/*Adopt Ye, One Another, Even as I Have Adopted You*/

"Adopt Ye, One Another, Even as I Have Adopted You..."

Not Shaker Theology, not a cult and not any sort of propaganda. An approach, by Heaven's Grace, to the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness. Do you want to see it? Do you want to see the Kingdom Of Christ? Say yes.


Hopeless, Pointless, Useless except for the Grace of God

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Definition of Insanity

Well, okay. So, you've heard it before. One of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing - repeatedly - and expecting NOT the same results.

For AGES we've been focused on personal empire and genetic legacy INSTEAD OF claiming the lost, the last and the least to make of them our own family. AND WE WONDER WHY WE KEEP HAVING ISSUES LIKE POVERTY, RAMPANT DISEASE, GANG VIOLENCE, WAR, EXPLOITATION, people on the GOVERNMENT DOLE and other sad relics of our so called civilization.

HELL--OH? Could it be time for a change? Ya THINK? Look, you'd probably make BEAUTIFUL babies but you could also make an even MORE beautiful family in Christ Jesus by adopting people that NEED YOU and that NEED HIM! (Are any of the rest of you noticing how I keep using all caps to 'shout' more these days?) Besides, there's NEVER gonna be a shortage of people. We need to get busy loving the people that're already HERE! AND, we need to teach THEM how to adopt and love as well!

Too often, in the past, we've thought of adoption as something to fulfill US as opposed to pursuing adoption as did our Lord and Savior. He pursued adopting us because we need Him and not because He 'needs' us. (Well, DUHH! The Living God in Christ Jesus is without ANY need whatever - it's not Him that needs us. It is us that needs HIM. So, get over it.)

It was my privilege to be in Lexington, KY recently and I was thrilled to hear the word of The Living God proclaimed by a young Associate Pastor at The Rock/La Roca UM church on North Limestone. If you're not familiar with this congregation, they're a very missions oriented church with a real heart for those who're 'vulnerable'. Anyway, this precious young man challenged us all to again consider a concept introduced by the Senior Pastor: "Love them as if they are our own".
Hey, y'all! LISTEN TO THIS YOUNG PASTOR, would you please? If you don't believe me, believe him. And if you don't believe him, BELIEVE GOD'S HOLY WORD!! John 13:34 - "YOU WILL", says The Lord Jesus, "LOVE EACH OTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU". And my friends, Jesus Christ has loved us as if we belonged to Himself!

No, we DIDN'T belong to Him before He adopted us! We were conceived in ignorance and arrogance, quickened into suffering and disease and given heartbeats of insolence and defeat. We were born into poverty and despair, nurtured in worthlessness and hopelessness and we existed in a COUNTERFEIT of Life until we were claimed (adopted) by the Living God in Christ Jesus!
We were not born into Jesus family; we had to be REBORN to get into Jesus family. Jesus said, "I AM the way, the truth and The LIFE" and sisters and brothers, "we ain't GOT no 'Life' " unless we get it from Christ Jesus. EVERYTHING ELSE IS A POORLY WROUGHT FAKE!! Your precious Momma and Daddy probably would have given you "Life" if they could've but all they could give you was DEATH (and disease). If your Daddy and Momma could've given you "Life", we wouldn't even need Christ Jesus. And I, for one, don't even want to consider a world where Jesus is unavailable (or even unwelcome)!

The young Pastor at The Rock was bringing his message that Sunday with the title "Plundering the Egyptians" and I respond with "AMEN" and I say "adoption is how we do it". (?????) Yes, that's right: "By adopting from among the most vulnerable of people - the aged, the diseased, the disabled, the discarded, the outcast, the halt, the lame, the blind - by adopting INSTEAD OF reproducing, we plunder the very ranks of the enemy, not just possessions but the population of the enemy itself." We're stealing a whole nation - we're stealing a whole civilization - and we're evacuating that dying 'civilization' into the Kingdom of God on Earth, as it is in Heaven. By adopting instead of reproducing, we're saying that reconciling the lost is more important to us than genetic legacy. By adopting instead of reproducing we are acknowledging the truth that we have something FAR more important to do than to pursue genetic descendancy and personal empire. By adopting instead of reproducing, we're imitating Christ Jesus Who did not breed (no matter what Dan Brown says) and Who was a eunuch for the sake of the 'household' of The Father.

Or we could ourselves just continue being slaves (as the young pastor warned) and we could continue in our INSANITY and just keep on doing what we've been doing over and over again. And we could expect different results, THIS time just like we expected different results every time in the past. After all, every thing's going to be alright and we can just put our heads back into the sand, can't we? All that really matters is that I get to have my American Dream, my little empire and my own genetic lineage, isn't it? Isn't it really all about ME?

Sounds to me like about as close to a definition of madness as I've heard.

Can you hear me PLEADING with you? "Adopt ye, one another, even as I have adopted you..."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

So, Do We Know Yet What Time It Is?

No, I don't think we do. Even though we've been reading about it in God's Holy Word for hundreds of years. Our beloved Father God has been telling us and His Only begotten Son has been telling us and we STILL don't know what time it is. Here in the twenty-first century, we have terrorism born of despair, we have dwindling resources, we have famine, war, pestilence, plague, disease and the HEARTBREAK OF PSORIASIS (sorry, I couldn't resist) and we STILL don't know what time it is!

Now, when Jesus said, "The poor, you have with you always", I believe he was at least telling the truth. There will not ever be a shortage of poor people - and therefore, there will not ever be a shortage of people, period. But I also believe Jesus was telling us something about the urgency of our time. Jesus went on to say (John 12) "but with me, it is not so."

The poor, we have with us always: the work of reconciliation is not complete (and likely will not be in the foreseeable future) but "with me" (the Prince of Reconciliation - the very Reconciliation of God) "it is not so". !!! The very Prince of Reconciliation... will not always be with us? !!! Surely, Jesus was talking about His coming crucifixion but was He also warning us? Was He also warning us that unless we harbor, nurture, honor, cherish and strengthen the spirit of reconciliation that is among us in Christ Jesus that the very Spirit that has given us the possibility of reconciliation could be withdrawn? (Withered, weakened, atrophied?)

Think about it! If I don't nourish my relationship with God, will that relationship not wither? If I don't extend reconciliation to my brothers and sisters, will my capability to be reconciled not shrivel? THE PRINCE OF RECONCILIATION IS NOW AMONG US! LET'S TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HIS BEING IN US / WITH US - WHILE WE CAN!!

"Well, um, okay, Tom. So, how do we do that?" We take advantage of the presence of the Spirit of Reconciliation by EXTENDING HIS RECONCILIATION to those who are not privileged to know Him!! We ADOPT THEM into the family of God or, as Matthew 28:19 says "Go ye, into all the world and" (Tom's translation) "ADOPT EVERYBODY INTO MY FAMILY". (Whew!)

Okay, so, all of my ranting is overwrought. No, NO, NOOO!! I don't have anything against reproduction. But at this point in human history, reproduction is fruit out of season. In reproducing, we're celebrating a gift that is not ours to celebrate at this time. We've made of it a counterfeit, an IDOL!! We have something MUCH more important to do!! The time now is to celebrate reconciliation and we are to celebrate (pursue, enact, re-create) the celebration of reconciliation until there are NO MORE UNWANTED, DISCARDED PEOPLE. That means, until ALL of the jails and prisons ALL OVER THE WORLD are empty and rusting; until ALL of the wars have ceased and their weapons are beat into tools for replenishing the Earth; until ALL of the diseased, discarded, aged, unwanted, outcast and misfits are claimed, loved and contributing, it's time for you and me to be pursuing reconciliation whole heartedly, as our TOP priority. Please remember Matthew 6 and remember what Jesus said we must seek first.

If you can remember what Jesus told us to seek first and if you can remember what MUST be our #1 priority, then you KNOW what time it is. Let's get busy.

"Adopt ye, one another, even as I have adopted you..."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Worship of Human Fecundity

What an odd title. People worship human fecundity?

Well, let me ask you. If I'm making sacrifices to an idol, I'm worshiping that idol, aren't I? If I make my idol - which is unnecessary - a higher priority than that which is NECESSARY, then, I'm worshiping that idol, aren't I?

So, then, if there are people that I could adopt - whether they're eight days, eight weeks, eighteen or eighty-eight - and I choose instead to ignore / discard /cast out /blow-off any of those people to my higher priority of reproduction, then, haven't I SACRIFICED those people that are already here to the worship of my fecundity? MY, MY! Isn't that special??

If I use the resources that my Savior God has given to me on behalf of the creation of my own genetic / ethnic / cultural / racial legacy INSTEAD OF using His resources on behalf of claiming - for the family of God - the last, the lost and the least, have I not SACRIFICED those that I might have claimed to my own lust for self-perpetuation?? Is that NOT the worship of human fecundity?

Now, I will readily confess to you that "Adopt ye, one another, even as I have adopted you" is NOT the King James version of Christ's new commandment but I sincerely believe that it is the Word of The Living God. Else, I would not bring this to you here.

You and I do NOT need to reproduce. There will ALWAYS be plenty of people. What is lacking - at this point in human history - is for Seminaries and their graduates AND US LAY PEOPLE to have the courage to stand up and say:

"ENOUGH! ENOUGH OF THE PURSUIT of personal legacy and personal empire. THE TIME IS NOW for me and for all of us to give whole-hearted devotion to the reconciliation of God - claiming for our family (our family is the family of God, right?) those that would otherwise be discarded, excluded, ignored, wasted and sacrificed!!"

I don't have to be married to tutor a young person. I don't have to be married to visit the elderly - just to make sure that they're not deserted. I don't have to be wealthy to visit someone in prison. I don't have to be especially bright or attractive or even especially capable to "adopt" people into God's family. I just have to LOVE THEM the way that He loves me. This "adoption" is something that EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES IN GOD can do! HE POURED OUT HIS BLOOD to give me a new bloodline. HE HAS BORNE WITH ME PATIENTLY to teach me how to behave in His clan. I have been claimed for His household and He COMMANDS that I do the same for others. God have mercy on me if I don't.

The arrogance of the worshipers of human fecundity wears me down. God is patient. I'm only human. I would love to hear some preacher, somewhere, say "You know, the people that are already here are good enough for us to invest in. They're good enough for us to love, 'as if they are our own', the way that Jesus has loved us; the way that He commands us to love". His adoptive Love is how our transformation began. Our adoptive love - from Him - is the only hope for transformation of this broken and dying world. May God have mercy on us all.

"Adopt ye, one another, even as I have adopted you..."

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

We Have Something More Important to Do

And so the pattern continues. We're focused on the new and exciting and that which we think gives us personal fulfillment while that which is already here (that we now take for granted) becomes neglected and even pushed away. Hmm, this shiny new fruit will make you even more fulfilled than you are now. Surely, God wants you to have it, right?

Have we learned nothing?

The levees that failed in the hurricane, the bridge that collapsed without warning. Were these and other failures the result of the redirection of resources away from the stewardship to which we're called? Were these failures the result of our lusting after personal fulfillment through doing that which makes US feel important? (I mean, after all, who needs God anyway? He's SO old fashioned!)

We have something more important to do!

And with that, I could hardly agree more. They're all around us: the "bridges" and "levees" that're being neglected because we want to spend resources on something to make us PROUD of ourselves. There are several people in my faith community who actually are each a kind of "bridge" to parts of the community outside 0ur church that I might never contact. But how have I invested in these "bridges"? More than one or two people in my faith community are guides for the flow of The Holy Spirit. It's not that they prevent God's precious presence from spilling out. Quite the contrary. They guide all of us into His Light and His Person and they help keep ME from spilling out of the flow of His Love. How am I investing in these "levees"?

And how am I investing in the people who need to be reconciled to the family of God? They're already here. I don't need to go looking for genetic legacy. I need to invest in the people that I can ADOPT into God's family (and of course, it'll be Him that does the adopting, I just help).

God is already here and doesn't need to be replaced. I have a commandment to invest in my relationship with Him.

My neighbors are already here and will be continually replaced (so, I don't need to replace them). I have a commandment to invest in my relationship with them.

So, once again I try to make clear to you that while I have nothing against reproduction (God doesn't, why should I?) I'm trying to emphasize that we ALL have something more important to do. This, our seminaries must teach and our Pastors must preach. Adopting the unwanted people into the family of God MUST come first. Reconciliation MUST be prioritized over growth. The growth will come (if we seed and water) and there'll ALWAYS be plenty of people.

They're already here.

"Adopt ye, one another, even as I have adopted you..."

Monday, June 25, 2007

Relationships of Reconciliation

"Love The Lord Thy God", "Love your neighbor as yourself", "Love ye, one another. Even as I have loved you, so love ye one another".

To me, all of these love commandments represent the pursuit of the original state of reconciliation. This "state of reconciliation" is, I believe, what Moses was trying to describe to us in the ancient story of God's creating. Now, maybe you don't believe in a literal garden of "Eden". Well, I'm not here to argue with you but could you believe that the ancient writer was trying to describe the very real possibility of a status of "reconciliation"? A status of creation in which all living things and all of creation exist in harmony and balance? Is that too far fetched for you to accept?

Okay. So, when I write about "relationships of reconciliation", what I'm trying to describe is a state of relating - between you and me, or, between you and someone else, or between your ethnic, cultural, racial, genetic group and someone else's group or a state of relating, even, between political entities. That very state of relating I'm trying to describe also amounts - I believe - to the manifestation of the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, right here among us.

Now, let me try to describe what I mean by a "relationship of reconciliation". There will be numerous updates to this post and probably many posts following it that are closely related.

A relationship of reconciliation is (at least) -

  1. A circumspect relationship (if you're at all like me, you have to make a real effort to keep sex from unduly influencing the relationship). Starting with this ground rule, the relationship has a chance - perhaps - of being something that can deepen and grow, spiritually. Keeping sex out of the way (Darn!) we're allowed to view the relationship for what it is and to recognize the real needs of those party to the relationship.
  2. A mutually respectful relationship (and this is STILL one of the things I'm learning and that I expect you are learning as well). But do we even know how to respect ourselves? And do we really know how to respect the other in the relationship?
  3. A mutually assertive relationship (and if you aren't familiar with assertive relating, I highly recommend that you become familiar with this practice, A.S.A.P.) Both parties in the relationship take responsibility for their own feelings and self-actualization. Now, there's nothing wrong with one member of the relationship coaching the other, if this enables the other to become stronger in the practices of assertive relating. However, the best option is for us (the church) to teach assertive relating to the last, the least and the lost, to the youngest and to the most vulnerable so that we all have this relating tool on which we can call.
  4. A God centered relationship (sharing discussion about the One Eternal, His Holy Word, His purpose of reconciliation, His Christ, His people and all that other "God stuff", sharing service to His vulnerable ones, sharing the extension of His reconciliation to those who don't yet have the privilege of a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus). It's just hard to beat God as the center for a relationship. He really does rock! (Ummm, and He's a solid foundation - ouch!)
  5. An 'other oriented' relationship (each of the parties to the relationship continually seeking the good of the other). Believe it or not, this can work between men and men or between women and women or between women and men! An other oriented relationship can always reach out to the other in offering, in forgiveness and in lifting the other closer to God.
  6. A sustainable relationship (neither of the parties demands of the other that which would disable or diminish the other). This, the better to enable the relationship to be long lasting and mutually beneficial.
  7. A Holy relationship (wholesome, reconciled, mutually uplifting, spiritually deepening). Holy habits, Holy relationships, Holy communion (as in community).
  8. A bridge of safe passage between persons (yes, well, any good relationship should be a bridge of trust but a relationship of reconciliation MUST be a bridge of safe passage and trust to qualify).
  9. A precursor relationship to all other types of relationships. This is part of what I want the church to teach. We must learn and practice relationships of reconciliation to inform and precede all other aspects of relating.

Now, what do relationships of reconciliation have to do with adoption? In answer, I say 'try to realize that Jesus of Nazareth - who adopted you and me into the family of God - lives in relationship of reconciliation with The Heavenly Father and lives in relationship of reconciliation with those who were /are called to Him. And, He lives in a reconciling relationship with you and me' if we have any sort of relationship to Him at all.

As you already know, it is in relationship that we will reach the lost. All the preaching and do-gooding in the world won't make a bit of difference if you and I are unwilling to live in relationship with those who don't have a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus. The One Eternal will do the 'saving' and we can leave that up to Him. Our job is to love honestly and to relate sincerely and I sincerely believe that our relationships MUST be relationships of reconciliation. On those kinds of relationships, I believe He can build His Kingdom.

And there's more to come! Stay tuned!