That is a title that will get people’s attention. I am not trying to create shock value, but provide a title that makes sense to this post. It is has come to my attention in the last 24 hours that a new women’s clinic is coming to Pickerington. (The rumor on the street is that this clinic was going to provide abortions. There is already information that states this is not true. Either way, this post I think may be helpful to think through this issue.) Pickerington is a community that I have grown quite fond of for many reasons. The primary impetus for my love for Pickerington is that the church I pastor is located in this suburb. I love this city, the people and the future of this community. I really do.
When situations like this present themselves, I find myself in a weird place. I am a pastor of fairly good sized church and as such my thoughts, actions and opinions walk and blur a line of personal and organizational. If I show up at a local meeting to ask questions about a city decision or complain about an issue, it can be perceived as though my position is that of Grace Fellowship. On the other hand, silence and absence or a lack of involvement in speaking or showing up can be perceived as indifference or maybe even worse an intentional approval of certain movements or works. This puts me (and others) in a challenging place.
Here are some key thoughts that relate to this issue. Please know these are my thoughts and these may or may not reflect other key leaders at Grace Fellowship.
- I 100% believe that abortion is wrong. I would not call this my position. I believe that the Bible teaches this and even when it is unpopular, I side with the Bible.
- An individual can and should exercise their right to be a part of a governmental/ political process that he or she feels led to. Keeping in mind, your decision may not be my decision. Furthermore, I believe the appropriate model for political engagement is to be by the individual not by the institution of a local church body. So to clarify, if individuals from Grace Fellowship want to be involved in protesting this clinic’s presence, I support that, but I do not think that Grace Fellowship as an organization should create the momentum and energy for people to state their disagreement in this type of situation.
- There are ways to voice and demonstrate disagreement that do not include public picketing or demonstrations. These are indeed ways and people have the right to exercise and may feel led to choose them, but for me personally I do not go this route.
- Please remember that if you are a Christian, the way you demonstrate your disagreement can and should reflect Jesus. In the public arena, remember you represent your family, your church and your God. Behave appropriately in how you talk and interact. (For instance, be careful not to look rude in your Grace Fellowship blue T-shirt)
- Never forget that America is a place of freedom and free enterprise. This means there are procedures and processes that protect business opportunities we believe in and that we do not believe in. And in some cases, the procedure and reality of freedom will allow things we do not necessarily want. This is freedom and true tolerance and sometimes our personal opinions are irrelevant because there are processes that the local government has that make the decision for them.
- For me and my influence, I will try and leverage the grace of Jesus into the lives of the women who may or may not choose to have an abortion at this clinic. So I plan to contact the clinic if it does indeed come to town and let them know that we are here for them no matter what decision they make. We just want to care for and serve them as people.