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Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Open Mind: Is it a door we should walk through?

I am going to think this through. Feel free to voice your thoughts, because I haven't got it all figured out. Let's think biblically.

For some time, the CGS Pro-life group has been going on campus (actually, just across the street from on-campus, where free speech by non-student entities is still allowed) with a pro-life outreach. Some people hold signs, some hand out brochures or flyers, and some are able to engage people in conversations regarding dangers to and protection of the unborn, the characteristics and needs and rights of the unborn, etc.

This is an area of outreach that Glen and I at first avoided. Various "reasons" held us back. We are old; they are young. They won't listen to us. That is for the younger people. They are sophisticated and swimming in wisdom, and we are ordinary and have fumbling tongues. Eventually, all these things got shook out, and we are convinced that this is where we need to be from time to time.

The very things that previously held us back, now spur us on. We are old, and must share our wisdom and experience with the young. They won't listen to us, unless we have something to say. Very often, it is one's contemporaries that are the hardest to talk to, or to listen to, even though everyone struts about stating the opposite, together. Most importantly, the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God (I Corinthians 1).

Jeremiah 8:9
The wise will be put to shame;
they will be dismayed and trapped.
Since they have rejected the word of the LORD,
what kind of wisdom do they have?

On February 16, we went on campus, and Glen and I were not alone, but we had the Clint&Ginger family, and Carole, who introduced me to the idea of standing in defense of the unborn.

It's good to have others involved. Among many reasons is because through them I am able to see more clearly. I can see that what I had previously thought was great might be some distraction; but I am not sure, and this is what I am trying to think out here...
A man named Stephen came along, and when I first approached him, he refused my brochure. I asked more direct questions, attempting to engage him in conversation. He said that he undertands my point of view, but also understands the pro-choice view. I encouraged him to speak openly to me and to read my brochure, since a child is a person from conception, and ought to deserve, and certainly needs our protection.

He took the brochure and saw the panel that tells about sin and judgement and mercy. "Ah," he said, "you see, I have a problem with organized religion." ...and away we went. This man had read so many things, and accepted so many conflicting ideas as possibilities, that he frankly was at a loss for words at times to express the profoundly inexpressible. The only thing that he seemed opposed to considering was the God of the Bible, especially as revealed as a masculine entity. At this point, a friend of his inturrupted our encounter, and I slipped away. I was surprised that he reapproached me after his friend moved on.

He again asserted that he was too open minded to go for the old god-bible-religion thing. Since his basis for truth seemed so nebulous and broad-based, I told him that we really need to have a solid foundation of truth on which to bounce all these ideas, whether foolish or wise, off of to determine which to keep and which to discard. He talked, starry-eyed, about love for everyone as a basis of truth. I told him that he is right about that. The Bible tells us that true religion is caring for the orphan and widow, and loving our enemy and our neighbor as ourselves. So I told him that I, for instance would be in sin to leave this encounter if I didn't love him enough to tell him that he was dying in his sin, and that he would die and go to hell unless he submitted to God's Word in repentance, and embraced His Son in humility (I can't remember how I said it, certainly not so eloquently). He was visibly taken aback by this. I was certain he would walk away, but he continued.

He regained his composure, and said that even Jesus said that people would do things even greater than the things that he did, so he was admitting that he wasn't "all that." Praise be to God, who by His Holy Spirit is able to give us all that we need to do His good will, I was able to tell this man that Jesus said:
John 14:11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Eventually, I encouraged him to call or email me to continue the conversation, and we parted with a handshake and a friendly smile. I walked away, and moments later looked to where I had left him, and he was still there, looking at the brochure, and he waved at me again.

Another thing that happened that made me think, was that we saw a the woman that I have mentioned before, who is pregnant and will be keeping her baby. I had been unable to reach her for such a long time, and I was overcome with joy to see her. I spent quite a few minutes talking to her, both me and Ginger.

I am just not sure if I let myself get tied up with these people, or if they were valuable conversations. Can I be brief and caring? Do I cling to people because they will talk to me? Do I want nothing more than to win an arguement, for the sake of winning? How can I tell if this is a conversation that God wants me to engage in or a distraction sent by satan to prevent someone else from hearing a word from God's servant?

Talk to me.


Anonymous said...


I wish I knew the answer to your question. I already know the side I ere on. That is to engage in the conversation (almost to the death sometimes). Here's some of my reasoning-although this is by far not reasoned out entirely so I am definitely open to feedback.
I feel that most people that we encounter have heard ad nausium most of what we are saying to them in a 2 minute soundbyte. What they have not necessarily seen/heard is someone who will invest some amount of time/emotion into them; someone who will take the time to speak lovingly and yet firmly and truthfully to them about the Word of God. Yes, sometimes it seems as though we are just arguing with them for the sake of argument and we definitely need to examine our hearts about those situations. I think it is a case by case discernment that we need to have. Being in prayer continually about this even while engaged in conversation is important. I know that I am biased strongly for two reasons. One is that my brothers are like so many of these foolish young men that we meet who we want to give up on and I can't give up-even though I desperately want to-I can't. Two is that I was once a person who had heard all about God and the Bible, but had never met a Christian who really cared enough about me to get involved in my life or even talk to me for more than a few minutes. I often think about this girl at Vandy who was from a PCA church. She was really nice and she and her friends invited to a campus fellowship which I gladly went to. I think when they saw how messed up I was (I was really obviously into cutting then and also in a relationship with a really abusive guy) they thought that I wasn;t worth their time. I wonder which things could be different in my life if they had taken the time to tell a fool like me, who thought I had it all figured out, the Truth. Well, they didn't and I have actually had to forgive them for this lack of concern they had for me. I try to remember who I was and where God has brought me from and remember that if God is pleased to use me then He will.
So, now I have taken you in a circle without really answering your question. I believe that there is no one answer-it depends on the situation and on our own hearts and discernment and prayer are the only tools I can think of to use in this.
Anyway, I love you and you know that I have learned so much about all of this from you Rachel. Thanks for being my example!

Anonymous said...


I was thnking more about the previous discussion and I thought to myself what it really comes down to for me is that I can't shake the question, "What would I do if I met myself how I used to be in my darkest days?". Well, I needed to meet the future me then. The truth is that I do meet me-every Thursday-bunches of them-and it scares me sometimes. I am haunted by what I have done to my own child and I know what these women's futures will include, but they do not listen. I have to face the hard, cold reality that chances are I wouldn't have listened either. But, that's not for me to decide who listens and who doesn't and who gets a chance for help and who doesn't. We are His instruments and my job is to pull myself together and go out there and give all those people whatever I have that God chooses to give to them through me. You know? I know you know because you are there beside me every week-you know how much I lean on you-right? I am so thankful that God has allowed me to be used in this way and that God did send the right people into my life at the right time to make this possible. Thank you so much Rachel, for all your encouragement of me. You are truly a godsend in my life. I love you.

Rachel Pierson said...

Thank you, Ginger for challenging my thinking. I always want to have conversations on campus. I think that Clint and Glen both had valid points the other night, and I'm really glad we had that discussion. Particularly Clint's point that God may use that conversation to change that hard heart, and I guess I would add that He may use that conversation to confirm that rebel's rebellion. Also Glen's point that some people will play this game for the pleasure of playing it.

I guess I don't mind being played, if I could get ahold of my heart and know whether I too am playing. Am I using this person in the same way that he is using me? Am I talking to hear myself talk? Am I arguing for the sake of winning?

I think we need to pray for guidance and discernment. I think we need to continually check ourselves. What are our motives? Is this conversation going in circles and might it be better continued either by phone or email or over coffee sometime? Is my motive pure, and am I loving this person, and hoping for his salvation through this? Have I brought this around to Christ? Am I getting to the heart, or just spinning around on the surface?

Did you catch the difference in feel between the conversations on campus and the conversation at Planned Parenthood the other day? On campus, I tend to ask the person what they think about an issue, and then try to "shoot it down." (That's what it feels like in comparrison) At Planned Parenthood, Hannah was asking us questions and listening to our answers.

I have a disturbing comparison between the two, and it is my one encompassing red flag: That boy on the bike, and Hannah at PP consumed all the soldiers in the area. Conversations are interesting, but we need to be on the alert.

You are an answer, I think, to a prayer that I have been praying since I've been going to Planned Parenthood: Teach me to love sinners like You do.