Sunday, November 2, 2008

Silence and Bunny Trails

It's 3:30 am and I find myself completely unable to sleep, largely due to the massive amount of hours I slept during the day today, having still been plagued by significant medicine side effects.

I wandered on to the bulletin board of my University and found the third or fourth discussion I've read in as many years about the nature and purpose of marriage. As usual, some young students and alumni were elevating biological procreation as the highest hall of human happiness and indeed, the best purpose of marriage. Infertility is an affliction or a punishment, and those who suffer from it are missing out on some part of God. This particular discussion wasn't so bad, but others in the past have been (my favorite are the posts from unmarried freshmen who pontificate on the purpose and ideals of marriage!) and reading this one recollected the others to me and reproduced and reinforced my general reaction.

These discussions always irritate me. I usually find myself first irritated at the speaker of the "argument" but I am quickly moved to impatience with the general ignorance in Christendom about infertility. I hate that the church has been so silent on it.

But I think the problem goes even deeper than that. We have a general ignorance about adoption too. We talk in flowery words about the beauty of being adopted as Christ's own, and we pick up our picket signs that say "Adoption not Abortion" but I think this is the extent of the average Christian's exposure to adoption, save maybe a little more if they have a friend who was adopted. But then our language betrays how little we either understand or esteem adoption. "Did you adopt because you couldn't have children of your own?" "Don't worry-just adopt and you'll get pregnant." "This is the Jones' adopted daughter Suzy."

How much are we actually doing to understand this precious illustration God has given us here on earth? What do we do to help the young girls in need besides pointing them in the direction of a Crisis Pregnancy Center? Do we try to understand the living picture of Christ's love in action in the dynamic of the families we know who have adopted? Do we take interest in legislation and movements that would support those families affected by it? Do we study what Christ meant when He gave us this example? Do we even understand what we're saying when we claim we have been "Adopted as Sons?" I really don't think so. Because I think if we did, if we really truly did, that would translate to action and adoption would look much different. I realize not every family is burdened or called to adoption issues and I'm completely ok with those folks, because I know God has called and equipped them elsewhere. But I think a lot more are called than are currently active, especially in Christendom and especially as a global organization.

So why is the church silent on these issues? The church is largely silent on things like birth defects, disabilities, persistent or terminal illness and bad things happening to "good people" too. I think it's because it doesn't fit in to our box of God. We can explain forgiveness. Most of us sin and are sinned against every day, so we have lots of practice in this arena. We can proudly embrace the sinner turned from a life of drugs, violence, promiscuity, or even apathy or unbelief in the name of God's grace and forgiveness and changing power.

But what do we do with the folks who don't fit in to our mold? How does that challenge our view of God? We seem to be unable to say "We don't know why God did this or made you this or that way or didn't fix this or that problem." We want an explanation when the only answer just might be "Because He said so." What do we do with that? How do we live that in action? I realize you can't walk up to a person and say "Well, God made you that way, tough." But there is a precious peace that comes with accepting God's plan, even if it's a deviation from "the norm" and realizing that in that, He is still good. Why does that deviation make us uncomfortable? Why are these people "exceptions" to our praxis rather than a part of our daily framework and ever expanding view of God? These folks were known, loved and named in their inmost being, too, and there are no flaws in God's handiwork. What does it say of our view of God when we don't know how to reconcile these "exceptions" with the box we've put Him in?

I wish the church would not be so afraid to speak on God's "bunny trails." The road less traveled is a beautiful one and I pray that you are invited on its precious journey one day. I challenge us all to evaluate those stereotypes and assumptions we take for granted. I challenge us to deliberately expose ourselves to a bunny trail and someone on it. I promise that expanding our view of humanity and God's role in it will expand our view of Him and His vast richness and goodness. I believe that God created so many variations of the human story because one standard model of a healthy married couple with 2.4 children, a dog and a white picket fence couldn't possibly display or contain all that He has to show us and all the ways He wishes for His glory and majesty to be known.

It is now almost 4:00 am so if my thoughts are scattered or incoherent, forgive me!