We live in an interesting time. There are so many avenues for self-expression. Facebook, Instagram,Twitter are all a part of our everyday lives. Cable “news” often deteriorates into biased rants and diatribes aimed at infuriating one segment of our society and placating another. Any hope of decent, well-considered, meaningful, respectful dialogue seems futile these days.
Issus like racism, abortion, gender, sexuality, and ecological concerns are often discussed on these various platforms in the most detrimental fashion. Social media can be such a positive force for change and such a cesspool for degrading conversation.
Recently, I have noticed numerous discussions concerning abortion, abortion laws, and the entire topic of life debated on social media and in the news. I have found these discussions to be fascinating and disappointing. Something this complex cannot possibly be summarized in a tweet or Facebook post.
Life is precious. And complex.
God is the Author of life. He is the Creator of this universe. He designed it to be teeming with life. It uniquely supports life. And life is incredibly complex. That does not mean that we are not to develop convictions that are firmly rooted in Scripture and consistent with the character of God.
Consequently, I am Pro-Life. That is not a political declaration. I am neither Republican nor Democrat. I am equally disappointed by both parties in my country. Neither of them has the copyright to life. They don’t own words, nor do they create dictionaries.
I will say it again --- I am Pro-Life. That means I value life. In all matters. I care about vulnerable people. I care about unborn children. I care about vulnerable women who are pregnant. I care about families trapped in poverty. I care about people victimized by oppressive laws and systems. I care about people who either struggle with their sexual identity or choose to live a life that is very different from what I have chosen. I care about unfair policies designed to diminish populations of people. I care about providing mechanisms designed to improve life skills for those who have not had adequate provision in their early lives. I believe in ministering to people in tangible, helpful, and healthy ways. I care about responsible governments—both local and national—that serve the best interest of citizens. I care about moral integrity. I care about extending grace and patience.
I care about honest, helpful dialogue aimed at solutions. I care about people. I don’t mind paying taxes to support responsible means of governing our society. I believe in helping people flourish.
I also have convictions. I believe in the historically orthodox Judeo/Christian view of marriage and sexuality. I believe Jesus Christ is the Redeemer for all of humanity. I believe The Jesus Wayis the only way to abundant and eternal life. I believe the Bible is the Word of God. I believe the Church is the physical representation of Christ’s mission on earth. I believe Jesus came to offer us life.
I don’t believe in demeaning people. I don’t support mean-spirited, judgmental attitudes. I don’t think complex life issues can be easily solved through angry personal exchanges with strangers. I don’t believe in always seeking a quick-fix to complex problems.
I believe we should spend more time in action than argument. Instead of trying to convince others about my convictions, I would rather demonstrate them through my life. Consequently, I felt called to serve First Baptist Church of Arlington, Texas as its pastor. Our church started Mission Arlington in 1986 to address some of the concerns I have outlined in this article.
We remain the sponsoring church for Mission Arlington. We are its largest financial supporter in its history. We have invested millions of dollars and millions of hours in sharing the love of Jesus in very tangible ways. We also have been instrumental in establishing shelters in our community for those victimized by abuse and neglect. We also own and operate Soteria—an individual/family counseling center at our church.
We are one of the founding churches of Restore Hope. We are the largest supporting church for Restore Hope. Through it, we are addressing some of the needs I have outlined in a cross-cultural context in Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Spain, Slovenia --- and many other places around the world.
We also support Living Hope. When people come to us seeking help in relational healing, we walk alongside them in a journey of discipleship. We believe in the Gospel!
My church is engaged in all manner of ministries designed to help real human beings live real lives. My church is not perfect. But it is good. We care about people at our church. We are on record --- we care about life.
I am Pro-Life. That means I am concerned for life in every situation. I cannot be conformed to the Image of God’s Son without being Pro-Life. Our lives are often determined by the choices we make. I want to help people make the best choices to discover the best life available to them. I want to assist people in having the opportunity to make wise and healthy choices. So, I am also Pro-Choice!
I am praying for myself today—and you. I am praying that God will give us the maturity to be His people in this day.