|It's hard to be 'framily' without eating together|
|A typical size of framily, including young and old.|
"Framily" is also sociological, and describes the size of group between about 12 and 50 people in which you have a strong sense of identity, belonging and participation, and can know everyone in the group. Once a group grows beyond this the participation, belonging, contribution, value, and intimacy of relationship all decrease quickly. It's a huge concept and one we're doing everything we can to understand and live out, learning lots through success and failure in equal measure. It's hard, takes time, and because it involves people is unpredictable and sometimes painful. But is is also wonderfully inspiring and rewarding, and when it starts working, is truly divine.
I said earlier that it was both alien to our culture and craved for at the same time. Alien because of the changes socially over the last 100 years, the rise of the nuclear family (Husband wife and 2 kids), subsequent breakdown of that, and the English culture of "an Englishman's home is his castle". Individualism is a strong force in western culture that permeates everywhere. And yet at the same time it seems that everyone craves for something more communal and meaningful, even if they can't articulate that, or don't know how to live that out, and navigate the challenges. Good sports clubs and choirs can create that kind of dynamic, but you really know you're in a framily by the time you spend together outside the official time you're supposed to.
Final thought: it's interesting that "framily" is in the Urban dictionary. Perhaps because with growing urbanisation there is growing breakdown of family and relationships and increasing loneliness, making it a ripe place for needing closer friendships.
Whatever we're doing, however we're doing it, and despite setbacks in our past maybe, let's press on and venture into this exciting, challenging dynamic of framily. As we invest time and resources into people, we might just find that we encounter God in our midst ...