Thursday, June 2, 2016

Like a Voice Crying Out in the Wilderness



You have probably heard the old philosophical question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it still make a sound?” Obviously, whether or not anyone saw a tree fall or heard it crash to the ground, a tree, planted in the ground, went from being vertical to being horizontal. It was standing and now it is not, resulting in a dramatic impact on the surrounding environment.

The same reasoning can be applied to abortion. There are no witnesses in the womb to watch what happens to an unborn baby during a brutal dismemberment or chemical attack. The point is not whether or not this act is seen or heard or experienced by society. The issue at hand is that abortion affects society as a whole regardless of their reaction.


Crying Out Against Abortion Is Not Emotional


The real argument isn't if we are affected by violence within the womb on an emotional level. Regardless of how we shield ourselves from the horror, society is suffering. The world is made a harsher place every time this barbaric behavior is repeated. It may not appear to be so, but it hardens hearts a bit more each and every time it happens. The dignity of women and new life is cheapened.

It is reflexive nature on the part of humans to turn away from the worst aspects of this world. We tend to turn to the lighter side of life. For example, this premise is illustrated by the countless pictures of fluffy kittens and photo-shopped landscapes that persistently stream across our Facebook feed. There’s something comforting about the innocuous.


Avoiding the Painful Is Natural


Corny jokes and romping puppies are much easier to look at than the grim reality of the intentional death of an unborn child at the hand of her mother. This, however, doesn’t change the reality. No matter how hard the pull to turn the other way, our obligation to cry out against it is not negated by the sheer revulsion it may bring. We are, indeed, our brother’s keeper. To think otherwise is to turn away from the command of Jesus to love one another as He loves us.

In an effort to share the frustration I experience when attempting to raise the issue of abortion and the urgency that is necessary to spur action, I’ll share an anecdote with you. Anyone who knows me is well aware of my tendency to consistently beat the pro-life drum on social media. Lamentably, I often feel like a voice crying out in the wilderness. My passion fueling hundreds of pro-life posters and countless essays often appears to fall on deaf ears, whereas innocuous posts and jokes garner many positive reactions.


Donuts or Babies?


Case in point: I recently shared the news that Krispy Kreme will begin featuring a donut filled with Nutella. The reaction was (and still is) lively. Likes, emoticons, and comments streamed in. My objective in sharing is not to shame those who reacted favorably but to point out the disproportionate response. It is disheartening to see such unfettered reaction to something so banal when the important topics are often left to the feedback of a few stalwart and like-minded souls.

My next Facebook update involved exactly this query. Why ticker tape and parades for donuts but silence for the unborn? The thoughts on behalf of some Facebook friends make a lot of sense. We humans like to feel safe and unthreatened. It is completely benign to comment on donuts or kittens or corny jokes. No one will engage us in uncomfortable dialogue. We won’t be called out as fanatics or holier than thou. These surface topics just make us one of the crowd – safe in the anonymity of the many. When we publicly witness on the tough issues, however, we take a chance and expose ourselves to judgment.


Do Not Assume Anything


There’s also the reasonable assumption that the harshly realistic topics are silently being noticed. They are being read and prayed about and shared with others. Perhaps a seed is planted and a firmer conviction is being formed. The fruits of this labor of love is, for me, well worth the struggle. On the one chance in a million that something will change and someone will have a change of heart or feel the strength to act – all of my frustrated efforts become worthwhile.

Even in offering our poor attempts to witness to the faith, poor creatures that we are, the tendency is to be result oriented. The need to achieve is written firmly on our minds in this earthly home. Yet we are in no position to expect great achievement as a result of our efforts. As workers in God’s vineyard, our task is to bend to the Master’s will. The outcome, as the rest of our being, is in His capable hands. A wise quote often attributed to Blessed Mother Teresa gives us the proper perspective, “God doesn't require us to succeed; He only requires that you try”.


"For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will." Philippians 2:13


Go Ahead, Lend Your Voice to the Wilderness


So when we cry out for His glory in the wilderness, we have already achieved all that is possible for our human frames. The Almighty God, Creator of all will tend to the rest. Our sole purpose, then, is to do His bidding - to witness to the best of our abilities while loving Him through those who we encounter.

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” Mark 1:3