A great perspective on family that is counter cultural but so important! Keeping Jesus at the center, Bethke outlines Family Teams! Definitely read and look into Family Teams if you have kids or are planning to someday!
Jefferson Bethke's Take Back Your Family has some elements of traditional views on family and how God designed for it to be, however, it also is lacking in clarity and conviction, seeming to vaccilate back and forth between those points. I have read Jeff's other two books previously, and even encouraged my sons (now adults) to read them, as I felt he spoke in a language "easy for the younger generation" to relate to. However, this book is a bit more dry, with less application on the view of marriage, and how one can be a committed wife/husband within their nuclear family unit, while also honoring God. In Today's society, there is so much destruction and apathy prevalent in the marriage unit, and it seems that to be so rigid in defining what "family" entails and how each person's role should be within a family unit, limits the very potential that God places within ALL of us as humans created in His Image.
I agree with the premise that we need to be living intentional lives, focused on others and how God would have us better serve and love them. But to put this in a "box" with limits, is my concern.
Thank you to Nelson Books and NetGalley for allowing me to review this book. My thoughts are my own.
This is an intriguing book. I like the premise, but it seems almost unrealistic. The author defers to a "normal" family, but that can be quite unattainable these days. There are some good suggestions, and if my children were way younger, I would probably implement some of them. For now, I'll raise them to be the best that they can be and place them in God's hands.
I received this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Take Back Your family is a good challenge to Christians reminding them of their biblical responsibility to lead in their homes. Discipleship, worship, prayer, and more disciplines all take root in the home. This is a quick read that serves as a great primer for deeper study.
This is a great intro to the idea of seeing your family as a team. My husband and I have been part of the homeroom community with Jeff and Alyssa and have completely bought into the concept of having a multigenerational family team on mission. This will be a book we highly recommend and gift to other families.
This one is not for the faint of heart. I found it to be divisive rather than building up and encouraging readers. While not everyone will agree with the ideas, the theology outlined in this book isn’t theology - it is one persons interpretation and ideas on family. Which is import to keep in mind when reading this genre.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book was fantastic. The Bethke family gives such good applicable advice on how to make your family a priority and to make your family a team.
Take Back Your Family by Jefferson Bethke is a look at the western family unit and how it can be radically altered for good. Drawing on research and anecdotes, the author explains how isolating western families have become. Instead, he proposes a different format to raise kids. This is such an interesting book and I highly recommend it to parents. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher with no obligations. These opinions are entirely my own.
Thank you to Nelson Books and NetGalley for allowing me to review this book. My thoughts are my own.
I am not a theologian by any means, but I was brought up in a Christian family and have attended church all my life. I do a lot of reading of various subjects and feel I have a grounded viewpoint of life.
Fairly early on, I began questioning his position...mainly with his scathing attack on the traditional, nuclear family. In fact, I would say the first 75% of the book is his manifesto against the traditional American family and conservatives. As a conservative who was raised in a traditional, nuclear family and who is raising the next generation, I can't help to be offended by his condescending put downs.
While he takes a couple of shots at liberals, this is a book against traditional western culture. It's difficult to see any good coming out of a book with such polarizing views.
Some of my problems with this book include:
- A simplification of the nuclear family and putting it into a box, the box of 1950s-1960s "patriarchal domination". If I might say, the Bible speaks to the nuclear family in Genesis. Genesis 2:24-25 reads, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife...(ESV version)" So, unless you're going to tell me my surface-level understanding of the Bible is incorrect, I don't see how you can deny God's plan from the beginning of creation.
- A simplification of the nuclear family as a means to promote self only and not look out for the good of the family unit. While I am sure this is true in some cases, I don't think he can make a blanket statement that this is how it looks and acts and feels.
- He looks at the conservative family unit as obsolete and unattainable. I would say the converse is true. There is a rise in conservative families who are trying to take back the family unit.
- He brings in social economics, a big red flag for me as to where he wants to head.
- He reduces American marriage to divorce, which again, I think this is a huge blanket statement to make.
- He criticizes the mom staying at home, when he states that is own wife is a homeschooling mother. To say that "every" conservative mom is just staying at home and slaving away is unfair and untrue.
- He sites Carle Zimmerman, who says "the nuclear family" is a sign of culture collapse, which doesn't sound so different from the conservative view that when you take away the the family, you see the beginning of a civilization's collapse. However, it's all in the speak, isn't it.
- He talks about the multigenerational family at the beginning of the book, going so far as to give hypothetical examples as well as real life examples. But never does he say how to put it into action.
I found myself more angry at the audacity of this book than cheering with its politicized statements. I don't know any conservative who would stand behind or with his underwhelming review of the conservative American family.
Like I said, this covers the first 75% of the book. The last 25% feels like a book on time management with very surface level instructions that are not articulated well. But, If there were any redeeming qualities, they would be:
- centering life around the home (I just don't think I see it the way Bethke does)
- Asking questions of our children and teens to get to know them better and see how they fit within the family and how to spur greatness in them
- Intentionality in raising our kids
- Figuring out your family mission statement and taking steps in faith to make it real
Bethke made waves in 2012 with his spoken word viral video of Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus. His anti-religious views have put him in the limelight time and again. To understand his mentors, Bethke features a recommended reading list in his book Jesus>Religion. The list includes the likes of Mark Driscoll (of Mars Hill fame), Timothy Keller, Andy Stanley, N.T. Wright and Beth Moore ("Anti-Religion Jeff Bethke Hits the News Again - New Book, Same Message: 'Imagine No Religion'". Lighthouse Trails Research, 2013).
Now, I'll tell you a secret. I didn't realize I reviewed a book by his wife until after I finished Take Back Your Family. I'll share more about this later.
Christianity divides. It draws sides and makes sides known.. Why? I believe, and think most traditionalists would agree that there are absolutes within the Christian faith. You can see good and evil. Based on God's word, you can identify the things you should follow and the things you shouldn't. And there are many today who do not like these absolutes. That's why there is such a push to create a new Gospel, in large part to take the Bible out of these progressive churches and to make Christianity more "user-friendly".
Based on his previous writing and his 2012 viral video, it's hard not to see Bethke as a progressive Christian. And, I had no clue to this fact before I picked up his newest release.
If you're a progressive Christian or one who is being swayed that way, you'll appreciate his communal, group speak. Although he speaks out against the disintegration of the family, it's from the perspective that American exceptionalism is wrong.
Now, given Bethke's difficult upbringing, I can understand his jaded viewpoint and limited understanding of the traditional, conservative family. He goes as far to say that he knows people (wealthy people, privileged people), who came from the traditional nuclear family who came out much worse for wear. To which I reply, don't thrown the baby out with the bath water.
I call it sin. We live in a fallen world. Regardless of what your family of origin looked like, I can assure you there was dysfunction there. Family dynamics are family dynamics. We're never going to find a way around that with sin in the world.
So, I guess, you could "take what you like and leave the rest", but I urge caution when reading this book. When I saw the title, it looked interesting. I do think there are things that can improve the family, but not to the point of creating something contrary to the Bible because "secular sources" say so.
Unfortunately the writing style is so youthful and ranty that I cannot finish. This is why sometimes I struggle with influencers writing books - they may just need to take a deep breath and reformulate how to express themselves to reach a wider audience. One moment the author is calling ideas "dumb" and "absurd" and in the next breath he starts rambling about inheritances. At one point he asks, can you even name one great-grandparent??? Well, yes...I can name them all if I really thought about it, I can name multiple generations on one side actually. I'm not sure. I thought this would be the book for me but unfortunately it's not meant to reach a broad audience, especially those who already value their family and their family history and have for a long time.
Jefferson Bethke is just one of those people with a passion and a vision that is hard not to be captivated by. I was initially intrigued by this after reading Hunt, Gather, Parent and my continued interest in all things community. So much of the mess that seems to plague our culture stems from hyper-individualism and a lack of concern for our neighbors. I feel like Bethke addresses this in a practical and refreshing way. I'll be thinking about it for a long time.
I really enjoyed reading Take Back Your Family by Jefferson Bethke. As I parent of young children, I would love to have the family they described. I was fascinated by how the modern nuclear family came to be and the drawbacks of that. I love that Jefferson is calling us back to a larger vision of family. I would loved a little more practical tips but I loved how he casted the vision. I recommend this to all families. It will give you some great things to think about.
I really enjoyed Jeff’s new book, Take Back Your Family. As always, he has thoughtful research that lays the foundation for the book as well as actual ways to implement the changes or processes that he suggests the reader to think about implementing, I also liked that he gives ideas for all different types of families instead of just a “normal” one. Well done!
If you are looking for a "how to" book this is not the book. If you are looking for a book to get you thinking this is the book. I loved that this book left me with more questions than answers. I recommend this book for those curious about what it would look like to do family differently. The author takes you through his journey thus far (spoiler: it's just beginning). In addition, he shares stories of families who live outside the mold. I appreciate that he touches on the fact that families can look many different ways. The one thing I would have liked to see is a mention of families with no kids whether married or single.
Jefferson Bethke is one of my favorites and I admire the way he raises his family. I was so excited to read this book and it did not disappoint! Jeff gives readers facts about how family culture has shifted over history. I loved learning more about this concept.
This book shows readers how to create their own family team and reshape their view of family. I gleaned so much from this book and hope to implement it with my littles. I loved the real life stories of people who courageously took the step to make this change.
All in all, this is a fantastic book that everyone should read!
So many incredible points made. Lots to think on and try to process to find out what will work for our family but I love the idea of teams.
If you’re tired of feeling like life is just a list of to-dos and you’re struggling to find meaning and purpose for your family, this book is for you! With two young kids and all the challenges we’ve personally faced in the last 18+ months (pandemic, isolation, shift in work culture...), the ideas in this book have been life-giving. We’re shifting the family narrative from a ‘me-mentality’ to a ‘we-mentality’, the Waibel Team. We desire to be a family that lives on mission and has a multigenerational impact, and to work as a team on that journey. This book gives practical tools to be better coaches towards that vision.
The ideas in the book will likely be challenging and may change the context and perspective of everything you ever thought about what family means. Personally as a father, I've seen my role as provider, but Jeff pushes back on the nuclear ideal that a father's role is only to provide financially. I'm a coach that needs to be present in providing my family with the high support and expectations they need to succeed.
The research and historical information Jeff has provided helped me understand just how much the cards are stacked against fostering a family culture of contribution instead of consumption. I'm excited to look back in five or 10 years and reflect on instrumental this book was in shaping our Team into what it will be then.
I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, it is a great idea to define your family as a "team" and to have the mentality that if it isn't good for the team, you should not do it as a family. It is also great to realize that pulling apart the family has hurtful consequences for everyone.
However, I found specific application lacking. For example, his wife used to hate being left alone with their small children (who also hated when daddy left) while he went away for work on trips. Then somehow, miraculously, she didn't mind anymore (and neither did the kids!) when they reframed his trips as something he did for the family team. This made no sense to me.
I think men would like this book and probably get something out of it - especially given the sports references and the fact that men look at their families as a unit/team much less than women do, so it would help their perspective. However, I got a lot more out of reading the essay that Bethke frequently quotes in the book (found for free online if you look up "Wendell Barry Feminism").
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a free digital copy of this book.
Wow! I was really blown away by this book. Honestly, I was thinking exactly what Jefferson addressed in the beginning of the book…how can someone with such a young family write a book about family? BUT, I loved his response and the humility and boldness to write what he felt like God has made a passion of his. I loved the themes of team and putting the correct emphasis on how to do family. I highly recommend this book for parents, grandparents, pastors, children and youth ministers, and even teachers. It’s a great, engaging read on vitally important topic in today’s Church and world.
I received this book from NetGalley. My opinions are my own.
A great and very educational book challenging the modern (and highly individualistic) family of the West.
I learned so much but was also left with hope that I can effect change and bring restoration to my own family.
Always a fan of Jefferson Bethke and his direct but compassionate communication style.
Highly recommend and not just for parents, this book is for everyone!