My favorite line in writer, reviewer, and all-around nice person LaVonne Neff’s review of my book, No Easy Choice, is this one:
“If you like things cut and dried, [No Easy Choice] will drive you nuts.”
It’s true. It will. But I still think that the balanced, nuanced, maybe-this-and-also-that style in which I wrote No Easy Choice was the only way I could write it, and has actually served me and the fraught topic of reproductive ethics well.
For example, last week I had the privilege of attending the 3rd Summer Institute on Theology and Disability in Chicago, where top scholars and theologians gathered with other interested folk (including many people living with various disabilities) to talk about such light summer fare as how disability intersects with identity, and whether disability can be considered a gift. I gave a talk one afternoon titled “Hard Choices: The Promises and Perils of Genetic Screening for Disability.”
It was a fantastic session, full of insightful comments and conversation from the two dozen people who came to hear me speak, and who brought their own experiences of living with disability to the conversation. Afterward, several attendees admitted that they had been hesitant to attend my session. In their experience, conversations around reproductive issues and faith deteriorate rapidly, and are marked by judgment and strife rather than grace and respect. They wondered if they were signing themselves up for a preachy, combative session—and were grateful to discover a tone of generous conversation instead. If I were preaching a clear-cut position on reproductive technology, I don’t know that I could set such a tone even if I wanted to.
So, with a nod to LaVonne for her lovely review, and to the conference participants who enriched my understanding by sharing their stories with me at last week’s conference, here’s a post I wrote a few months ago explaining why I chose to write a nuanced and complex (what I call “wishy-washy,” with my tongue firmly in my cheek) book rather than a clear-cut and simplistic one.