October 7, 2011
Catalyst 2011 Justice and Mercy Part 2
In our celebration of justice and mercy, did somebody get left off the guest list?
Catalyst 2011 has sent a powerful message of Christ-centered justice and mercy for what Jesus called “the least of these my brothers and sisters.” So the message this week has been, “Come all you poor and brokenhearted. Come all you children and orphans. Come all you wretched of the earth—shoeless ones, hopeless ones, dispossessed ones, and forgotten ones.” Today at Catalyst we heard amazing, heartening statistics about huge strides in combatting world poverty. But, surprisingly, I only heard one (indirect) reference to abortion. So “Come all you unborn?” Hum, I think so.
I’m not criticizing Catalyst because they can only promote so many wonderful causes in two days (and I’m amazed by all that good that’s been done in 48 hours). I’m concerned about a larger trend: in our celebration of justice and mercy, somebody forgot to invite the unborn. I’m not sure why, but here are a few possibilities:
1. We’re already doing enough. By caring for the poor and adopting children we’ll make abortion unnecessary. [By the way, the way Catalyst promoted adoption was utterly beautiful.]
2. We’re tired. After all, it’s an old topic. We fought the battle for a long time, but it’s time to move on to other issues. Abortion just isn’t trending anymore.
3. We’re embarrassed. Abortion doesn’t make us look cool. Fighting global sex trafficking is cool, but fighting abortion makes us look like fundamentalists or Catholics.
4. We’ve bought into individualism. It really is a private choice. It’s not our right to judge or interfere. If we fight the current of individualism, we might lose church members.
5. We’re not thoughtful enough. In other words, unlike our Catholic brothers and sisters, we don’t have a “seamless garment” life ethic that protects human beings from conception to death. That also explains the apparent silence among white evangelicals when Troy Davis was executed last month.
6. We’re scared. We don’t know how to talk about it. It's a painful issue, especially for women who either have had or might have an abortion. And it gets really touchy because the abortion rate inside the evangelical church isn’t any better than the abortion rate outside our churches. So we'd rather just not talk about it.
7. We feel powerless. Abortion is bad and we’re against it, but we’re not going to fix it. And whenever we feel stuck and helpless, we just shift our focus to something else—something that makes us feel helpful, efficient, and successful.
Do you think any of the points above are valid? Are any totally off-base? How do we minister to people who feel so much pain when this issue is even discussed? How do we display grace in the midst of this complex and painful issue?