Congregations big and little: 6-19-09
Rules for joining: 6-22-09

Abortion common ground?: 6-20/21-09

What seems to me like a hundred years ago -- back in the late 1970s or early 1980s -- I wrote a column for The Kansas City Star describing my anguish about the failure of people who disagree on abortion to have civil discussions.

Fetus

This grew out of a conference on abortion I attended. There I found rigidly convinced people -- on both ends of the abortion-position spectrum -- arguing past one another. Nobody was listening.

I can't tell that much has changed in 30 years.

But I am encouraged that some people continue to try to find some common ground on this matter. The latest effort I've learned about is a new Web site called "On Common Ground" found on the RH (for reproductive health) RealityCheck.org site.

Here you will find news and views that amount to a forum for discussing abortion without resorting to murder, such as happened to Dr. George Tiller of Wichita recently.

It would be wildly out of bounds to include in such discussion people such as Tiller's accused killer. But it would not be out of bounds to include people with strongly anti-abortion positions. I haven't read through all the offerings on the new "On Commond Ground" site, but my first impression is that such people aren't well represented.

Still, I would hope that people from all abortion perspectives -- save the ones who advocate turning to violence against those with whom they disagree -- would be welcome to add their voices to the discussions on this new site.

One of the problems with the abortion issue (I believe now in hindsight) is that the U.S. Supreme Court acted in 1973 before anything like a social consensus on the subject had developed. That polarized society and we've been dealing with the painful aftermath of that ever since. What I don't know is whether any social consensus ever would have developed without a court decision. Without such a judicial remedy, of course, it's possible that the old and destructive system of illegal abortions would have continued.

My position is that abortion should be seen as the least evil of a series of evil choices -- and thus must remain legal. But the decision should be left up to the pregnant woman (one would hope in consultation with the father of the baby in question) and that woman's physician. As others have said, that would make abortion legal, safe and rare. I respect people who in good faith hold other positions, as long as they don't want to impose their views on society through violence.

At any rate, surf around on this new site and tell us what you think.

* * *

THE ROLE OF FAITH AMONG IRAN'S PROTESTERS

Steve Waldman of Beliefnet.com asks readers there a pertinent question: Is Islam inspiring the freedom fighters in Iran, and, if so, what about the people who insist (wrongly) that Islam is inherently violent and anti-democratic? I agree with Waldman's implication that Islam (and other faiths) can be used to inspire both freedom and tyranny, depending on who is using the religion for what ends. Will this weekend be remembered as Iran's Tiananmen Square?

* * *

P.S.: In honor of Father's Day this weekend, here's a release from the White House about a national conversation on fatherhood. (AND: For a good Associated Press story about Obama and fatherhood, click here.) So are there examples of fathers in sacred writ that we can hold up as models? Like Adam, one of whose sons killed his brother? Like David, who impregnated the wife of one of his soldiers? Well, OK, not them, maybe. But who? For Some answers from my book-writing colleague, Rabbi Jacques Cukierkorn, and other religious leaders in the Kansas City area, read Helen Gray's piece in Saturday's Faith section of The Kansas City Star. AND: For an interesting piece about the importance of fatherhood from an Australian perspective, click here.

Comments

Susan

Just Thinking -- my reasoning for using the word "rewrite" the other day, was that this was the word you used to describe what I've been sharing about my spiritual journey. You seemed to be saying that I was trying to "rewrite" Christianity.

You're absolutely right that there are different ways of interpreting Scripture. And, you know what else? There are different ways of reading it, too. I've repeatedly-said that God speaks to me through the Bible -- but I've also made it pretty clear that I no longer see every. single. verse in it as an utterance straight from God.

One thing I've noticed here, is that none of the other Christians seem inclined to comment on my references to Paul's teachings regarding the role of women -- yesterday I specifically referred to his admonition that we are to keep silent in the churches, and he has also said women aren't supposed to teach men, and that we're to submit to our husbands. In the part where he tells women to keep silent in church, he goes on to say that we should wait 'til we're home and ask our husbands to explain things to us --

Which of course seems to be based on an assumption that women don't really have anything to add to the discussion: all we really have are gaps in our knowledge that our husbands need to fill for us. Doesn't it seem insulting TO GOD to assume that this was really HIM speaking when Paul wrote these things? Is it really honouring God to call Him a sexist?

To me, it seems simply reasonable to attribute to Paul the words that were Paul's, and to God what's really from God. (Continued)

Susan

(Continued) And to rightly-divide the Word of truth, you are right that it takes more than one person. I need to listen to a variety of perspectives, and learn everything I can about the times the words were written in.

I also need to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit within me, and see what reading/interpretation fits with God as I am coming to know Him. And of course I've already shared the new perspectives I've gained on God and His character, since becomeing a parent myself nine years ago.

As far as it being a "rewrite" for me to believe in ultimate reconciliation for all -- some Bible scholars believe the hell-doctrine is actually a rewrite. I've shared the link to Tentmaker.org here before, but I'll share it again at the end of this post.

It's been so wonderful for me to learn about Christian Universalism. You can't imagine how hard it was for me to be learning the truths I was learning through parenting -- and then to get these reminders that I was developing a view of human nature, and of child development, that was "at odds" with Biblical Christianity as I'd been taught to understand it.

It was such a scary feeling, to be so excited on the one hand about all these wonderful things I was learning that were making me a better parent and a happier person, but then to feel like maybe I needed to cut these joyful discoveries off like a "limb" that was going to cause me to be cast into hell.

http://www.tentmaker.org

Dolores Lear

J.T.
"Bad motives lead to bad interpretation. Jesus said, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own."

Me:
So what was Jesus' teachings and Lifestyle? Celibate Males and No One owning anything. All Resources shared Equally, like the Essenes Movement.

How did the Jewish Christians hand down this message, for 300 years? There are many writings not used in the different Christian Bibles today.

In 300, Jesus, from the One God Jewish Religion, was made One of Three 'Persons' in the New Catholic Triune God Religion. How could that be possible, for the Holy Ghost/Spirit to be a Person.

I accepted this also until I was 50. It was how I was raised from a Baby, baptized into the Missouri Lutheran Synod Religion. Now I Know differently.

I was given the experience, to understand the 'super'natural of God in our Human Image, was High Tech Science.

I accept My High Tech interpretation, is guided by same God, who are Alive Peace Persons, the 'Us' in Genesis, who Jesus is with, Alive.

Surely no one wants the Killer God, in the Old Testament and Myth, be the God that returns to Earth in the Last Days of Life on Earth.

The Peace God, and Jesus the Prince of Peace, did not do all those things that Iggy posts about, that are accepted by Man-Made Religions. How many religions resulted from the Catholic Religion?

These Scriptures were handed down by Humans without High Tech, and could not be separated, about the Good and Evil God.

Jesus said, I bring Peace not the Sword.

Everything that is the Gospel Truth, needs a High Tech Translation, to separate the High Tech Activities of our Peace Human Ancestors, and the Killer Noah/Atlantis Society, to find the Truth of Peace Human Life on Planet Earth, and on Planets and in Spaceships.

Will Graham

My condolences to all those dads who had their children aborted without their having ANY say in the matter.

Remember, since Roe v Wade, now known to be based on flawed science, FOUR abortion "doctors" have been killed.

And 45,000,000 babies have been killed.

I have no more common ground with pro abortionists than I do with Holocaust Deniers.

Just Thinking

Susan,

If you were bringing the message of Christianity to a place where it was illegal for a woman to publicly approach another woman's husband, or to publicly address her own husband, then I'd hope you'd obey the law. No matter how objectionable the law, I would still hope that you would respect the law for Christ's sake. Breaking the law would serve no useful purpose in spreading the message, but could definitely hurt. There are times where you *must* break the laws to bring the message at all, which is different.

If you needlessly disobey the laws and customs of the country in which you are teaching Christianity, then what do you represent? It is not a Christians' mission to needlessly subvert the laws where they are. That's not what God intends, and it can damage Christianity.

God is not as concerned with bringing human rights as He is with bringing the Gospel message of salvation, which can be easily undermined by those who use Christianity as an excuse to break the law. Remember that Jesus did not choose to subvert Roman law, even the most unjust law which called for Jesus' crucifixion.

God advocates obeying the laws and respecting authority.

Why don't you research Roman laws concerning how women were required to behave in the time of Jesus. That might be very enlightening. Compare and contrast with strict Sharia law of Islamic nations. Give special consideration to the issue of women having authority over men.

After you consider that, consider that the Apostle Paul circumcised Timothy before sending him off to preach. Why would Paul do that? Paul was definitely a most vocal opponent of requiring circumcision for Christians. So why?

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org

What would be interesting is to see what percentage of women who had "early term" abortions done to get rid of an unwanted baby and "late term" due to medical problems?

Bet you a nickel an overwhelming majority of them - I am mostly interested in "unwanted baby" scenario (perhpas as high as 80%) are Christians. Statiscially, there are 15-20% of non believers/irreligious/etc.

So, if these Christian women VOLUNTARILY "sin" at their own volition it presents and interesting psychological phenomenon - THEY WOULD RATHER HAVE COMFORT IN THIS LIFE - HERE AND NOW - than face the space daddy alien Yahwhe (aka god, father of jesus) in the future.

Case pretty much shut and closed - religious crazies will not be able to EVER sway the "freedom of choice" - i.e. free will that the women excercise.

And since the space alien "knew them in the womb" - ANYTHING RELIGIOUS CRAZIES DO IS POINTLESS - ABORTIONS ARE THERE FOR A RESON. The space alien has a plan for them and women. Atheists too can have abortions left and right now - my basement is open for business.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)