Thursday, December 13, 2007

Article Review: Blessed are the Barren

After much anticipation, I found last night that Christianity Today had finally uploaded the cover article of its December 2007 Print edition, entitled Blessed are the Barren. Straight away I set down to read it.

I was so disappointed!

The article is perhaps one of the most disorganized, poorly supported articles I've read on any topic.

The author makes a very strong case for adoption by Christians. She offers solid biblical support for our identity as adopted sons and daughters of God and for the gift adoption can be for both parent and child.

But she perpetuates the same myth that so many others do: that adoption is for the biologically childless and that is a logical substitute for natural childbirth. Her basic thesis (I think) is that though the blessing of barrenness is "apocalyptic," the barren are blessed now because they adopt and understand the richness of God's adoption of us. I think she would even argue that there ought not be a distinction between adopted and natural, especially since the adoptive families more closely resemble the family of God anyway. As noble a goal as this might be, I don't know anyone who is cured of the pain of infertility because they can "just adopt." Sometimes I even felt like she was saying "get over it." I don't think God intends for our hearts to be healed by treating adoption as a substitute for the natural desires He has placed in us. Adoption is not a substitute for anything or a lesser good.

The reality of it is that adoption should have very little to do with barrenness. The scriptures do not command "ye who are barren care for the widows and orphans." Additionally, Jesus does not say "Blessed are the barren because they adopt the orphans." Barrenness has little to do with the truth of the author's conclusions about adoption and I think that constantly associating the two only perpetuates the problem of indifference on the part of so many who are able to have (or think they are able to have) biological children.

I could go on, but that is the most significant of my objections to this article.

This is a very excellent article on why adoption should be practiced in the church. But I have very little appreciation for it as an article that appropriately handles barrenness.