Saturday, April 07, 2007

A theology of adoption

Check out this surprisingly civil exchange between SeeJaneMom and her gay and lesbian readers, considering her very outspoken approach. She is straight, Republican and Christian, supports same-sex civil unions, but has strong opinions against gay marriage:
If we won't allow homosexuals to "marry" in the eyes of the State, why should they work so hard to be monogamous and socially invested? As we discussed it, the answer asserted itself. Because God has standards for all His creatures.

It follows then, that if God makes one a homosexual, He does not intend for you to produce off-spring. By its simplest definition, marriage is a contract for the stability of children born of a genetic union between a man and a woman. When two men can organically produce a child, they can be "married".

A lesbian reader makes some great points here. But most interesting was a gay Christian reader who offers this perspective:
I appreciate the blogger's thoughtful consideration of the meaning of marriage, and her clear non-hostility to gay and lesbian folk in general. I would just like to raise one point I haven't seen yet as regards the reproduction argument; the theology of adoption. Yes, gays cannot biologically reproduce, but is that the only legitimate means to expand a family? I would argue that to claim so is profoundly unbiblical. It is like the conversation Christ had with Nicodemus, about being born again - Christ made it clear that it was not a physical rebirth, but a spiritual matter. In the OT (Old Testament), the command was to increase the number of God's people through birth; in the NT Christians are called to make disciples of all of the peoples - overall, a trend away from mere physicality to spirituality, and thus a greater likeness to God in a way. Gays raise children by choice, and through adoption they can provide parents to children who otherwise would not have families... or wouldn't exist at all if not for invitro. It is a less tangible sort of parenthood, perhaps, but it is no less real. Call it a parenthood of faith. Thus I would argue that gays are indeed adding life to the world, and following God's commands for them - that they adopt children as He adopts us as His - and the marriage bond facilitates this role. Just something I think about sometimes, and thought I'd offer, particularly given the season. God bless.

Jane's response:
Well said, indeed. Jane can "do" rational. Thank you for your kind and thoughtful contribution.

I'm thankful too. I have had similar thoughts about what this reader calls a "theology of adoption," but I couldn't have expressed it nearly as well. In Genesis Adam and Eve were called to "be fruitful and multiply" and populate the earth. In the New Testament era Jesus Christ, the second Adam, populates the earth by commanding his followers to "make disciples of all nations." Given the New Testament's emphasis on becoming children of God through spiritual birth, it is truly surprising that the church should put so much emphasis on the glories of physical reproduction, let alone use it to make gay and lesbian people feel like second-class human beings because their relationships can't bring about biological offspring. Jesus never emphasized the primacy of the biological family, but of the spiritual family.

And someone said to him, "Behold, your mother and your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to you." But he answered the one who was telling him and said, "Who is my mother and who are my brothers?" And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Behold, my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother. (Matthew 12:47-50)