In a recent blog post by Russell Moore, the question of a human being’s worth comes squarely to center stage. It stands in the spot light, for a brief moment, and allows us to consider it carefully.
Does a human being’s worth relate to their ability to add value to society? Does a human being become a person when they can help us maximize our personal peace and affluence?
Moore’s recent post, Pat Robertson v. the Spirit of Adoption, brings the question of a human being’s worth to center stage:
“In a recent broadcast of The 700 Club, a woman sent in a question about a man who wouldn’t marry her because she has children who were adopted internationally. If they were her “own” biological children, he would have no problem, she said. But because they were adopted, he saw too much risk. Host Pat Robertson’s female co-host bristled and said he was acting like a “dog.” Robertson disagreed.
He said the man “didn’t want to take on a United Nations,” and that, after all, you never know about adopted children; they might have brain damage and “grow up weird.”
I think Moore’s main problem with Robertson’s comment is the trajectory of the “prosperity and power” gospel that replaces the call to imitate Christ in life altering sacrifice for the idols of health, wealth, and prosperity. To this extent I agree with Moore – if Christian’s are avoiding opportunities to love their neighbor because it will diminish their personal peace and affluence, then we have a real disconnect with the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).
Is Moore being a little too hard on Robertson? Robertson later clarified his statement by explaining:
“We ministered to orphans all over the world – thousands of them! We love orphans. We love helping people. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to take all the orphans around the world into my home.”
For what it’s worth, I agree that no one except God has unlimited capacity to help those in need. I agree that often times “the goods” of the Christian life seem to be held in tension. For example, if a married family with three children let 30 homeless people live in their house, there might be some destructive influence to “the good” of protecting the family.
Similarly, Scripture does not give us an explicit command to adopt orphans. It does give us an explicit command to care for orphans; and when internal and external callings align, adoption emerges as one of the most salty methods of caring for orphans (who would no longer be orphans).
My final analysis goes something like this: 1) My King’s call to sacrificially love my neighbor is impossible – without a Holy Spirit transformation. I’m just too selfish. 2) I am glad that my Heavenly Father adopted me into his family with all of my dysfunctional, dangerous, and non-productive qualities. As a consequence to this adoption, I have often been taxing, draining, and hurtful to other members of the family. 3) Historically, God’s family members have stayed and died caring for the sick in the plague, picked up exposed orphans off the street, and brought the fatherless into their family as their “own” children (Job 31:18). The trajectory of Robertson’s thinking seems to swim against the current of who God’s people are. 4) The root of Robertson’s thinking my start with analysis one’s own interest, instead of starting by considering one’s neighbor. The mind set that first thinks “don’t do this because of the cost and inconvenience,” is much different than the mindset that thinks “this is my neighbor; I want to make much of my King by helping them; I need to think how this would affect the other commitments I have to love my neighbor.”
What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts. Watch the video below and let me know what you think.