I believe that abortion is murder.
I also believe that we will never make it go away until we change our society. All pregnancy needs to be celebrated, whether or not the circumstances of it are “good.” We have to stop shaming single mothers, teenage mothers, working mothers, ANY mothers. We have to recognize that pregnancy comes from two people, not just one. We also need to make major changes to how employment and parenthood are viewed. If having a baby stops women from reaching her career goals, or keeps her from being hired in the first place, then we back them into a corner of fear. If having a baby means that a woman is ostracized by the church, do we really value the life of that child? That’s what keeps abortion happening. We also need to work on our responses to domestic violence, sexual assault, and a whole host of other intertwined issues. That’s what will change the course of this devastating practice. Making it illegal or less available will not help the core problem.
I believe that all lives matter.
But that means that I believe they all matter equally, and for centuries we have proclaimed by our actions and our words that some lives matter more. So when I say that Black Lives Matter, it’s because I’m trying to emphasize this point. To borrow from Brene Brown, “All lives matter, but not all lives need to be pulled back into moral inclusion. Not all people were subjected to the psychological process of demonizing and being made less than human so we could justify the inhumane practice of slavery” (Braving the Wilderness).
I believe that the Bible is the true, inspired Word of God and it shapes my world view.
As I read scripture, I see a LOT of stuff that reminds me to love others, to not be afraid, to rejoice, and to fear, love, and trust in God above all things. What I don’t see is a command to lord my religious behavior over others, to control or shame them into compliance, or to attack someone who is different from me. I know that it is not my job to condemn or exclude someone for ANY reason. We pull individual verses from scripture to justify our hate, judgment, and, quite frankly, sinful attitudes towards others. But here’s the thing: Jesus came for EVERYONE. Yes, sometimes sin needs to be called out. But every time Jesus did it, He did it in love. He didn’t look at the woman at the well and tell her she was a mess. He offered her living water before she ever confessed her sins. in fact, the only moment I notice Him confront her on is her lie of omission. She said, “I have no husband.” And He says, “you’re right. But you’ve had 5 husbands and you’re currently living with someone who isn’t.” He SEES her and invites her to be honest about her reality. He makes it clear that He knows her sin but still did not reject her. How many of our churches can do that?
I believe that we don’t know enough information about everyone trying to enter our country.
Yes, there are obviously going to be some folks coming with nefarious purposes – terrorism, child trafficking, drugs, etc. We also make huge assumptions about this only happening on our southern border. Why? I believe it’s because Canadians look a lot like white Americans, but the folks coming from South and Central America don’t. This world is a mess, and there are many people fleeing from countries and situations where their lives are at stake. But we have ignored the plight of the refugee and refused to do anything to help. I know it’s complicated. But I firmly believe that calling people “illegals” dehumanizes them. And as soon as we stop seeing humanity in someone, we can treat them differently. Will immigration reform require massive resources? Yes, yes it will. There’s no easy solutions here. My first position is to recognize the humanity in every person. I think that’s a good place to start.
I trust that God is in control no matter who is running our country.
I won’t talk about who I voted for except with a few trusted friends. My process of deciding how to vote involves prayer, study of the issues, and a deep frustration in our two-party system. I have had some elections where I did not tell anyone, even my husband, who I voted for (mostly because I was being stubborn and didn’t want to tell him). I have voted for candidates from at least four different parties in my lifetime, including the two main ones. I have never been a single-issue voter. I also don’t know if I’ve always made the best choice, but I tried to make the best one I could at the time with the information I had. One of the abiding values of voting I have is that local candidates are much more important to pay attention to for how it will affect my life. I also get enraged when I think about the money that gets spent on election advertising, money that could be used for so many other things.
I believe that we don’t have all of the answers.
Personally, I think that when we start proclaiming that we are right and the other side is wrong, we’ve lost. I’m still trying to learn and understand the perspective of others. I’m working to root out the stubborn places in my soul that give knee-jerk reactions to people and things and places and circumstances that I don’t understand – and I’m discovering that those reactions are usually based in fear of the unknown. I grew up in a small (tiny) town in the middle of the country. 99% of the people I encountered looked just like me. I was aware that some folks had money and some didn’t. I knew a tiny handful of folks who were divorced. The biggest “diversity” shock for me came when I went to a catholic mass with a friend! I don’t assume I know how others have experienced life. What I do know is that, as a Christian, I am to love God with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind; and love my neighbor as myself. Who is my neighbor? That’s everybody else. The hard part for me is remembering to include those I don’t like or understand.
Stephanie, this is so well written and I know it came from your very loving heart, thank you for sharing with us. We send love from California.