Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A More Perfect Society?

Angela Beise--a missionary and the mother of four children, including a 10-year-old with a rare genetic chromosomal disorder ("18Q-minus")--ponders the news that as medical technology is increasing, the number of parents who are willing to carry their children with disabilities to full term is descreasing. She writes:

As I pondered this potential "perfect" society, one verse from the Bible kept coming to my mind: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit" (Phil. 2:3). Parenting a child with special needs makes living out this verse a little easier.

This child becomes the focus of most of his parents' time and energy. An enormous amount of money may have to be spent on therapists, doctors, hospitals, and equipment. He limits what dreams his parents can pursue. They grieve throughout his lifetime. They not only grieve the child they "lost" at his birth, but grieve as they see him struggle with tasks that normally come easy, grieve when he realizes that he is not like other children, and often when he is in physical or emotional pain. They have little room left for selfish ambition.

What about vain conceit? That is likely to die, too. It's often embarrassing to have a child who cries out in public for no reason, looks different, and acts different. He won't be at the top of his class, won't be the best athlete, and will probably never be voted Most Beautiful or Most Likely to Succeed.

I wonder, if our advanced technologies successfully eliminate the weak and needy, will future scholars, theologians, politicians, and poets ponder: "Why has our society become less loving, so selfish, so intolerant, so uncommitted to anything outside of individual gain? Why are we so full of selfish ambition and vain conceit?" Is this "perfect" society a place where any of us would want to live?