Yesterday was a Roe v Wade anniversary. Which means my Facebook feed was talking at me about it from two distinct standpoints: celebration (with a little bit of in your face, we keep winning) and despair (with a little bit of in your face righteousness). This is how the abortion debate has evolved. Black and white. Right and wrong. Where you stand on the issue determines which version of “right” you hold.
I will tell you I consider myself ‘pro-life’. But based on the sound bites and headlines, you may not fully grasp what that means. How that plays out. So on another day of the same back and forth, may I step in the middle for a bit and paint at least a partial picture of what it means from my vantage point?
I am pro-life because I am for life. This gift that we’ve been given is a miracle and I am for it. The crux is I believe every person is uniquely created to bear God’s image. That means every person, every single one, from jail house to White House, is a reflection of God’s goodness.
I also follow Jesus who says, “I am the life.” (If this is starting to feel churchy, please keep reading). In my understanding of the world Jesus is life. And I am for him. I am for his goodness in the world. I am for the life he offers. Anything that pushes toward God’s goodness, his redemptions, his miracles, I am for. That includes physical, breathing, souls embodied in flesh and bone, life. It is also so much more.
I am also pro-choice in that I am for people having choices. Choice empowers us to move toward God’s goodness of our own accord. God gave us “free will” as we like to say in church circles. Rather than making us robots he gave us creative expression and choice. It’s been part of our story from the beginning. We can choose to move toward him or away from him. Toward the miracle or away from it.
Does life begin at conception? At a unique genetic code? At a heartbeat? At a child’s ability to survive outside the womb? I don’t know the point at which the soul enters the body, but I believe it’s somewhere in that process. And based on what God says in the Psalms, I believe he orchestrates it all. So when it comes to abortion my prayer is that people choose toward the miracle.
But abortion is just the tip of what it means for me to be pro-life. Remember the crux for me is every person is uniquely created to bear God’s image. People matter. So to be pro-life is not just about yet to be born. It’s about the mother. The father. Their circumstances. The community they live in. Their world.
In fact being pro-life impacts my views on gun control, the death penalty, the justice system, minimum wage laws, public education, physician assisted suicide, #blacklivesmatter and #alllivesmatter. It impacts how I view immigration reform, healthcare reform and welfare reform. It shapes my opinions about refugees, terrorism and all things foreign policy. Because to be pro-life means to be pro-people. God’s people created in his image to do great things in this world. It means to push toward the miracle.
(And if at this point you’re wondering how I vote, well you can see it’s complicated. And this year is proving to be especially exasperating.)
But to be pro-life is more than a voting record, it impacts my decisions big and small in how I live my life. What neighborhood I live in, what work I do, what work my husband does, where we send our children to school, and where we attend church. Because we want our lives to be pushing for “liberty and justice for all” and we know that is impacted by how individuals, like us, make choices in the economy, the education system, and the neighborhood. We want to be pushing toward the miracle.
It’s the day-to-day decisions. How I talk to the person checking me out at the grocery store, the mail carrier, the woman writing me a parking ticket. It’s every interaction at home and out in the bigger world, how I offer people respect (or don’t) is in part a reflection of what I think of them. I try (and often fail), but oh how I try, to give every person in front of me the respect they are due because they are someone made in God’s image.
You see to be pro-life for me is so much more than one issue. It’s all the issues. It’s my everyday. Jesus not only said he is the life, he said he came to give us new life, to give us more than we can ask or imagine. I am pro-life because I am for life. I am for God’s people created in his image to do great things in this world.
I am pushing toward the miracle.
I welcome discussion here, but know comments that lack a respectful tone will not be approved. We are all made in God’s image. Let’s treat each other accordingly.