Why It’s Hard to Believe Abortion is Wrong

Why It’s Hard to Believe Abortion is Wrong.

A really good post by a Catholic writer who was recently Freshly Pressed. I have always believed that abortion is wrong, and have only recently realised that as the daughter of a man who could be described as a “rape baby” I have personal as well as logical reasons to believe it.

And yet, I don’t do anything about abortion’s prevalence, apart from occasionally get into arguments with people. The thought of those seven holocausts a year sickens me, but so do my country’s child abuse and youth suicide statistics, and I don’t feel like I can do anything much about those either.

I feel a certain amount of pressure to write something “awesome” after my blog being so described by someone far too kind (here), and I’ve been thinking a lot about what he’s been writing about lately too. It’s true that there is an awful lot of evil and injustice in the world, and the Church needs to be responding to it. But is it the Church’s job to take on these problems head on (spending funds only on benefitting the poor and needy while pastors work as volunteers and the congregation all take turns at preaching)? Or is that up to specific organisations or groups connected with the Church – and us individual members – while the Church fulfils the mission of introducing people to Christ and helping us to mature in Him?

If we all, and I mean ALL, everyone in the whole world, believed in and were transformed by the love of Christ and the Holy Spirit working in us, that would solve ALL the problems. ALL THE THINGS!!! It’s not a cop-out, or a numbers game. It’s our Mission. As we work towards it, each of us makes the lives around us a little better, and the future a little brighter, and maybe brings a few more friends into the fold, and they start to make the lives around them a little brighter…

I’ve started from one person’s blog post and ended up answering another’s, which is probably bad etiquette or something. I have to confess that my blog is mostly stream-of-consciousness (which is never going to get me Freshly Pressed…) and here you see perhaps a little further into my soul than I intended. Ambitious, insecure, defensively self-deprecating…

Also I like ending sentences with three dots…

But God loves me anyway. And you. A lot.

Even, even, if you spell it alot.

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Us and them

I had a revelation last Sunday. I was singing in the choir for a friend’s ordination to the Anglican priesthood. There was incense. There was liturgy. There was lots and lots of heartbreakingly beautiful music. And as I was singing it, I was thinking, “Ha, at least believe what I’m singing.” You know, like that post I posted a little while ago?

And then I think God slapped me round the back of the head. “How the heck do you know,” He said, “that everyone else here doesn’t believe it too? Yes, INCLUDING all those other choir members over there who make risqué jokes and live together OUT OF WEDLOCK.”

“Um,” I said, “you know, I actually don’t.”

“And,” He said, “I suppose you never do anything wrong, like them.

“Um,” I said, “touché.”

“Remember that bit,” He said, “about ‘In Christ there is no Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female’?”

“Yeah…”

“How about, no Anglican or Apostolic, gay-marriage-supporting or non-supporting, liberal or conservative?

“In fact, how do you know if someone is ‘In Christ’ or not? Only I know that. Therefore, this applies to EVERYONE.

“You ready for this?”

(Actually, God didn’t say that bit. I just need a dramatic pause before the punchline.)

“THERE IS NO THEM. THERE IS ONLY US.”

I was rendered literally breathless by the force of this revelation. It’s probably old hat to some of you who’ve been close to Jesus for longer than I have, or who are just smarter than me.

There is no right-wing and left-wing. There are people who, like me, care about their children’s future, and about the health of those worse off. There is no rich and poor. There are people who, like me, have food to eat every day, and people who, like me, worry about how to afford all the things their family needs. There is no gay and straight. There are people who, like me, can’t always help loving people they can’t ever be with, and people who, like me, are blessed to have someone wonderful to live and share a bed with.

I am absolutely NOT saying there is no sin. But sinners, like me, sin. And try to do better next time. Or, like me, don’t.

I feel like a different person, on the inside. Let’s see if it makes a difference on the outside.

Update

I expect it’s about time I wrote something again.

I’ve been at classes for three weeks now. Health psychology is loads of fun, development of brain and behaviour is stuff I know pretty well so far, drugs are interesting, and nervous system plasticity is not what I expected and is terrifying. I didn’t do seventh form biology, let alone first- and second- year psychology, so actually all that stuff about plasma membranes being made up of (correct me if I get this wrong – PLEASE!) a bi-layer of lipids with a phosphate head, and mitochondria doing the ATP thing (whatever that is) to supply energy, and smooth and rough endoplasmic reticulum making the vesicles that transport the neurotransmitters, was completely new. Completely. Thankfully Mum had some school textbooks which had better pictures than the university textbook my lecturer recommended. The school textbooks also didn’t contain sentences like: “Because of this continuity, the nuclear envelope is presumed to have evolved to ensheathe the chromosomes by an invagination of the plasmalemma.” (Kandel, Schwartz & Jessell, 2000, p. 70.)

I’m still getting exercise at least three times a week and am finally starting to feel some benefit from it. I think I may have some leg muscles now. And I quite easily and happily kicked a ball around after school with Mr 7 and his friends. The next real milestone for me will be if I’m able to take him running to train for the cross-country, which I think happens in spring, September-ish or something. Uncle P2, who completed the Wanaka Challenge in less than 14 hours, is keen to help with training.

The other thing that’s been drawing my attention lately is the election of the new Pope, Francis. I’m very excited about all I’ve heard about this man, especially since I was moved to fast during the selection process, and I believe that God is going to do a significant work of Church unity through this new leader. So far, it already seems my prayers for a man of integrity with a Christ-centred focus have been answered.

In Health Psychology class today we were asked, in the context of discussing a reading of a piece of research using photoelicitation, what we would take a photo of to capture our life today. Most people mentioned readings, their desks, their computers… I thought hard and came up with: in my recently redecorated bedroom, the double bed (signifying my husband’s space) with the piano in the background with a piece of choir music and a piece of church music sitting on it, me sitting on the bed with my laptop, surrounded by the three kids, one of whom is reading (Mr 10), and the other two fighting. I could also have decided I’d be wearing my gym gear, since that’s become quite important to me, and would have a Bible nearby. I have a complicated life.

I’m going to an international soccer match next Friday, the day before my daughter’s 5th Birthday Party. I’m going out on a date tomorrow night, to a show that my dad is playing music at, after spending most of the day (hopefully) at Brain Day lectures at Uni. I quite like my life, but it is very full. Thank God I haven’t had a migraine since the middle of last year and the dizzies only pay me fleeting minor visits when I’m full of pizza or PMT.

Reference:

Kandel, E. R., Schwartz, J. H., & Jessell, T. M. (eds.). (2000). Principles of neural science. New York: McGraw-Hill, Health Professionals Division.

Body and soul

I had a 90 minute one-on-one session with a personal trainer at a very new, impressively equipped gym today for … guess how much.

No really. Guess.

Can’t?

Okay. Sixteen dollars. And gym membership is free. I love being a student!

I think I’ve lost about 3 cm off my hips and 2 cm off my waist since I started C25K and doing weights at home. Now I just need to keep up with the programme. I didn’t go running yesterday because it was raining and I’m not quite that hardcore yet, so I’ll need to make sure I don’t wuss out tomorrow. I’m loving how it’s making me feel, and I was happy that I could manage all the exercises I was given today without too much trouble. Also, praise God that I’m well enough to do this at last!

I’m also enjoying being able to say yes to lots of things that I have had to say no to for a long time. I’ve been asked if I can help out the Cathedral choir for the next couple of weeks as they have a soprano crisis, and although I won’t be able to do any Sunday mornings because I’m rostered on at my own church, I should be able to sing Allegri’s Miserere with them for Ash Wednesday. YAY!!! That’s a beautiful piece of music, and whatever the choir members themselves believe, I will be singing it this time in a liturgical setting, not a secular one, and I am looking forward to that.

On the other hand, I would never join the Cathedral Choir. One reason I won’t encourage my kids to join the traditional church choir is because, from my experience singing with a few things with another church choir, the majority of the choir members – including the choir director – don’t believe a word of what they’re singing. Singing Christian music in a secular setting with a (really good!) secular choir is wonderful, and singing or playing with a faith-filled, Holy Spirit-minded team and leader for the purpose of leading a congregation in worship of the Living God is fantastic, but singing the words with a bunch of people who don’t care about their meaning to a bunch of people who should care but no-one cares if they care… is soul-destroying.

It’s been suggested by a visiting speaker recently in our church that having non-Christians in the worship team could be a very good thing, not a bad one. I’m inclined to agree – Jesus was all about people belonging and being welcomed, no matter who they were or what they’d done or believed – but the leader of the team must be guided by the Spirit. Otherwise we’re just putting on a concert punctuated by lectures and announcements, and we might as well sit at home and listen to the radio.

A shining moment

I sang in a concert today. It was lovely. I made two mistakes, one small one in my great big solo, and one quite big one, which was not as big as the one the tenors made which meant we had to abandon a piece halfway through. We finished the concert bang on time.

I got a $45 parking ticket.

That’s all the concerts over. My boys did well in their school shows – well enough, anyway – and my girl was happy enough in her ballet show and did not end up covered in lipstick this year. She’s not taking ballet next year, but will be going to gym with her brothers. I need to decide whether to keep the $50 ballet shoes for dress-ups or sell them for $15.

Now we have two more kindy friend birthday parties, the choir’s end-of-year drinks, DH’s birthday, the end-of-year service at work that I’m now playing piano for since the organists are unavailable, and my farewell morning tea at work. Plus whatever music I get rostered on for at church. Plus the kids’ service that Mr 9 is doing some kind of filming stuff for. Plus my niece’s birthday. (She’s in a different city so I’m not too stressed about that – plus I already have her present.) Have I missed anything?

Probably.

I hate this time of year. The stress and running around is making me dizzy again, just a little. Sometimes it helps to remember that the Holy Family were at least as stressed as we all are, right now, travelling while heavily pregnant for the damn census, crowded, nowhere to stay, absolutely exhausted. And then the baby arrives and there’s this crazy, shining moment in the middle of it all… and then there are people after them and they have to run away, far from home, because someone is literally trying to kill him. Their baby boy.

I mean, what the heck!

And now I’ve had my moment of meditation and reflection, it’s time to go and think about tea. We’ve eaten junk food a bit this week already so I should probably see if I can find something healthy-ish. A shining moment of vegetables in the midst of a mire of chips.

 

 

WHY are we WAITing…

We are suffoCATing!

It’s very hard waiting for things. Especially when you’re four and what you’re waiting for is your best friend’s fifth birthday party. She’s been counting sleeps since we got the invitation. Now we’re counting hours, and singing Hickory Dickory Dock, which I didn’t know was a counting song. We’re up to “the clock stroke [sic] three” for the second time now… she got a bit lost at eight and started over.

Where do we draw the line between waiting for things to happen and going out and making them happen? It gets especially complicated when we believe in following the will of God. Those of us who have learnt passivity as a life approach (because that way we avoid disapproval, and we can blame the outcome of any action on the active person we have become dependent on) have to be very careful of this.

God quite often asks of us the thing we find hardest, and asks us to give up the thing we value most. Look at Abraham and Isaac! To those people who habitually charge into things and leap into the unknown with verve and aplomb, God will often say – Wait. For those of us who are more likely to want to be told what to do and won’t do things until we’re certain we’re doing the right thing, God will sometimes say – What do you want to do? Go do it, and I’ll make it work. Or – What’s in front of you? Do it as if for Me.

I have seen God lead people into failure, where they have followed what they believed was His will, hit a brick wall and crash. I have seen people sit there on the pile of broken bricks and scrape themselves Job-like with potsherds for years. Does that mean the failure was God’s will? Perhaps it was. Perhaps God asks us to give up the success that we think we deserve, because it is the thing most precious to us.

Does that mean the potsherd-scraping is God’s will too? I don’t know. Job never got an answer to his questions, but he did get his life restored. Lucky Job. But he didn’t get the same kids back who had died.

What if Job had gotten off his pile of bricks and gone looking for labouring work? Would God still have restored his life?

What if you think you’re Job but actually you led yourself into failure (because you didn’t try, try again when you first failed) and now you’re just sulking?

How can you tell the difference?

I have posted in the past (here) about this feeling of stuck-ness and being skipped over. I have now gone ahead and made decisions about what I want to do with my life without any feeling of ‘calling’ about it, but with the belief that if God doesn’t want me to do this, he’ll stop me. Until then, I’m going to do what interests me and what I’m good at.

I still fight with my inner passivity, which I am coming to recognise as a subtle form of aggression and self-defence (though I may change my mind about that when I actually get round to doing those clinical psyc papers and am not just basing my understanding on a smattering of pop psychology, some undergraduate tangentially-related courses and three counselling sessions dealing with migraine phobia). I’ll keep you all posted.

Soul Mates? REALLY??

There’s no such thing. And as this article says, nothing has produced more unhappiness than searching for one.

I love watching Castle. I love the chemistry between Castle and Beckett. It’s hyper-real. And then I go and sort out the house, brush my teeth and go to bed with my husband, and really, good enough is good enough. Good enough to last forever.

You know, when God created the world, he never said things were “Perfect.” He said “Good. Very good.”

That’s good enough for me.