Women Saving Lives

How Working With Each Other

Instead of Against Each Other

Can Save Lives

Because what we’ve done so far hasn’t succeeded

Imagine this scene:

child in traffic.1

A two-year old wanders onto a busy, traffic-laden street, trips and falls. The mother is crying, trying to get to her child, but for some reason, cannot. You have two options:

  • Make a sign with “Murderer” written on it and shout at the mother about how important it is to save her child’s life. Post on Facebook about irresponsible mothers who allow their children to wander into traffic. Write your Senator about how it should be illegal to allow children to wander into traffic.

OR

  • Run into the street to save the child and return her safely to her mother.

Now imagine this scene:

UltraSound

A woman enters a reproductive clinic (Planned Parenthood or otherwise). She is pregnant, confused and afraid. You don’t know her story – yet. She desperately needs comfort, compassion and information. She does not want to have an abortion, but she sees no other options.

Inside the clinic, there is a bright and comfortable waiting room. There are colorful photos of children playing and even some of children in utero. There is a team of professionals who provide safe health and human care:

Prenatal checkups

Counseling services for women who request them

Social services providing coupons for food, diapers, maternity and baby clothes

Volunteer services for driving, birthing coaches and “grandmas” for handholding, babysitting and after birth support visits

Adoption information and services

And yes, doctors who perform abortions for those horrific situations that occur when abortion becomes the treatment agreed upon between a woman, her doctor and her counselor

The Outliers: Clinic Bombers and Contraceptive Abortion

Before we continue to demonize each other, let’s face facts. Those who are guilty of or approve of bombing abortion clinics or killing doctors who perform abortions are outliers – they are the few crazies at the edges of the Pro Life movement who need to be locked up.

At the same time, women who used abortion as contraception and could not care less about the lives growing inside them are also outliers – they are few and far between and need serious education. Most women who choose to have an abortion never make the decision lightly, and are haunted by it for years.

For those of you who are pro-life: according to an article in Christianity Today (Feb 2015), 70% of women who have had abortions identify as Christians; 50% identify as Evangelicals. Where is the compassion and grace? The resources and energy it takes to picket or make signs, craft legislation or research doctors could go toward reaching out and helping women who, for the most part, really don’t want to end their child’s life.

These same resources and energy can go toward getting to know a woman, asking how you can help her, showing her love and compassion instead of pushing her away, and scaring her into a decision she didn’t want to make in the first place.

For those of you who are pro-choice: the resources and energy it takes to vilify the Christian women who oppose you could be spent in simply admitting you have the very same beliefs. You could begin to embrace Christian women who have already had abortions and are consumed by guilt and shame. You can offer outreach and specialized counseling services like Silent No More.

Serena Williams handshake

Instead of continuing to demonize each other, let’s get to know each other, help one another, reach out to a sister one-on-one. Why?

Because we have allowed this ideological net to divide us.

Because we have allowed it to prevent us from finding common ground.

Because ultimately, our goals are the same.

Because we are still not saving lives.

We both want to reduce the number of abortions. We both want to provide safe health care for women. We both want to educate women. We both want to reduce unwanted pregnancies BEFORE CONCEPTION. And this can only be accomplished if we stop fighting each other.

It’s long past time to work together. We all have a vested interest in our daughters’ lives.

Could we begin today?

 

Thank you to Jim Voigt on Facebook for the inspiration for this post

Sacred Cows

©Artsia
©Artsia

In ancient days when Moses went up to Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments, he was gone for 30 days. Expecting him to return much sooner, the Israelites became impatient and surly. They wanted a leader and a God who responded to them NOW.

With Aaron’s help, they built a god to worship: a god they could control and define; a god they could see and touch; a god made to fit inside their own box; a sacred cow designed to approve of their own agendas.

What are your sacred cows? Abortion? The death penalty? Guns? Immigration? LGBTQ? Marriage? Prayer in schools? Whatever point on the spectrum you stand on these issues, do you worship them more than God?

Is your desire to be right on these issues more important than introducing people to Jesus through your compassionate, loving and grace-filled words and actions?

Do you remember that Jesus came for the sick and broken? Do you recall His main reason for being which He himself explained to Nicodemus (emphasis mine)?

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world not to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17)

Jesus saves; he doesn’t condemn. Jesus invites; he doesn’t exclude. Jesus delivers grace and compassion; he doesn’t turn his back or refuse healing or help. Jesus offers life, redemption and restoration; he vanquished death.

He fulfilled the law because law does not prevent us from sinning. Jesus transforms our hearts and minds. He gives us the desire to shift our words and behavior, and we do that with the Father’s blessing and the Spirit’s help.

sand

Does Brexit matter? Does the person elected to sit in the White House matter? Do your agendas matter? Perhaps for a moment. But in the long run, the agendas, the people, the issues are only grains of sand among all the oceans.

As Christians, isn’t it time we shift the paradigm of the ways we respond to hot button issues?

Because right now, we’re still acting as stumbling blocks to the very people who may earnestly desire our help – to the very people Jesus came to save. And only His love and compassion – through us – can transform hearts and minds.

Are you ready to abandon your sacred cow in order to embrace a potential disciple?

 

Come eat at my table

“A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation;

Rachel weeping for her children,

and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.”

We talk a lot about human life in terms of abortion. We talk about why God values the lives of the unborn. There are protests and signs and lots of press coverage. We talk about the sacredness of all life. But in this rhetoric, we leave out a lot of life, entire segments of the population.

We leave out the homeless and the hurting, those in prison, the alcoholic, the mother afflicted with a mental health condition. What about the abused child or the dirty child or the child that beat up your child? What about the lonely girl, the tired girl, the gay child? What about the screaming bigots and racists? What about the family member who you don’t talk to because you said it was o.k.? Do you pick and choose whose life gets the title of sacred? Are you God?

The sacredness of life. It is all life. It is the people we don’t like, or turn away from or make excuses about. It is the life we read about in the paper but do nothing about. It is the tears we don’t shed after our morning coffee. It is the person we see next to us in church, in tears, who we don’t turn to. Are you a part-time Christian, a Sunday attender, a picker and a chooser? Do you play with bible verses because you’re more versed than that? Are you doing “ministry,” but neglecting your family? Are you concentrating on the masses and droves of people that could be “saved” rather than the one right next to you? Are the small things just to small for you? Big screens and fancy suited preacher, ornate church, your weekend ministry, pamphlets, no eye to eye contact, no hug or hand shake, no connection, no nothing.

If you aren’t connected, if you don’t see the truth that ALL life is sacred, you have missed the point. You have missed the love. You have missed the hope that is Jesus Christ. You shouldn’t have joined the religion of outcasts.

In your highways and byways, and everyday life, you have completely missed the mark. You are preaching your own gospel, I see it everyday.

“Let us declare that God is dead, then we ourselves will be God.”

JESUS of NAZARETH, Pope Benedict XVI

I can’t help but think of so many more than the unborn. That God’s love and reach extends so much farther than that. That the Genesis telling of being created in His image becomes so cliché when I see it on products for $9.99 plus tax. That being “saved” doesn’t mean God threw you a life -line because He loves you any more than He does the person you can’t forgive. That I am not “saved,” I am free; I am free because He released me from the captivity of my own sin… I couldn’t save myself from myself.

The next time you think about the sacredness of life, think about the people you love the most- your wife or mother, your daughter, your very closest friend. All human life has such value, because at one time the people you hate were one of these, or maybe they still are one of these. If someone has breath in them, they are precious to God. Imagine the person you hate, imagine their breath, that is the God we worship that lives inside them.

To anyone who is reading this that has ever been hurt by someone who claims Christianity, let me say I am sorry. You are so very precious and beautiful, and the God of the universe loves you as He made you. I extend my hand out to you in love and peace, honoring your life for who you are. May God bless you in ways you never fathomed, and may you always feel welcome at my table.

Come over and eat anytime with me at There’s Something About Mary

-Mary

 

A Line in the Sand

or – Our Three Denials

Line in the Sand

Often, we Christians draw a line in sand around political issues we mistake for biblical issues. Abortion, homosexuality, gun control, Muslims, Israel. Certainly we can find isolated Bible verses that support our position; we quote them often enough. I admit I have.

But I’m here to tell you I’m a red-letter kind of gal. And when I want Truth, I go back to those red letters in my Bible time and time again. And as I reread them and ask the Spirit for clarity to understand them, I continue to see, over and over, the three lines in the sand Jesus drew.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45, Luke 6:27)

As we continue to vilify all who are not like us, treat “them” like groups who need to be condemned, isolated, in some cases obliterated, we act in fear. But Jesus calls us to act in love. He calls us to pray for enemies, whoever we might consider to be a foe, whether a rival, assailant, detractor, terrorist or sinner. We are called to be more than our basest instincts chain us to be.

“I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me into your homes. I needed clothes, and you didn’t give me anything to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t take care of me. They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or as a stranger or in need of clothes or sick or in prison and didn’t help you?’ ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you failed to do for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do for me.” (Matthew 25:42-45)

Exactly how many starving immigrants do we have to deny from our warm, spacious homes? How many millions of refugees fleeing for their lives will continue to wander in deserts, in oceans with no opportunity for safety? How many hundreds of thousands of children will have to die before we allow the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts from fear to love?

“So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others.” (John 13:34-35)

How can we say we love Jesus if we turn our backs on His words? How we can we say we follow Him if we refuse to stand with Him? Peter denied Jesus three times, but that was before he knew what we know. Before the Holy Spirit took up residence in him. Before Jesus allowed him to declare his love three times face to face to repent of those denials.

We need to stop condemning, stop finger-pointing and extend the same loving, grace-filled invitation Jesus extended to Levi the tax collector. And break bread at the same table.

In the face of those lines in the sand, will we continue to deny Jesus three times over and over knowing what we know?