Some books are dangerous, and Russ Moore’s Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches is a dangerous book. It is dangerous in the way Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship or Life Together is dangerous, because if you take the book seriously it may alter your life significantly and, to be honest, perhaps in ways not entirely welcome.
Adopted for Life is in many ways exactly what you would expect from Russ Moore, who is a friend. The book is erudite, insightful, well-written, clever, and full of wisdom. That’s what we all expect from Russ. But there is more. This is a personal book, recounting the journey of Russ and his wife through the adoption process, and he writes with moving eloquence about their experience. It is also a book about the gospel. Russ has done a masterful job of showing the implications of the gospel for the church with respect to adoption.
Let me mention two of my favorite parts of the book. The first has to do with rude questions people ask about adoption. Nothing along these lines surprised me, but what Russ recounts is just so typical for anyone who has spent time around the church, which is so often the landing place for rude and obnoxious folk. I guess I enjoyed this because it made me laugh at something that is so irritating.
Second, I am very grateful for the manner in which Russ treated the question of transracial adoption. I have another friend who runs an adoption agency and we have talked on more than one occasion about this question. To me, this is a matter of grave importance for Christians, social workers, and agencies to sort out. Nothing helps to clarify this issue like the gospel, and I am very grateful for the manner in which Adopted for Life frames the issue.
I wonder what would occur if a number of our churches took this book seriously. What would occur if our families reordered priorities in accord with the gospel and considered how their home might become a home for the homeless orphan? I wonder what would occur if those who have received the Spirit of adoption would consider the implications of the gospel in the way Russ Moore suggests? Dangerous thoughts, indeed.
I heartily recommend this book. It is a good example of how we should help Christians to consider how the gospel matters for all of life. I pray we will see many more books like this, on a variety of subjects. So, read the book, and encourage your friends to do so. Encourage your church to do so. But I warn you – this is a dangerous book.