Without wavering, I am pro-choice; however, I am in no way supportive of late-term abortion even though I know these abortions are only performed when two doctors agree that actually having the child will endanger the life of the mother. I think my inability to accept the late-term abortion lies in my struggle to believe that no doctor could tell there would be problems before the fetus is viable. Suddenly, at seven months there are problems enough to put the mother’s life in danger? And, I think my (probably unrealizable) desire to have a child interferes with my ability to be rational in this situation.
With that said, I am sad and disappointed at the death of Dr. Tiller. I am continually amazed at the way that people get so blind-sided by their agenda that they do things that seem to be completely incongruous with their agenda. For example, people who are pro-life killing someone because he did his job. What is even more sad to me is the fact that the anti-Tiller rhetoric has not stopped after his death. The man is dead, now, can we leave him alone? I am sure that the pro-life killer sees this as his mission in life, to stop Tiller from performing future abortions. Still this makes no sense to me. Of course, much of what the Christian right does makes no sense to me.
I am trying hard not to judge the killer, because he was obviously doing what he thought was right, just like Dr. Tiller was doing what he thought was right. In much the same way that Dr. Tiller had a family who loved and supported his work, I am sure his killer has a family that loves and supports him, too. These situations are the ones that cause me to consider some tough theological questions:
- If God is good why is there such evil in the world?
- If God is in control of all things, how do [They] let such things happen?
- How can people rationalize killing a living breathing person, when they live their lives to protect the unborn?
- Why do people act so irrationally?
- How can I respond to such violent acts with a heart of grace and an attitude of mercy?
One of the other ideas I wrestle with is trying to understand how Christians ever expect to make an impact on this world when we can’t stop the arguing and fighting that goes on within our religion. I mean, Tiller was at church, serving as an usher, when he was killed! Of course, this internal conflict isn’t new; Paul and Barnabas, two of the first Christian theologians/missionaries split up over an even more insignificant conflict (Acts 15). I have often heard Christians complain about each other, and I have often complained about my conservative Christian friends/brothers and sisters in Christ. Why? Because my idea of what it means to be a Christian and how it looks to live that out doesn’t match theirs.
I will never understand the minds or the actions of conservative people, but I can do my part to recognize their role in the kingdom of heaven as it exists on earth. Maybe this rift is part of the already but not yet kingdom of God. We are already made one in Christ, but we cannot yet recognize our similarities and let them outweigh our differences. I may never pray the sinners’ prayer with someone. I will never go to a pro-life rally. I will never march against gay rights. And, I may never vote for a political candidate based on their commitment to Christian values, but I recognize that I need to give grace to those who do. Part of being a Christian, I suppose, is recognizing our differences and then realizing how God’s grace covers a multitude of sins. Mine and yours.
I got a volunteer job writing reviews for a Christian blogging site. I will be receiving a free new-publication book once a month, and, in return, I have to write a 500 word review of that book. My first one, A People’s History of Christianity by Diana Butler Bass, should be arriving shortly. I get three weeks to read it and post a review. I am excited about this opportunity because it has nothing to do with school and is an opportunity for me to read new theological/spiritual books and write about them purely for the enjoyment of doing so. I miss being immersed in the Church. Would I ever go back to working in a church? Yes, in a heartbeat.
The purging is going well. I am finding that the hardest things to stay away from are refined sugars and caffeine. I have never realized how hard it is to make food without white sugar, and to keep from drinking caffeinated beverages. I made a huge pitcher of sun tea the other day and forgot that green tea has caffeine in it. I was up until about one in the morning trying to fall asleep!
I am proud to say that I have had no alcohol for the past (almost) three weeks, and I don’t really have the desire for any. Obviously, I really enjoy trying new beers and new drinks, but I can definitely live without them!
I have been reading my bible, but I had to play catch up the other afternoon, because I forgot to read for a couple of days. I took a quilt out on the grass and relaxed in the sunshine while I read. That couple of hours was the most fulfilling afternoon I have had in a while.
Along with all of this purging, I have been thinking about running and much I miss it. I have been walking about 3-5 miles a day, but it is no substitute for running so I have decided to start running again when I get back from vacation. I hope to be able to run all year without getting sick so much over the winter. I think if I maintain my healthy diet, I will be able to achieve this goal. Sometimes I think the food we eat actually makes us sick, but that is for another blog.
I have been considering taking a Nazarite vow until I am finished with my PhD. While we are on vacation, I will be putting my brother’s hair into dreadlocks. He said that one of the people on the website where he bought his dread-kit decided to put his hair in dreads as part of a Nazarite vow. I respect that commitment. I know that commitment is part of Rastafarianism, which I also respect and am intrigued by because so much of Rasta theology seems right on. I especially like the part where we smoke ganjah as the healing of the nation! I tend to think that if everyone sat around smoking ganjah, or at least hookah, we’d have far fewer problems in this world.
So, I am thinking of taking this Christian, Nazarite vow on my birthday this year, my 35th birthday. I would cut my hair and then let it grow until I finish my PhD. I would abstain from alcohol, caffeine, meat, and sugars until I finish. That would be almost two years, and I didn’t even make it for a whole year the last time. The big plus is the commitment and the fact that I would read through the Bible two whole times during my vow. I am still thinking about it, but it seems like something that draws my spirit.