can, but they can't make on their own because we are not designed to be self sufficient but dependent upon on the family as a whole.

Yes when there is a level independent and structure that may or may not look like a nuclear family as traditionally conceived of, they may move away and operate independently. But even in those cases, there has been investment in education, materials like furniture, and training in how to cook and clean and do what is necessary.

But even so, there are times when support is still reasonable. Elderly grandparents or parents that need additional support do not mean that they should be shipped off to the nursing home or euthanized, but that they just need someone to check on them regularly, or to bring by a meal a couple times a week.

I think the other problem is that a spiritual immature church that is located in a wealthy suburb can get by because of a few wealthy people that give and be self sufficient. While a rural or poor urban church that may be spiritually mature, but in an economically poor area, may never be self sufficient because of the structure of the area, not because of the structure of the church itself.

The myth of self-sufficient as a model of health misses evaluative tools as well as missing the broader relationship of the church as family. We should always be considered dependent on others parts of the church regardless of our economics. Economic self sufficiency is not the best tool of evaluation.

(None of this is to deny the way that economic or other support can be used to hamper work that local churches do. I have seen many churches inappropriately hamper the work of others that they economically support.)

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These are some really good points, Adam.

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