Friday, August 13, 2010

Adoption : Apprenticeship

I am reflecting on adoption and apprenticeship.

This is perhaps not a coincidence, as we have just adopted a second child into our family through the wonderful ministry of Compassion.

Here is the thing:
The infant Jesus is adopted by Joseph, and apprenticed as a ‘tekton’ – don’t think carpenter who makes furniture, but builder; it is likely that together they worked on building the new town Sepphoris, not far from Nazareth; it is more than likely that later, when a roof is torn apart to lower a paralysed man to Jesus, that Jesus himself reconstructed the roof. Jesus’ apprenticeship: literally creating the framework for new communities. And then, the Father calling him out from that to a new thing, that is not too dissimilar; so similar, in fact, that Jesus himself speaks of building new homes in the kingdom of heaven.

Here is the thing:
I see adoption and apprenticeship at work in the abduction of young boys in Somalia, turned into child-soldiers; in the buying of young girls in Thailand, turned into child-prostitutes (abduction and slavery being extreme and malevolent forms of ‘adoption’).

Here is the thing:
I have seen adoption and apprenticeship at work in the life of Mike and Sally Breen when they led St Thomas’ in Sheffield: how they brought-into their family young adults like Joannah Saxton, and not only invested in them to become mature adults but apprenticed them to become missional leaders.

Here is the thing: for ill or for good, adoption and apprenticeship is the pattern by which we give people a future. It is the pattern.

What would that look like, if our local church were to adopt and apprentice a generation?

It would look like doctors and nurses and teachers and social workers and programmers and dressmakers and beauticians and electricians and tour-guides and gardeners and child-minders and police officers and cleaners and hairdressers and church leaders and...

And yes, they would have to go and get formal training: but they would have a reason to do so. And yes, we need more job creation: but it begins here.

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