“God has bigger plans for you…”

When I programmed the scripts that automatically take new posts and comments here and send them to the Twitter account, I also (on a whim) created a “bot” that searches on particular phrases and retweets them to an account called “Adoption Honesty“. I am intrigued by a lot of what gets pulled, but every once in a while I am stumped, if not stunned. One such case is the phrase:

Don’t make the choice to go back to where you came from. God has bigger plans for you.

Highlighted is the search phrase, something I often heard growing up. Twisted this way, it gets to me even more. I am assuming this is some kind of Christian aphorism, but directed to whom? To what purpose? Can anyone help with the sleuthing?

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6 thoughts on ““God has bigger plans for you…”

  1. Don’t make the choice to go back to where you came from. God has bigger plans for you.
    That sounds like propaganda to me – and ridiculous.

  2. I read “back to where you came from” as the life of sin prior to being born again.

    Meanwhile, the fact that the born again metaphor starts from roots in heteronormative nuclear families helps the phrase to become weird sounding as a threat against adoptees–because we know that the biology of family is not destiny, unlike the non-adopted child. So where the culpability for the non-adopted’s previous life of sin falls on the individual, for the adopted child, the question of where the original sin lies remains an open one. My life of sin wasn’t even part of god’s big plan in the first place.

    &c.

  3. Thank you SL, I think you nailed it.

    It did not even occur to me that “place” could be used as a metaphor for “time”.

    It still doesn’t occur to me.

    And it makes this even more disturbing. Recently on Twitter I posted: “The mutually parasitic/destructive tango of Calvinist and Wahhabist Capitalisms is really horrifying in full view and full swing.”

    Part of that destruction is the destruction of the past; of history; of place that would remind us of the past and our history.

    It puts forward an idea of “nomadism” as being a norm, divorcing us from place.

    So this complete inversion of “place” and “time” kind of creeps me out.

    The other night I was hanging out at the corner market, and a French man came in wanting to buy watermelon. I translated between him and my friends in the shop, and replied to his questions, to which he said that I “speak French very well” (most foreigners mistake me for a worker in the shop, which I have no problem with). I told him that I lived in Paris for four years. He launched into a description of a Beirut that he remembers fondly for having been here “thirty years ago”; he called Lebanon an “unachieved mission”—une mission inachevée—of France. He said he was nostalgic for this Beirut. He didn’t stop to consider that I might have had the exact opposite experience in France, which I did.

    I said: “And we’re nostalgic for a Beirut previous to your arrival.” I continued: “You’ll forgive me, I say this as a point of historic fact without any anger directed at you, but nostalgia is easy for the colonizer.”

    He paused, and then agreed with me, bringing up by name Algeria and Indo-China. We chatted some more, and I wished him a good stay and a safe return.

    In this light, the phrase used in this Christian aphorism takes on really sinister overtones since it places God squarely on the side of those in power.

    I don’t know. It’s really bugging me.

  4. An aphorism from Proverbs goes like this “as a dog returns to its vomit so fools repeat their folly.” This was cited in the NT (2 Peter) as a reference to the new life in Christ and the natural propensity to let old habits prevail over new behaviors.

    Christianity (and Judaism) exudes a strong sense of motion away from an old way of life towards a new life. It is this emphasis that characterizes the progressive aspect of Christian theological anthropology. This emphasis towards new life, new birth, renewal of life and leaving the past behind is, as I am reading the quote, being equated with the practice of adoption, that the adoptee’s new life and family are the same as new life in Christ. This is very problematic anthropology. Thinking like this is getting traction in the Orphan Care Movement.

    The “new life” after adoption is basically an anthropological question. How people are related to one another, their past and their possibilities is not clearly defined in the wide set of adoption practices. Adoption gives adoptive parents license to battle out anthropological questions in the lives of children. Society is experimenting with diversity – not just racial or cultural diversity but anthropological diversity.

    All of these things point to the need and desire to become conscious agents, free of the burdens of past practice. Thus, we see a diminishing connection with traditions of raising children who are embedded in a strong natural context – known families, shared history and narratives – and a growing practice of inventive parenting. Some inventions harken back to old traditions by using references such as Proverbs to grant themselves legitimacy. It is a camouflage to conceal how changed things really are becoming. What if everyone were to live by it?

Adoptees, what do you think? We welcome your replies!

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