/*Adopt Ye, One Another, Even as I Have Adopted You: It "ain't" about you. It "ain't" about me. It's about HIM!*/

"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.

Name:

Hopeless, Pointless, Useless except for the Grace of God

Saturday, July 29, 2006

It "ain't" about you. It "ain't" about me. It's about HIM!

My Beloved Aunt and Uncle,

Thanks for taking the time to contact me! Truly, it is a delight to get
to speak with you. The two of you may be among the few people who
can grasp (whether or not you agree) what Heaven has been trying to
say to me and through me.

As I understand it, we have strayed FAR from the intentions that
Jesus was communicating when He commanded us to "Love as I have
loved you..." and so - witness now - as the church goes, so goes the
world. We have allowed the church to be the handmaiden of the
state (and of various other empire builders) for far too long. As I told
you recently, I believe I have been given this teaching because our
Father is calling us back to His purposes. This "ain't" about me. It's
about Him, it's about His Kingdom and it's about His reconciliation
of our wretched, broken, dying world.

No Other Hope
Acts 4:8-12 is pretty explicit - as far as I'm concerned - that in no
other 'name' (attitude, spirit, character, personality, personal
essence, blood) other than Jesus Christ of Nazareth is there any
hope for reconciliation with our Heavenly Father. And I will add,
that in no other name is there any hope among human kind for our
reconciliation with each other. We have no other hope! (Look
around you. Am I wrong?) Now, here's my point: the name of
Jesus - the very essence of Jesus' love - is His adoption of us. Jesus'
name means, "God Saves" and it is His very character - His very
name - to adopt those who are vulnerable - relative to Him.
The ancient people believed that a person's name exposed much
about their character. In the person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,
nothing could be more true. Glory to God!

Our Birth Family
Humans are not born into the family of God. We are born into
suffering and poverty, disease and wretchedness, wrath, death and
sin. We have 'existence' by being born into this world. We can only
have 'life' through Jesus Christ. We can become a part of God's
family by being 'reborn'.
Oh, yes, plenty of people do 'quite well' in this world without ever
being spiritually reborn but they may not ever become a member of
the family of God unless their souls are renewed by the Holy Spirit.
This 'renewal' is - to me - a part of recognizing that we have been
'adopted'.
So, when did this 'adoption' happen? When we 'got saved and born
again'? I will leave that discussion to another letter. For now, I will
only say that God's time is not our time. His ways are not our ways.
His mercies and His renewal of us, are new every morning.

Describing God's Love
Now, there are many descriptions of God's love for us. His love
is agape love. His love is redeeming love. God's love is renewing,
sustaining, reconciling and reclaiming love. One of the descriptions
of God's love that is not often discussed, however, is that His Love
is 'adoptive' love (Eph 1:4-8, 11-14; Rom 8:14-17 and elsewhere).
Plus, people don't talk about the fact that Jesus sacrificed His
privilege to reproduce in laying down His life to adopt all of us - by
His blood. By His blood, we are given a new bloodline. This doesn't
negate the fact that we have a genetically related family. However,
when we are 'adopted' into the family of God, we can be re-born into
a much LARGER family. We now also have a family that is not
bounded by walls of genetics, race, ethnicity or culture. We now are
also a part of HIS family. And all of the other people that He
adopts - whether or not we are comfortable with them - are our
family as well.
If I am a Christian - in GOD'S legacy- I have children and family
all over the world.

Christ's Commandment
Now, remember that I quoted John 13:34 as Christ Jesus
commanding us to love as He has loved us. Does this mean that
we have to sacrifice our privilege to reproduce? Certainly not!
That privilege was granted to us in the earliest passages of God's
Word and ALL of His promises are "Yea!" and "Amen!" However,
because of our own sin, Christ Jesus has given to us something
MUCH more important to do than child-bearing. That something
that is more important than child-bearing is adoption and
child-raising. Reproduction can wait.
No matter who brought those children into the world, if I am a
Christian, they are my children: no matter their age, their race,
their background, their need, their loveliness or their lack of it.
Adopting the vulnerable in priority before reproduction is also a
matter of being focused on what we have as opposed to being
focused on what we don't have or might have (See the story of
Adam and Eve for an example of people who lost focus on what
they did have and became focused on what they didn't have).

Whether you or I have a genetic legacy is insignificant. What
matters is that - in community with other servants of God - you
and I will adopt vulnerable people (God's children), people of
varying ages, backgrounds and situations. They, with us, become
JESUS' legacy! Is this what a church should be doing, anyway?
Of Course! But what you and I were never told is that this
'adoption business' is COMMANDED!! While reproduction and
genetic legacy is a great privilege, reproduction is only that: a
privilege, an option. Adopting the vulnerable people is
REQUIRED!! We may NOT prioritize the optional before the
required!

How Then Shall We Live?
We are to utilize the resources that God makes available to us
on behalf of the vulnerable. Just as the Father has used priceless
resources to claim us - who were not born into His family - so are
we to utilize the resources given to us to claim those who were not
born into 'our' family. AND, as we adopt them, we teach them to
adopt still others - just the way adoption was taught to us.
Remember: reproduction is only a privilege. Adoption is required!

A Slightly Different Way of Thinking
As you might imagine, other people who have been told about
this teaching are not immediately accepting of it. (To say the least!)
Some have already accused me of having something 'against'
motherhood or fatherhood or against little children. Nothing could
be further from the truth. My sense is that there will be PLENTY of
time for reproduction when all of the vulnerable people have been
adopted. (And what are little children if they are not one type of
'vulnerable people'?) Claiming the lost for the Kingdom of Heaven
is our mission (Matt 28:19). We are to be 'aggressively engaged' in
God's reconciling of this world unto Himself! You and I do not exist
to pursue genetic legacy, personal empire and 'the American Dream'.
We exist to pursue God's reconciliation of all of His creation. We are
not allowed to rest until there remain NO unclaimed people in our
communities! This world-wide emphasis on adopting the vulnerable
could start with US! Western Christians could show the world how
to live out Christ's New Commandment!

Recruited by The Enemy
Please consider how silly it would be for me to be upset - after I
leave some person neglected and 'un-adopted', discarded and
ignored - when the enemy comes along and recruits them for his
purposes!
I can just hear me now: "Why, that poor so-and-so should have
pulled himself up by his own bootstraps and made his own way".
Pretty short-sighted, right? This is exactly what is happening, all
over the world, in a very literal sense. Nations are leaving out the
poorest of the poor and then whining when the terrorist groups
come along and recruit the outcasts for their monstrous, suicidal
pursuits.

Plug Your Ears! I'm Gonna Get LOUD!
WE CANNOT EXPECT THAT DISCARDED PERSONS ARE GOING
TO ALIGN THEMSELVES WITH THE KINGDOM OF GOD UNLESS
WE 'AGRESSIVELY' RECRUIT THEM!! (Adopt them)
OUR WORLD IS DYING IN SIN!! WE DO NOT HAVE TIME TO
PURSUE 'THE AMERICAN DREAM', PERSONAL EMPIRE AND
GENETIC LEGACY!! (Whew!) THE 'NUMBER ONE TERRORIST' ( old
scratch himself ) IS LOOSED AND HE IS ROARING! He is devouring
whom he will!
Okay. Enough shouting. I hope you get my point.

Now, there are plenty of people who will have nothing to do with us.
They don't want to be 'adopted' or they don't want to pursue the
Kingdom of God or they are hostile to the idea of adopting other
people. Okay. We'll just have to let them go. But there are MORE than
plenty of vulnerable people - young and not so young - who would be
willing to be included in God's family if we would only make their
inclusion - their 'adoption' - as important to ourselves as if they were
to be our genetically related progeny. If we will just prioritize
adoption, we will have as large a family (and church) as we can stand.

Who Can Predict The Outcome? YOU CAN!!
Imagine a world where Christians everywhere make claiming the
vulnerable a higher priority than their pursuit of genetic legacy or
their pursuit of The America Dream. Imagine a world where all
Christians are taught that 'adoption MUST be first' and that we can
bond together in community in Christ Jesus to make our adoptive
family strong enough to handle the needs of those we adopt.
Imagine a world where Christians everywhere REFUSE to allow
people to be discarded to the juvenile corrections system or to
drugs or to gangs or to the adult corrections system or to disease or
to disability or to age and dementia. Imagine a world where
Christians imitate Christ Jesus by going ALL OUT to claim the
vulnerable as their own instead of creating personal empires and
legacies. Imagine a world where the young and the not so young are
taught that they have the privilege of being like God - of imitating
Him - by adopting people, just the way He has adopted us!

So, that's the beginning of it, dear Uncle. And there is so much
more, beloved Aunt, that I cannot fit it all into the words of a
hundred letters. But God's Bible has already said - much more
beautifully - what I am trying to say in my own feeble way. You
may just not have heard it quite this way before.

There are centuries of bad behavior that must be unlearned. There
are layers upon layers of prejudice and self-interest that must be
sacrificed like the idols they are. Then, there are also real enemies
of Christ's teaching that will have to be circumvented. How will He
do this? I can't say a whole lot about it. This will be done in His time
and in His way. I have a very tiny little part to play by writing - out
on the world wide web - and by sharing what I can with those who
will listen. It may even be that some day I will get to attend seminary
but my part is very small.

Thank you, VERY much for being willing to read this. I have more
that I can send if you have the occasion to read it.

Your Nephew in Christ Jesus,

Tom

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


FAQs
Q: Didn't the Shakers try something like this a long time ago?
A: Well, no, not exactly. The Shakers believed there was something
inherently wrong with sex and reproduction. Obviously, the Bible
says these are both privileges of God's good creation. However, one
of the points of this teaching is that while there is nothing wrong with
reproduction in the appropriate context, we still have something
FAR more important to do than self-replication. That more
important something is adoption of vulnerable persons. That
adoptive behavior - because it is commanded - must take priority
over reproduction, even though reproduction is a wonderful
privilege and gift from God.
We make an idol of the privilege of reproduction if we make it a
priority before obedience to Christ's new commandment!

Q: God commands us to adopt?
A: Yes! Throughout God's Holy Word, we are told to use such
power and resources as we have on behalf of those who are
vulnerable, relative to us. Christ's new commandment, in John
13:34 is just one example of God very explicitly telling us that we
are to adopt. When we love as Jesus has loved us, we will pursue
adoptive behavior on behalf of those who are vulnerable - relative
to us - just as Christ Jesus has adopted us who are
vulnerable - relative to Him!
Wanna play God? Adopt some vulnerable person! (But do this
VERY prayerfully and in concert with a loving and supportive
community of faith in Christ Jesus!)

Q: Won't your teaching lead to a population shortage?
A: First of all, this is not 'my' teaching. This is right straight out
of God's Holy Word. You may have to read the Bible in prayer to
be able to understand what I'm saying. This teaching is nothing
new. It just hasn't had much exposure for a very long time. I think
the writers of the ancient scriptures and then the Apostle Paul and
the writers of the Gospels assumed that we would "get it". As a
matter of fact, to me, it now seems obvious and it seems very
reasonable that they would make the assumption that we would
pursue adoptive love! But since long ago (since the time of
Emperor Constantine?) there really hasn't been anyone in the
mainstream of Christianity teaching this. But I'm saying, "this IS
mainstream Christianity: Adoption is what Christians do".

Now regarding a 'population shortage'. There will never again be
any such occurrence. There has only been a human
'population shortage' on planet Earth for a total of 5 days (if you
believe your Bible). On the sixth day, God ended the human
population shortage by creating two people. Very obviously, He
could have created billions and billions of people if He had
wanted them all just then. But two is the minimum number of
human beings that our Heavenly Father requires to be in
community with Him on planet Earth at any one time.
Then, in both the Old Testament and in the New, we are told - very
plainly - "The poor, you have with you always" (Deuteronomy
15:11, Matt 26:11, Mark 14:7, John 12:8). So unless you think
that poor people are not 'people' then you know that there will
never again be a 'population shortage'.

Q: So, how are you practicing what you teach?
A: At this point in my walk of faith, all I know to do is to adopt
the elderly people from our church. They seem to be willing for
me to adopt them and they don't seem to mind having me around.
So, when one of the members of our congregation becomes a
shut-in, I am one of the people who 'adopts' them. I am part of a
community of people who 'comes along-side' them, just as the
Holy Spirit comes along-side us. God has exampled for us how
to do this. Try it yourself!

Q: Who gave you permission to reveal this teaching?
A: Again, this is no 'revelation' so far as I am concerned. This
is basic, Bible literacy. Any child can tell you that we are a part
of God's family only because of His Love for us. Also, it should
be obvious to you that you were not born into God's household.
However, you can be 'reborn' and become a part of God's family.
God loved you and chose you to be a part of His household. So,
you were 'adopted' - through the blood of the Lamb - as was I. Your
acceptance of your adoption, in repentance and in faith, is a part
of your being 'reborn'. Not because of any merit or worth of our
own but simply because He Loves. That's it.
Who needs permission to tell of the love of God?

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