Forgive Me, Father – A Word to Father Dotson

Victor Chininin Buele

A quick background paragraph must go first.  I woke up this morning, thanked the Lord for a new day of life, and while catching up on the latest episode of the reality TV adventures of President-Elect Trump, I noticed a news story about the pope which CNN summarized as pope Francis granting the right to forgive abortion to every Catholic priest.  Such a story sure woke me up.  I published the following on my Facebook account after reading the whole article:


Father William Dotson, Associate Pastor of St. Patrick Catholic Parish in Wentzville, Missouri, and a long-time and dear friend of mine, was very kind to respond to my comment to shed some light on the subject.  This longer response comes from a need to work through how words matter.  Especially when we are dealing with the word forgiveness.  He explained the story behind the reported story.  For that I’m thankful.

“This story is a huge misunderstanding.”  I thank Father Dotson for shedding light on the subject.  It turns out that the media did not find a good way to summarize what actually happened in a way that actually would get someone to click on it.  “Pope: Abortion Forgivable” makes for many more clicks.  About a year ago I protested about a similar story where the Year of Mercy was announced by the pope about the same subject.  Just like before, the pope was not addressing forgiveness of the sin but forgiveness of the ecclesiastical consequences, the ecclesiastical penalties of a sin like abortion (i.e., excommunication, etc.)  Only bishops could forgive those penalties before the permission has been granted, and now your friendly neighborhood Roman catholic priest can extend this permission to forgive the ecclesiastical penalties of such a sin to anyone coming to confess this.

So, my temptation would be to summarize this as: “Pope says absolutely nothing of substance about healing after an abortion.”  “Media takes advantage of obscure statement.”

But that would just contribute to the climate of non-meaningful dialog.

I have not taken my original post down as I would with an apology if I would have found my original statement to be wrong, unhelpful, or incoherent to the conversation.  While CNN has been proven to be inaccurate in this story, my point was well summarized by what I read shortly before encountering that story in Tim Keller’s Hidden Christmas and quoted in my Facebook post.  Nothing in Father Dotson’s response to my comment or in his own post about the subject have changed my original point.  So, let me interact further with this.

While we both are starting at a point where we both acknowledge the sinfulness of abortion, we appear to diverge greatly on everything after that.  But I do need to affirm this point of initial agreement lest we think this does not matter at all.  Let’s say that Rosita walks into the St. Louis Planned Parenthood clinic and exerts her legal right as a United States citizen to have an abortion.  On the way out she sees this short guy standing on a step ladder named Pastor Victor, and their eyes meet.  And she does not get a look of judgement but one of compassion.  It’s not an “I told you, so you filthy, ugly sinner.  Now you are going to pay for not ‘choosing life,’ and I’m going to make sure you know it” moment.  She just went through an incredibly difficult historical point of her life, and I don’t have any clue as to what lays before and after this moment in her life.  The fence keeps her from further contact, but the boyfriend did not go in.  He stayed outside listening to his loud music.  As she walks to him she says hello to my children and my wife who are there praying.  We don’t have funny signs nor are we seeking to violate the law.  We are not in her face.  But she loses it.  It all becomes real.  And she is broken.  While she may have had a choice to do this, the consequences of this kick in.  She believed the counselors and the literature that advised her that she had disposed a blob of tissue.  But there she finds herself alone.  Her feelings don’t match up with a mere biological disposal. You know, that loneliness that is not overcome just because she is sitting next to the man who paid for the procedure.  The sadness she carries is an indescribable sadness. So she gets out of the car, and she finds Pastor Victor and Father Dotson standing by each other.

My priorities in such an encounter would be:

  1. To get my wife there to hold Rosita and comfort her.
  2. To listen to her.  To take her away from there and give her a place to collect her thoughts and her emotions.
  3. To offer actual help.  We will have to sort out how we can be a blessing to her as the church.  We would find ways to welcome her and care for her.  The Lord Jesus has taught us to have compassion on those who are lost–like sheep without a shepherd.
  4. To preach the gospel to her.  Acts 8:35 gives us a model here of the loving command to tell her the good news about Jesus starting with this circumstance in her life.  How does Jesus make you whole.  How does Jesus carry you in his arms.  How does Jesus through His church lead you to repentance and healing.  How does Jesus give you hope, actual hope, of restoration.  In other words, we are to preach of the calling and consequences of forgiveness of sins.  We all, not just those who are in this situation, have sinned and fallen short.  How could we not offer the same forgiveness we have experienced!
  5. Regardless of her response to the call of the gospel, to love her sacrificially, generously, and lavishly.  We are not peddlers trying to see conversion as a financial transaction.  It may be we are the only people in the world who are talking to her at the moment.

I would say that Father Dotson would say that these are his priorities as well.

The challenge is that he comes to the game with a very complicated ecclesiastical set of rules on his back that make such an invitation very difficult.  If I am not misrepresenting him, forgiveness can only come through a Roman catholic priest (but Jesus did away with the need for a priesthood with the once-and-for-all sacrifice of his perfect life at the cross). Forgiveness cannot be separated from this Roman catholic structure.  His response to my question implies that, though we have Vatican II trying to bridge this gap, we are still as far away as we were five hundred years ago.  And what the pope is doing here is allowing for the local priest to do this rather than only the archbishop of St. Louis in our case.

So, I’m beyond thankful for his clarification and for not wanting to take a Facebook thread into the realm of confession, what the roman church calls the sacrament of confession. There are a number of verses from the New Testament as well as a plethora of teachings from Roman church history that will make his point for Father Dotson that there is a special gift and command to the Roman church to forgive sins.  There are a number of verses from the New Testament that plainly make the point that the call of repentance and the forgiveness of sins are unmediated and are on the basis of Christ’s work alone.  That discussion is a worthy one.  It matters because the essence of the gospel is at play.

But today my point is a narrower one – every news outlet in America is going to report that (by implication):

  1. Christians did not think abortion was forgivable
  2. The good pope Francis has changed this and now the church is changing its bad ways and granting this forgiveness
  3. Since abortion is not bad according to our collective cultural norms, this is a giant leap forward for humankind in accepting abortion
  4. (Perhaps), see, abortion is not that big of a deal!

That will only increase this perception that Christians are idiots and need to get on with the times.  Reality is that abortion, like every sin, is forgivable.  But not because some guy in Rome says so.  But because Jesus died for it.  And he never leaves us there and alone to pick up the consequences on our own.  When Matthew the evangelist reports the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he says, “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.””  There was no ecclesiastical structure or stack of rules.  Just a plain call to repent.  And real forgiveness is at hand. I remember tricking all these priests while growing up.  For academic and family reasons, partaking in communion at the catholic church was always a must.  So, I, the clean-cut, goody-two-shoes rebel-who-pretended-to-be-a-good-boy always looked at these priests and delighted in saying, “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.  It has been x weeks since my last confession.”  I would list the respectable sins: skipping church, lying to my mother, not praying enough.  And then I would deliver my carefully-crafted line, “And forgive me, Father, for any sins I may have left out in my examination of conscience, either by neglect or nervousness or whatever reason.”  This line was always delivered to sound like an afterthought, a very humble and pious afterthought.  This line hid the ugliness of my sin for many years.  I knew it was detestable.  It was so bad that I couldn’t even say it to the old priest who was hard of hearing.  If I were waiting for a priest to deliver me from that, I would still be broken and actively destroying my life.  Maybe I wouldn’t even be here anymore.  But when that tall dude in college led me to actually pray in the Spirit, “Forgive me, Father,” to the Father in heaven through the merits of Christ alone and not my own, only then was my freedom found.

I cannot and will not stand by anything that puts obstacles in the way of forgiveness. And I will not stand quiet while people are led to believe that forgiveness is pointless.

Father Dotson himself writes, “This is not about forgiving sins but about ecclesiastical penalties, and is mostly a symbolic gesture, as priests generally already had this faculty.” That is the most scary thing I have read his month.  And knowing that “President Trump” has been written this month, that should say a lot.  Let’s be done with symbolic gestures and get to the real gritty business of seeking the lost and welcoming them.  Jesus did not keep his holiness to himself.  He radically affected every sinner who came to him.  They were never the same.  There is no mediator but Jesus – the separation between God and man has not been in place for 2000 years.  Let’s get on with the times.

Healing is messy.  Let the full, clean, crisp gospel shine forth have its right effect.

And I might just go see my friend Father Dotson after one of his morning masses and continue to talk.  It’s good for the soul.  Thank you for the comment.

So What If Abortion Ended – What Would I “Obsess” Over, Then? I’m Glad You Asked

Angela Chininin Buele

Perhaps you wonder if the only thing I ever think about is abortion.  I assure you, it is not.  I think about lots of other things – from how to better educate myself about current events on the global scale to wondering why the guy that “predicted” the Cubs’ recent championship win didn’t get more media attention.

I am a regular person.  I am also a passionate person who won’t just sit by while tiny people – people just like you and me, created in the very image of God – are legally dismembered in the very place they should be most protected.

In the end, though, it isn’t just the abortion of unborn babies that upsets me so.  It is the fervor with which people cling to the gifts given them, while they reject and disdain the Creator from whom the gifts come.  Essentially, my message would not change if abortion were to end.  “Flee from death and darkness!  Turn to Light and Life in Christ!”  This is and will always be my plea.

If you have read any of my posts, I pray they have been used to lead you a greater understanding of the eternal hope made possibly only through Jesus.  It has been an intense 40 days in our household as the candle was often burned at both ends.  I am very thankful for the kind and wise husband the Lord has given me.  As I have written, he has surrendered many hours in order to review, edit, and advise, not to mention designing the graphics.

I’ll likely take a break from blogging for a bit, but I will not stop praying – for those who pro-choice, for those who are pregnant and scared, and for those who are pro-life and putting their hope in the law of man instead of the grace of God.

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” ( John 14:6).

My Rape Had a Happy Ending – I Pray More Women to Know the Mercy I’ve Been Shown

Angela Chininin Buele

Rape is such a painful topic.  No one wants to remember, but sometimes it’s necessary to remember – necessary to file reports and press charges, necessary to talk and cry about it, or necessary to share with another wounded soul that she is not alone.  While I can’t say that I am glad  I was raped, I will say the amazing story God has given me because of that devastating violation, has changed my life forever… for the better.  Will you let me explain?

If you have not been reading along since the beginning of this 40-day writing project, you don’t know the personal history I shared regarding the complex story I will finish telling here and now.  If you would like to read the first part of the story, you can look back at my article from September 29, 2016 titled This Might Shock You.  I used to be Pro-Abortion.  If you lack time or interest, however, the most basic information needed to carry through with my story is this:  When I was a young child, I was raped by a teenager I knew, and I didn’t tell anyone about it for years.

Any child who knows the confusion, fear, isolation, dirty feeling, and anger of having been violated can only do so much to live a “normal” childhood.  If there is no justice and repentance for the offender, kids may feel like there will never be any healing for them.  I know I felt like that.  Since I knew the young man who violated me, when I finally told my mom about what happened, she helped me try to find justice.  She took me – a pre-teen then – to meet with the young man’s mother.  I handed her a letter and explained that I wanted her to mail the letter to her son as a way of confronting him, now a college-aged man.  Based on her dismissal of my story, I imagine she never sent the letter, and I left that day with the additional burden of being believed to be delusional.

A dark road of depression, sexual sin, suicidal thoughts and actions, and hopelessness were real struggles in the following years.  I know it was only by the mercy of God to lead me to turn to His well-kept promises when Satan would try to drown me in a sea of broken promises of fallen men.

As I followed Jesus in my young adult years, I tried to follow my dreams.  Since my rape was more like a nightmare, I just worked around it trying to ignore it.  In case you’re wondering, you can’t ignore stuff like that.  It just doesn’t work.

In my mid-twenties, I shared my testimony with a group of Christians with whom I was quite close.  In this time of my life, I was quite disrespectful to someone placed in authority over me, and I was rightfully told that I could no longer be a part of the work the group was doing since I was working against the team instead of with them.

When I moved back to my hometown, I was pretty sure I couldn’t go on.  My dream had been shattered when I was sent away from the team.  But I’m so glad the Lord prodded me on because my whole life changed within a few weeks.

While talking with the family of a dear friend, I overheard a few identifying details about a new family attending the church.  My heart stopped.  I knew it was him.  The man who had broken my trust so many years before was well-known and well-loved by my very own church family.

I had prayed for years that this man would not harm any other children, but I don’t believe I ever prayed for him to seek God’s pardon for his sins – against God, against others, and against me.  Yet it seemed that maybe He had done just that.  Not knowing what to do next, I did the only thing I felt I could do – wait.

A couple of months later, as I was sitting in a Sunday morning Bible study group, I was told of a young family the Lord was using to preach His Word and make disciples of Jesus Christ.  Thinking I would be blessed to meet such a couple, I asked their names.  I was told their names and that they were in the very next room at that very moment and I could meet them immediately.  It was him, and I was panicked.  Over 20 years had passed since the rape, but I was nearly crushed by a sudden tsunami of emotions as I rushed to excuse myself and escape into the crowded sanctuary.

By the end of that week, I had confided in some very close friends and asked them to meet with this man.  I asked them to tell him that I had forgiven him and to find out if he had confessed and repented of the sin.  Maybe you won’t be able to understand this, but I no longer wanted revenge for myself or humiliation for him.  I wanted joy for us both, and I knew that would only – could only – come from new life under the Lordship of God Almighty.

I was blessed to hear that my friends confirmed his acknowledgment of the rape.  What I had not expected was the account of his tears when the message of my forgiveness was delivered.  That moment was like no other before.  I was relieved of the burden of unresolved angst, the storyline that reached the conflict and went no farther.  God gave me a gift that precious few ever know.  He who was my enemy, my betrayer, is now my dear friend and my brother by the blood of Christ.

I tell you that even now I am filled with joy to know this story, to live this story, and to share this story.  This is a story I have rarely had the privilege to share, but I do so here because I know that rape is horrible.  Rape feels like the end of the story, but the Lord can – and does – give gifts through Jesus that are infinitely sweeter than your heartbreaks are bitter.

My story isn’t really over, and neither is yours.  I’m praying for you, my friend, to know true relief from whatever crushing burden you carry, maybe alone.  Will you cry out to the Maker of Heaven and Earth to make the end of your story sweet with forgiveness?

It Takes a Village: An Introduction to Some Organizations Offering Life Resources

Angela Chininin Buele

Have you been thinking about the life and death issue of abortion?  Were you once staunchly pro-choice but now find yourself reconsidering?  If so, you should know that you are not alone.  There are lots of people who have had a change of heart regarding the unborn.

Did you know that hundreds of people who used to work in abortion facilities have quit their jobs in recent years?  Many of these weary souls have found encouragement, compassion, and a helping hand during their employment transition from an organization called And Then There Were None.  This group knows what it’s like to leave one way of life and turn toward the very same people you may have once considered enemies.  If they consider you an enemy still, will they believe that you have been changed?  Yes!  In fact, that is what ATTWN founder Abby Johnson went through when she left her job as the director of a Planned Parenthood facility in Texas 7 years ago.

If you or someone you know would like to leave their job in the abortion industry, you can get in touch with people who are eager to help you at:

Maybe you don’t work in the abortion industry but you have always been passive about abortion.  Maybe you would never have an abortion, but you have never before been willing to take a stand against abortion.   If you are now feeling that tug to see all life protected, you should know that there is an organization that coordinates peaceful prayer vigils across the country and around the world.  Uniting people in prayer and fasting, they have been blessed by the Lord to make a difference in the lives of abortion-vulnerable expectant mothers and abortion facility employees like Abby Johnson as well!  Check out their site for more information about how you can be an active part of the movement that cries out to God to change the hearts of men and women.

Are you pregnant and scared?  Maybe you don’t really want to abort your baby, but you don’t know what other options you have.  You need to know that you do have options, and you also have friends – friends you haven’t even met yet – who want to walk with you as you decide what to do.  The information, the listening ear, and the resource they have to offer are completely free because they want to see you well cared for. This is the closest pregnancy resource center to me, but even if you live somewhere else, you can get in touch with them through their website, and they can help you find a center close to you.

You are welcome in the loving community of life.  It doesn’t matter what you have done or said.  Jesus Christ offers forgiveness, and we can attest to the richness of that mercy.  Our arms are open to you because we thank God for all life, and that includes you, too!

Is this a new day for you?  It can be.

Only One Man Ever Drew a Line in the Sand in Order to Bring People Together

Angela Chininin Buele

There is no shortage of tension or conflict in the world.  From Supreme Court cases to domestic disputes, we disagree on a whole lot.  And when there are disagreements, our sinful nature wants to draw a line in the sand and start the roll call.  We ask, “Who is on my side, and who is on my enemy’s side?”

That is how we make wars out of differences.  One person posts a black ribbon, and someone else responds by posting a blue ribbon.  One person raises awareness for persecution of one religion so someone else makes known the greater suffering of another religion.  One group cries foul when bakers don’t want to make certain ceremonial cakes, while others dissent when certain flags are flown alongside or even replacing official city and state flags.

And then you have one group crying out for the right of the unborn to be granted life while another group fights for freedom for a woman’s free reign over any and all parts and persons within her body.

When people disagree on these matters, things usually get tense, and they occasionally get ugly.  But we should remember one very important fact.  You and I are not enemies – God and Satan are.  Now, I love and belong to God, so Satan is my enemy.  Yet, I am still most definitely not your enemy, regardless of how you feel about me.  That is to say, if you find me on the opposite side of one of those lines in the sand, it’s not because I don’t love you.  I love police officers, and I love black people.  I also love those who display one color ribbon over another even though I don’t display either.  I love Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists, even though I do not believe all roads lead to Heaven.  I love people of all sexual practices even while I support only one.

Can you stand opposed to what someone does and still have compassion and love for the person?  If you require people to prove their fidelity to a cause in order to earn your respect and favor, you do not have love.  This is as true (and as hard) for me as it is for you.  These issues are important to us, but if they are more important to us than the human beings with whom we are at odds over them, we will be undone.  You see, we are commanded by God to love people, not causes.

Key Question: I had previously asked when life begins, but maybe the greater question is, “When does love begin?”

Unshakable Truth: They said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.   Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”  This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.  And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”  And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground.  But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.  Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more”  (John 8:4-11).

Jesus both rescued the woman from those who wished to kill her for her sins and told her to go and sin no moreThis what love is.  This is what love does.  This is Who Love is.  Love does not begin at first sight or when emotions surge.  Love begins long before then.  Love begins at the cross of Christ, and if you haven’t been there, you can’t know Love.

The Real Choice: Will you love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you?

Why the Fence?

Angela Chininin Buele

I think we have all heard more than enough about Donald Trump’s proposed wall between the U.S. and Mexico.  When my family crosses the border to work with some beloved friends at an orphanage outside of Ciudad Juárez, we see a big black fence marking the political boundary – in maybe even more than one way.  I’ll confess that I thought “the wall” already existed, at least along some stretches of the border.  Driving alongside this fence stirs up a mix of emotions for our family.

We know that the matter of immigration is very complex.  We have lived that.  There are legal and illegal immigrants.  There are all kinds of visas that determine who can be here, for how long, and for what purpose.  There are people who cross the border without documents.  There are people who arrive in the United States with a legitimate visa and overstay.  One time a corporate lawyer did not file my husband’s paperwork on time despite repeated requests to do so.  The result was that my husband had to stop working for a period of two weeks.  He was in an immigration limbo.  He was lawfully admitted. But he had lost his status because a lawyer did not submit paperwork that ended up taking longer for the government to process.  My husband is now at the very last step of the naturalization process, and as a highly educated, well-dressed businessman who often corrects my native English, he is still treated at times like a criminal in the company of USCIS agents.  I’m glad I have had the opportunity to learn about our country’s not-so-friendly immigration process, the widely criticized H1B visa the Lord used to get him to this point, and how even I, a U.S. citizen by birth, cannot end the matter by saying, “He’s with me; enough already.”

There are clearly reasons we want to guard our borders.  We don’t want drugs to come in or children to be trafficked out of the country.  We don’t want coyotes to take advantage of the needs and the lives of the poor for their selfish gain.  Security and protection benefits the nation as a whole, but being closed off builds neither bridges nor a future.  I think there must be a better way to reach our goals of legal immigration and legal transport of goods than by building a big, big wall.  Walls create and deepen division.  A wall will not solve the deep problems that divide the United States and Mexico.  A wall will not stop the desperate conditions that drive men, women, and children to leave it all behind to risk crossing into the United States for an opportunity at a better life.  A wall will not stop the frustration and anger of displaced American manufacturing workers who have lost their livelihood to bigger commercial interests of corporations that find it cheaper to manufacture their products across the borders or across the ocean.

I wonder if you are aware, though, that the proposed wall along the border between the U.S. and Mexico is not the only the only one of its kind.  There is a specific type of wall that can be found in cities around our country – walls that keep some people in and others out.  This barrier, sometimes two layers thick, also shows an unwelcoming face to the outside world. This wall, like all walls of its kind, is designed to separate people, to prevent people who enter in from being able to communicate with those on the outside.  That’s a little too much like the Berlin Wall for me.  The wall to which I refer surrounds Planned Parenthood abortion facilities throughout the United States.

Because there have been reprehensible attacks carried out against abortion providers on and off of the properties occupied by their abortion-providing employers, it is reasonable for security measures to be taken, for careful attention to be paid to people coming and going.  Video surveillance and staff or volunteer presence is certainly understandable in the parking lot.  But what is the reason for the fence?  The fence at the abortion facility in my metropolitan area has an unsecured gate, so people who want to walk or drive in during business hours may do so freely.  The security guard has a station inside the front door, so staff members have an internal buffer between themselves and any potential threat.  So I wonder again, why the fence?  “It is because of people like John and Mary [who apparently are praying there every Friday and Saturday],” it was explained to us the other day.  Speech like that, speech that breeds division is precisely the scary reason that leads me to write about this.  When we consider ourselves to be different from – or even superior to – other human beings, made in the image of God, the consequences are unavoidable.  Segregation.  Discrimination.  Protectionism.  Genocide. Auschwitz had a fence also.  And it all started with the segregation of one group of people.

It seems to me that, instead being an instrument of defense, it’s used on the offense.  That is to say that the fence might not be about safety at all, but it is most certainly used for security – the security of the business, that is.   You see, once a woman makes it to the parking lot of an abortion facility, there is very short walk from the car to the building that must be spanned.  Now, if the purpose of the fence was to provide protection, there would be no need for women to be guided to the door.  Would a woman need help finding the front door?  Not likely.  No, the fences (sometimes one metal and one mesh fence are used together) provide more of a barrier for words and sight than for actions these days.  As for the escorts, they often provide little more than white noise in attempt to drown out that distant voice from beyond the fence crying out as an 11th hour appeal on behalf of the woman’s unborn child.  After all, a woman does still have the right to choose in those last moments, doesn’t she?  Is she not free to choose life and walk away from her appointment?  Or have we come to find that an abortionist’s parking lot is ultimately anti-choice?

Key Question: Americans, are we using a wall to keep the poor out of the country while we use a fence to keep the poor inside the abortion facility?

Unshakable Truth: My brothers,  if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins (James 5:19-20).

To call out to a mother on her way to abort her child is just as much in the interest of protecting her from the weight of her sin on her eternal soul as it is to protect her unborn child from violent physical death.

The Real Choice: If you are sure your position on this matter is best, will you openly engage in free speech, deep thinking conversations about it?

From Seed to Fruit: What It Takes to Turn a Life into a Legacy

Angela Chininin Buele

Fruitfulness is not a consequence, it is not second best, and it is not to be feared. Children are a blessing from the Lord.

Fruitfulness also takes dedication, sacrifice, and humility.  These are all attributes many people who say they don’t want children (now or ever) are probably already developing in order to advance in a career, a hobby, or an education program.

Clearly people are willing to work extra hours and go the extra mile for a job and carry the burden of the consequences that brings to their personal life.  What remains unclear is why those same people might simultaneously fight for abortion rights on account of the personal sacrifice that having a baby requires.

Each person plants a seed with his or her life, hoping to leave behind a legacy.  Methods for nurturing those seeds, however, vary widely.  If you nurture your legacy seed with today’s success and approval from others, you will find that the praise of others fades as soon as it is issued.  A seed can’t grow if its water source evaporates on contact.  This seed might look perfect, but a perfect seed that remains dry will bear no fruit.

The high-stakes investment made in people – babies, the elderly, and everyone in between ­­- on the other hand, is an unpredictable and eventful affair.  There are much more joys and maybe even more hurts, but the seed that goes into the ground and surrenders its protective casing does not fail to grow.  Casting off the shell of self-preservation and soaking in the sometimes saturated and “a little more than you bargained for” soil makes for a strong tree, complete with robust buds.

Make no mistake. Having babies doesn’t make anyone wise, but God often grants people more wisdom as they raise the children He has given them.   Likewise, caring for the sick, disabled, and elderly isn’t always fun, but God can teach people that love and joy last longer than fun anyway.  And, perhaps most importantly, loving and serving a variety of people may not leave you with much evidence that you have made a difference in the world, but there will be no end to the work that the Lord accomplishes as He carries out His will through you.

Key Question: Is your life investment a seed that will grow and bear fruit?

Unshakable Truth: Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.  If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him ( John 12:24-26).

The Real Choice:  Will you follow Jesus to His tree, the cross, where he laid the seed of His life down to bear the fruit that can save sinners like you and like me?

A Life Worth Living: You Might Be Surprised By Who Suffers Because Of Abortion and Assisted Suicide

Angela Chininin Buele

What is each life worth?  Do we get to assign that value?  I’m thankful we do not.

No one has ever designed a human being.  When clones have been made, they have been made with the material of existing creatures of which the cloning agents did not hold any intellectual property rights.

It is amazing that two special cells unite to begin the most magnificent growth chain that can send a ripple wave throughout the world, making a difference in the lives of people, discovering places, and inventing things – if, of course, that child is not aborted.

Humankind has believed a lie.  A big one.  The lie is that humans are a renewable resource.  This is not true.  Each and every human being (even identical siblings) is a one-of-a-kind person in mind, heart, creativity, desire, and humor.  Each person has strengths and weaknesses that build the complex community of the world.  No two humans have the exact same skills or the exact same dreams.

The lie leads us to believe that babies are just fetal tissue that can be scraped away now so that another baby could be conceived when the time is right, when there is more money in the bank, when you are in a relationship with the right person to start a family, when you have achieved that promotion.  However, we can identify people, by name, who have made incredible contributions to music, medicine, civil rights, architecture, travel, and more.  If any of their mothers had chosen to abort them, we would never have had the benefit of the contributions they made to society.  Who are the more than 50 million men and women who have been aborted in this country over the last 43 years?  Which diseases might they have cured?  Which Olympic medals might they have won?  Whose lives might they have saved?  Which books might they have written?  With which of them might you have developed a lifelong friendship?  Which of them might have become an astronaut, a senator, the President of the United States?

While I am not the kind of writer who can lead you into worlds you never knew existed and make you never want to leave them, I wonder if you see this vision I am clumsily trying to paint.  We have told women that children are not the blessing–work is.  In doing this, we have robbed these women –and ourselves– of the once-in-a-lifetime gift of 50 million friends and family members.

Do you want to know something even more sad?  The culture of death doesn’t stop there.  In addition to the babies who are viewed as unwanted, the aged and infirm are also vulnerable to being eliminated because younger generations have no further use for them.  The old, the sick, and the very young are weak and require work, so we have believed the lie that they can be an optional part of society.

And there we have it.  When we use people, we do not love them; and setting criteria for when their lives are “worth” living is just a way of telling them they are not as worthy as you are of life.

Key Question:  Do you believe it to be more loving to give of yourself to be a blessing to another person, or to give up on them because you fear you will not bless them well?

Unshakable Truth:  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love (1 John 4:18).

If you love someone, you will not act out of your fear, you will deny your fear and see the blessing in people, not in possessions, status, accomplishment, or praise.

The Real Choice:  Are you willing to forsake the stuff of this life and embrace the precious life of each one-and-only person in this world?