Planned Parenthood – An Educational Tour of Their Website

Angela Chininin Buele

My family drives by the Planned Parenthood abortion facility when we go into the city.  We have prayed passing by, and we have prayed standing on the sidewalk outside of their building.  The prayer is simply to lead people to give thanks for life –theirs and others’– and to see an end to abortion.

On one occasion, we even went inside the building to inform the staff that the state flag was hung upside-down on their flag pole.  That was a very stressful event.  Even though we were doing them a favor by letting them know, I was actually a little scared of what the reaction might be when my husband told them that we had been praying for the people in the building when he noticed the incorrectly positioned flag.  The employee questioned us curiously about our sidewalk prayer, but there was no angry escort to the door.

We have not returned since, but I recently decided to fact-check all of the information I am told about Planned Parenthood by my pro-life sources. I’d like to tell you about those findings.

The official Planned Parenthood web site is not pink, surprisingly.  As it turns out, pink is the preferred color for the side of Planned Parenthood that drives the abortion rights political activity.  The official site’s pages is mostly blue, white, and orange.

The Learn page has an alphabetical list of topics, and Abortion is the first item.  On that same list, you can find a link for the Pregnancy page.  Clicking on the Pregnancy Week by Week link takes you to a very informative chronological description of the child’s development and the common symptoms the mother may be going through at that same stage.  I was surprised to find that there are appropriate illustrations showing the child’s growth each month.  But, back on the Abortion page, descriptions are much shorter, and more vague.  And there aren’t any illustrations.  There is a video, but it is just as vague about medical facts and abortion procedures as the written material.

I see that since abortion starts with the first letter of the alphabet, it is accurately placed at the top of the list on the list of topics about which one might learn.  However, if you click on the Pregnancy Options link on the Pregnancy page, the options are given in this order: abortion, adoption, and parenting.  That seems odd to me, but the Abortion page does inform readers at the very top of the page that abortions performed in the first trimester can cost anywhere up to $1,500.  Since that money would benefit Planned Parenthood, it makes sense for their business to highlight that “service” at the top of list.  After all, adoption and parenting don’t profit PP.

The Get Care page has options for finding a PP location, getting birth control, urinary tract infection (UTI) treatment, or sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing, all online.  There is no reference to abortion here.

The Get Involved page leads you to another site that is not bi-partisan, as the official site claims to be, and is actually quite clear about who should be voted for and who should be ousted.

On the Who Are We page, “abortion” appears zero times, while the pledge to help “prevent” or “reduce” unintended pregnancies appears four times.  This makes it sound like they are a group dedicated to preventing unintended pregnancies, not the nation’s largest provider of abortion, which ends the life of a child in order to terminate, not prevent, a pregnancy.

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/pregnancy/stages-pregnancy

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/abortion

Key Question: What is the comprehensive cultural contribution of Planned Parenthood?

Unshakable Truth: “There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death”  (Proverbs 16:25).

While there may be cancer screenings available at Planned Parenthood facilities, is that really a service unavailable at doctors’ offices and hospitals?  Those places accept patients with low incomes who likely qualify for Medicaid.  What else do they offer -sex education, contraceptives, and mammogram referrals?  Planned Parenthood doesn’t corner the market on any of those services.  What they do more of than any other organization is end the lives of unborn children.  But their annual report from 2014-2015 shows that only 3% of their “services” are abortions.  That does NOT say that only 3% of their revenue comes from abortion or that only 3% of the clients they see seek abortions.  I think those would be very interesting statistics to learn.

The truth is that they work to expand access to abortions.  And since I don’t imagine that any of their other services cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, increasing the number of abortions they perform would increase their profit.  It seems right to the CEO, Cecile Richards.  Some pro-abortion advocates saying abortion is right “because it’s legal” seems right to them.  The problem is that the way that seems right to them ends in death, which is, in fact, the goal of every abortion performed.

The Real Choice: Do you “stand with” some people as an abortion advocate or with all people as a pro-life advocate?

The Twisted Culture of Death: How Clowns Have Been Made The Terror Scapegoat

Angela Chininin Buele

As a kid, I really enjoyed Halloween.  Obviously, the candy and dressing up as my current favorite character or animal were favorite traditions.  I even tested the waters of scary movies, but I couldn’t – and still can’t, or won’t – do it.

As a parent now, I wonder how the whole Halloween thing ever became widely accepted.  I mean, we spend all year teaching our kids not to walk along streets in the dark, wandering into unknown neighborhoods, taking candy from strangers.  And then, for one night, should we tell them all of that is OK.  I never thought of this as a contradiction when I was a kid, but that’s what stands out to me as a concern now.

Now, you might like to know that our kids dress up almost every day, so they get in more than their fair share of play.  And as for our porch light on October 31st, sometimes it’s on and sometimes it’s off.  Sometimes we have a bowl of candy, and once we might have had boxes of raisins.  Did you judge me just then?  Easy, now.  We don’t have a hard and fast rule against Halloween, nor do we lean into the current practices.  In fact, I’ve actually had an idea bouncing around inside my head lately about something different for our family to do this year.  I won’t bore you with the details here, but you should know that there are Christians thinking about how to meet new people during this time of year to bless them.

I guess I never thought that the cloud of terrorism would be identified as an issue surrounding the observance of Halloween.  I mean, people have been making lots and lots of money for decades on horror and gore of all kinds.  Schools have, thankfully, banned such grotesque costumes.  But the truth remains:  The skeletons, the witches, the chainsaws, and the severed body parts are all part of the celebration of death.  But, apparently this year, it’s the clown that is the real bad guy.

People have recently been dressing up and acting like the character from the 1990 movie It, and Stephen King has made a public statement trying to get them to stop.  The author who has profited from this writing for over 20 years now seems to want people to not be terrified by his work of horror.  It seems a bit audacious that he would act as a figure leading away from terror and toward security.   This seems more than a little shady to me.  And, in the meantime, poor Ronald McDonald has had to suspend public appearances because of the scary clown sightings.

The story is quite similar at Planned Parenthood.  They have been making money by dismembering unborn babies and piecing them back together for decades.  Last year, their staff members were shown to have discussed the profits and procedures behind distributing these body parts.  Then, Planned Parenthood, the leading abortion provider in the nation, presented itself as a victim, a philanthropic organization invested in saving women’s lives, and misrepresented by the videos released by The Center for Medical Progress.  Planned Parenthood can’t be proud of what they do in rhetoric and yet act as if they were victimized in the revelation of their practices.  The culture of death and darkness will be defeated.  You just have to turn on the Light.

Key Question: Are you drawn to enjoy the darkness or the light?

Unshakable Truth:  “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”  (John 8:12).

This verse comes at the end of the story of the woman caught in adultery.  Jesus saved her from the bloodthirsty crowd, ready to stone her for her sins.  Then, he set her free to “go and sin no more.”  There is hope, forgiveness, mercy, a warm embrace ready for those who turn from the celebration of death to the love of life.  You are welcome in the light.

The Real Choice:  Will you come into the light?

From Equal Rights to Sole Responsibility: Lies Men and Women Have Believed About Children

Angela Chininin Buele

1.  The lie of neutrality

There is no neutrality when it comes to abortion.  If you are pro-life, you know abortion kills a human being, and you want to see the practice ended.  If you are pro-choice you may or may not know that abortion kills a human being, but you have decided that women are in the unique position to end the life of their child at any point before the rest of the world sees her face and officially records her presence on the earth.  If you have ever thought you were “pro-choice, but personally against abortion,” you have been mistaken.  You cannot be personally against people dying but politically driven to make sure other people have the right to kill them.

2.  The lie of peace

Women might be told that an abortion will make them feel so much better.  But the truth is that many women feel pain, fear, regret, and loneliness during and after and abortion.  There is no promise of peace.  There is no post-abortion counseling offered at the abortion clinic.  The goal there is to end life without offering anything to fill the void left.

 3. The lie of choice

We all make choices, and we make them in order to see certain goals realized in our lives.  We all have important choices to make, but they must all be made in the interest and protection of other people.  If one chooses not to have children, the goal would be not to conceive a child.  Getting pregnant and then taking action not to have children is impossible.  The child already exists.  Now, a decision to not parent the child and instead give her up for adoption is a choice that gives life.  This gift blesses the child and the mother.  They both receive the opportunity to live a full life, to write a happy ending. Shame and deep sadness, mourning and regret are not the first things to be included under the heading The Good Life.  To choose to abort does not prevent a woman from having a child.  It simply ends the growing child’s life.  And it leaves her empty.

4.  The lie of never growing up

Men who want to be boys think they can use women for sex and then leave.  They think they can say things aren’t working out when the woman becomes pregnant.  A man who is not willing to actively father his child negates his own manhood.  He wants authority but is not willing to care for or help others.  He is his own priority.  This attitude –this culture– is unable to bring growth, true flourishing.  It only leads to death.  And this can contribute to the fear and loneliness that drive women to consider abortion.

5.  The lie of equal rights

President Obama’s State of the Union speech in January 2013 sharply confronted deadbeat dads who leave kids fatherless.  This rebuke was warranted as so many children are born into already broken families.  What seemed disjointed about this accusation, however, was that President Obama is very outspoken in his support of abortion rights.  Under the current law, a woman who doesn’t want to give birth to her child, regardless of the father’s willingness to raise the child, is said to have goals and personal rights to abort for any reason.  The law does not protect the child’s right to live, and the law does not give the father the right to protect his child’s right to live.  Only the woman is given sovereignty to kill her child without penalty.  These are not equal rights; they are sovereign rights.  And they can contribute to the problem of fatherlessness by denying fathers the opportunity to  protect their children.

Key Question: Have you believed any of these lies?

Unshakable Truth: “Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long” (Psalm 25:5).

Ironically enough, the claim that abortion will help a woman feel better is not more ridiculous than hearing someone claim that becoming a Christian will make life so much easier!  When one follows Jesus, the road leads to the cross.  But when we lay down our lives so that we can be given new life in Christ, the hardest thing (surrender) leads to the very best thing (life in the light).  Here we see that the goal of the cross is to give new life.

The Real Choice: Will you reject the lies that offer death and believe the truth that gives life?

Branding and Shunning: Adult Life Today Can Be Shamefully Similar to High School, or Even Worse

Angela Chininin Buele

I think we can all admit there are some downright shameful things taking place and being revealed on the campaign trail these days.  It is so sad to know that, in all likelihood, one of two scandalous and untrustworthy people will be elected to the office of President this November.  But I have noticed a trend in the way pundits address this situation.  They are shocked.  Some are shocked that the candidates – both of them – say rude and offensive things.  Others are shocked that investigations into past business dealings – again, of both of them – haven’t led to criminal charges and the end of a campaign (or race).

My question is: Why are we shocked?  This nation has tuned its ears and eyes to the latest buzz of both of these people for decades.  I have seen their family scandals on the evening news since I was a teenager.  From multiple marriages to multiple affairs, the news was full of gossip about both of these people, and yet they were still like brand names because we weren’t counting those sins as fatal flaws back then.  Fast forward 20 years.  Now they both want to be President, and the more we peel back each of these onions, the more pungent the aroma.  While a common reaction is to send the Presidential Sampler Platter back to the kitchen, we have, in fact, gotten what we ordered.  We first branded them, and now we want to shun them.

The cry of the culture at large has been to have a ruler that will let the people do what pleases them.  And when these two have dared to jump on the wagon and do what pleases them, they are called “unfit to serve,” “untrustworthy,” and “disastrous.”  I personally think these terms accurately describe both candidates.  However, we cannot ignore that we have centered our families, our laws and our culture around what “feels right” to us and the rejection of absolute truth.  This is how we end up tangled.  If kids are told that their own respect needs to be earned, but they are unwilling to show respect to earn respect from figures of authority in their community, there is an impasse.  One demands respect while refusing to humbly earn the respect of another person.  From another perspective, a woman is told she can abort her unborn child for any reason without question, but a rape victim who kills her attacker would still have to face some questioning to formally determine that she acted in self-defense and that no criminal charges will be filed in the death of the rapist.  So the rapist is afforded more legal protection than the unborn child who has not ever expressed any intent to harm another person.   What chaos!

Key Question: Where do you draw the line of truth – from yourself, from those around you, or from the Word of God?

Unshakable Truth:  All throughout the book of Judges we see the people of God – foolish as they were – crying out for a king to rule over them, being mistreated by the kings, and repenting and returning to the Lord.

The masses have cried out for an earthly king, and they have suffered under the reign of their ruler.  We must pray for the Lord to grant us repentant hearts, that we might turn from our idols of autonomy and to the unmatched care of the Lord.

The Real Choice: Will you bow before the King of Kings and offer yourself to Him to see His perfect will realized?

Abortion as Healthcare: The Tragic Business of Killing the Child and Damaging the Mother

Angela Chininin Buele

Abortion is often referred to as women’s healthcare, but the care of one’s health consists of preventing illnesses and treating illnesses.  Abortions do not effectively prevent or treat any illnesses.  The sole purpose of an abortion is to end the life of a growing child.   And why?  A fetus is not a tumor; it is a baby.  A fetus is not cancer; it is a baby.  A fetus is not an infection; it is a baby.  Very rarely is a woman’s life in such jeopardy that the only way to preserve her life is to relieve her body of the vital task of internally supporting the life of her child, but yes, it does happen.  In these rare situations, when all other treatments have been applied and failed, or as in the case of a woman who has preeclampsia who is urgently induced or on whom an emergency cesarean is performed, the child is delivered with care and surrounded by staff eager to help him or her fight to survive.  Putting forth a determined fight to save both mother and child is true health care. 

Not only is the motive of abortion given the false pretense of aiding in the mother’s physical health, it is not uncommon for women to suffer physical harm during and after an abortion.  These procedures are currently carried out using methods that can cause severe bleeding and painful cramping at home, away from medical monitoring.  During surgical abortions, damage to a woman’s cervix and uterine wall can result, either of which could increase the risk of the woman miscarrying her child during a future pregnancy.  Infection is also a possible result of an incomplete abortion, which like any infection, could threaten the life of the mother if left untreated.

You will notice that I have mentioned only the most basic physical damages and complications that can result from an abortion because the bodies of the mother and child are physical forms, and the abortion is a violent and invasive physical procedure that harms both physical bodies.  There are certainly people willing to argue that some women have mental illnesses or undue emotional stress caused by the physical presence of their respective babies growing inside of them.  Because I am aware of no credible medical evidence (I am willing to be corrected if such evidence would be supplied) that a woman’s mental health causes involuntary (i.e. non-suicidal) damage to her physical being specifically attributed to pregnancy, I cannot see why anyone would so erroneously apply the term health to abortion.

But it would seem this is not an error.  I suspect it is actually an important strategy, to be quite honest.  You see, now that the technology is available to eagerly expectant mothers and fathers who want to see their tiny baby on an ultrasound before they can hold him or her in their arms, those pictures can be seen by abortion-vulnerable women too.  And not just in two dimensional form.  Now that more medically descriptive information and personal testimonies are being shared about the horror of abortion for mothers and their unborn children, that information can be learned by those same women.  And because of these irrefutable details that reveal the truth of what goes on in the womb, the other side of the battle is fought with the strategy of misdirection, using words like “health care” and “reproductive rights” to replace abortion and choice because people are now seeing that choosing abortion is killing a child.  “Health care” and “reproductive rights” are the new bandages applied to the gaping wound of the human conscience.  Will the clean gauze of those words soon be stained with the truth as well?  I pray so.  When there are no more words to mask the problem, maybe then we will step aside for the Great Physician to sew up the wound forever, bringing true care and healing.

Key Question: If you were completely honest, would you be able to deny that abortion kills a child?

Unshakable Truth: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?  Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you”  (Isaiah 49:15)

The God who formed you in your mother’s womb is the same Creator who gives life to all unborn children.  He does not forget those whom He redeems from sin and death.

The Real Choice: What keeps you from crying out to the Great Physician to heal you and forgive you, giving you a love for not just unborn life but for eternal life?

The Heroes of 9/11 – Why Self-Preservation Can Never See Glory

Angela Chininin Buele

If you are old enough to have graduated from college, you know where you were and what you were doing on September 11, 2001.  I, for one, was still in college in rural Illinois.  I had already been to my 8:00 English class that morning, and when I arrived at Speech 101, I was told about “a plane hitting a building in New York.”  It seems to me that my classmate suggested it had been an accident.  However, after classes were canceled, I returned to my dorm to see the footage for myself.  My generation’s coming of age had already experienced major school shootings, and now we were receiving a very real education on terrorism.

Anytime I thought of the horror that would cause someone to jump from the window of a 100+ story building, it brought me to tears.  The 911 calls and the voice mails would wrench at my heart as well.  We all watched on television as the building collapsed, killing thousands.  In the months following that terrible day, there was an incredible outpouring of help and supplies offered by people from all regions of the country.  But that morning-from our side of the television screen- we were unable to reach out to rescue the perishing or comfort the survivors.  But we knew there were hundreds of first responders – police, firefighters, and EMTs who were rushing toward grave danger in order to help those who were desperately flooding out of the Twin Towers.

Just over 15 years have now passed since that dark day.  Each time we reflect as a nation on the pain and the cruelty suffered by one and all because of those attacks, we rightly honor the brave men and women in New York and in Virginia and in the air over Pennsylvania who tried – and succeeded in saving lives that day.  First responders, firefighters, and police officers live lives of great danger and sacrifice.  They usually don’t face their own mortality in the line of duty, but their lives hang in the balance each and every day they serve to protect and rescue others.  And that brave group of civilian passengers aboard Flight 93, 40 souls who knew they would be murdered and decided to rescue others in their own death, have given us such a vivid picture of grace under fire.

When a woman faces an unexpected pregnancy, there are many fears that may assault her, but lives are at stake.  A hero emerges only when a brave sacrifice gives another the chance to live.  Hundreds of the heroes of 9/11 died in their sacrifice, and those they rescued live to tell others of their gratitude.  How much sweeter is it for the mother who gives birth to her child, whether to raise or to give up for adoption, to know that both child and mother have a continuing story of heroism.  You see, no one has to die for a hero to be made.

Key Question: What is the relationship between self-preservation and heroic sacrifice?

Unshakable Truth:  “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you”  (John 15:13-14).

Sacrifice and giving, bravery and protection are a part of every good story.  Period.  As Jesus loved mankind and surrendered His life willing to offer the salvation of ours, we know we are His friends if He shows us a love for our neighbor that allows us to care for them without the chains of self-preservation binding our hearts.

The Real Choice:  Do you want life badly enough that you’d be willing to die for it?

Feminism: The Raw Deal

Angela Chininin Buele

How The Dream Might Have Actually Been Inception

I am naturally strong-willed, and just about anyone who knows me has the battle scars to prove it.  I have a persuasive (OK, more like bossy) bent, and I almost always have the impulse to lead others when I observe a leadership void though I suspect it’s more out of pride and/or impatience than out of a desire to benefit others.  I have been fired and nearly fired for my resistance to authority, and those are times that I can now look back on with gratitude for God’s sovereignty despite my arrogance. Yet I lived them in great turmoil.

I always thought feminism was about being a fighter and demonstrating some of the qualities listed above.  However, a quick check of the dictionary reveals that feminism is simply the advocacy for women being treated in a manner that establishes that they are equal to men.  That seems quite different to me.  You see, while I’m all for people who have the same skills and do the same job getting the same pay and I’m glad women can vote, own land, attend school, etc., it seems to me that a lot of what goes on in the fight to advance women’s rights is less about putting women in equal esteem as a man and is more about putting women in a position of greater importance than men.  And, quite honestly I find this to be quite ugly – from both points of view.

It’s as if, instead of women wanting to work with men to demonstrate comparable skill in a certain field without fanfare, there seems to be this common drive to specifically chip away at jobs that men have traditionally held and that have long been widely recognized as jobs done to serve and bless women by caring for them.  When women aggressively pursue careers in certain fields, some even challenging any resistance to her hiring with lawsuits claiming gender discrimination, how can that be understood as anything but a claim that the woman believes she would be a more suitable candidate because she is a woman, not because she happens to be a woman?  And so the lordship tide shifts instead of equalizing.

Please don’t misunderstand.  Moms (single or married) that have to work as a matter of survival are working to keep family members cared for – clothed, fed, and sheltered.  However, a woman who accepts a job in order to secure some sort of status (title, authority, money) in exchange for (an often significant) decrease in family involvement has made a profound statement concerning the value of  her role in the home.

Then, to make matters worse, when a woman gets that coveted job that supposedly proves she is just good as a man in her field, she will probably still work like crazy to have a fashionable presentation for the office, to mother the kids and maintain the house in just-above-state-of-emergency condition, and feed the family appropriate quantities of at least most of the food groups.  So, while some of these poor women spread themselves as thin as phyllo dough, they may insist they are fulfilled and have it all together.  The problem is that no recipe ever calls for a single layer of phyllo dough.  You either need one generously distributed crust or multiple phyllo sheets.  A woman who wants to prove herself in her career and still juggle other roles in the family and social realms is fighting a losing battle because just as a single layer of phyllo betrays the filling, the lowest ranked priority –be it the husband, the kids, the house, or personal reading– will be left out.

In short, more work and more sacrifice is often required of a woman than a man as she climbs the corporate ladder, and what I don’t understand is why this is still viewed by women as appealing?  As I said, more work at the office means less time with family, or in some cases, neglect to marry and/or have children in order to nurture the career.  And that sacrifice for the pride of having a non-domestic role, or having others recognize you as more accomplished, or being the bread-winner (or maybe the vacation or college fund) might thrill for a moment, but it does not a loving legacy make because, though you might think you love your job, it will never love you back.

Key Question:  What is freedom?

Unshakable Truth: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates” (Proverbs 31:30-31).

A woman’s works bring her praise when she fears the Lord.

The Real Choice:  Is the work of your hands dedicated to proving you are fruitful, or is it dedicated to actually being fruitful?

What Is Aleppo?

Angela Chininin Buele

Gary Johnson Failed, But Is Our Ignorance Less Appalling?

You see the clip, you hear the gasps, and you think, “Please tell me some of the talking heads will give me some background, a hint, anything so I can figure this out before someone asks ME what Aleppo is.  Was anyone else in that boat?

I watch the news when I have the time, but that might offer more gossip than legitimate journalistic discovery.  I want to know what is going on in the volatile nations around the world, but my abundance often keeps my foc­­us on the homefront.

So, while I will not vote for Gary Johnson (only partially because he could not answer this question), I will take my place in line next to him.  I, too, am ignorant, confused and have the wrong response sometimes.  It is gut-wrenching to see how fickle the herd can be.  One guy doesn’t seem aware of the major crimes against humanity in Syria, and he is on the skewer while another might commit intelligence infractions against our own government and get off the hook.

Allow me to ask you a question.  If you stopped watching the news “shows” (i.e. programs that have tabloid-esque gossip bits and call for social media engagement with their show), and if you only read about people and places around the world, how might your perspective change?  Do you imagine that you would become more or less self-aware?  Would you be more or less interested in snappy tweets and political mud-slinging?

I keep very busy with my volunteer work, my family, my social circles, and all of the overlapping activities therein, which is why I have a news magazine stack (currently 2 deep, with another on the way in a matter of days).  I am so impressed by the quality of journalism and the diversity of topics covered in this publication, but alas, there is no download option to transfer the information to my brain.  So I read until I pass out on the days I get to bed before midnight.  But it’s not easy to keep pace.  And I have a feeling quite a few people are in the same boat.  That being said, we should recognize that we cannot replace the steady educational input of learning about the world with quick injections of what is going on in the world today without our understanding being, at best shortsighted.

Maybe some of you are pro-choice because you operate under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Maybe you turn away from the graphic pictures you’ve seen of an aborted baby.  Maybe you hid the Center for Medical Progress videos from your newsfeed.  Maybe you were quick to buy the soundbites that were given to you about them.  Maybe you changed the subject with your family member when you found out they were pro-life.

Being under-informed about abortion and using the “women’s healthcare” or “reproductive rights” rhetoric won’t help you when you are asked, “What is abortion?”

Key Question:  Can you identify who or what has the greatest impact on your personal worldview?

Unshakable Truth: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1).

There is no social agenda, no political movement, and no technological advancement that can outwit or overshadow the One who made it all, and as Maker, He is Ruler of all.  You might despise and reject Him today, but just as we have all seen children gloat in their mischief just to later realize that a parent had seen the disobedience and will call the child to account, we will each face the One who formed us in our mothers’ inmost parts.  There is nothing we can say, do, or believe to invalidate God’s Kingship in the world and in our lives.

The Real Choice:  I suppose there is no other way to say it but, since you can’t beat Him, what keeps you from joining Him?

Don’t Rush to Judgment, But Don’t Rush to Apathy Either

Angela Chininin Buele

How often are we rightly told not to rush to judgment?  I know I need to be told this a lot.  I need to be told not to assign motive (usually of malice or mockery) to the words or actions of others.  I need to be warned not to assign consequences to the child who is the obvious “usual suspect” in a sibling squabble before I have heard all sides of the story.  I also need to be reminded that giving an internet review that raves in either extreme after just one or two encounters with the service of an establishment might show more emotion than discernment.

There are times when judgment is required to determine if John Doe is a thief.  We must use information to make such a judgment.  In an ideal situation, we would have complete and accurate information for this process.  This side of eternity, however, we don’t always have that much information or time.  If you are looking for a babysitter for your young children, and one candidate seems to be a little too eager to show physical affection, you would be wise to avoid hiring the person on the spot.  There is too much on the line to take such a risk. Now, to call John Doe a sexual molester based on perception alone is a different matter.  More data is needed.

Taking steps to protect your family and yourself against theft or sexual abuse necessarily assume that it has been judged that theft and sexual abuse are not morally good.

We are told quite plainly now, Don’t judge me or anyone else.  I think where this little quip goes most terribly wrong is that it fails to differentiate between determining that John Doe is a thief and judging that theft is not morally good.  This has taken us to a Zero Tolerance Judgment principle for which only some judgments qualify while others don’t.  For example, it is not socially acceptable to state that homosexuality is immoral, but it is acceptable to say that people who don’t affirm homosexuality are immoral.  Both are judgments.  It is also not socially acceptable to pass laws that would require pregnant women to view an ultrasound of their child before aborting, but it is socially acceptable to require elementary school children to be taught how to engage in sexual expression.

Proper judgment requires discernment, applied wisdom, and understanding.  The road of evading such judgment leads to ­­the darkness of apathy.  If the goal is for each person to do whatever feels good to him or her, there is no obvious place to draw moral boundaries. People are forced to eventually check out and not get upset with anything or try to change the way things are because whatever feels right is what is right.  Nobody cares.  You see, what seems to escape most of us is that you have to care about something to judge it.  You have to want to see your loved one safe so you evaluate the situations and surroundings that affect them to help advise and offer assistance.  Apathy is the lack of concern.  When you lack concern, you will not love or care for anyone.  There is no sacrificial rescue option when you are going down the apathetic, just-looking-out-for-yourself path.

Key Question: Why can’t there be a happy middle between absolute truth and total anarchy?

Unshakable Truth:  “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart’” ( 1 Samuel 16:7).

Time and time again foolish people choose foolish kings.  They choose leaders because of the way they look, the way they talk, the way they dress, the jobs they’ve had, the people they know, the campaign promises they make, or their profound passion to see the competitor NOT get elected.  Samuel’s job was to override the feel good choice for king – the one people would like and want; the easy choice, and trust the Lord’s right discernment of the heart of man.  So it’s God’s place to see and judge the heart, but His people are to carry out appropriate actions to point others away from the peril of darkness and toward Light.

The Real Choice: The stove is hot, the friend is drunk, and the gun is loaded.  Do you give unsolicited advice to see someone dodge disaster or do you keep calm and carry on, figuring that others are in charge of their own matters?

Love Across the Fence

Angela Chininin Buele

You Can’t Cry Out For The Unborn Without Crying Out For Abortionists

I attended two peaceful prayer vigils last year at a nearby Planned Parenthood facility where abortions are performed.  I wanted to hand our flowers to those gathered to pray because, well, I like purposeful visual demonstrations.  I didn’t want to spend a lot of money so I looked out in my yard and decided that my Black Eyed Susan bush was just the plant to serve as bright spot on a stormy August day.  And they were.  I handed them out to upwards of 100 people throughout the crowd in attendance that day.

Then in October, my mums were in full bloom so they were cut to be handed out at another prayer vigil.  This event, though held on a perfectly sunny fall day, drew a much smaller crowd.  Because the number of flowers I had brought far outnumbered those gathered, I decided to recruit a few friends to insert the flowers between the black metal fence that had always been there and the new vinyl mesh fence that had been attached sometime after the August vigil.  I remembered that when people hold vigils outside of places where somebody has died, they like to leave flowers and other gifts.  So, the right thing to do seemed to use the leftover flowers for that purpose there, at the clinic.  I didn’t actually touch the fence because I pushed the flowers through by holding the stem, and it rested between the two.  You can see my restless heart trying to find a way to not technically trespass their property and still put the flowers there to remember the dead.  I honestly did not expect that flowers in the fence would get any reaction, let alone an angry response.  Well, I learned my lesson.  The volunteer escorts sent over to the fence first silently removed the flowers.  My friends and I replaced the flowers that had been removed.  I wish it had all ended there as a quiet “agree to disagree” sort of matter, but it didn’t.

When the Planned Parenthood volunteers saw we were continuing to place the flowers between the two fences, their demeanor changed.  Threats were issued and profanity was slung quite heatedly by the volunteers.  If I could reach back and put a calming hand on the shoulder of the me of that moment, I would have wanted to fall to my knees and beg the Lord to give them eyes to see the seething rage sparked within themselves by the sight of fuchsia mums.  Unfortunately, as it is always true that where words abound so also does sin, I argued, I defied, and I even tried to record a video of the incident to post it on social media.  This was wrong because this showed that I was using people to reveal the ugliness of the abortion industry instead of loving people and begging the Lord to change their hearts.  Let me say again that this was a completely unloving response, and the memory of this event has been used constantly to redirect my heart to see the people on the other side of the fence as neighbors instead of enemies.  This has not always been easy.  Yet it continues to prove to be critical in the way the Lord is emptying my heart of anger and frustration against them and filling me with sadness and compassion for those who fight for the right to end the lives of the unborn.

Key Question:  Pro-Lifer, are you treating those behind the fence with less compassion than you have for the unborn?

Unshakable Truth: “He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed  thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’  But the tax collector,  standing far off,  would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:9-14).

I have read this passage multiple times in my life, but it wasn’t until I juxtaposed it to my view of passionate pro-choicers that I realized the devastating truth: I have been the self-righteous Pharisee more often than I have been the broken tax collector.  As a follower of Christ, this is a very big problem.  So I am compelled to stand here now and call foul on myself.  I have exalted myself in my ambition to see all unborn children protected from abortion.  And, in exchange, I have stoked fires of anger and disdain against other human beings – human beings who were once unborn children and who have souls that, before God, are equal in value to my own.

All I can possibly say is, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”

The Real Choice:  If the tears aren’t being shed for those we know will perish embracing death, we dare not say we are ambassadors of the love of the One True God – the God of Life.