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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Cat Fight!

My dear friend, Carole has had a rough, spiritually and emotionally difficult month. She is back and I saw her truck today at Planned Parenthood on my way to work, so I stopped by to encourage her.

While chatting, I noticed that she had eye shadow on one eye, but not on the other. Knowing that she would want to know about an oversight such as this, I asked her about it.

As it turned out, it wasn't eye shadow, at all. It seems that she had a run-in with a certain cat. Now, I've had words with this cat myself, but although I lost a little blood, I didn't walk away with a shiner! Yah, a TKO!

What was the cat's name? Was it Sugar Ray Leonard, no I think this one floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. Wow Meow!

Here, kitty kitty kitty!

Here Comes That Rainy Day Feelin' Again (doo doo du BOP bop)

Today was a very rainy day at Planned Parenthood; very much the same and yet totally different from that other rainy day in April.

That day I went late because responsibilities at work prevented me going early; today I went late because those of us who go, agreed to stagger ourselves to have a witness there for a longer period of time. Apparently abortions happen all day long at Planned Parenthood on Thursdays.

That day I was physically alone. I sang alone to the empty wet air. I read Psalms to God alone and Isaiah to the fallen rain. Today, when I got there the parking lot was full, but the sidewalk was empty. As I surveyed the property, Josh, who teaches Greek and makes beautiful music on Sunday mornings drove up in his car and rolled down the window and said, as the rain splashed his face, "I'll be right back!" He drove around the block and parked in front of the Board of REALTORS and came along beside me and held the umbrella for me, and sang with me, and held a sign showing a baby at an early stage of development.

He was there for me. He heard that I came later, and didn't want me to be alone.

That day, people came, but hurried quickly into the building. The rain was steady and constant. Once, someone could be seen looking out the window at me from the second floor. Today, the guard watched me for a while from behind the privacy fence, but when it began to rain again, he got in his car to stay dry. About four or five gathered where they could see us and smoked cigarettes, but they all rushed into the building, almost in a single movement when it began to pour. Maryanne, the elderly escort, left shortly after I got there. (I heard her say something about not being able to sleep "that" late.) A man and woman who had come before I got there came out to their car, and then went back in. Several women who were by themselves came and went.

By now, anyone reading or standing with me knows what I do on Thursdays. Anyone might also know the doubts and misgivings I have about my purpose and strategy. I don't know what I am doing. I do, hwoever believe that God calls me there, and so I trust Him.

That Thursday in April, I left a little early because I became disheartened after a large man escorted a small, young woman to his large pickup truck, glancing at me quickly and recognizing that I was nothing to worry about.

Today, I as I was reading Scripture a couple of women got out of a car and walked across the parking lot in front of me. I broke from reading Isaiah to ask, "Are you contemplating murder in your heart? It is not too late to turn around." She looked at me and continued to walk. I returned to my reading.

Today, I left early, too. I was very grateful for Josh being there. I appreciated his sacrifice on my behalf, but I felt very uncomfortable with it. ...and I felt like a fool, reading scripture and having little or nothing to say of my own.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

What is in a name?

Before my family went on our trip, some brothers and sisters met to discuss our pro-life strategy in the community and church.

One of the things mentioned was a name for our organization. One sister mentioned that the term "pro-life" is old and well-ignored these days. She said that the Monroe County Right to Life organization is dead and that we should not attach ourselves to it. (If I am misrepresenting anything said that night, I apologize; my kids like to pretend that their Mom's memory is slipping as the years rush by.)

So I thought that while I am on my trip, and my time is not being purchased by my employer, I would be able to search the Scriptures and find something catchy and appropriate.

The posts on this blog would support the notion of not using a pro-life theme for a name. That would limit the group to pro-life rallies and abortion clinics and stuff. Not only that, but on these occasions and at these functions and events, such a name would limit its purpose to proclaiming the preservation of physical life.

While I will not back down from the proclamation of the sin of killing a human being based on God's Word, that is not the only truth that I think needs to be proclaimed or the only sin that needs to be rebuked. Therefore, I would not suggest any name that limits us to that issue. We do not proclaim the Pro-life Gospel.

The brother who is apparently spearheading this movement, for instance wants to take our message on campus. There we might not have the opportunity to be pro-fidelity, or pro-integrity if we were simply "Pro-life".

What is some of us wanted to demonstrate at the local strip club up the street, or the local "adult" book store down the street. Would we need to change our name?

What are we doing, anyways on Thursday mornings? Are we saving lives? Are we witnesses for Christ? Are we informing the public? If the latter, then of what?

If we are there to save or protect lives in danger, then our actions and tactics will reflect that. This is shaky ground. We could go the route of the "fanatic" placing our bodies in the way of danger, and spend some time in jail as a result. We could shout slogans and attempt to coerce with logic or worldly wisdom and statistics; or tug on heart strings with emotional messages or shocking rumors. We could think that pictures will turn their heads and hearts to make the right choice.

The very basis of the term pro-life is what? On what is a pro-lifer dependent for their cause? In fact, what is the pro-life cause?

If, however, our message, our purpose, our name is to proclaim the truth, we cannot depend on man's wisdom or our own words to convince or coerce. We would stand on the only firm foundation for any cause. We could go anywhere we are called under the same banner, and proclaim the message that we are called there to proclaim:

Psalm 37:5-8
5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:

6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.

I have to admit that I couldn't think of a name that didn't sound idealistic or adolescent. Proclaim has been taken. Procaimers for God sounds like some Awana club. Righteous Rebukers is ridiculouss.

I just keep thinking of Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 2:3-10
3 He said: "Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day. 4 The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says.' 5 And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them. 6 And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house. 7 You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. 8 But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you."

9 Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, 10 which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.

Ezekiel 3
1 And he said to me, "Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the house of Israel." 2 So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.

3 Then he said to me, "Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it." So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.

4 He then said to me: "Son of man, go now to the house of Israel and speak my words to them. 5 You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and difficult language, but to the house of Israel- 6 not to many peoples of obscure speech and difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7 But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for the whole house of Israel is hardened and obstinate. 8 But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. 9 I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house."

10 And he said to me, "Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you. 11 Go now to your countrymen in exile and speak to them. Say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says,' whether they listen or fail to listen."
12 Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a loud rumbling sound—May the glory of the LORD be praised in his dwelling place!- 13 the sound of the wings of the living creatures brushing against each other and the sound of the wheels beside them, a loud rumbling sound. 14 The Spirit then lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the LORD upon me. 15 I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Abib near the Kebar River. And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days-overwhelmed.

Warning to Israel
16 At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me: 17 "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked man, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for [a] his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.
20 "Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before him, he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. The righteous things he did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. 21 But if you do warn the righteous man not to sin and he does not sin, he will surely live because he took warning, and you will have saved yourself."

22 The hand of the LORD was upon me there, and he said to me, "Get up and go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you." 23 So I got up and went out to the plain. And the glory of the LORD was standing there, like the glory I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown.

24 Then the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet. He spoke to me and said: "Go, shut yourself inside your house. 25 And you, son of man, they will tie with ropes; you will be bound so that you cannot go out among the people. 26 I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be silent and unable to rebuke them, though they are a rebellious house. 27 But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you shall say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says.' Whoever will listen let him listen, and whoever will refuse let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.

Monday, July 10, 2006

There's no place like home, there's no place like home...

And no matter how far away you roam...there's no place like home.

Where's home? Where the heart is, where you hang your hat?

...But then again, you can also never go back, can you?

We just got home from our family vacation. We went home to visit our families in Michigan. It is so good to be home. Home where all my STUFF is. Home where I am the Mother Hen. Home where I am not an intrusion, but rather I am part of the surroundings.

Going to visit family has never been like this year. I have been watching my daughters grow up for the past seventeen and a half years, and this year, things have definitely changed. This year my sister's little girl is planning to elope and she is contemplating buying five acres and a match box for $50,000. My other sister's little girl also graduated and has moved in with her boyfriend and (apparently) all his friends, and a mouse.

This year, I heard my sister praise my parents for the good childhood they gave us, and marvel at how they did it. It truly warmed my heart.

This year also was the year I became the dark ewe to my Mom. Usually, I am the complacent one, and there are others who tend to thwart her well-laid plans, or break her heart. This year it was me. She was more gracious to me than I expected. I am grateful for that.

This year, my Dad and I had a deep conversation about God and what He is all about. Numbers 31 (God's vengeance on the Midianites) caused him to stumble many years ago, and he has never come back from it. Now he sees God's hand as one of injustice and cruelty. This year I found out that a childhood friend's brother was in a auto accident some time ago, and is a paraplegic. He struggled with his faith as a result. My Dad used this as an example: Why would God do that to someone who loves Him? I asked him what Byron is doing now, expecting to hear that he is on the street of Detroit begging bread, and shooting up. He said that Byron is now a minister in his wheelchair.

He who has eyes, let him see.

This year, upon parting, I pleaded with my mother-in-law to seek the Lord in her struggles, but lost my nerve as I hugged my father-in-law. His blood is on my hands.

Well, it is good to be home, and on my way home...