Monday, October 12, 2009

Wanted: Marriageable Men

No, not for me! I still don't want to get married!

But I've been reading a bit about the numerous Orphan/Adoption Ministries at churches around the country and I've been thinking (always dangerous, I know!).

The justification for the Orphan Ministry is always James 1:27: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
According to the Home For Good Foundation, "caring for widows and orphans in their distress is pure and undefiled religion (Jas 1:27), but an orphan’s distress is not belonging to a family, and no matter how much we love and care for children in an orphanage - they are still orphans. Children just don’t want to be orphans - they want to belong to a family. Adoption by a Christian family brings God’s love to orphan children by living example and is the most effective way to evangelize orphan children. By having an adoption ministry, the church can preach the doctrine of adoption and the biblical mandate to love and care for orphans."

I'm impressed by this commitment to adoption as a way to evangelize orphan children. But I'm saddened that Christians aren't working to fulfill ALL of James 1:27. What about the widows? Shouldn't we help them in the same way we help orphans? If "looking after orphans" means to adopt them, then "looking after widows" obviously means to marry them!

So I think churches should start looking into having Widow/Re-Marriage Ministries. That's why we need marriageable Christian men to step forward as an act of pure and undefiled religion, prepared to marry needy widows throughout the world. This isn't like mail-order brides with all those icky overtones -- after all, we're not looking for hot and sexy young women to pair these Christian men with. Only widows need apply. Of course, men can request AYAP (as young as possible), and the wear-and-tear of years can be thought of as minor, correctable special needs (a little cosmetic surgery, and she'll look AYAP!).

Or, you could adopt an orphan because you wish to add a child to your family, not as an act of charity, and then donate your time, talent and treasure to organizations that look after orphans. And you could marry for love, not out of charity, and then donate your time, talent and treasure to organizations that look after widows.

THAT seems to me to be the religion that God accepts as pure and faultless, as the Bible says, taking care of widows and orphans, and expecting nothing (neither a child nor a wife) in return.

16 comments:

osolomama said...

You don't really think the orphans should be evangelized, do you?

Gulp.

Wendy said...

OMG! You totally cracked me up and I needed the laugh.
On the one hand you have such a valid point, sadly I don't think it will be taken as you intended and may even begin the idea of widow shopping! No...the men wouldn't get the looks of love, gratitude and high praise for taking in a poor widow--not enough ego boosting in it.
On the other, it is sad that what you have said is EXACTLY what is happening. I will say it again, take religion out of adoption and disband individual agencies as we know the propoganda and oftentimes, lack of finding parents for children, but children for parents.
Thanks Malinda! Good one.

malinda said...

Sarcasm, my dear osolo, sarcasm! I think we should evangelize orphans to the same extent we should start Widow Ministries!

osolomama said...

Blush. And me, the irony maiden. (I got your tone in most of it, just not that statement. Hey, it's late.)

Wendy said...

Oh...not related, but sort of. A link that is important to share.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il5hwpdJMcg&feature=player_embedded

Elizabeth said...

While I do not doubt that many orphan ministries revolve around "saving the children", you should be aware that just as many are truly about orphan care. For example, our church is highly involved with the children in our local foster system. Not only are there mentors who spend quality time with these children, they offer life skills classes for the older children, offer a free clothing closet, throw birthday parties, and host training classes for potential foster parents. The list goes on, but I feel these ARE ways to truly live out James 1:27.

I have read your blog for a long time and have enjoyed it for the most part, but this post has left a sour taste in my mouth. I feel like you paint all Christians with an extremely broad brush. Yes, I am a Christian, and yes, I am adopting a child. I don't think I'm saving him or saving the world, we just wanted to grow our family and for a myriad of reasons (one of them being our faith (GASP!!!!), we chose adoption. Other than my spiritual beliefs, how does that make me so different than you?

malinda said...

I couldn't agree more, Elizabeth, that the orphan ministry at your church is exactly what James 1:27 contemplates, and I think that's wonderful. What I have a problem with are the orphan ministries LIKE THE ONE I described in my post, which is about adopting children to evangelize them.

Nor do I condemn any Christians, much less ALL Christians, in this post. I, too, am a Christian, and I, too, adopted. I don't think we're too far apart on this one.

I do object to people who see adoption as a way to save children, who see themselves as saviors and the children as charity cases. The orphan ministries LIKE THE ONE I described and cited to are encouraging people to adopt for all the wrong reasons and children will suffer for it.

Wendy said...

I am sure there are many good people doing good things for orphans, widows, homeless, etc; however, there are many agencies like the one that Malinda is mentioning and there is the problem. It is not just that those agencies are doing this, it is the creation of a public mentality--because they are loud and vocal about their need to save--of rescue for our kids. How many times has someone come up to you and told you what a good deed you have done, how your child is so much better off now, or thank god there are people like you who can do that sort of thing? I can tell you it is overwhelming for us and in front of my child. It is that mentality that is spread through their "campaigns" to save or recruite to save--yes, there are agencies who do that! Calling upon their parishoners to adopt for the sake of god!
My next issue is this, how many of these churches or agencies give just to give? Too often I see them providing Bibles along with their "gifts" or church programs or prayers or school materials related to "the word". It is WRONG! If you are truly giving, you do not judge or convert--you just GIVE! It seems there is always a catch.
Get religion out of adoption--religion is a personal matter not one that should dictate or become a part of social issues.

A Beautiful Mess said...

LOL....that is so funny stuff right there!!

thanks for the giggle!

Bukimom said...

In response to Wendy's comment: "Get religion out of adoption--religion is a personal matter not one that should dictate or become a part of social issues."

Well, Wendy, are you suggesting that all Christians should just cut James 1:27 out of our Bibles? How dare we actually let our beliefs dictate our social practices? Shame on us! And shame on the people who wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as well. They should have known better than to let their beliefs dictate how to run a country.

Wendy said...

Bukimom--
"And shame on the people who wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as well. They should have known better than to let their beliefs dictate how to run a country."
Are you suggesting these men were Christians or believed in your god? Are you also suggesting they meant that ALL of us were considered under these freedoms; if so, you seriously need to check the record again.
Yes, I am suggesting you keep your religious beliefs to yourself. I for one am tired of people trying to convert me and using religion to justify the rape of other countries beliefs. Historically we know that countries/people who have been the victims of the religious coming to "save" or convert from heathen gods have gotten the short end of stick at the minimum and annilated at the worst.
For those who truly believe in the freedoms the documents you mentioned, would NEVER push their beliefs on another, instead allowing them their right to believe as they wish and to be left alone.

Bukimom said...

What I am suggesting, Wendy, is that the freedoms we enjoy in this country (and yes, we do have a lot of freedoms compared to many other places, e.g. China) are rooted in the Judeo-Christian ethic.

Even the freedom to speak up and be critical of our government and its practices finds its source in the idea that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. Christianity recognizes that people have dignity because they are created in God's image, and I do believe that our country's founders believed this, whether they worshipped God as a Christian or not.

And far from being the scourge that you paint it to be, Christianity throughout history has been a major force of good in this world. Think of all the orphanages, hospitals, schools, soup kitchens, etc., that Christians have started. I'm not saying that Christians have always acted in accordance with their highest ideals, or even that I agree totally with the salvation adoption message that some churches/agencies are putting forth, but I really don't understand your vitriolic hate for Christianity.

You mentioned that you don't like help being given with strings attached. Is giving someone a Bible attaching strings? All it's saying is that we care for more than just your physical needs; we also care about your spiritual ones, too. You always have the freedom not to read it if you don't want to.

What it boils down to is this. You have a world view that's different from mine, and you're just as eager to "convert" me to your point of view as vice versa. I think if you're going to throw your ideas out there into the great debate, you can't then complain that you'd rather be left alone.

Wendy said...

"it's saying is that we care for more than just your physical needs; we also care about your spiritual ones, too. You always have the freedom not to read it if you don't want to." Is it? If you are the person in need do you deny the person who is feeding. clothing you, etc. Do you tell the person you are not interested in their religion when you so desperately need the "gifts" they are offering? I am not coming up with this on my own, it is well documented and understood the power positions in this scenerio and the outcome for those in need to survive.

"What it boils down to is this. You have a world view that's different from mine, and you're just as eager to "convert" me to your point of view as vice versa. I think if you're going to throw your ideas out there into the great debate, you can't then complain that you'd rather be left alone."
I have to disagree, I do not tell people how to believe or who to believe in (consider you have no idea of my belief system), I think people should think for themselves. I do not deny you your right to believe in who you want, but when those beliefs spill over into another's right to have food, shelter, choice in raising their children, etc. it is where personal beliefs end and pushing forth an agenda begins. No one is denying there are good works done by Christian organizations or otherwise, but denying the history of colonization, forcibly converting indigenous people, and spreading faith through those works is a falsehood and a denial of the huge part religion has played in the changing of whole societies, and for the purposes here starting international adoption.
Asking for a religion to stay off my doorstep is not asking to be left out of any debate. I am in it, free from religious ideals instead trying to find solutions to issues raised here and otherwise that do not try to alter the core of other people's traditions/beliefs and one in which we can all come to a consensus that is about people and helping them get through the day, week, month, year--and hopefully finding a way to keep children with their birth families instead of being forced into adoption due to financial concerns and medical issues. It is also about ending the stereotypes facing adopted children and adults, including that they were indeed in need of rescue or saving.

osolomama said...

Also, Bukimom, the Great Law of Peace and the development of consensus as a model for community problem solving were not European Christian inventions--they were Aboriginal ones. Those things have also been incorporated into the North American fabric.

I do not belief that care for people in need should EVER come with evangelizing.

Bukimom said...

I would like to respond specifically, Wendy, to the claim that you are "free from religious ideals[and]instead trying to find solutions to issues raised here and otherwise that do not try to alter the core of other people's traditions/beliefs and one in which we can all come to a consensus . . . "

What if people's different traditions/beliefs makes consensus impossible? For example, I believe that God is desperately interested in having a relationship with each and every person on this planet. I believe that as a Christian, making Christ known where He is not known is a primary life mission. I don't believe in offering His good gifts and failing to acknowledge the Giver of them. Without changing that belief of mine, how are you and I going to come to consensus on the best way to help people in this world?

My point is that the consensus model seems inadequate to affect real change. Real change takes place at the heart level, where people's beliefs lie.

Wendy said...

I cannot say how you can come to others who do not believe as you, only to make the point that religion is a human-made construct and one that even among like-minded thinkers cannot be agreed upon. Taking that to heart and knowing that it is HUMAN made, you must see that not everyone is ever going to believe in something created by other humans as correct/worthwhile/necessary. That in no way means that we do not have an obligation to one another, especially when our actions--individual, through religion, through government, or through majority--directly affect those who have less financial resources or gun power as we have seen both control those without it.
We can agree that we should help those without the basic necessities--food, water, shelter, and health--not our ideal of "standard" living conditions or beliefs. If we succeed in assisting others through our gifts of said items, not our "gifts" as far as the way we feel others should live--through/with god, larger personal spaces, through our ideal of the standard of living, etc. that is the real mission.

" I believe that God is desperately interested in having a relationship with each and every person on this planet. I believe that as a Christian, making Christ known where He is not known is a primary life mission. I don't believe in offering His good gifts and failing to acknowledge the Giver of them."
As far as this statement I don't know how you cannot acknowledge that this is a personal belief and not one that is shared by the MAJORITY of people on this planet, your country perhaps, but not the world. Perhaps if this was understood at a basic level, the idea of acceptance of others beliefs would encourage those who by definition of their religion convert, the moving forward as a global group could be achieved. Until it is understood that religion is NOT spirituality, it is not and never will be universal I don't know how to address this type of mentality. I can only do my part to help to stop the damage that this type of thinking causes--continuation of old practices, allowances of those with money (power) to control those with less, and working to end that type of interferance for the good of all involved--namely those who have no say (children specifically in the adoption discussion).

I know this will not be a satifactory answer for you as your comments indicate you are not seeing the point of my discussion. However, that is my point; luckily, I see a movement more and more in the direction of ending these practices despite the screaming call to continue them by the few.