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Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Roller-Skate Kinda Day

It's gonna be one of those days.

I'm heading into the office for a 9:30 session of Spiritual Direction with a seminarian (seminarians are always so intense) that will end around 11. Got some "administrative stuff" (YUCK!) and some "face time" with a few of my staff (YEAH!) and then its off to two pastoral visits in the afternoon (always deeply, deeply rewarding).

I leave around 4 PM to head to Princeton where I'm meeting with some (very conservative) theology students who want to know about counseling someone who comes in with a question about abortion.

I'm really, really looking forward to that. I love being challenged by young, inquiring minds. They ask the BEST questions and I always learn something from them.

From there, I hop in my car and head down to Llangollen in Rehoboth Beach where I intend to spend Friday morning in my P-jammas, looking at the water and the gulls.

Ms. Conroy tells me that we have a family of herons who have recently taken up residence in our front yard. After some proper introductions and common courtesies, I'll try to snap some pictures to show you.

I'll be checking in from time to time today, as time allows, so here's what I'd appreciate from you: Think of your toughest - not Rightwingnut but thoughtful, provocative - question about abortion that I might be asked by these conservative seminarians.

If you are a pastor - lay or ordained - what's the most difficult situation you've encountered in terms of Reproductive Rights?

As I said, I'll be checking in from time to time today and I do so appreciate your thoughts on this as I prayerfully prepare for this evening's event.

So then, off I go. I got my roller skates on and Melanie's song in my head.

It's gonna be that kinda day.


--Susan said...

Hi Elizabeth.
Challenging topic.
Here's my thing: I consider myself pro-life. I have a strong commitment to treating things living (except maybe ticks and flies) with dignity and respect. So I believe in taking good care of humanity from infancy through the wonderful but fragile elder years.

It springs, at least in part, from the whole made in God's image thing and the two great commandments. How can we love God? How can we love others and ourselves? We do it most richly, I believe, when we recognize God, God's image in ourselves, and God's image in others.

From that philosophy I am against capital punishment. I do not think the "state" should be involved in killing people.

My personal conundrum is this: while I call myself pro-life, I am also pro-reproductive choice. I think women have a right and responsibility to choose wisely regarding their reproductive health.

Would I rather see no or near no abortions? You bet. But I do think that there are times when abortion is the good and right thing to do.

That is my own personal wrestle: reconciling my abortion stance with my overall pro-sanctity of life stance including capital punishment.



Muthah+ said...

The question I have is what is the difference in birth control and abortion? Is not birth control just a form of abortion--or is life only life when sperm and egg meet?

The most difficult pastoral issue I have had was in going with a 16 yr old parishioner who was having an abortion. Boy did I get frightened looks from the staff when they saw my collar!

I am not opposed to abortion because I beleive women should be able to make choices about what is going to happen to their bodies. But I have a problem of using abortion as a means of birth control, hence the question above.

--Susan said...

Some birth control methods allow fertilization but prevent implantation. So the question would then be: when does "life" begin?

An embryo that is 2, 4, 8 or poly-celled cannot survive without implantation and cannot survive on its own outside the body or "test tube". Is that life?

Does life begin at first pneuma, first breath? Abortion and birth control would arguably be okay.

Does life "happen" somewhere in between? Like when "human features" begin to be present? That would make birth control fine and abortion after a certain gestation not fine.

Or is "life" even the issue?


Kirk Petersen said...

I'm pro-choice, but I think Bill Clinton had it right: Safe, legal and rare.

The most powerful anti-abortion slogan is not "abortion is murder" -- even a thoughtful pro-lifer will acknowledge there is a distinction between abortion and murder, and nobody wants to punish abortions like murders.

The slogan that haunts me is "Abortion stops a beating heart."

JCF said...

This is MY question:

After a couple of hundred thousand years of being "Homo sapiens" (Thinking Humans)...

...isn't it really time we SEPARATED human reproduction from the (rather barbaric, IMO) concept of pregnancy? Why is it necessary, for human beings to develop the first nine months, INSIDE another human being?

Let's forget all the silly sci fi dystopian "We Can't Do That!" notions: why the hell not?

IF we're thinking humans, and IF we're "co-creators" with God, then we ought to be able to, um, conceive the possibilities of something better than this (inherently UNequal) just-like-the-other-nonsentient-mammals precedent we're stuck with.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Well, it was a fabulous evening. More like "Public Practice of Theology." I love, love, love seminarians. Truly.

I left Princeton a little after 9, got in my car and was very excited to come to RB.

WELL! The weather was horrid - drizzly rain and think fog.

No fun. I'm wired. Conan O'Brian isn't helping me unwind.

Oh well. I'm sleeping in tomorrow anyway.

dontheescort said...


Enjoyed meeting you at Princeton last night. Thanks for sharing.

I am also having trouble unwinding. Unfortunately, instead of sleeping in, I will be up at 6AM to go confront the protestors at Planned Parenthood. I always wonder why there are so few of what I call the "silent majority" - we are always way outnumbered by the protestors, though I know most people support the work of Planned Parenthood. Maybe we should start advertising for volunteers. Or maybe I should try to figure out how I can slip this plea into a sermon without having one half of the congregation applaud while the other half walks out.


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Don, it was great meeting you last Thursday night as well. I think one of the best ways to get more volunteers is to hold a Peaceful Presence Training Session in your congregation and open it up to the community. Give it a try. You won't get hordes of people, but it sends a clear message to the community and your church without getting into the pulpit.