Probably as different as each person is, each person's family is different. Size, personality, ways of operating and values are all different. There are, of course, many similarites. Families reproduce. They feed, protect and teach the members. There are families that are broke. The father is cruel. The mother is lazy. The children are out of control.
But as part of a family -- good, bad or indifferent -- we are all called to participate in and experience being family. This is part doing the chores (cleaning your room, doing the dishes and mowing the lawn) and part enjoying the perks (vacations to Disney and the Grand Canyon, camping, holiday feasts and -- at, least in my family -- laughing until your sides hurt.)
What about the family of God? How do we participate? How do we experience?
We particpate by keeping the rules. Like all families, the Jesus-family has rules. And Jesus' rules are a little more complicated and a little more open-ended.
- Choose God as the main allegiance.
- Make disciples.
These rules keep peace and order in God's family, makes sure the needs are met and has the potential of turning the world inside out. It the almost one-fifth of the world loves -- as defined in the Bible -- just imagine the affect it would have on the US interstate highway system, especially the I95 corridor, let alone the rest of society.
A lot has been written recently about "bullying" in the public school system. If people lived in love, there would be no bullying. There would be no gun control debate. The discussion about immigration would take on an entirely different slant.
Then, there are the other rules.