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Home in an Age of Estrangement

Moving back home with mom and dad is not the goal of any adult person of my acquaintance. In fact, many adults find the obligatory sojourns home at Christmas or Easter to be far more strained than my own mild experience of displacement, draining and humiliating encounters with parents they have grown beyond and who have not yet learned to respect the adulthood of their children. There is a longing for homecoming and reunion after estrangement which finds expression in our culture, but it masks a much deeper disillusionment and bitterness about the actual state of family relationships, especially between parents and their adult children.
 
Given this widespread feeling, how appropriate or effective is it to rely on the image of a Waiting Father to communicate the reality of God's grace? To many of my generation, such a metaphor calls up horrible images.
 
- Laura Smit , "The Image of Home," Theology Today, October 1988.
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