Archive | sacred life

do they care?

I’m reading through her Facebook posts, her blog posts, her tweets. I’m seeing all of the things we agree on, all of the ways our theology aligns, all of the similarities. And yet, something is missing. Why in all of her caring does she not mention abortion? I can’t help but think it. Maybe she doesn’t believe abortion is wrong. Maybe she doesn’t care about it at all, about them. I bristle. I feel a little repulsed. At the maybes, at myself. It might not be like that at all, but if it is…it seems so contradictory. But then I remember that just a couple of short years ago, abortion wasn’t on my radar either. I knew so little about it and cared so little about what happened behind that iron gate just a few minutes from my house. I remember I hated driving past it in Driver’s Ed because it gave me a ghostly feeling, but see-not, care-not was a nice motto for a time.

As time passed, my conviction increased. I read a lot about abortion, the pro-life movement and talked to my friends at The Coalition For Life. It was a gradual but heavy change. The burden of abortion in my own community rolled onto my back like a great stone. I had to kneel in order to let it roll on, and I had to stay low in order to carry it. It’s a humbling thing to admit that you’ve been ignorant to blatant sin, that you’ve contributed to a blatant sin, while tweeting scripture from your upstairs bedroom.

The Internet has a funny way of swirling my mind in a billion directions. It’s a million books, a million menus, a million conversations all at once and sometimes I think I need to turn it all off and just go to sleep at a decent hour for once in my life. One thing the Internet has taught me is that there is every type of person imaginable and each one just as personal a person as the next. And they all have something to say and they all have thoughts and they’ve all come to conclusions and they’re all a little wrong and they’re all a little right and if I just listen, I’ll learn from all of them. But I can’t believe everything I hear and I can’t agree with everything I’m told, but I can listen and I can learn and I can kneel and change when I’m the wronger of the two wrongs.

And the other thing I do on the Internet-I judge people. Every day I fall into the sin of judgement while online.

She is cool because look at that picture she instagrammed of her garden. She’s so mellow and calm as she plants that asparagus, she must be at some great peace with the Lord.

She is stupid. She just tweeted about sports three times in a row. There’s so much more to life than sports. She’s just making a fool of herself. Who cares anyway? Not me.

He’s totally right. Everyone should recycle. If you don’t recycle, you don’t care about the environment. Don’t they know that God gave us the earth to steward and care for? Gee!

Oh, I thought I liked this person. Never. Mind. Their kids go to public school. Yuck. If you want the government polluting your children’s minds and molding them into factory workers for you, go back to Prussia. 

These thoughts are slightly exaggerated. Keyword: slightly.

Stopping for Conversation

Very quickly, I judge people like this and keep scrolling. I hardly notice that I’m doing it, I can click away so quickly. Sometimes someone says something that rubs me the wrong way and I keep mulling it over for a long time, but most of the time I just make my instant judgements and click away.

Yesterday as I was helping my mom cook dinner, I was thinking about how glad I was that we’ve started composting. I can’t imagine throwing away all of this good vegetation anymore. Our little pail is filled several times a day with banana peel, strawberry leaves, wilted lettuce, plate scraps. We take it out to our pile, toss it around and…viola! Compost! It’s so neat and so simple and makes me feel so good about myself. 

And we recycle! Glass, paper, plastic, styrofoam, cardboard-you name it. And we conserve water! We wash our dishes in a tub and dump the tub in the grass. We have a rain barrel! And speaking of the kitchen, we only eat fair-trade chocolate! And I make my own chocolate syrup out of fair-trade organic cocoa! We buy organic vegetables! We eat carrots from our neighbor’s garden! We grow our own peppers and tomatos! We wash our plastic bags and use them again! We’ve cut down on meat intake! We get our beef from a friend’s ranch! We don’t buy certain brands that support Planned Parenthood! We donate to ministries in Haiti! We sponsor kids through Compassion! We tithe! We read! We exercise! We  pray! We have family meals! We make our own laundry detergent! We use eco-friendly all-purpose cleaner! We write real letters! We take lots of photos! We don’t watch dirty movies! We listen to great music! We host friends at our house! We have volunteered in nearly every ministry at our church! We volunteer at a crises pregnancy center! We participate in fundraisers! We are un-judge-able!

Right? RIGHT?

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Yes, I do all of these things. But I also judge. I also hate. I also slip.

Did you see how many times I mentioned chocolate? Yeah, I eat a lot of that. I’m kind of an addict. And did you see where I mentioned carrots? That happens once a year. And did you see where I mentioned water conservation and homemade laundry detergent? That started this week.

It sounded good, didn’t it? It would’ve looked good on Instagram too. The truth is, even if I told you how often I neglect to write to my sponsor child or how often I buy the non-organic apples because they’re bigger and prettier than the organic ones or how I still get lattes at Starbucks even though their chocolate syrup is probably made by slave children in Africa, it wouldn’t matter. We would still judge each other and we’d still be far from the heart of the matter.

Ah-bingo. The heart. I can do a million “good things” and my heart can still be far from the Lord. Far from the people, even. I judge people who I think should care about the same things I do, yet I don’t even do those things many days! A couple of years ago I thought recycling was a scam, composting was gross and water conservation was just for drought seasons. I ate bukus of Hershey’s chocolate and knew nothing of their affiliation with slavery. I did whatever was convenient and normal and thought little of the toll it took around the world. I didn’t work out, even as much as I do now (which isn’t a lot!) You see, I could give you a perception of my life which would, honestly, make us look like the greatest family ever. You would read about me on my blog and on my Facebook page and be jealous, feel guilty about your own weaknesses and end up hating me for being the person you never could be. And there’s when you know that you’re being duped. If you cannot become that perfect person, neither can I.

I have to remember that I care about things for the first time. I care about things that God lays on my heart one-by-one. There are still issues, sin in my own heart and hurt around the world, that I’m ignorant to. I cannot judge people for not being exactly where I am on this journey. I cannot judge people for anything. I cannot even judge you for eating Twinkies. Heck-I used to be quite a fan of Ding-Dongs myself.

I love that scripture addressed all of this so long before I was even born. It doesn’t mention water conservation or Hershey’s or Planned Parenthood, but it does tell us to seek justice and love mercy and it does tell us that the kingdom of God is so much more than what we eat or what we drink or what we wear or how we talk. It’s about the heart. We are all clanging gongs if we don’t love. And to love can look different for you than it does for me. It can look differently for me tomorrow than it does today.

I love the good decisions we’ve made as a family. I love that we are becoming healthier and more eco-friendly. I love that we are involved in church. I love that we have a few good habits. But I know that there is just as much work left to be done as is already completed. I know that I cannot let anything, even good things, puff me up. I know that it’s not about these details at all. I try to focus on my similarities with others rather than our differences. I try to be encouraging in everyone’s little efforts to lead a full life. I try to focus on things of heaven, what is worthy of praise. It makes life simpler and happier and I have more friends than I did when I categorized everyone into “good” or “bad” boxes. Life has very few “yes or no” answers. We have to keep walking to find God’s next best thing for us. I hope I never hurt anyone over whether or not we’ve been convicted about the same thing. As the old Rolling Stones songs says, “he can’t be a man because he doesn’t smoke the same cigarettes as me.” I mean, we can be just like that, can’t we? Except we don’t smoke. That’s bad.

everly

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sanctity of relationships?

My mom and I have been talking about the sanctity of life. She hasn’t just been convicted, she’s brave enough to tell me so. She prays with my dad about what we can do to protect it, this sacred thing. Shortly afterward, she finds herself making the first sacrifice. A giant pro-life sticker on her car. My mom hates being the center of attention. Driving around in the ‘life-mobile’ qualifies as noticeable. But she had just prayed. And the call was just to her. Would she like a giant sticker on her car? Not the idea of a sticker. The real, enormous, professionally applied thing. And she said “yes.”

Now, this isn’t about gun-control, I promise. I find that following a peaceful savior in a corrupt world leaves us with many confusing scenarios. I believe in a time for everything. I believe in personal choices. I’m not interested in discussing whether or not we should carry guns or ban certain kinds etc. Really-I’m not.

Though guns and bullets have been around for a long time, the latest craze about them happened after the Connecticut school shooting. I am proud of our country for still having enough sensitivity to be shocked over this crime. I hurt for the mommies and daddies who celebrated Christmas without their little ones. Nothing must feel more wrong than seeing the child whom you created, birthed, loved, raised, being lowered into the ground.

Needless to say, I am in no way trying to diminish what happened on that day. It was horrific. It is horrific. I am merely asking a question.

Did America truly mourn the life that was lost that day, or the relationships?

We are moved and saddened by the thought that those parents, siblings and friends of the children who were killed will have to go on without them. We see the pictures of the good times they had together, how happy they made each other, and we know that they’ll miss that so much. But what if those children had no one to miss them? What if, for the sake of the question, those children had been alone in this life?

What if someone had gone into an orphanage in Uganda and shot thirty children who had no family? What if their parents hadn’t wanted them and they had made no friends since they were abandoned? Would we mourn?

Do we honestly mourn the life that has gone out, or merely sympathize with those who are left with broken relationships?

This was all swirling in my head last night when my brothers and sister and I decided to watch Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I thought I had seen it before, but it turns out it was all new to me. I didn’t know, until last night, that Indiana was a child-slavery abolitionist. I also didn’t about Short Round, who is, now, my favorite.

During the movie, a horrific Satan-worshipper yanks the heart out of this guy and then feeds him to a pit of fiery lava. The scene is somewhat gruesome and suspenseful (you wonder if anyone will save him) but crucial in showing how wicked these people are. They are under a sort of spell and have no sympathy for humanity. They don’t seem to feel bad that a man just lost his life in a torturous way, and neither does the audience. I mean, it’s awful, but we don’t feel a great loss.

Near the end of the movie, however (spoiler alert!) we see Willie, the blond love-interest to Indiana, being strapped into the iron cage to be lowered into the very same pit of lava. Despite the fact that Willie’s character is outright obnoxious and she and Indie don’t go together at all, I found myself gripping my fuzzy blanket as the scene progressed. I knew that Indiana wouldn’t let her die, but I let myself enjoy the suspense of the fictional moment. What would it feel like to be in that situation? How would I react? What must it feel like to be dipped in lava? How could I save a person who was in such a predicament? The scene continues slowly. Willie begs for her life and screams a lot. As the audience, we are rooting for Indie. Don’t let her die! Save her! This can’t happen!

Was I worried about seeing a body thrown into lava? No. I had seen that about half an hour before when the nameless man met his fate. Why, then, was I so tense? Because I knew Willie’s character. And I knew that Indiana was, for some reason, in love with her. And I knew her name and where she had come from. I didn’t want Willie to die, and neither did Indiana and Short Round, because we knew who she was.

Again, this isn’t to take away from the tragedy in Connecticut or any other shooting, but I must wonder if we are being all too much human in our preferences. Did we mourn those children just because they had families who loved them and we feel bad for said families? Just because we could see their pictures on tv and relate to them? Just because someone knew them and, to America, they had a name?

And here’s the really harsh part. A lot more children died that day than we acted like. A lot of children die every day. In Haiti, babies are left in latrines because their mother cannot care for them. In India, babies are killed at birth because they are born with female organs. In Africa, children are killed in war or die as slaves on cocoa farms, far from their families. And this stuff happens in America too. In Texas. In Connecticut. Nearby wherever you’re reading this from.

An estimated five children die in the United States every day at the hand of abuse. An American baby is aborted every 26 seconds. That’s nine innocent deaths every 4 minutes. 137 and hour. 3,288 a day.

26 seconds picmonkey

Contrary to what we like to think, those babies have faces too. They’re just not plastered on the news. They have memories, just not as many and they don’t include birthday cake or field trips. They have a family, a soul, a heartbeat (if they are 18 days or older) and were created in the image of God Almighty.

I know that there are children who have already been born who need our help and attention and care. That’s why I am so much an advocate of adoption, orphan-prevention and sponsorship for children living in poverty. I also know that the root of abortion is not the abortionists. We aren’t dealing with men with pointy tools chasing mothers down and forcing them into abortions (well, not typically.)

We are dealing with a lot of desperate people who don’t know where to turn. Terrified teen moms, insecure dads, parents who hold their reputation above the life of their grandchild, people who think that it’s wiser to have an abortion than to have a baby in college, people who don’t understand what “special needs” actually means, people who don’t know that every child is a blessing. A lot of people who don’t know.

They don’t know that their “pregnancy” has a heartbeat and fingernails.

They don’t know that a “special needs child” is actually just…a child.

They don’t know where to turn. 

And that’s partially my fault. The Church’s fault. I think we need to reach out to the moms and correct this issue from the ground up. But let’s start by admitting that this is an issue that we’ve let slip. Let’s admit that, whether you befriend a young mom today or convince a dad to take responsibility for his offspring or talk an abortion-worker over to “our side,” there are babies dying right now. How many since you started reading this post?

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