Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Practicing Theology - pets vs. children

You've probably read THIS on Al Mohler's blog today. It got me to thinking about how we value and/or devalue children. I was reminded of a way of thinking that I've only become acquainted with since adopting our daughters four years ago.

Adopting and raising "older" children is a challenge--even for veteran parents. Unfortunately, many adoptive parents of older children end up "disrupting" the adoptions, and either sending the children back to the agency/state/country, or privately work to find a different adoptive family for the undesirable child. Please understand that I know first-hand how very difficult it can be and how very tempting this "solution" can be--but that is not the focus of this post. When I first became aware of this practice I compared it to "adopting" a dog/pet, but subsequently giving it up because it wasn't exactly what was wanted, didn't live up to expectations, or was too much trouble.

We have certain expectations of our pets, and those expectations are bleeding into our culture's expectations of children--our own and those of others. As long as pets "perform" and/or behave according to our expectations they remain in our favor--so do children. Pets can be left at home alone for hours on end--so can children. Pets can be selected and subsequently rejected with little or no inconvenience--so can children. Pets can easily be shipped off to be boarded--so can children.

God has graciously given us various animals as companions for our pleasure and joy! But when we as a culture begin to value such creatures above the eternal souls God has created we neglect to "exercise dominion" but instead submit to an "idol" of our own making.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here's what a friend emailed (had trouble with blogger) to me in response to this post. I appreciate her allowing me to go ahead and submit her comments for her.


I appreciated your post this morning Connie. Being what I would consider, sort of a radical pet lover, it piqued my interest. Your comment is an encouragement to be alert!

Idols take many forms, and so often they are things given to us as loving gifts from the hand of a Gracious and Wise God. But we twist these precious gifts and turn them into idols. Children or maybe pets, become the controling force of the home....

Or, on the other hand, what comes to us as a sweet gift, can be rejected if it isn't pleasing to us. Throw away dogs, throw away childeren - if it doesn't suit us, get rid of it.

What a pleasure my little mutts are! What a joy to look out my window at a clean and green lawn. I enjoy the wonderful sun roof on my car during these plesant days. I love my neices, and thrill at seeing them grow and learn. Music makes my heart soar toward heavenly thoughts...

It is very easy to make all these wonderful things the focus of our energy and love and time and money to such an extent that it crowds out the most important things. Even among the believing population, we are often a breath away from twisted priorities.

It is Grace that reels me in daily...and keeps the lost soul on my heart. What were we just reminded of as Americans?....We suffer from affuentitis? Sometimes I think we need a major dose of national hardship to get back in focus!