I was briefly on the Ride Home with John and Kathy (40 min. mark) last night, responding to the audio clip of the Virginia house discussion on how late in a pregnancy a woman could chose to abort her child. I hadn’t listened to the clip before I went on and it made me rather speechless, which does not make for good radio. Nor does becoming a one hammer with one nail writer make for a good blog. Indeed, I have made every effort over the last few years to write on a variety of topics and issues, although I think I do circle endlessly back to Jesus—upon whom, in my great holiness, my mind must constantly dwell. That’s just a little joke.
It’s hard to joke about what the Virginia governor said on the radio, though. And it’s not worth joking about the long term trauma now offered to women who, having endured, perhaps unhappily, for forty weeks, are then are invited to consider death. Nor the pressure which, if I know anything about the medical establishment and the way the whole system kicks into gear and takes over, not to mention family and psychological considerations, will doubtless be brought into already very difficult moments. Nor the emotional, spiritual, and psychological repercussions of such a choice, the result of which, instead of relief and consolation—which is what happens when a baby is born alive—is yet more death.
I like to keep it funny and light around here, whenever possible. And I like to stay away from controversy. Like, I don’t really want to talk about the wall, partly because one day I think one thing, and then another day I think another thing. I’m not for children being separated from their families, of course. But I also understand that there are intractable geo-political forces that effect small individual people, catching them up in terrible, dark, and anxious situations. A tangled web of personal choice, governmental policy, bad circumstances, and the media means that you can look at single issue every day for weeks and weeks and feel and see the emotion on both sides and in some way think—they are both saying something true, there is honestly no good solution to this metastasizing problem, I will pray instead of garbaging up the internet with my ever changing opinion this matter.
Similarly, as I have tried to learn and understand that dark past of America’s racial history over the last decade, I wander back and forth across the supposedly sharp demarcation of left and right. I have tried to put myself in the shoes of the person who’s family history is a legacy of bitterness and loss, of separation, of—to circle back—great overpowering forces enacting violence on single individual people in ways too great to bear. Similarly, I have listened to the good intentions and anxieties of people on the other side who don’t know how to cross over the ever widening chasm between on kind of person and another. Indeed, many times, it seems that both sides are saying similar things but saying them with such different words that misunderstanding and distance appears to be the point of the exercise.As with so many things in life, forming a clear, well researched opinion on a theological or political matter and then sticking to it, without wandering all over the place, takes time, and humility, and wisdom. And so I usually make every effort to ‘stay in my lane’ and express my deeply important feelings on those points about which I know a great deal—how to fail at life, how to make meat pie, why you should go to church, and what’s wrong with goop and Steven Furtick. And then, when it bubbles up on twitter, why killing babies before they are born is wicked, bad for the mother, and a false and terrible hope for humanity.
It is just one of great and sickening lies that modern enlightened personhood has been offered by the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God. And I think, veering treacherously out of my lane for a moment, that it bleeds over into all the other lies. It’s one reason why God was so angry in the Old Testament. When you kill a human person without biblical cause, you are trying to be God yourself. You are usurping his authority and power in a most primal way. And that violence carries you on to many other kinds of violence—stealing and kidnapping people, enslaving people, lying about people, impoverishing people, swindling people, and ultimately, enacting your will on another person who is not yours to say anything about.
Lamech, singing his song of praise over his murder of a boy, wants his wives—wives plural—to rejoice with him. That’s where we are. One sin leading to another. Sexual violence leading to ordinary violence leading to racism leading to injustice. And then, to crown it all, being told to sing a song, to rejoice over what is evil.
But I can’t. I am too grieved. I am too offended and horrified. We are a violent and rebellious nation. We are blind. We are deaf. We are wicked. The wickedness stretches out in all directions—into prisons, and poverty, and along the border, and into the phone in everyone’s pocket. I think some day another civilization will look back and recoil in disgust and horror. We will be a by-word, an example of a great ugliness that swept like a wave, gathering up the innocent and the helpless in its devastating wake.
May God have mercy.