Where Do You Dwell?
In today’s ever liberating society, none can argue, even those doing the liberating, that tomorrow’s ideals is and morals are being replaced with a “you do you culture.” In fact, it's not about religion or religious ideals it is about doing what makes you feel good, doing what makes us feel good. This sentiment is very dangerous as it treads a little too closely to our very own authority; however, this has its limits, doesn’t it. Are there not still laws? Why yes there are laws, but these laws are being challenged or just not upheld, making it difficult for order as the doors of chaos spring open. It should frighten us all that this push is coming from one end of the aisle politically more than ever before.
Perhaps this is why we are being told to vote our values by most republican pundits. This bears us to question, what do we hold dear? Are we non-believers, seeking to simply have fun, live a hedonistic lifestyle, and eventually give way to an unknown afterlife? Or perhaps we are those who choose to dwell in the presence of Jesus, the believers, choosing to live a life of servitude, and eventually join the angels and saints in heaven? While it may seem simplistic, we probe again, where do our ideals and values fall?
We have been told that this election abortion is on the table in the Supreme Court, though the sitting President has never said that nor have any representatives of SCOTUS but nevertheless the battle of pro-choice and pro-life has found its energy of late. According to Planned Parenthood, pro-choice believers exclaim, “that everyone has the basic human right to decide when and whether to have children...and advocates support telling people that it’s OK for them to have the ability to choose abortion as an option for an unplanned pregnancy- even if you wouldn’t choose abortion for yourself.”
However, on their own site, while defining, they take a stance immediately with the use of today’s language in paragraph one with the statement, "like your family" but do so in parentheses as an aside, and use the word "fam" that is not coincidental, that is done on purpose. They want to appeal to the colloquialisms used by their target audience, yes they are targeting respective audiences. The ring-leaders of the abortion dilemma acknowledge that its a child and should be done away with when it's unplanned and should be an available choice for those not wanting or ready to have children. Furthermore, "People who oppose abortion often call themselves pro-life. However, the only life many of them are concerned with is the life of the fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus. They are much less concerned about the life of women who have unintended pregnancies or the welfare of children after they’re born."
This is is part of the story, they did attempt to define both for those seeking their services; however, their definition of pro-life could not be further from the truth as there are organizations in most, if not all, religious organizations that have support groups for before and after, one partakes in the act of abortion. Furthermore, those seeking pro-life ideals are not always religious fanatics or freaks, but perhaps they are actually those within their own rank and file:
“I am an atheist, a 29-year-old woman, well-educated at secular institutions, and I lean liberal on many issues, including same-sex marriage and climate change. I am also a dedicated pro-life activist, working to make abortion unthinkable.”
Further, many who argue against pro-life ideals chose to say that they are only pro-life with babies not with all life and seek to bridge abortion with capital punishment, as if these two items are the same. One does not have to be a Mensa member to see the stark differences present at the onset: one has the ability to reason and knows right from wrong but still knowingly committed multiple heinous offenses against another being, while the baby never asked to be brought in; two people chose to do an act and the result is/was a child. Maybe they were just doing it for pleasure, but we all know the result, and cannot claim ignorance there.
Empathy is not lost on those considering or even with those who chose to abort, as children are tough. They change our lives, they change our plans, they change who we are, and where we saw ourselves...daily. For that reason, I once thought about abortion when I first was introduced to a consequence of adult decisions. It was impulsive, I knew it was wrong, but my selfishness came in with a fury. We lost the baby do to a miscarriage but that pain is one that still hurts more than a decade later. If you did not want a child, were abused, or simply had contraceptives fail, will you choose to be pro-choice because it's easier, than being responsible for our actions? After all some have abortions because they admittedly are too selfish, their body will change and never be the same, it will be too hard to raise children for one reason or another, etc. Sure there are cases of abuse where the line gets less defined but is that because the life present does not exist? Are there no options but to have the baby or end the pregnancy?
The question at hand is where do you dwell? Now that definitions are a bit more clear, a Christian has the duty to serve God first and foremost, not themselves, not others, not their spouses (always hated that one), not their children- but God first. Our bodies are on loan of sorts from God. 1Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us that “our body is a temple that belongs to the Holy Spirit and our bodies are not our own but bought with a price.” Furthermore, if we are a Christian then we profess to be of God to abide in him. The idea of abiding is to practice dwelling in Him more and more each day- most do so through actions and sharing their faith, though not the only way. In this case we choose life and serve God with delivering the baby, or giving it up for adoption. Either way God is being honored and our life’s are placed behind His.
The question at hand is where do you dwell? On the other hand, if you are not a believer, then the idea of serving God is not part of the equation, so what prohibits us from just aborting? To answer that we must know ourselves, and values. Do we believe in the science of biology and the idea that when a cell divides begins the process of life, however small? Do we believe that animals should not be killed out of convenience, because they mess on the floors, eat our belongings, etc? We must ask ourselves, what makes this situation different? Did we bring the pet in and decide to keep it regardless of the consequences, did we just not think of all the things that could happen with the animal in our house? How is this different? Do our values change based on each situation? Child vs. Animal? Conforming to society, or not?
Let’s say that everything is on the table in this election. The sitting President called for everything to get at the very least a cursory check. SCOTUS agrees, but lets explore our values across various topics. Lets change the topic to marriage...murder...education...equality. Do your values change?
Where do you dwell? If an unbeliever we may choose to stand on values that only we care about. For example, we are for the right to choose abortion, but don’t believe in gay marriage, or the right to school choice but are all for equality. What does that look like? How tiring must it be to waver the grain in the field. What if our opinion changes or is influenced by those around us. If this is the case, what if your circle of influence changes? It stands to reason that the values and dwelling place will constantly be in flux.
Where do you dwell? If you are a Christian, you do not have the luxury to conform to the passing wind, the changing of time, to the popular vote. On the contrary, you are charged to stand firm in your values and ideals. Sure we can listen and respond in love but that does not mean we must cower and convert. In fact, we must not because we would no longer be serving God but serving ourselves and others. It is always easier to duck and cover rather than stand up and resist being overtaken. If we fail to stand we are once again not adhering to the call to dwell, to worship, to serve only God. At that point, it doesn't matter why our values changed but that we get back on track to trust and serve the Lord. That's what is so amazing about grace, it is ours for the taking and abounds all the more, but only if we choose to abide and dwell in him- we don't get the grace if we choose the world, we must choose him.
In the coming days ask yourselves, where you dwell, why you dwell, and what are the mitigating factors that contribute, or inhibit your dwelling where you are? If you don’t know God, may you come to know the joy of salvation and life through this narrative or one’s that follow. On the other hand, if you know of Christ, may you stay and/or return to his call to love one another but do so while serving and on a mission to bring others the joy you too know and feel.