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Posts Tagged ‘adoption’

Autumn’s Eve Pigfest

 

Sunday night, the day before Autumn, I hosted my second ever pigfest.  We held a potluck autumnal feast that looked fantastic laid out on the table.  And by the end of the night we had discovered that it tasted fantastic as well. 

 

Our discussion went like this (remember devil’s advocacy may be adopted at any time): 

 

Proposition 1: Slavery is biblically acceptable. 

What is slavery?  What is the slavery in the Bible?  Does the Bible accept slavery, or merely regulate it; is there a difference?  Is there slavery today?  How does debt come in?  Are there advantages to slavery (especially indentured servitude) to an economy, a society, or an individual slave?  What makes slavery unacceptable?  What role should the church play in a society that utilizes slavery?  In history, has the church been successful in enforcing the Bible’s limits to slavery? 

 

Proposition 2: Unmarried adults should be allowed to adopt children. 

How is this worse than unmarried people working in orphanages?  Isn’t it better for a child to have one loving parent than none at all?  What are the legal implications when this is allowed?  Is this a selfish decision?  Does a one-parent household enable the parent to spend time with children, or are they raised essentially in an orphanage anyway, by being left to daycare?  If true religion is caring for widows and orphans, should single people be excluded?  How does having children as a single person affect other responsibilities or callings?  Is an unmarried woman less likely to get married if she has a child through adoption?  What about an unmarried father? 

 

Proposition 3: Cohabitation before marriage is the prudent thing to do. 

If everybody does it, how can it be bad?  Shouldn’t you test out a marriage before you make a lifetime commitment?  Are those advocating cohabitation in successful relationships or marriages?  Are they good people?  What is a Christian’s witness if he/she lives with their partner before marriage?  Many people applaud those who wait until engagement for cohabitation; is there any validity to that?  How long a cohabitation is advocated?  Does cohabitation actually sabotage the relationship, whereas starting with commitment (marriage) would enable the relationship to thrive and function?  Is marriage too big a hassle to interrupt a romance?  How should a pastor react to a couple who has been cohabiting?  Should he marry them ASAP or encourage them to repent?  Ought he to refuse to marry a couple living in sin?  Are they still living in sin after a wedding if they have not repented?  What role does a pastor have in a marriage?  Is it endorsement, witness, mere formality?  What about the law?  What makes a marriage? 

 

Proposition 4: We (the US government) should kick out illegal immigrants. 

Where would we kick them?  What would prevent them from coming right back?  Who will pay for deportation?  (It was suggested that the immigrants themselves should be forced to pay, if they can.)  Would this be good for the US economy?  Would it be tolerable for the US economy?  Has the population of illegal immigrants already hurt our economy (for example in the housing crisis)?  How does the lack of border enforcement reflect on our laws?  Are illegal immigrants typically otherwise law-abiding citizens?  What about language issues?  Isn’t America a melting pot?  Shouldn’t new immigrants be expected to assimilate just like immigrants from decades and centuries past?  Could we allow illegal immigrants to remain in the US if they followed a procedure for attaining legal status and citizenship?  Is there a risk to national security?  Since the waiting list for legally entering the US is so long, couldn’t we change that to make it easier to legally immigrate?  Why do we have limits on immigration?  Do other countries limit immigration?  Do they deport illegals?  Is it illegal to be in our country or illegal to get into our country?  Wouldn’t annexing Mexico solve our problem?  Would Mexico welcome that? 

 

Proposition 5: There are some situations in which extreme violence is justified. 

Who decides?  Is self defense the only situation?  What about defending others?  Defending innocents?  What about violent interference with the murder of unborn children?  Does defense only cover defense from murder, or can it be defense from torture or rape?  What about capital punishment?  Is it ever right to take a life?  Is it right to do nothing when lives are at risk – do I have the right to refuse to take a life or use violence if myself or other “innocent” bystanders are at risk of death?  Can I take an innocent life in order to save other lives?  Suppose a two year old is intentionally aiming a gun and pulling a trigger; should extreme violence be used against him?  Why is the Mosaic law so confusing: day or night, inside the threshold or outside, defending life, defending property…?  Does extreme violence refer only to violence leading to death, or to torture, etc.? 

 

Proposition 6: Reading books written in other languages and other eras should be done to encourage independent thought. 

Is independent thought desired?  Can translated works count?  How is that different from traveling to other parts of the world?  Does reading sufficiently immerse you in the culture to widen your perspective?  (It was pointed out that language is often imbedded in culture.  Language is formed to express a certain way of looking at the world, like the difference in description when emphasis is on texture rather than color.)  In what ways does your thought become independent?  Is this practicable?  What about those who don’t read?  Do movies count?  Foreign films with English subtitles? 

 

Proposition 7 (which was interrupted before actually beginning by the coming of 9 PM and the need to go home): Idealism ought to be valued over pragmatism. 

What on earth is idealism and pragmatism?  Do they always contradict?  Is it ultimately possible for them to contradict?  Which ideal? 

 

Some of my favorite things:  People were willing to play devil’s advocate.  The time before the debate enabled a lot of people to meet each other (and one family’s tire to be changed).  There was a lot of participation.  Pigfest format keeps a debate from wearing out the disinterested.  Everyone fit in my house.  One of my friends brought her two infant daughters.  It rained just as the party started, with the sun still shining.  Cleaning up wasn’t too hard.  People had a good time.  I’m able to remember the discussion half a week later. 

 

Things I’ll do differently next time (Nov. 1):  Have more chairs.  Don’t aim for a main meal, but do lots of snacks instead.  Pray by myself ahead of time about my attitude and perspective.  Think more about proposition ideas I might offer and how to present them in the most discuss-able way possible.  Review the rules before we start. 

 

Considerations:  Maybe prescreen propositions.  Increase time from 15 to 20 minutes.  Enlist a new (louder, more aggressive) moderator. 

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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In the pro-life movement, there are some tactics less popular than others.  For example, most everyone will support a pregnancy center.  Adoption agencies are good pro-life outlets, too.  Political involvement (like voting or signing a petition if it comes up) is an easy way to do a bit.  You can blog about pro-life, or give money to pro-life agencies.  Even sidewalk counseling, prayer vigils, and clinic protests aren’t that intimidating.  When you discuss loud, convicting protests or stark, bloody posters, then you rub some people the wrong way.  Finally something that really intimidates people is protesting in neighborhoods of abortionists and their accomplices.  (Ok, the idea of doing anything that could get you sent to jail isn’t popular either, but I’m not really advocating those things.) 

 

In fact a blogger who frequently supports Planned Parenthood was just complaining about the pro-life groups in Colorado who protested outside of a contractor’s house.  Her definitely not endorsed article can be read at this link.  I wrote the following as a comment, but I’m not sure whether she’ll post my refutation, so I’m tripling the effort by blogging it. 

 

Obviously contractors (and their neighbors) want to avoid the public opinion that doesn’t appreciate those who cooperate in the destruction of human life.  A good way of avoiding that would be to not participate in the murder of the most innocent of human life.  This is the point of the protests. 

 

Political campaigning is like this.  Members of the community have a right to communicate their position to their neighbors.  And they have the right to try to persuade their neighbors.  The fact that we have to persuade people to spare innocent children is a point in itself. 

 

When Martin Luther King, Jr. was peacefully and pointedly protesting the discrimination according to race, he was applauded (though resisted).  If the people do not gather to speak, their voice will not be heard.  Looking back we don’t feel bad about the teachers, clerks, drivers, and city officials who were made to feel uncomfortable about the policies of racial discrimination.  What they were doing was wrong.  The people knew it.  And the wrong was changed. 

 

Our constitution precludes lines being drawn about free speech, but I wonder where Planned Parenthood’s supporters would draw it.  The protesters are not on private property, but on public sidewalks and streets.  They do not prevent normal neighborhood activity like driving down the road, receiving mail, eating dinner as a family.  We are surrounded everyday by images and messages on benches, roadway signs, signs in yards, slogans on t-shirts.  Some are even directed at certain companies, policies, groups, or people.  Yet there is little outcry against these manifestations of First Amendment rights. 

 

The pro-abortion blogger used the word bully.  A schoolyard bully threatens the extortion of property or the physical health of his victim.  Debate and truth-telling, with no promise of repercussion, is not bullying.  There is no violence being done.  No theft is involved.  People are speaking their minds.  This is the patriotism on which our country was founded, by which it literally came into being. 

 

Pro-life, anti-abortion, anti-choice-to-take-another’s-life protesters are not objecting to the shame Planned Parenthood and their contractors feel over their projects.  We have serious concerns about the legality of deceiving the city officials and the public, of subverting zoning ordinances, and of potentially slandering the name of other companies (in the case of the Rocky Mountain facility, Planned Parenthood filed their permits under the name United Airlines, which unfairly correlates the murder of babies to them).  No one is questioning why Planned Parenthood wanted to hide their plans.  We simply object that they did.  Cities have ordinances to prevent such things. 

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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The beginning of the movie Bella is a man quoting his mother, “When you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” 

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6  

Monday I had a list of things to do a mile long, and I was convinced I could get them all done before their respective deadlines.  With relief I checked off each item.  Trying to multi-task, I turned on the oven to preheat and sat down to fill out my local ballot, for which I had made zero decisions.  The efficiency was already starting to wear away when I realized I needed my laptop and had just turned it off.  Forgetting what was behind and reaching forth to what was before, I pressed on. 

And spent about 45 minutes on my computer learning about candidates and issues.  All the while the oven was preheated and empty.  When I finally finished my ballot, the time it would take to cook lunch and eat it would eliminate one item from my list.  I chose to skip the library, because I didn’t have time to watch or listen to the items I had reserved anyway. 

After lunch I ran my errands.  Mom ran hers, too, agreeing to meet back at the house in time to depart for Bella.  The theater I chose was across town, the one offering the cheapest tickets.  (Even though we broke even for gas, I like to boycott expensive movie tickets.)  Before we left, I checked my email one more time to see if any friends had responded to my last-minute invitation to join them. 

By the time we got across the city, we were about ten minutes early.  But being out of our neighborhood, we didn’t know where the theater was.  I saw one on the left side of the street; Mom turned right.  Finally I explained I saw the sign across the street, so we made it over there.  Like a theater ashamed of its existence there was no marquis.  We parked and went in, but did not see Bella listed.  Sighing, I asked the cashier, “There’s another theater across the street in the mall, isn’t there?” 

Back in the car, we returned to the exact spot we had accidentally visited earlier, but still there was no theater in sight.  You know how malls work, though; you can start anywhere and get anywhere, especially in this one, which has a shortcut through the food court.  So we parked.  I hurried in and analyzed the map while Mom followed.  At this point the listed start time of the movie was already upon us.  I found the theater on the directory and took off in the direction, hoping my recent venture into map-reading would pay off. 

The whole race I was coaching myself, “God knows what He’s doing, Lisa.  This is for a reason.  Relax.”  Finally through the mall and across a little drive, we entered the theater, bought our tickets, and were at last standing just inside the door for screen 12.  And everything was pitch black.  The movie was just starting.  Once there was a little more light, we found our seats and heard the line, “…tell God your plans.” 

Hang with me, I’m not done.  About twenty minutes into the movie the entire screen went black.  Small fluorescent emergency lights began to flash and a calm voice informed us that an emergency had been reported in the building; everyone should move toward the exit.  Outside we moved back across the little drive. 

My brother has this laugh and dance he does when life is so unbelievable.  Rosalee on Win a Date with Tad Hamilton says, “Yikesabee.”  I sit down and watch with a smile ready to burst into a laugh.  Some people say, “You just can’t make stuff like this up.” 

In the end we got free movie passes for anytime, any in the family of theaters, with no expiration date or restriction – and we got to finish our movie after a mere 15 minute intermission.  I would have been fine if they carried sodas and popcorn to us on trays, but then they were already over the top on customer service. 

The drive home was one of those times of perfect peace.  I was trying to figure out what I thought about the movie without thinking.  Instead, feelings were just filling me, but not in an I’m-going-to-burst sort of way.  A nice thing about being the passenger is that you can pull your legs up into the seat and pretend that even though the world is flashing by at 60 miles per hour, you feel like you’re in a cozy library with a mesmerizing fire to watch.  At one point a car out my window exited the highway and I realized I’d been watching it for miles.  Outside the sun was setting, leaving shadows and light mixing in a way that is only accomplished by the looming presence of large hills in the west.  Peace is a nice thing. 

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  ~ Philippians 4:6-7

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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This morning I was back outside Planned Parenthood, praying for the babies, the mothers, the fathers, the grandmothers, the friends, the staff and volunteers of the clinic, and some of the protesters with me that they would know Jesus’ grace.  His grace has meant so much to me.  We’re all just sinners; only accepting God’s grace makes a difference.  That is humbling and unifying. 

I was looking at the signs the pro-lifers had up.  Some make no sense, strange verses that don’t have much to do with babies or life or salvation.  Others are simple and obvious, like “Abortion kills.”  Popular are bloody photographs of what an aborted baby looks like, how old it was, how big, etc.  When the scared, confused, selfish, or arrogant girls drive in, I can’t imagine how they go through with their abortion facing the evidence in front of them.  My bet is that while doctors tend to have posters and pamphlets and full-disclosure of the procedures in other fields, the Planned Parenthood walls were not postered with happy photographs of beheaded infants, though the volunteers who escort women inside cheerfully pretend there is a party inside. 

Even though I see the potential impact of these signs and accompanying rhetoric, I much prefer the other signs.  These are photos of live babies, in the womb or already birthed.  If I had a baby, I’d bring it to the clinic to protest.  The pleas accompanying these signs are, “Please, mom, don’t kill your baby!  Come talk to us.  Any help you need, we’ll get it for you for free.  Is it a boy or a girl they’re going to kill today?” 

I don’t know where the propaganda comes from, but somehow the mothers and abortionists think that we stand shivering in the cold, early Saturday mornings for greedy reasons of our own.  The staff yell back at the protesters trying to intercede for helpless, innocent infants, “You hypocrites!  Judge not.”  We’re called idiots, stupid, and unfeeling. 

But the people out there care.  Almost every family I know that protests also supports crisis pregnancy centers and adoption.  Most have adopted.  If a baby is saved, the mother is not abandoned.  She is mentored, and cared for, and given options.  Some of the women protesting have experienced the life-altering impact of abortions by having one themselves.  Now they know.  They’ve repented.  Many have experienced Jesus’ forgiveness and peace.  And they want to help the girls today to find that peace, as well. 

Today was the first day I went without close friends or family.  When I sit there I don’t know what’s wrong, but I’m emotionless.  I know the facts, and they don’t add up to what I see before me, and maybe the lack of comprehension in my soul overwhelms me and shuts down my feelings.  The first time I went, I was worried that I would do something rash, impulsive, drastic, physical, and illegal.  But I didn’t, and still don’t have very strong urges to do so.  I’m safe, then, going to meet strangers.  Being there on my own moved several of the grandmotherly women to compassion for me, I guess.  They gave me hugs.  I don’t usually hug strangers, but I felt their love, their comaraderie. 

Look.  I’m rambling about my experience, and rarely conclude well.  A blog is one endless conversation; shouldn’t it just transition into the next post?  But I do want to say: do something.  Support a crisis pregnancy center.  Consider adoption.  Protest.  Fund protests.  Write your state and federal congressmen.  Get your church involved.  Give a baby a hug. 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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