Recently my kids discovered The Cosby Show. Honestly, I feel a little guilty for taking this long to expose them to one of the best gifts of the 80s to American pop culture. We’ve watched seasons 1 and 2 and the kids love every episode.
Dr. Cosby talked about his goal for the show as a vehicle that would cast a vision for what family life could look like. Now, to be certain, Cosby’s goal related particularly to the African American experience, but the vision of family Cosby lays out serves as an alternative for anyone who wants to have a solid (though not perfect) family. In fact, I’ve been surprised with how much of my parenting is influenced by the show. I mean, you can’t do much better than this…but that’s another post for another day.
As I think about Dr. Cosby’s vision and goal for the show, I’m reminded of our call in the church, which is the household or family of God. As the Church—living in the world, but not of the world—part of our goal is to create an alternative vision of what life together can look like. Rather than the selfish, isolated, individualistic culture around us that creates distance based on performance and achievement, the church is to stand as a family of belonging and acceptance based on His grace to us and through us toward one another. Simple commands like “forgive” and “be patient” serve to remind us that grace needs to be on full display. And in doing this, the Church creates a vision of life that draws others in and welcomes them into the family God intends.
Most would agree that Cosby accomplished his vision. But I wonder how we are doing as the Church, and how Exodus is doing in particular. Would people look with awe at how we treat one another? Can people see the goodness and greatness of God’s grace in how we forgive one another? Does our patience shine like the sun to those who need it? I hope so.
The vision Dr. Cosby painted for us is a winsome portrait of what family could be. Though imperfect, it was, nonetheless, attractive. May the family of God be as winsome and alluring. Maybe we could even learn to laugh and rejoice as a graced people should.