15 marzo 2010

The Protesters

I had a friend once tell me, "Every generation has one great evil they are responsible to fight against.... in the 1800's it was slavery. today, it's... "

i didn't agree with him at the time (so much evil! how to pinpoint one?!), but listening to this song, i was convinced that he is right.

we have our principle evil.

as a church kid, i've heard this issue all my life. i guess it'd be the same as if i was raised in a widow-burning India a few hundred years ago... or on a misson, surrounded by conscientious monks lamenting the exploitation of the natives. or maybe like being in a Southern family who regretted that our black neighbors are commonly considered subhuman... the main difference might be that our generation's great evil is a private one... a medical one... we see only the survivors, not the victims. thusly, i'm generally used to the evil. always regret it, but don't always think of it.

nonetheless, every now and again it hits me. frederica.com has caused some reflection (for instance: anyone born after 1973 could have been legally murdered. we are the survivors of the holocaust... don't we have something to say?!) but this weekend, it was through this song that i was reminded,

"i live in a country that kills our children. i'm pro-woman and pro-children and both are being totally and completely oppressed... murdering and being murdered..."

but what does it mean to fight? i would be willing to tote a sign and march a march, but my schedule won't let me devote myself much to political activism... and i must confess that in the past, the seeming ineffectiveness of that approach has contributed to my apathy. i'm not much for political solutions.

so. here are thoughts. please contribute as well.

Christ's solution? Incarnation and atonement... He knows what it's like to be a baby in a crisis pregnancy... Came, survived His generation's murder of the innocents, and died for all the murderers and murdered of history. for all their life and for all their sin, too.

even if their lives turn out terrible, horrible, grievous (in response to those who think terminating life is the most compassionate response compared to allowing the suffering that is sure to follow), even if their life is filled with horrors and harm, Christ PAID THE PRICE to redeem the worst life from destruction. in other words, they are never without hope. at the end of an oppressed life, they can know that compared to eternity, it is nothing. in the middle of life as an unwanted, unappreciated, unloved human being, they can find everything in the God who loved them enough to a) will them into existence, and b) bleed and die that they might live. forever. with no more tears, no more heartache, no more abuse, no more neglect. He will never leave them nor forsake them.

and it is enough.

the Christian's response?

1) Love the children who did survive pregnancy. Build a life where the existence of children is never an inconvenience. Or where, when their actions or needs become inconvenient (they are children, after all), your life shows, "I was born and redeemed precisely for inconveniences such as these."

2) Love the at-risk group, the unwanted, the unbeautiful, be they 8 or 82. Contribute to the ones who have nothing to contribute. Murder proceeds from the heart. We only kill people after we think them disposable.

3) Educate the youth: Violence is NOT the answer. You do not make either a crime (incest), or a terror (rape) or a "problem" (teenage pregnancy) better by murdering a child. If death might fix the problem, it's not the child who should die. (my texan is showing.) Children must encounter young that fetus = human, and we don't kill innocent humans. This is not hard to do. Equating an unborn child with mere tissue is not something that comes naturally to children. They don't know what tissue is; they think it's a baby.

4) Reason with others of a different mindset. They can give you all sorts of insights into problems we need to be addressing if we want to save children's lives. Find some place to discuss these things. Interrelate with coworkers on more than just an superficial level. People's lives are at stake... as your coworkers believe, so will their children.... and anyone they have intellectual and moral influence on.

5) Work the system as much as possible. (Politics, democracy, etc.)

6) Help women/ girls who are in a crisis pregnancy. Yeah, it's probably not your "responsibility." Yeah, their families, churches, and communities should help, too. I'm just saying, if there's good at your hand to do, do it.

7) Help single mothers who did have the righteousness to bring the child to term. They sinned, but they did not add iniquity. Somehow, cultivate respect for these women.

Think of what these women have endured! Childbirth and child-rearing is not a light experience in the best of circumstances! To decide to do what is oh-so-difficultly right, although you have opportunity to "make it all go away," although you have been abandoned, although your heart is broken for numerous reasons, although your dreams will have to die, although you will lose sleep, although your standard of living and social status will most likely stay at the bottom for the foreseeable future... that is not a decision a coward makes.

Many have been stupider or more unrighteous than they and yet seem to escape the consequences and burdens that these meet full in the face. The absent men, for instance. The girls who are "smart" and use birth control. The "lucky" ones. But these have an incredibly heavy load precisely because they accept responsibility. That should be recognized. Have compassion. If we all received what we deserved and alone had to shoulder the load we have packed with our own sin... ay de nosotros.

even if you don't think that much of the mothers, for the sake of the children, for the sake of society, for the sake of breaking cycles of ignorant sin, step in and provide them with a living, breathing alternative. i didn't say write checks or be stupid or allow others to use you or become an enabler. just step in and represent your Savior. the world has promised this woman much but all it really has to offer involves stealing, killing, and destruction. represent the one who said, "let the little children come to Me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven." and the kingdom of heaven... is so not overrated. show them how to get to the Father of the fatherless, the Defender of the oppressed. Do not worry that you will have to be their savior; He's capable of sustaining them...

trust me. from the heart of a survivor, i know.

***let me close with a thought from another friend several years back. We know God hates murder. We know God loves help for the helpless. We know God does not merely emote about these things, but is a God who executes justice for all the oppressed. Why does He tarry? Why don't we see plagues breaking out on us? ...Just because He is longsuffering, not willing that any soul should perish, even those of a pro-murder society. But the day of judgment is coming. Sooner for some of us than others. And let us not think of God always judging "them." On the last day, (who knows how far away it will be?) God will judge US... there is no patience for pacifists in the war against evil. let us reflect: "How did we as individuals within a society ... participate in the sins and virtues of that society?"