Monday, June 27, 2011

Marriage is meant for making children...disciples of Jesus

Earlier this month Brandon and I traveled back to Texas, visiting family and friends and attending Brandon's sister Holly's high school graduation. While we were there, Brandon was given the opportunity to speak about the adoption at the church he grew up in. He played several songs, preached about following God's will, and linked the topic to us adopting. At the end, Brandon asked if there was anything I would like to add, and I asked for prayer for many different things relating to the adoption (preparing us to be parents, guidance and wisdom for the adoption agency employees and the Ethiopian government, comfort and hope for our children who are likely already born and going through difficult times - including possible illness, death in the family, and/or abandonment, love and compassion from the orphanage caregivers). As I was speaking, a man in the front row raised his hand. A bit confused, Brandon called on the man, who asked the following question:
God said to "be fruitful and multiply the earth"... EXACTLY HOW ARE YOU DOING THAT?

This man's statement represents a huge problem in Christianity. Isn't that just like satan to manipulate scripture into satisfying our own selfish desires... to pull whatever string he can (even a "religious" one) to interrupt a time intended to glorify God? Brandon and I answered his question, and I'll discuss our thoughts below, but to him and others, it doesn't matter. Some people are so set in their ways that they can't fathom the possibility of another possibility. Guess what? While our society was sitting in it's nice, comfortable bubbles and just worrying about ourselves, 147 MILLION CHILDREN BECAME ORPHANS THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN. Which brings me to my responses...

- I personally cannot call myself a Christian and do NOTHING to care for the orphans. I cannot say that I follow a God who said himself that the greatest two commandments are to 1) love God, and 2) love people, and spend every penny of my money and every moment of time on myself. Selfishness. Is. Not. Okay.

- ORPHAN CARE IS GOSPEL REENACTMENT. When we bring children into our homes and make them part of our families and treat them just as if they were our own, we are mimicking the kind of grace that God showed us when he accepted us into his family, despite our flaws, despite our unworthiness.

- In reference to the scripture... this was God's command to Noah and his family to do immediately after the flood... when there was NOBODY on earth besides the eight of them. Being fruitful and multiplying was God's original design, and it is and ALWAYS will be a good thing. However, much like sin in the Garden of Eden, God's original design has been corrupted. Death, disease, poverty, famine all destroyed families and communities. Because of sin, innocent children became homeless and without parents. Are we as the church just to sit by and twiddle our thumbs? Absolutely not! (James 1:27) And what about those that can't have children? This argument is just ridiculous. Paul even said it is good not to marry if you can manage. How would someone who is following Christ and not married have children?

- I know through my 8+ years of working with youth and children at churches... often parents expect the church to teach their child how to be a Christian. In reality, the ultimate responsibility of teaching a child to follow Christ lies on the parents. Ephesians 6:1-4 says
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Christians were never intended to aimlessly and irresponsibly fill the earth with people. We are called to fill the earth . . . with worshipers of Christ. Marriage is meant for making children. . . disciples of Jesus. (see this sermon for more details)

- If we, as Christians, are going to continue to pursue being super PRO-LIFE (as I believe we should), then we, as Christians, are going to have to become super PRO-ADOPTION. Those two issues go hand in hand. It doesn't make any sense to tell the world to not kill their babies, and then ignore the ones that are given away or that cannot be appropriately cared for. Most people in our country don't even consider adoption -- to them, keeping the baby or having an abortion are the only two socially acceptable options. And if they don't have means to care for a child?..... you see the problem here.
Even CNN has noticed this. In this recent article (which I don't entirely agree with, by the way), the author writes that in reference to adoption, Christians should either "put up or shut up". He also states...
In the United States, there are approximately 116,000 foster children waiting to be adopted. That means a judge has either severed the rights of the original parents or the parents have voluntarily signed their children over to the government.

To put this into perspective, we might compare the number of American orphans to the purported 16 million Southern Baptists who attend more than 42,000 churches nationwide. Quick math reveals that there are roughly 138 Southern Baptists for every child in the American foster care system waiting to be adopted. To say it another way, this single denomination has an enormous opportunity to eradicate the orphan crisis in America.
And HOW MANY denominations are there again??? Honestly, there should not be a single orphan in America... if not the entire world...

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