Autism, Alzheimer’s, and Adoption

December 18, 2014

Mental disabilities can be uncomfortable to face.  As American individualists, we want to believe that one can do anything he sets his mind to.  As secularized Christians (who are at once less American yet more individualistic), we want to believe that each person will get a chance to choose God – a fair, well-balanced, and rational choice.  We hold dearly, not to grace and adoption, but to human rationality.  The secularized Christian may not explicitly consider these truth claims but appropriate them by default.

To us, to this secularized Christian, mental disabilities are especially impossible to entertain.  Our view of God as this fair bargaining fellow – someone who will inform you thoroughly so that you will make a fair decision – cannot square with this idea that some people do not have the mental capacity to make such a decision.  Even worse, we cannot face the idea that even our memories will fade away.  When the mere accouterments of personality are stripped away by loss of memory, of self, of identity, what will assure us that something resembling faith (much less mental capacity to choose) will remain?

I must affirm, against all may pride, that I am saved not by my mental faculties, that these children are not condemned due to their disabilities, that grandma’s salvation does not depend on her maintaining her lucidity .  For we are held, much tighter than we are holding.  Though we forget, He remembers.  Though we may close our eyes, He still sees us.  For nothing can separate us from the love of God – not Autism, not Alzheimer’s.

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