Abortion/The Church/Orphans – Jeremy Austill

Roughly a decade ago I stood on the steps of the Supreme Court building in Washington D.C., on my mouth was a strip of red tape with the word LIFE inscribed in black Sharpie. I stood with a company of radical believers, wild faith in our hearts and Kingdom mission flowing through our veins. We stood there silent, not as a sign of protest but in prayer for our nation and solidarity with the many from our generation who did not have the opportunity to live and raise their voice as we did. We heard the commission of a man named Lou Engle to contend for the morality of our nation, believing God could end abortion in our land. My heart is still stirred by this dream, this hope, this mission of making wrong things right. 

As a follower of Jesus, and as a human, the concept of abortion is heartbreaking…not only for the unborn child but the mother and father who wrestle in desperation, process their decision and live with their conscience thereafter. I grieve as I watch our nation in a contentious state, and I am frustrated as I hear the incongruence of so many of our arguments. It is astonishing that many who have accused others of racism (at times legitimately and at times to further their own agenda), simultaneously support an organization like Planned Parenthood, which has roots tapped deeply into hatred, racism and disguised genocide (do the research). However, my heart is also broken for the Church. We rightfully take a stand for justice for the unborn. I will never waver in my belief of the catastrophic effects on a nation, mothers and fathers, levied by the immorality of abortion. Yet, it seems our stance regarding abortion is incomplete. It is a legitimate stance for our “religion”, but it lacks some purity and genuiness. 

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. (James 1:27)

If we are in the vocation of making wrong things right, it seems incomplete to only demand an end to abortion, without providing some substantial assistance to a solution. The elephant in the room that we as believers are often confronted with in our convictions on abortion is, the struggle of a child born into a situation in which he or she is unwanted, the resources are deficient or the environment toxic. Most of us do not like to be challenged. We have our belief, we take our stance, we get entrenched in our dogma and close our ears to anyone or anything that would cause us to soften or think more deeply. I don’t make that statement about you, the individual, as much as it seems to be the protocol of large group think. When the world challenges us about the potential orphans of an abortionless society we hear that as an argument for abortion. Maybe, if we had better ears, we would hear these challenges as a plea for help, a cry for relief, an answer to a big question, an alternative to the catastrophic.  

What am I implying? There is a dream, a surge of prayer rumbling in my soul and its language is orphanages. The scope of this prayer is larger than me and I cannot say I have explored the possibilities or exhausted the cost and consequence. Yet, it seems right to me, well with my soul. What if churches all across our nation began establishing orphanages? What if one of the fundamental functions of the local church in the next generation was that of intentionally and systematically taking care of the orphans? What if those considering abortion could receive consultation, counseling, prayer and assurances their child would be cared for? I know from a logistics and legal standpoint this seems borderline ludicrous. But I am certain I am not the only one thinking this or saying it. The question must be asked, have we allowed our fear of litigation and liability or our conventional way of raising and allocating funds to deter us from the mission of God’s Kingdom, this one in particular explicitly communicated in scripture? How much influence would the voice of the Church gain in society if we not only declared abortion is sin but also shouted we are here to help? What if we as spiritual leaders started dreaming of taking care of the unwanted in our cities and helping them find a place where they are wanted? I’m sure there are legalities and separation of church and state issues galore…but when will someone, us as a collective, forge ahead to make a wrong right? I am certain their are forerunners in our nation right now breaking through walls, pioneers traveling into the unknown so that others can follow. I pray for those men and women. I pray for the teenagers and children who will become those daring ones.

I’m not yet sure where I fit into all of this, but I want to dream…I want to believe in us…instead of criticizing what is wrong with the Church and bickering over theology, I want to live with the hope that we can provide solutions. In Colossians Paul said within Christ all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden…a few verses earlier he mentions the hope of glory, Christ in us…We have access to the ideas and solutions, we just need to start dreaming again…living in our hopes instead of our fears. Living with possibility in our veins.

I don’t wear the red tape anymore, nor have I made a trip to D.C. recently. However, each morning as I cross paths with “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” I step into the Supreme Court of eternity and ask God to end abortion…and I pray we as the colony of heaven in the earth, would step into our rightful place and provide a safe haven for the orphan.

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