I lived in South Korea for three years, and when I came home for the first time, I felt a little lost. Granted, I had landed in San Francisco - a city I had never visited, but even by the time I reached New York, a place I had lived since 12, I was feeling disoriented.
How much of it came from being away for three years, and how much came from the changes in our political culture, and how much came from changes in me - I don't know, but I do know that things had changed. I had changed. My world had changed, and I needed to understand something about it.
I would describe myself as pro-life, and for most of my adult life, I was typical pro-life. Indeed, I fit the demographic for being pro-Life: white, female, college graduate, Protestant and from the middle class. As a high schooler, I supported groups like Rock for Life, and read extensively on abortion - history, impact and support. I thought I had everything sorted out, but things changed, and it wasn't a drastic change, it just changed.
Somewhere along the way, I realized that what the pro-life community (and subsequently Republicans and Conservatives) supported were in no way pro-life, but pro-fetus.
I grew up in a Christian world - a conservative, Protestant Christian world. I attended a Christian school, I went to church every Sunday and Wednesday night, my friends (for the most part) were Christians, and it culminated with me choosing a Christian college to attend after high school. I came home from my non-denominational school (I had chosen not to go to a school connected with the Baptist world), more conservative. It was where I was comfortable; it was where all the answers to my questions were. I felt safe and secure in my world. My church and community aided with that desire because it was a rural farming community - fairly conservative.
But, things began to change. I read blogs for research about my writing. How were other Christians tackling issues that we were facing: immigration, relationships between genders, law and politics. What about bigger questions about where we came from or (for a science geek) was there life out there beyond humanity?
I have to admit, though, one of the elements that turned me away from many of the more conservative branches of Christianity is the sanctimonious attitudes I inferred from them. It is hard to put into words describing the feeling, but it became something I read in most of the blogs (which also fed upon each other).
It was draining. Then I found a few other blogs that started out the same way I was - conservative background, but having questions. Through reading those blogs, and my own path through reading the Bible, I started down a path that I believed was more in line to the Bible ... and a lot out of line of Conservative Christianity.
It's a weighted phrase - one that is enough to knock a person out. The pro-life movement has been one of the biggest uses (or misuses) of Christianity in the past fifty years. For me, and for many other Millennial Christians - it's been our entire lifetime.
How do I use pro-life? Probably ironically, but I see pro-life being more than just abortion, and it has taken me many years to realize that fact. Being a Christian who supports pro-life cannot surround the nine months that are a pregnancy. Neither can it be the end of life - it encompasses so much more, and so much between - it should center on the dash between the two dates of a persons life.
For me, that was the moment I realized that something had to give. I had been arguing, generally, with myself for pro-choice - the right for an individual to choose her own way. Now, with the recent passages of laws aimed to hurt women in particular for choosing what was best for their own lives, I knew that I could no longer sit on the sideline, but that I needed to start writing - once again about issues within the Christian community.
To be pro-life, for me, is supporting people through the ups and downs in their lives. To give them the best opportunity to succeed; to actively stand against those who seek their harm, and to realize that I, a white woman, have a lot of clout to protect people even if it just means standing up and staying silent.
But here, on the blog, I can write. I can have that voice to work out my faith. Here, I can show others who may be where I was - wondering about all of this. Wondering how something that we thought was good and right has turned into something evil and vindictive.
Where We're Going
Over the next several weeks, I'll take a few of the bigger issues and give the supporting evidence I grew up using as well as how and why I changed my mind. Many of the issues will not be answered one way or the other simply because I cannot answer them. I see both sides of the argument, both are valid, but while I lean one way or the other, I don't lean fully one way or the other. In most of the cases, I have shifted 180 degrees from fully supporting something to fully arguing against it.
This past week (year, really) has done a lot to make me more adamant in my stands concerning what it means to be a Christian, and especially pro-life. There are tough questions ahead, but one I want you to consider is one that was asked of me this past week: Where do you draw your line? What is the point where you start doing and not just talking?
We'll delve into a variety of things that aren't big issue items, but are items on the edge. Neither good nor bad, just there. For many of the topics, I want to give you real-world answers. I want to be able to direct you to people, places and organizations that can help you or that you can help. the truth is - I believe that Jesus wants us to be His hands and feet, not just His mouth, and I firmly believe that cannon Jesus (as you read in the Bible) is way cooler than fandom Jesus (what we often think Christians believe).
As we go along, just look for the #notthatprolifeChristian