Here's a confession - I am something of a political junky... Yes! Sadly it is so... Now, of course I try very hard to keep my preaching, teaching, counseling, and blogging free of politics (ordinarily)...
Of course, in my interpersonal relationships my political views do tend to leak out from time to time. When this happens it usually results in loud sighs, snores, and/or statements from bystanders such as (but not limited to): "You are a complete nut, Crabtree!"
"How easily our outspokenness on some temporal issue can stop the ears of our hearers when we begin speaking of eternal truths."
Here's a solid truth for all Christians to consider; How easily our outspokenness on some temporal issue can stop the ears of our hearers when we begin speaking of eternal truths.
Having said all of that it is at this point that some of my readers might begin wondering aloud if I have suddenly developed a brain fever or something.
That is to say, if one states that it is wise to avoid politics in one's ministry, and if one acknowledges that said discussions of politics might have the unintended consequence of hindering one's effectiveness in communing the gospel.... why, outside of some sort of head trauma, would one devote the rest of today's blog-post to what is perhaps the most polarizing political issue of the last 45 years - ABORTION?
The answer is because I do not believe abortion to be merely a political issue.
Yes, I understand that ultimately the question of abortion must enter the realm of politics but it should not, in my opinion, begin there. Answering the abortion question must start somewhere far away. It must start with theology - i.e. our understanding of who God is and what God requires of man. Sadly though even Christians don't often start with theology. Like the rest of our culture, Christians seem to find it far easier to start with the false and unhelpful rightwing vs. leftwing linear model of politics. That is to say, if we lean "right" we unthinkingly adopt the so-called right-wing view of abortion. And if we lean left... you get the idea.
But is this satisfying?
I would contend that this isn't satisfying at all... and we all know it... Let's think this through for a moment...
But then there is the so-called political "left," and others of us have adopted their answer to the abortion question. But frankly, their answer is as unsatisfying as the right's answer. In fact it's bitterly ironic...
The left claims abortion is a matter of "human rights" and there has been a great amount of emphasis placed on this thanks to the bumpersticker-ready slogan "a woman's right to choose."
But is abortion really a matter of human rights? Or is abortion ultimately a practice that strips human beings - namely, infants in the womb - of the very source from which human rights derive... you know, that supposedly "unalienable," and God-given "right to life" enshrined in our nation's founding documents.
And dare I add - shouldn't someone on the left take note of the fact that aborted babies are disproportionately minority and female? What about the human rights of these "oppressed" people groups ? What about the systemic injustices done to them? Aren't causes like this the bread and butter of the left?
Shouldn't some leftist somewhere begin "raising awareness?" Shouldn't some leftist somewhere insist that we begin a "national dialogue?"
One might think so... and yet to my knowledge there has never been a single leftist who has ever printed a bumper sticker, chanted a slogan, marched in the streets, organized a sit-in, petitioned their congressman, boycotted a Chick-fil-a, burned down their campus library, sued the Boy Scouts, bought off the media, or made an appeal before the US Supreme Court regarding the human rights violations, injustices, and institutional discrimination perpetrated against the most dependent minority-group of all - unborn children.
Surely, whether one is of the political right or left (or somewhere in between) neither of their positions on the abortion question are satisfying. And surely, the more we look to the equivocation, prevarication, and postulation of the so-called political "wings" and their political spokespeople to answer the abortion question for us the more anyone with one iota of critical thinking skills will conclude that the answer is not to be found in the political arena (though as stated earlier, politicians must eventually make a determination on the issue.)
The point I am trying to make is this: I contend that we will only begin to answer the abortion question when we, as individuals, look at the matter from a theological standpoint. And it's no good dismissively saying, " well, maybe so... but I'm no theologian."
Of course you are!
You have certain thoughts about God don't you? Did you realize that that is all that the word "theology" means - a system of thought about God. Therefore even atheists (whether they like to admit it or not) have a highly developed theological framework... a false and fairly silly theological framework in my opinion, but it's deeply theological nonetheless... Out of this framework we are enabled to develop our own answers to questions like the abortion question.
We must resist the laziness that tempts us to embrace positions on abortion (and other important questions) that are merely the sloppily constructed creation of some political "wing." We must think theologically and recognize the dangerous siren calls of media talking-heads who promise to do all of the thinking for us. We must get down to the rough and challenging work of answering tough questions by starting with our understanding of God, His holiness, His law, and the value and dignity of every human being who He has made in His image.
For those of you who have developed your position on the abortion question in the aforementioned manner I offer you a letter (right) that I received a few weeks back from prolifealliance.org