Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Humility Begets Life

The other night I was checking out the blog of a woman who dropped in to leave a comment on my recent math post. She had an interesting post from several months ago regarding abortion and pro-life issues. From what I gather she is a Baptist woman, married to a pastor/minister/ pick-your-favorite nomenclature, living in the South.

I was intrigued both by the post and by the comments left on it. She states she is being purposefully vague on what you might call her political affiliation where life issues are concerned. I don't mean this in a derogatory way, but I would lump the post and commenters with the label "mushy middle". (I have an affinity for labels in lots of areas of life, but not political issues... but that's another post.) By mushy middle, I mean those who are, for the most part, personally opposed to abortion, but do not necessarily espouse one view on what to do about abortion.

Her post makes it clear that she believes life in utero is real human life. What I find very interesting is that her biggest complaint about pro-lifers (hmm, is that another political label?) is her perception of arrogance and hypocrisy among the ranks. She sees Christians who are willing to condemn some women as bad for desiring abortion (or simply for going through with it, even when they are being pressured into it and don't desire it). She sees Christians who talk about abortion being bad but who are unwilling to adopt babies who are "less than perfect", and not white. She sees Christians who are just so self-righteous that they have not even begun to understand what a woman is going through who is facing this hellish situation.

So many revealing points to me here. First, I agree that arrogance and hypocrisy are loathsome. They are the antithesis of Christ because they are extremely unattractive (unless a fellow practitioner of them wants dark fellowship). I know from first-hand experience that those who profess Christ sometimes exude these ugly traits to a far greater degree than they exude Christ. What a revelation that simply repenting of our own sins, confessing them, being cleansed of them, can have an impact on literally changing the world! If no one saw arrogance and hypocrisy coming from one professing Christ, what a different impact we would be making.

Secondly, this makes me think of how Catholics are sometimes generous to a fault with our separated brethren. We dare not take for granted the riches we have in the fullness of the Catholic faith. Before I became a Catholic, I had a few Catholic folks tell me that I didn't really need to convert, that God accepted me as His child just as I was. They just didn't get it. I was starving for what they had, namely the Eucharist, the Sacraments, and the life of the Church family in its fullness. And they just saw (rightly) that I was also baptized and was Christian. Brothers and sisters, our separated brethren suffer because they have to make do without so much of what God has to offer all His children. Mother Theresa said something like "it is a poverty to accept that a child must die..." and yet some of these commenters were saying that, as bad as it is, sometimes a child dying is really the best thing, because we can't seem to come up with anything better to offer. That is a poverty. That is suffering.

I think I have been blessed in my geographical situations to have always had the Catholic influence in my pro-life outlook. In the Midwest, Catholics have led the way in pro-life efforts, and therefore I have never experienced pro-lifers as those who just want to yell and make people feel guilty, but people who were also ready to open their homes, their lives, their bank accounts to women and babies who had been saved from, or scarred by, abortion. Not to say that all the good examples I've seen have been Catholic -- by no means. But ironically, this was the face of Catholicism that offended me the most before my heart changed. Because I was one of those arrogant (read: deeply wounded and trying to cover it up) people who thought anyone who was going to help someone should first "get them straightened out". I hadn't yet experienced the fact that it is Love that transforms, and offering love to those in need is what we must do.

And that's what it boils down to. If we treat all people with love and respect, we really will end abortion.


Christine said...

I'm so glad you linked to the post. It will continue to create discussion on the topic and challenge a lot of Believers to allow God to stretch them outside of their current level of life service to Him!

I'm also glad to read your optimism. It is great that your experience has been so different.

Marie said...

Hi Christine,

I don't blog about others' posts often (if at all), but the discussion from your post struck a chord with me. Perhaps because I am used to discussing pro-life issues with people who pretty much see the question (and the answer) exactly as I do. (Or the discussion is more emotional than rational or information-based.)

It is valuable to me to add a perspective. I ask myself, what would make some Christians NOT stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the pro-life movement as I know it. Well, if a (perceived) requirement of doing so is acting completely unlike Christ, then, yeah, I can see where that causes a real moral dilemma.

For both parties.

I thought about how I stated my conclusion, and it sounds a bit pie-in-the-sky-ish. Sin is not a minor actor to contend with. But in simple terms, I do believe it is true: Jesus wants to come into the world and change it through His children. We need to pledge ourselves to follow Him, and let Him do what He wills.