There is a remarkable, visible, momentousness wave of adoption coming. It is not on the edge of our perception. It is well within sight, it runs from horizon to horizon, and already the ship of the American church is beginning to rise on it’s leading swell. All the key leaders know it and are preparing their sails for the wild ride that is already beginning. People are growing excited. Resources are being produced. It’s clear that in the next decade, justice will become what small groups were in the 90’s – the must-do marker of a healthy church – and what better thing to do to bring justice than adopt?
I’m seeing the message everywhere. Adoption. It’s the right thing to do. We have a responsibility. 2523 kids in foster care in your county. If every church took one….etc. People are being told that orphan care is something good people do, and so if you’re a good person, get in line and get yours. After all, it’s a child. You can give them a better life than they will ever have any other way.
I’m sorry. I’m just tired of the dumbing down of the radical message of adoption to the point where we’re placing children in nominal Christian homes in hopes that they’ll be a little better fed, a little warmer at night, and have a few more Christmas presents than they would otherwise.
If that is our goal, then we’re really not doing the spiritual work of adoption, we’re just delaying hell for 70 years.
Personally, I’m not willing to burn the candles at both ends and in the middle just to provide a fridge stocked with yogurt and a new set of soccer cleats. The smile that comes across a child’s face when he sees a new bike on Christmas morning is not my paycheck. I’m doing this because they deserve our care, but also because I want real influence in decades far beyond my earthly life.
I’m ok with being financially stretched. I’m fine shoppers thinking I’m a nut with the big tribe at Costco. In 100 years, people know my name because it will be on the lips of countless descendants that are going to have to acknowledge the world view of their great grandather – one that says that there was a God and they could know His power in their own life. I cannot control where those lives end up, but I can forge the steel that builds the platform from which they will launch, and that platform will be an understanding of God as a living entity jealous for their affection.
I see justice movements everywhere that are long on immediate benefits but short on lasting ones. By lasting ones, I mean those that will outlast the human frame. Understand, I’m all for wells that give children clean water, for churches building parks for their community, and for kids getting out of a horribly flawed system…but it’s hard to be too enthusiastic in those cases where the designers are so short sighted as to think that they’ve actually had lasting impact without a radical presentation of the Gospel that offers hope when the well runs dry next year.
There is a subset of the justice movement that sits at an uncomfortable angle to the whole. It does the stuff but it packs a punch. There are some who don’t have the stomach for it – and others who don’t have the soul – but it utilizes tools of both the hand and the heart to make a difference in the now and the not yet. That’s the movement I want to run with.
Dig your wells, welcome your orphans, serve your neighbor, but let’s not just delay hell with our talk of justice. Let’s subvert it by infusing our spiritual DNA into generations that will follow.
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