Can We Talk About Abortion?
There's also this: I've come to realize in my years of walking between the evangelical Christian, progressive Christian, emergent Christian, and secular worlds that people believe what they believe for reasons that seem sufficient to them. They don't hold their opinions because they are evil or subhuman; they hold them because they are the best options they have arrived at yet. They have usually thought about and even prayed about their decisions. To dismiss someone through name-calling or stereotyping dishonors their process, and dishonors our common humanity.
Can We Agree that We Might Learn Something from Each Other?
Why do we talk to each other if nobody is listening? Too many of our postings—and in-person conversations—seem to say only I AM RIGHT AND YOU ARE STUPID.
We shout into the void, and wait for someone to post a response so we can shout it again.
There is no such thing as conversation if people are not listening—or even talking—to each other.
And we may not recognize the need for conversation if we don't recognize that God might still have something to teach us, even in the persons of those we imagine to be our enemies.
Wouldn't that be just like God?
My own position on abortion has evolved over the years. I admit, shamefacedly, that as a young man afraid of getting somebody pregnant, I wanted abortion to be as widely available as possible. As I've become more deeply involved in the life of faith and in developing a Christian ethic of life, I've come to believe abortion should be rarely employed, and moreover, that we as a culture should work toward the monumental task of making abortion unnecessary.
The passion that pro-lifers have for the unborn caused me to reflect about some things. Conversations with men and women who agreed and disagreed with me were a part of my journey. Reading scripture and theology and even the news shaped my thinking—and changed it.
Christian doctrine holds, in fact, that every member of the Body is a part of our journey together, that we need each other to become the people we are called to be.
So talk to me—as a person who is a beloved Child of God, as a person who loves his family and truly wants to do what is right, as a person who has thought and prayed his way to the conclusion he currently holds.
I will talk to you in the same way, and try to treat you with the respect you deserve.
We may still end up disagreeing, but I will not condemn you for that, or think you any less human.
And maybe—just maybe—we will discover that in the still space where there is no shouting or name-calling, where there is only love and generosity, we can find some answers.
Greg Garrett is the author of works of fiction, criticism, and theology, including Faithful Citizenship from Patheos Press. He is Professor of English at Baylor University, and a licensed lay preacher in the Episcopal Church.