What constitutes a good bishop?
26 minutes ago
There’s a story behind my post.
I was at a pro-life demonstration a few weeks ago. It was an evening candle-lit walk through our city in rememberance of an unspeakable number of unborn children lost to abortion. It was a beautiful evening when young and old gathered together to say: this grieves us- we are impoverished by the loss of these children and the pain that has come to their mothers, their families and our state, and we want to help make it stop.
I fully intended to participate in the walk portion of the evening, until I was side-tracked. While hundreds of walkers assembled peacefully in the courtyard of a large church, fourteen (exactly, I counted) angry, disrespectful persons assembled outside the church property and with a few obscene signs, a handful of wire coathangers, and a megaphone, proceeded to try to disrupt the event.
At first, I tried to ignore them. I asked people in the courtyard to pray for them. But while a church leader spoke to the peaceful families assembling to walk, this little band of misfits were screaming the same stale, untrue slogans that I’ve heard a thousand times before.
I was trying to stay away, but the one that really got me going was “Pro-life, that’s a lie- you don’t care if women die!”
I was surrounded by many people I knew, including a doctor who helps women with no health insurance by delivering their babies for free; famillies who have opened their homes to pregnant teens kicked out by their own parents when they refused to abort; foster parents and adoptive parents; pastors who had organized baby gear drives for single mums; business owners who had donated time and services for pregnant mothers in crisis; and many more caring, pro-life people who certainly do care if women die- and not just the born ones, even if caring comes at considerably more personal sacrifice than screaming at strangers at an event you weren’t invited to attend.
And then there’s me. I have the utmost privilege of serving the women of my city full-time by coordinating an amazing team of (almost exclusively female) volunteers. Together, we offer free, compassionate care to women in crisis pregnancies, including pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, advice from midwives and nurses, crisis accomodation, parenting classes, baby and maternity gear and post-abortion trauma support. We rescue women from the brink of despair and offer them hope, help and real choices so that they can find the strength to protect and nourish their babies. We offer life-affirming solutions when all they have been offered so far is discouragement and death.
So that blog post was right out of the discussion I had with three of those fourteen misguided troublemakers that night. I approached them by asking for a rational, adult discussion instead of screaming lies, and they stopped yelling long enough to talk to me.
I heard lots of memorized straw-(wo)man arguments from them, and I kept coming back to the fact that I think their lives are more precious than even they think they are.
I said that I felt it would have been a tragedy if their mothers had aborted them while they were in the womb, contrary to their pro-choice position, which claims that their mothers’ abortion of them would have been empowering and didn’t need justifying. Whether, I’m right or you’re right on this point, I said, you still would have died. That saddens me and I would have protected you, while you want to celebrate and protect your mother’s right to have killed you.
I said that while pro-choice says “women can’t,” pro-life says that WE CAN. We CAN choose to love, even when it hurts. We CAN find innovative solutions to our problems. We CAN put the interests of others ahead of our own. We CAN, as individuals, and couples, and families and communities, find a way to care for both mother and child.
And at the beginning, before the baby is made, we CAN control our urges and make wise choices. We don’t need abortion- we need self control, support and the strength to stand up to the nay-sayers. Above all, we need self-respect. As Feminists for Life so succintly state, we should refuse to choose because we deserve better than abortion.
I said, you are saying that women CAN’T be equal to men unless we have access to chemicals or surgery to have our pregnancies destroyed. I said I believe we ARE equal to men already- exactly as we are, fertile uterus and all. If pregnancy makes our lives harder, it’s a sign that society, not biology, needs to change.
After all, I believe pregnancy is a sacred and essential task, and a privilege, not a burden, but one that we can choose to take up of our own free will, based on our personal life choices. I am totally pro-choice as long as your choices don’t infringe on someone else’s.
So I missed the walking portion of the evening. I did, however, exchange contact details with one of the young women, with promises to continue the discussion over coffee at a later date.
I jumped into a car and made it to the end point a few minutes before the peaceful crowd of walkers arrived. I’m sorry I missed the opportunity to walk through my city, arm in arm with hundreds of my caring, pro-woman AND pro-child brothers and sisters, but I think I perhaps accomplished more by staying behind.
I CAN speak the truth in love, and when all is said and done, love will win.