This was a really hard post for me to write. As usual, I am smack-dead center in the middle of this debate. Quite honestly, clicking "publish" on this piece frightens me, turns my stomach, fills me with terror. Please know, if you do not know me, that I am a reasonable person who invites reasonable discussion. But I am also a fallible human being, and I humbly ask you to keep comments civil, polite, and respectful. I am a moderate to liberal Christian who was once fairly involved in the pro-life movement. I have feet on both sides of the fence. My shades of grey thinking often gets me into trouble. But this was a topic that I just kept returning to, and I felt that it was time to give those thoughts a tangible voice.
Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock is catching heat for this remark that he made about rapes that result in pregnancy. “I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."
It reiterated to me that there is so much that people do not understand about Christianity, even those who practice it.
I am not a theologian. It is not my intent to present a comprehensive understanding of Christianity, which is a religion stuffed with nuance and as many interpretations as there are stars in the sky.
It is my intent to try and decipher the way fumbling, fallible humans present Christian belief to the world, and the way the majority of Christians I know personally actually feel. Having been a practicing Christian for most of my life, having studied, and talked with a variety of people, I think what I am about to say is a fairly accurate portrayal of Christian belief.
Whether or not there is a God or whether or not Christian should have these beliefs is a discussion for another day, or perhaps someone else’s blog. I am not here to puzzle out the conundrum of whether or not there is a God today. I am here to explain what people who believe in God think, as a person whose life experience has brought her to faith.
As a general rule, Christians do not believe that the horrors of this world we live in, are in and of them selves blessings. Nor do we view God as a cosmic prankster bent on our destruction, causing horrific events to befall us per his will.
I think it would be more accurate to say that we believe in the power of Christ to transform horrible situations. That good can come out of bad. Not that the terrible situations are from the hand of God, but that the results can be sanctified.
With the case of Richard Mourdock, I think he committed a grave error by referring to pregnancy resulting from the act of rape as something “that God intended to happen.” It almost seems to cast God in the role of the rapist…a heavenly, throned, spiritual rapist directing our destruction from his removed space.
I believe this is a perversion of Christianity.
I do not know why we believe in an all-powerful God who does not often choose to exercise his power. That is a question so heavy and mind-boggling and exhausting that I would not know where to begin.
But I do believe in his existence, even though I don’t get it fully. Why is also a discussion for another time.
But because I believe in God, I do believe he is ultimately loving, and his goal is to elevate us through the person of Jesus Christ. I believe he directs us to take the highest road, and not one bit in our own strength. I believe that in horrifying situations, the consequence of living in this fallen world, he is there to lovingly guide us, support us, and do that hard part for us, if we let him.
If we let him.
This is my belief.
There are countless people who do not have these beliefs.
And it would be blatantly foolish of me to try and govern according to these principles that much of the population does not understand.
Christ’s peace and purpose are not going to be found in laws.
And if you spend your time shouting about what is “right,” you are going to drown out the still small voice of the one who makes all things new.
Let me be clear.
I don’t like abortion.
Do I want to see it criminalized?
Do I want it to be eradicated?
I think most people would like to see abortion levels reduced as close to zero as possible. They just have different ideas about how to make that happen.
I think it’s only possible through many, many changes of hearts, on many avenues.
Do I think it’s going to be eradicated?
Not on this planet, in this time.
Here's what I don’t understand about many Christians.
That we don’t understand what we sound like when we cast God in this role of villainous thug whose purpose is to twist us into his image by any means necessary.
It’s not the God I know. It’s not the God of my friends and family who have experienced terrible tragedies who have found that the Comforter has Come.
We are meant to embody Jesus, as “little Christs.”
If we want people to understand Jesus, we have to act him out, corporately as well as individually.
I’m not sure what the best way to do this is, but I think we should start by not turning God into a boogyman.
Consider your words, Christian.
Consider this wounded world, this hurting people, these victims of The Fall.
If we want people to come to Jesus, clear the way.
Still your voice.
Open your heart.
I would say to Richard Mourdock, was it worth sullying the name of Jesus through your fumbling words? Did re-victimizing rape victims through your questionable theological statements save any babies? Are there rushes of people converting to this religion you are proclaiming?
Consider your voice. Consider your message. If Jesus’s yoke is easy and his burdon light, communicate that, “little Christ.”
Extend some grace to our fellow man. And please, if you believe in God, give him more credit. Christians do not believe in a cosmic bully.
Instead of saying a pregnancy is something "God intended to happen," consider the idea that God does not create horrible situations. He redeems them. But also consider that to those who do not know Jesus, this message is bound to sound offensive. Instead of promoting a standard, we should promote Jesus through our words and deeds.
Let Jesus deal with those he is calling.
And consider whether or not the stump is the right place to espouse a particular religious belief to a nation that is not a theocracy.