I knew it would be difficult to wrap this book up into a blog post, but I didn’t realize it would be this hard!
If you missed part one, check it out here. To continue where we left off…
Chapter Three – “Joseph of Nazareth vs. Planned Parenthood: What’s at Stake When We Talk about Adoption”
l made it to this chapter right at Advent season. It worked out wonderfully because we were studying Mary, Joseph, and Jesus’ birth in Sunday School, and Moore begins this chapter discussing Joseph. Needless to say, Joseph was on my mind this Christmas season more than ever before. Too often, Joseph’s role in Christ’s story is minimized. Moore points out that it shouldn’t be, that there’s so much more to him: “Joseph serves as a model to follow as we see what’s at stake in the issue of adoption. Joseph, after all, is an adoptive father” (page 59). Moore also reminds us of something vitally important: “adoption is more than charity. It’s spiritual warfare” (page 59).
Moore recalls an interaction with fellow adoptive parents who shared the story that the judge handling their child’s case in his birth country thought there was a mistake because, in the judge’s perverted mind, no one would want this darker skinned child when there were other children available for adoption. Moore recalls the disgust he felt toward a mindset that would render one child unworthy of adoption and a family simply because of the way that he looked. Then, he recalled our own nation’s past and realizes,
A similar story could be told a billion times over in virtually every human society throughout history. There seems to be an orphan-making urge amonth us, whether we see it in the slave culture of centuries past or the divorce culture of today (page 61).
He then begins to explore where this urge comes from. He recalls Pharaoh of Exodus and Herod of the Gospels and draws scary similarities. Both dictators hated God and amplified self.
“…both of them take the rage they had against Jesus in particular and directs it toward babies in general. When it’s Jesus versus the self, babies are caught in the crossfire. And it’s always that way (page 62).
He takes it a step further now, and brings this to a modern-day level. Planned Parenthood acts as the Pharaoh and Herod of today. “When they destroy ‘the least of these’ (Matt. 25:40, 45), the most vulnerable among us, they’re destroying a picture of Jesus himself […] Children also mean blessing – a perfect target for those who seek only to kill and destroy (John 10:10)” (page 64).
And yet, Moore takes this study even one more layer deeper – to the personal level. He challenges us, and himself, to see clearly the times when we’ve spoken out in disgust against Planned Parenthood and then turned to complain about our children or the children among us. If we stand in agreement with Jesus when he declares that children are a blessing, then why do we so often refuse to see and acknowledge that blessing?
There are a million reasons and ways to talk yourself or those near you out of an adoption, but Moore strongly reminds us, “The protection of children isn’t charity. It isn’t part of a political program fitting somewhere between tax cuts and gun rights or between carbon emission caps and a national service corps. It’s spiritual warfare” (page 65).
The universe is at war, and some babies and children are on the line. The old serpent is coiled right now, his tongue flicking, watching for infants and children he can consume. One night two thousand years ago, all that stood in his way was one reluctant day laborer who decided to be a father. (page 66)
There’s more to learn from Joseph than I ever realized.
Moore goes on to discuss evangelism and children and how our attitudes to one affect our attitudes to others. He argues (and I believe, rightfully so) that celebrating children is celebrating evangelism. One is a celebration of birth and life and earthly adoption while the other is a celebration of spiritual adoption.
If the people in our congregation become other-directed instead of self-directed in the adoption of unwanted children, they are going to be other-directed instead of self-directed in their verbal witness to people in their community. One the other hand, the same self-interest that sears over the joy of birth will sear over the joy of the new birth. The numbness to earthly adoption is easily translated to numbness to spiritual adoption. But if people in our churches learn not to grumble at the blessing of minivans filled with children – some of whom don’t look anything alike – they’re going to learn not to grumble at the blessing of a congregation filling with new people, some of whom don’t look anything alike. If our churches learn to rejoice in newness of life in the church nursery, they’ll more easily rejoice at newness of life in the church baptistery, and vice versa. (Page 77)
He’s talking about our hearts here. For one, our hearts are what God is most interested in because if He has our hearts, He knows He has our actions. It’s not necessarily about adoption or birthing as many children as possible, it’s about the way we view those children and heed God’s call in our lives.
Moore states that an adoption culture is synonymous with a culture of life. They’re inseparable and completely counter-cultural. He again reminds us that adoption will touch us all differently. We will stand for a culture of life in different ways. And yet, “every believer is called to recognize Jesus in the face of his little brothers and sisters when he decides to show up in their lives, even if it interrupts everything else” (page 81).
“Think of the plight of the orphan somewhere right now out there in the world. It’s not just that she’s lonely. It’s that she has no inheritance, no future. […] Can you feel the force of such desperation? Jesus can. She’s his little sister” (page 83).
Stay tuned for part three…