"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cast Off Statistics (moved)

I admit to being a bibliophile and a regular visitor to used book sales. Since the seminary library where I regularly do research has a standing used book sale, I refer to my used book purchases as "my other library fees." I never pass up the opportunity to scout the new additions to the sale. At one point, in perusing the offerings, I found a thick blue binder among the dusty old tomes. The binder contained professional looking collection of resources entitled "Celebrate Life in the Parish," a resource of National Episcopalians for Life (now Anglicans for Life) which had been produced in 1997. Considering it was germane to a project I’m researching, I pulled it off the shelves, paid my dollar, and took the binder home.
As soon as I opened the text, I found this quotation (from Bishop John Howe) staring at me from the randomly selected page: "If you tried to honor the aborted dead with one minute of silence apiece, it would take you sixty-eight and one-half years to observe their passing." As staggering and sobering as that quotation is, it is, of course, over a decade out of date.
I admit that I looked up more current statistics. Using the information from the Guttmacher institute (which is admittedly in relationship with Planned Parenthood and is probably a conservative estimate) I discovered that: "From 1973 through 2005, more than 45 million legal abortions occurred." Additionally, approximately 1.21 million unborn children are aborted every year since 2005. I did the math myself. At that rate, the 2008 number for Bishop Howe’s statement would be this: If you tried to honor the aborted dead with one minute of silence apiece, it would take you ninety-one and one half yeas to observe their passing." That is more than a lifetime for most of us.
In addition, you would never complete the task. For each minute of silence to honor one aborted child, three to four more would be added to the holocaust. And this is only in America, the worldwide statistics are beyond staggering.
To be honest, I’m not sure what to do with those numbers. Obviously the fight we are fighting is not one we are winning. Marches and organizations are helpful, but they aren’t winning the war. It is as if we are standing on a beach and trying to hold back the tide. It is a spiritual battle and everyone seems to understand that prayer is the only effective answer, and at the same time I read in the Scriptures how God allows sinners to go on sinning, how God "gave them up" to their evil ways, how for their hardness of heart they were given the freedom to reject him. And all the while, millions of innocents are dying.
I want to fix the problem. I want a simple solution, something I can just do to put things to rights, and there is none. If medical technology that reveals that life in the womb is indeed life and the public repentance of Norma McCorvey, the famous Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade fame, is not enough to stop the tide, surely my meager efforts hold no hope.
But I know this: that I may not be able to fix the problem, but I can be part of the solution. I can honor life, support adoption, care for single parents, pray for those whose lives are lost or damaged by abortion, and raise my sons to understand that promiscuity can result in a pregnancy over which, as men, they would have no power to save their children from abortion and to be prepared to accept their responsibility as fathers when God does grace their lives with children. We cannot solve the problem, but perhaps, just one child at a time, you and I can make a difference.

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