On the Women’s March on Washington

Let me be clear. I am a Christian. I love and serve my Savior. I love my church. I am pro-life. I did not agree with everything that was said or every sign carried during the march. So why did I choose to take part in the Women’s March on Washington?

Advertisements

Originally posted on the community/site blog for ChristianPig. You can view the original post here.

 

“…We are stronger together…”

“…Women’s rights are human rights…”

“…I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change; I am changing the things I can…”

“…Fight against fear…”

“…Men of quality do not fear equality…”

“…Eyes open. Speak up…”

“…All resistance is built on hope…”

“…Kindness is making history…”

“…No one is free when others are oppressed…”

“…Jesus was a refugee in Egypt…”

“…Reject the normalization of sexual assault…”

“…Silence is acceptance, speak loudly…”

These are just a few of the signs read as I marched with my best friend in my state capital. I will be honest, I was anxious about going. Anxious because I knew that would be my line in the sand, my statement that would establish where I stand. I was afraid because I knew that would mean disappointment and/or rejection from many of my loved one within the church and without.

Let me be clear. I am a Christian. I love and serve my Savior. I love my church. I am pro-life. I did not agree with everything that was said or every sign carried during the march.

So why did I choose to take part in the Women’s March on Washington?

Because I am a Christian and I am pro-life. I believe that every life matters and that love wins, every time. Because I am a Christian and pro-life, I believe that standing up for and advocating for the rights of women’s access to affordable health care is important. We cannot advocate for the unborn if we do not advocate for options for women who feel they have no options. I am not so naive to believe that this is a black and white issue. We can’t keep spewing anti-abortion rhetoric if we are not willing to respect the lives we have already been given on this planet. That means we need to step up in aiding adoption, foster care, single parents and pregnant teens. That means proper education on safe and healthy sex habits. That means we need to be responsible with our choices in reproduction on all fronts.

Most of all, because I am a Christian and pro-life, I believe that God loves and forgives those women, and his blood has covered those women just as much as those unborn. I am not advocating for abortion. I am advocating for life. I am saying that we as Christians have no business judging these women (and men) if we are not willing to help alleviate the burdens.

I understand that this march asked pro-life groups not to attend. They did not keep me as an individual from attending. The reason is that it was a peaceful march. There was not a word spoken about abortion during my attendance. I did not need to talk about it either because this march was bigger than that.

To me, this march was about reaching out to my neighbors, my fellow sisters—and brothers—and telling them that their concerns matter. Their fears matter and their voices matter. My solidarity was my choice and my way of telling them I empathize with their pain and their brokenness. This was not a cry-baby tantrum by millennials who did not get their way.

This march represented generations. It represented women, but it represented more than that. Men, women, and people of all race, ethnicity, sexuality, backgrounds and religion stood together in love and in solidarity. I have learned that people will never care about what you preach until you meet their needs on a very practical level. Today, it meant putting my boots on the ground and walking side by side with women (and men) who aren’t all that different from me. Again, I am not saying that all pro-life individuals do not apply these actions to their advocacy, but I am disheartened by the fact that more often than not, even when it was preaching to the choir, the majority of Christians have responded with judgment, guilt, and shame. This isn’t what I know to be true of my Jesus, and this has got to change.

Because I am a Christian and pro-life, I believe my neighbor is valued by God and worthy of my respect. Regardless of whether they believe differently from me and regardless of where they originated. Because I am Christian and pro-life, I must choose to die to myself daily, crucifying my fears and my selfishness to love the one in front of me. I will be the first to admit that is easier said than done.

Because I am a Christian and pro-life, I will recognize the needs of the persecuted, the disabled, the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized—and wherever, however, I can lend a hand, I will. My heart and my prayers are yours. Because I am a Christian and pro-life, I will recognize the fact that my savior was almost murdered as a child because of persecution and His family fled as refugees to Egypt, as directed by God. We need to respond as Christ would to global refugee crisis today.

Because I am a Christian and pro-life, my heart breaks for my native brothers and sisters who have fought for centuries for justice. I grieve for the countless lives lost in the exploitation of the land and a country that has always been rightfully theirs to begin with. I stand with our Standing Rock warriors who took a stand for their rights, their land and their sacred water. I cry on behalf of their constant battle for equality in school systems, in government, and on their own reservations! With my roots planted in Montana, our state has numerous tribes represented and those wounds run deep. They are still bleeding for hope that someday things will be restored and made right. Much of today’s march was honoring our indigenous people and their place in our world. I was proud to stand with them. I will honestly tell you that standing there before the capitol building and hearing their songs, in their native tongue, was a spiritual experience. Heaven was invited to touch the earth and the whole atmosphere shifted with their voices. Hearing their stories and their dreams made me weep.

Because I am a Christian and pro-life, I mourn the countless black lives lost in our nation’s history—in everything from slave trade to slave brutality to the civil war to the civil rights and through to today. I am frustrated that they are still fighting for equality and freedom in a nation whose mantra has always been a promise and a hope of those very things. I am angered by the fact that racism still needs to be a conversation on any front and the fact that there are still too many people that cannot acknowledge people as people and the value they carry as individuals, with their cultures to learn from and grow with.

Because I am a Christian and pro-life, I want to understand and appreciate my LGBTQ brothers and sisters for who there are as individuals and their contribution to our world and our society—regardless of whether or not I agree with their sexuality—they don’t agree with mine! I want to draw out the gold that every person carries inside them and love them the way that Jesus would love them—by listening to their concerns and validating their humanness, rather than through alienating and othering.

Because I am a Christian and pro-life I will speak out and actively take part in eradicating the sexual exploitation of men, women, and children. There are no words for the emotions I felt in hearing about many of the women and children who were abducted and sold into human trafficking during the Standing Rock protests. My blood boils at the fact that there are hundreds of thousands sold into sex slavery every year, in the United States alone, and an estimated 25% of those are children. We the people… we are not for sale! I am outraged that I live in a world where “consent” and “sexual assault” need to be defined, and the fact that victims receive blame for the problem rather than justice. I am irate that rape culture is a reality, and I will be damned if the president of my country will be the man leading the example in that rhetoric, excusing it as “locker room talk”—this is not okay. It will never be okay. That goes for any other racist, sexist, fascist platform he will use for his own personal or political gain.

This is our America. Do you see the problem here? Yes, these problems existed before Trump, but the issues were made infinitely clearer and these rights further questioned during his campaign. This election has polarized our nation like nothing I have ever seen before, and if I can be so bold to say, I feel it is beginning to separate the sheep from the goats. It has certainly brought a lot to light.  I will admit that the signs listed at the beginning are just a hand-picked few of the 10,000+ people in attendance. No, I did not agree with everything that was shared at the march, but I am honored to be a part of this history.

To my fellow democrats, and my fellow republicans: hate will solve nothing.  Right wing extremism is just as dangerous as leftist extremism. Politics have tried to convince us that these issues are black and white. It’s just not that simple, although I wish it was.Yes, he is my president, but I did not vote for him. I will pray for him. I can still choose how to dictate myself as an individual in this country—respectfully and peacefully, yet boldly. There is nothing in my bible that tells me it is okay not to love my neighbor—no matter what—or that I am justified in turning a blind eye to the issues and injustices that are prevalent in my generation.  I read the opposite.

To me being a Christian and pro-life means I am an advocate for Christ first and foremost, and second I am an advocate for life. I am an advocate for life because my God is the giver of life, and I am called to partner in the work He is doing. Being an advocate for life means being an advocate for every life, without exception. Given that, this list could be a lot longer. In any case, as a Christian and a pro-life advocate, I encourage you to think about what that really means for you and what stand you are going to take. Pray about it. I have made mine and I will give myself the grace to grow and change my view if evidence becomes clear that it is needed. I will do the same for you, dear readers. I hope you will extend that same grace back.

 

So this is the New Year…

A little blurb on resolutions, things not changing, and everything being okay!

“For the present is the point at which time touches eternity.” –C.S. Lewis

The concepts of time and eternity is something that Lewis has written about in many of his books. With tonight being New year’s Eve, I often reflect upon the past year, or so, like most people seem to. The way my brain works, my thoughts tend to move towards time as a sequence–as seasons, and circles. There is a constant about time in the sense that you can always count on time to change things.

I will admit that often times I feel like the years spiral in circles. It appears that I find myself in similar places year after year, and yet, I’m not. Once I take a moment and consider the good, all the ways that I’ve grown, I realize that I’m not simply just running in circles. Those circles get larger and more wide-sweeping each year.

This year, I must admit that I have felt stuck in the sentiments embodied in the words of the Death Cab for Cutie song: “So this is the New Year… and I don’t feel any different.” Perhaps a large part of that could be that I am stuck at home with a nasty cold, while the majority of my friends are married or dating and out celebrating the end of what in many ways has simply been a bad year. Or maybe it’s the fact that even staying awake until after midnight and celebrating in whatever way I deem fit (with writing, music and wine) won’t be so different than so many other nights, being a student and all.

But I am choosing to focus on the present. On the good that is now. On the hopes that are ahead for the future. I am choosing to focus on the fact that in a few months I will FINALLY be graduating from college with a double major in Literature and Creative Writing. I am choosing to focus on the hopes of future travel plans and more writing. I am choosing to focus on the hopes that 2017 will be a better year than 2016.

In the words of another favorite writer of mine, Sierra DeMulder:

“To give voice exclusively to our successes (and not our failures) is a form of violence against one self, as it sets an unreachable standard and further misrepresents what it means to be human: flawed, wildly contradicting, still trying, still worthy. Instead of admitting we contain multitudes, we self-curate and isolate, hiding our pockmarks because they blemish the perfect picture of our life that we have painted.


The truth is: we are not always good and that is okay. At times, I was not my best this year but that does not mean I do not deserve another one. It does not mean I will not try to be better in the next.”

So this is the reason that this isn’t just a post about resolutions, but about the fact that New Year’s day, and all of life, is so much bigger than that. It’s not about making a list of hopeful aspirations (although that most certainly isn’t a negative thing!) and then beating ourselves up because we don’t accomplish them.

In many ways, I am on the “cusp of adulthood” and in the course of my life, if I have learned anything it is that life offers no guarantees that the plans we make will turn out, So often when they do turn out, they happen in ways we never expected.

That all to say, that just as Lewis says, we have hearts set on pilgrimage, on eternity. The only way we reach eternity in this life, is by taking life in stride. With the good and the bad, the successes and the failures. Being real, being raw, and being vulnerable and not painting over the flaws, but finding the beauty in them.

So here, as the clock strikes Midnight. I raise a glass and toast potential, a toast to the new adventures and opportunities that the New Year brings. But most of all, a toast to right now. This moment, for it all ends too soon, and this is the point we touch eternity.

Here’s to 2017. Let this be our year, every year.

Cheers!