Choose Today: Growth or Reconciliation?
You see, choosing "growth", as opposed to reconciliation, has been the choice of the powers that be (including most of the world faiths) for generations. This misdirected choice is what led us into colonialism and the nightmares that have developed from that era. But go even further back in your "History of Civilization" memories and recognize that there were VERY few times when Queens or Kings or Rulers of any sort chose to pursue reconciliation as opposed to some form of imperialism ('Mammon-mongering', I like to call it). So, the nightmares started a long time ago.
Is there something that can be done about it? Well, yes, that's the whole point of this blog. You see, adoption is a form of reconciliation. We adopt / claim / include those persons who are vulnerable, relative to us, to help ensure that they're reconciled to the family of God. This is how Christians expend God's resources and this is how Christians expend themselves. We INVEST in those who are vulnerable, relative to ourselves (Isaiah 58). And that, very simply, is what I want the Church (and all faiths, for that matter) to teach: Adoption / reconciliation / inclusion / reclamation of the vulnerable MUST come first. (Visit Matthew 6 for more about prioritizing such pursuits as these). And do NOT come to me claiming that you believe the Bible literally until your household is FILLED to overflowing with those who've been included in God's family through His adoptive love, living in YOU.
"But Tom", you plead, "aren't our children important enough that we should invest in them? THEY'RE vulnerable, relative to us!!" And I respond, 'yes, they certainly are'. 'But which of your children are you referencing? Those that you so selfishly begat or those you're required to adopt but didn't?' I'll ask you again, "Are you really even a Christian?"
The Apostle Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians 3 that (generally speaking) while Paul seeds and Apollos waters, it is God Who Gives the increase. (An example of reconciliation leading to growth!) I believe that here, Paul is teaching about tending the "garden" of the lives of the converts. Appropriate stewardship is manifested in the reconciliation of those in the "garden". Remember that in the earliest Biblical example of a garden, the people who were placed into that garden were put there to tend it: to "seed and water", to build on and continue the reconciliation that existed - at least for that time. (And the trouble all started when they ignored their relationship with The One Eternal and their purpose of reconciliation.)
Building on and continuing (extending) God's reconciliation is why you and I are allowed to breathe (if we're Christians) and we are NOT here to create our own empires! We are NOT here to discard or sacrifice or ignore the people that're already here nor are we here to discard / sacrifice any other portion of God's creation.
Now, could either Paul or Apollos have chosen to pursue "growth" for growth's sake? (maybe by claiming some miraculous superiority or by exploiting some form of sensationalism? maybe by pushing each other out of the way?) Yes, most certainly but instead, they both chose to engage in reconciliation (neither of them had any inkling of becoming famous televangelists), "tending the garden", seeding and watering. And the early church grew.
When you or I choose reproduction as opposed to adoption, we've chosen a miniature form of imperialism. We've chosen to ignore / discard / sacrifice someone who's already here and we've chosen to prioritize our own genetic legacy over the needs of someone who needs us. This is pretty much what the colonialists and other Mammon-Mongerers are doing: discarding the people and creatures and creation that's already here in favor of replacing it with their own design. Hmmm, have we really made any progress since the Sixteenth Century?
From the left and from the right, from the secular and from the supposedly faithful I meet people almost everyday who choose to reproduce as opposed to adopting. Yet they insist on claiming the Name that is above every name. Did HE insist on His own genetic legacy and choose to discard us? You know the answer. Yet we claim to be crucified with Him. We claim to be His followers. (Aren't we violating the ninth Commandment or something?) Nevertheless, I WANT you to claim that Name in sincerity and I WANT you to adopt, whether you breed or not!
So, this is what I want you to know and this is what I want ALL faiths to teach. We must prioritize reconciliation over growth. God Who Gives will give us growth if we prioritize His purposes. His purpose, I believe, is reconciliation. CHOOSE FOR YOURSELVES THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE. (Pssst! Choose Reconciliation! Choose HIM!)
"Adopt ye, one another, even as I have adopted you..."