On Being Pro-Life and the March for Life

I didn’t attend the March for Life this year, but I was there in spirit. Below is something what I posted on Facebook today regarding the March and last week’s march. I thought it might be good to share it here as well:

Today I did some ill-advised perusing of the #MarchforLife hashtag on Twitter. The most common criticisms I saw of the March were variations of the argument that pro-lifers are hypocrites because they don’t care about humans after birth. Beyond the general inaccuracy of this perspective, I find it frustrating because that is not an argument against the pro-life position (that we should not legalize the killing of innocent human beings regardless of their stage of life). 

The March for Life is very much a single issue event where people can and do disagree on all sorts of other political issues like gun control, the death penalty, war, economic policy, etc. I’m happy to have a discussion with you about abortion, but don’t try to get out of the argument by telling me I don’t care about human beings after birth because anyone who knows me can tell you nothing could be further from the truth.

Last Saturday, I didn’t march. Part of me wanted to. I found many of the stated causes of the Women’s March compelling. Some pro-lifers chose to go, but ultimately the organizers themselves made supporting the right to abortion an integral part of the march, so I didn’t feel like I would be accepted.

Today my heart is pulled in different directions about recent political changes, part of it grateful for the new opportunities for the pro-life movement, another part of it saddened by news of refugee programs shutting down like this: http://www.syracuse.com/…/syracuse_refugee_program_will_be_…

I, too, am annoyed by pro-lifers who just want to use abortion laws to control women’s bodies and moral choices, but that’s not why I’m pro-life. That’s not why most people are pro-life. The majority of us just believe human beings at all stages of life should have a right to live.

I’m trying to live in the tension, acknowledging my own conflicting feelings while pursuing justice for all.

#whywemarch

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Future Grace

Have you ever anticipated a person hurting you long before it ever happened? Have you ever anticipated the upcoming need to forgive that person? Jesus did—while we were unborn, while we were still sinners—then He died.

So this is for those—strangers, “enemies,” and the close-to-my-heart ones—who will hurt me someday. In Christ, I’m trying to forgive you today.

~~~

Future grace, I’ll give

‘cause

future grace, I’ll get,

bearing with you today;

tomorrow’s been forgiven

by yesterday’s blood

that every gives me power

to love as I am loved.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all else put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” – Colossians 3:12-14

Those Puritans had it goin’ on

“Help me to hold out a little longer

until that happy hour of deliverance comes

for I cannot lift my soul to thee

if thou of thy goodness bring me not nigh.”

– From “Need of Grace” in The Valley of Vision

I love reading and praying the prayers of saints who have gone before me. The Psalms, for example. Another one of my favorite books is The Valley of Vision, which is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions. The beautiful language of the prayers illuminates truth to my soul and inspires me to pray and write deeply. The Puritans had faults—no doubt. But the writers of these prayers also had the Spirit. For anyone, but especially for my fellow Christian writers, I highly recommend you get this book.

What books (or articles) do you recommend on Christian art, poetry, or prayer?

(I also just got Awed to Heaven, Rooted to Earth by Walter Brueggemann, but I haven’t read as many of the prayers yet.)

“A Thousand Worries”

For every drop of trust, I hold a thousand worries
I have a thousand wants, a thousand needs
I bring to You
while making my own plans to get them done.
Thinking the peace comes from the thing received, achieved,
rather than You,
my flimsy patience begs me hasten,
encouraging my DIY plans to control my own fate.
But fate proves a heavy load
for my fragile hands, which now,
I see, hold a thousand worries once more.

So I come again, Lord,
making known my request.
You’re not just my backup plan;
You’re my peace.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

– Philippians 4:6-7

2017: Listen

“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” – James 1:19

In addition to setting some specific goals each year, for the past couple years I have also chosen a theme/word for the year. Last year my word was “share,” and this year my word is “listen.” I hate to admit it, but the truth is I’m a pretty bad listener. So there is a very literal aspect to my theme word because I do want to become a “better” listener this year. (Side note: I hate all the “betters” that New Year’s resolutions often entail because they are so difficult to measurably achieve). Still, I think of my theme words more broadly. Listening is an integral part of loving and empathizing with others. Listening involves humbly receiving criticism. Listening is inherently other-focused, and I think that’s the hardest part for me because I’m so self-focused. Additionally, I want to listen to God. I believe the primary communication tool God uses is His Word, the Bible. And similar to how I don’t want distraction to detract from my listening in conversations with others, I don’t want distraction to infiltrate my time in the Word.

I want to hear the pins drop in Scripture, and I welcome the truth to change me.

So 2017, I’m pleased to meet you. And I’m excited to hear what you’ll teach me.

~~~

My New Year’s Prayer

Faithful Father,

I know You are good.

I see You are good.

I hear “You are good.”

I feel You are good.

I sing “You are good.”

Quiet my heart with Your grace

Still my mind with Your peace

Close my lips with Your power

that I might listen

that all the praise that flows from my mouth reflect the truth of knowing You

Teach me to love with my ears first

Teach me humility from my ears,

receptive to correction,

open to wisdom

And Lord, I pray that the more I listen to You

the more I read Your Truth

the more I seek You

that my ears will grow accustomed to the sound

ringing more and more beautifully

that I resemble You more,

You who always hears my prayers

Lord, make my words a product of listening

make my thoughts entirely unoriginal and fully originating in You

This year I begin with open ears, an open heart, and an open Book.