I don’t often venture into controversy here. Or anywhere, for that matter. I don’t really want my life to be a place of arguments, anger, hurt or blame.
But sometimes, I just am compelled to share. Maybe it’s a bad idea. Who knows.
Controversy, nice to meet you…
But hopefully there will be no anger, hurt or blame here.
These 2 huge issues rising up on the same day. What is this? Is God trying to wake us up? Is the devil sitting back and chuckling? Both?
Abortion and Gay Marriage.
The two issues MOST likely to rile up a group of people any where, any time. The two issues that, when portrayed in a certain light, are most likely to make my Church appear to be living in the dark ages. The two issues that are most likely to make a person feel the heat rise up in their belly. Make a person feel sad, angry, volatile, hopeless, rejected, belittled, unloved or abandoned. The two issues that are so easily lost in jargon, misunderstood, and summarized in pithy short phrases that do not do them justice.
The two issues that twist my heart up in different ways and make me feel all worn out, like at the very end of a big exhale.
Abortion – because I do believe that the fetus in the womb is a person. She has a heartbeat, fingerprints, brainwaves, smiles, hiccups, yawns. She already looks like her parents, is right or left handed, and her placenta leaves a permanent mark on the inside of her mother’s uterus. Her survival age outside of the womb keeps coming down down down, thanks to medical technology. And, most importantly, she has a soul. No doubt. A person. Worth giving a chance to live. Definitely worth fighting for. But I also have great compassion for the scared mother, abandoned, pressured, or forced. Who thinks her life might be over, who fears having to drop out of college, turning down that job, facing down that extra-marital affair, birth defect or medical crisis. After having 4 children in a relatively stable environment, I can only imagine what goes through their minds. I desperately love both – mother and child!
Gay Marriage – not because I think it should exist. I don’t. I believe that marriage is the fruit of natural love, a gift from God, of that familial bond between husband and wife with the ideal purpose of having children. Sounds archaic to you maybe, but that’s what I believe to be true. But I do see these people, and I realize that they want to be happy. They’re just like everyone else, trying to live their lives quietly. Often extraordinarily talented, generous and caring about the world they live in. They want to love, and for some reason I cannot define, that is the way that they are pulled. And many may interpret our words and our votes as a denial of happiness. A denial of life, in the only way they can see. We become the enemy. My heart breaks. You might say, “but they have an agenda. they want to change our nation. they want to change the Church.” Some might, but I don’t think all do. I think most of these folks are just living their lives as best they can, just like you and I. I also think of their loved ones. They are a son or daughter, a parent, a coworker, a childhood friend, a neighbor, a confidant. To them, they are not a statistic. They are not a news story. They are a person. To be valued and loved.
And all these people, they listen to our answers and comments and thoughts and hear:
“you cannot love. you cannot be happy.”
That’s not what we’re saying, but that’s what they hear from rants on sidewalks, from stupidly worded signs, social media graphics and hashtags.
My friends, that is not how we have this conversation. I don’t know how we have it, but that’s not it.
We have to ‘say’ more carefully, more clearly and more lovingly if we want any of them to hear us.
All in love. Definitely. And with prayer. And with compassion. We see past the issues to the person, and start there. We recognize our own weaknesses. We all have stuff. We all have sin. We all struggle each and every day to live a good life. Every. Single. One. Of. Us.
We honor those who have chosen the hard road – the road of the Church. Those who have trusted, who have sacrificed. You are our heroes.
And, we trust in our Church, who, after over 2000 years, still stands strong and true and full of love. We may not understand everything completely now, maybe not until we are in heaven. But it’s okay, because we are faithful in love. And we can’t turn away from Her, because She saves us. We remember Jesus’ words to St. Peter:
‘He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.’ Matt. 16:15-18
That’s all I have to say.
(I reserve the right to delete rude comments.)