. . . posts on faith and life
I was talking with Dennis Adams today and he made a comment about a CoG orphanage and something struck a cord in me. There has been speculation and rumors for several months about the future of the Smokey Mountain Children’s Home, the flagship orphanage of the CoG. It seems at this point that there is, at the very least, a shift away from the traditional orphanage model towards a model of foster care. This leads me to share a few thoughts, and perhaps an appropriate Easter meditation.
One of the most unique New Testament passages is the so-called farewell passage of Jesus found in John 14-17. The setting is somber and the themes are powerful. Those themes include love, communion, unity (which includes the famous high priestly prayer in chapter 17), and perhaps most importantly the promise of the paraclete–the Holy Spirit.
The very first time that Jesus mentions the coming of “the comforter” (paraclete) he immediately utters these words, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18). This then seems to be the primary promise of the Holy Spirit–spiritual parenting. We like to talk about Pentecostal Distinctives, but I would say that the primary distinction of Pentecost was the indwelling of God as Father/Mother. Thus, the most important thing we could do if we want to emphasize Pentecost into our faith tradition is to offer loving spiritual parenting to all children who come across our paths.
I believe that our sin is this, we have abandoned our children in order to make a name for ourselves. That is very ironic, as you only make a name for yourself by pouring into your children, who will carry your name into the future. When you neglect your own children for the sake of advancing your agenda you create an environment of foster care.
Foster care is a temporary intervention that brings greater monetary returns. It lacks the commitment to children that is required of an orphanage. Perhaps it is true that we are moving our orphanages away from a traditional model of caring for abandoned children in favor of the more lucrative foster care model. If so, it is only an outward sign of what has been happening among us spiritually for decades. We have neglected the promise of the Spirit, to not leave our children orphans, in order to use abandoned children to bring us greater returns.