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Culture Books

Family dynamics in an age of confusion

Books

Family dynamics in an age of confusion

Recent books about marriage and family issues

With These Words by Rob Flood: Flood provides married couples with practical tools to tame the tongue and become more effective communicators. With examples from his marriage and other married couples, he analyzes unhealthy communication patterns and interweaves Biblical wisdom that provides better alternatives. The book addresses the importance of first responses, prayer, physical touch, forgiveness, listening, and proper timing—with the goal of glorifying God and loving one’s spouse more fully. Communication is fundamental for married couples, yet for change to occur, believers must be willing to look honestly at their own weaknesses and embrace the power to change that comes only through Jesus Christ.

Why Is My Teenager Feeling Like This? by David Murray: This book draws from 18 real-life examples to illustrate various struggles teenagers have with depression and anxiety. Murray, a pastor and counselor, helps parents and other adults identify possible root causes and understand how to pray, apply Scripture, ask the right questions, and point teens to Christ. Each case study includes various “keys”—Scripture meditation, rest, exercise, digital detox, prayer, and in some cases, medication—to help address underlying issues. Though not exhaustive, the book provides a starting point for parents and children to address mental illness and emotional disorders “as common experiences in a fallen world.” A companion book for teens, Why Am I Feeling Like This?, is also available.

Embodied by Preston Sprinkle: Sprinkle seeks to address transgenderism with empathy and truth. He refers to his transgender friends throughout the book and relates their nuanced experiences. He looks plainly at what Scripture says—how our bodies are an essential part of our image-bearing status, how the distinction of male and female in Genesis 1 describes biological sex not gender identity, and how Jesus affirmed this while overturning social views on masculinity and femininity. The book examines the roles that gender stereotypes, intersex conditions, rapid-onset gender dysphoria, pronouns, and other factors play in this cultural moment. Sprinkle calls Christians to form “a radically biblical community … one that affirms bodies, rejects stereotypes, pursues truth with humility, and lavishes grace on everyone who fails.”

Them Before Us by Katy Faust and Stacy Manning: Faust and Manning believe children’s rights should supersede adult desires. They examine divorce, abandonment, donor conception, surrogacy, and same-sex parenthood through a child’s perspective. They argue that redefining marriage has led to redefining parenthood, and children face real setbacks, losses, risks, and wounds outside of a stable home with a married, biological mother and father. Children’s voices are often underrepresented or dismissed in cultural and policy discourse, and the book includes policy recommendations that factor children’s rights. Faust’s experiences as a child of divorce (her mother became a lesbian), a pastor’s wife, an adoptive mother, and a children’s rights activist add depth to the book’s robust research and compelling testimonials.

—This story appears in the March 13, 2021, issue under the headline “Family dynamics.”