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Conversations Matter

Posted by Andrew Wood on Apr 15, 2016 10:00:00 AM

conversation-over-coffee.jpgA few weeks ago I discussed the narrative of our day; a narrative that is destructive to life. I focused on the work of pregnancy centers and putting our pro-life stance to action. Today I want to expound on that and discuss changes that can be made in our conversations as we continue to wade out into the depths of this very important issue.

What constitutes life? What is it that makes different species recognize life in one another? When does life begin? Do these questions make you uncomfortable? Unfortunately these are the questions in need of answers, but the dialogue or vitriol that usually follows tends to be a repellent to our search for logical conclusions.

I am unequivocally pro-life. I do not hide this fact. I believe that life begins at conception. This isn’t just an opinion. This is supported biblically and scientifically. This is where I stand, but I am not naïve. I realize that many in this country and around the globe disagree with me. This disagreement, however, should not drive an irreversible wedge between us. This disagreement should drive us to a discussion on a path forward.

My goal is to see abortion become unthinkable in a civilized society. This doesn’t happen overnight just like the decision made in Roe v. Wade didn’t happen overnight. We must be willing to put in the work if we ever wish to see the thinkable become unthinkable. This “work” finds success through both pregnancy centers and dialogue.

Many of you desire to have these conversations but you are not sure how to enter into them. Do you tread lightly or do you go in like a caged animal on the loose? One would assume that there is a simple conclusion here, but the issue of life typically finds its place in passion. This means we must be intentional with our emotions and work to keep them in check. We may believe wholeheartedly that we are right, but that doesn’t give us permission to aggressively attack one another.

Many seek to steer away from conversations that create tension or uncomfortable moments. We coil at the thought of awkward disagreements. We fear our ability to cohesively articulate our viewpoints. This fear then drives us to be silent. In essence, we hold our values sacred, but not sacred enough to debate them or have to answer questions about them. This is a losing strategy.

Do your values or principles permeate every aspect of your life? Do they drive you to engagement or disengagement? We cannot claim truth on Sunday and then place truth on the mantle the rest of the week, or check it at the door of the voting booth.

In my estimation, the abortion lobby finds success in the support of the political and social elite. This emboldens them to pick up the pace and dominate the conversation. We, on the other hand, tend to hesitate because we may upset the applecart. We are unwilling to share, or share aggressively, for the fear that we may turn people away. Can we find a happy median? Do we have the ability to package our message of life neatly enough that it will fall on open ears?

I am not calling for us to compromise our beliefs or water down our messaging. I am, instead, calling for us to ground our messaging in love and logic. This is our foundation; a foundation that will not return void if we are willing to step out with confidence, courage, and willingness – confidence in our messaging, courage in our relationships, and willingness to go deeper.

We are on the side of life. We are on the side of the most vulnerable. We are on the side of the downtrodden and marginalized. We are on the side of the oppressed. We are on the side of the orphan. We are on the side of women’s health. We are on the side of the woman, man, baby, and family. This is not the losing side. This is the side of all that is good in the world. This is social justice at its core: standing for those that cannot stand for themselves.

Do not be ashamed of our message. Take that message to the masses as you celebrate life. Be willing to have the conversation. Be willing to speak the truth, but also be willing to continue your relationships with those that disagree with you. Don’t let your anger and disdain for a particular position on an issue drive you away from your foundation of love and logic.

It is not extreme to claim that life begins at conception. It is not extreme to celebrate the life in the womb along with the life outside of the womb. It is not extreme to believe a “product of conception” is a human being that deserves the right to live. It is not extreme to partner with and serve at a pregnancy center in your geographical area. Painting these beliefs as extreme is a coordinated effort by the abortion lobby to distract us and to silence us.

We must meet this effort with love, logic, and truth. Meeting this effort with hate and vitriol will make everyone a loser. We should not be ashamed of our celebration of life. We should be honored to carry the torch for the movement in word and deed.

 About the guest blogger: Andrew Wood serves as the Executive Director of Hope Resource Center, a pro-life reproductive health clinic in Knoxville, TN. HOPE opened its doors in 1997 seeking to stand for life as they served the most vulnerable in the Knoxville area. HOPE has been blessed to serve over 20,000 patients during that time. 

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