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Where Should We Stand?

Immature And Stupid Attitudes Toward Sex

People routinely engaging in sex without the expectation of getting pregnant are like idiots playing Russian Roulette with a revolver. Six chambers in the gun, one bullet. You and your partner take turns aiming the gun at your own head and pulling the trigger. Click. Another turn: click. But you know there’s a bullet in one of those chambers which means, inevitably, one of you is going to have a very bad day. Sex is for making Little People. Enriched Uranium is for making nuclear bombs. You mess around with either, you’re likely to get burned. I don’t care what kind of birth control you use. The most effective birth control in existence is simple: stop screwing. Animals have no self-control. We have a choice.

Our mindset today is mostly about instant gratification, the abortion epidemic being about mostly young people who cannot or simply will not deny themselves in the service of anything. We want what we want and we want it now. Pregnancy, which far too many of us regard as some unforeseen consequence or annoying side effect of sex, leads too many people to not only fail to deny themselves in the service of a greater good but to also refuse to be accountable for that decision. This is my main hang-up with abortion: not just the spiritual imperatives or moral wrongness but how selfish it is and how demonstrative it is of this age's complete disrespect for God Himself. Nobody sacrifices anymore. Nobody waits anymore. We save nothing, we plant nothing, we grow nothing. We simply indulge every whim and every desire and then do whatever's necessary to avoid being accountable for any of it. For far too many people (especially men and boys), abortion is simply about evading accountability.

The most tragic side-effect of choice, of God’s precious gift to us of free will, is our human weakness, demonstrated first by Adam and Eve in the Garden, to act selfishly and then cover up our mistakes. Far too many couples, most especially teens, use abortion as a means of birth control. The mindset seems to be, “Well, if that happens, I’ll get rid of it,” or, “I’ll just get an abortion.” Most people who think that way have never had an abortion and are, therefore, unacquainted with the terrible reality and lingering, lifelong trauma of that decision. Abortion is murder. Committing murder just because you were too lazy to put on a condom makes you a special kind of idiot. Relying on murder as a fallback to your lazy, childish, sexual irresponsibility is simply evil. If you are one of the millions of people who think that way, you really need to stop screwing. You Must Be This Mature To Ride This Ride.

The true mark of maturity is surrendering yourself to the reality of how immature you are. Once you conquer arrogance and pride and allow your intellect and reason to guide you rather than being led around by how you “feel,” you have taken the first real steps toward being an adult. Being an adult means having the contemplative moment before the reckless act and not as a consequence of it. Being an adult means denying yourself and repressing your urges until there is an appropriate and responsible place and time in your life to express them.

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Source: Johnston Archives

This is another one of those issues that is rarely spoken of from the pulpit.

Like fornication and, say, lying, it’s just kind of generally understood to be wrong. In fact, I, personally, have never, not once, heard a cogent, thoughtful sermon about abortion preached from a black pulpit. Actually, what I mostly hear from black pulpits are cleverly constructed and dynamically delivered homilies on the human condition, but precious little of the building blocks of Christian ethics, most of which our pastors seem to benignly assume we already know or they have so tired of preaching about such fundamentals that they’ve wandered way off of the script. Half the time, I have no idea what these guys are preaching about, since the fundamentals of personal salvation are frequently missing from these colorful meditations, and the basic protein of expository preaching is frequently subverted by topical preaching, which is usually the pastor kind of gassing on about what he thinks (much the way I do here). Basic guidelines for Christian conduct are often missing, perhaps an assumption not unlike the producers of Lost expecting you to know three years of previous episodes. The rare times issues like abortion come up in a sermon, it’s usually part of the rhetorical windup, tossed in in passing during the hollering sing-song. The congregants shuffle out having been entertained but, more often than not, bewildered about what the preacher was talking about or how to apply it to their lives. Lives they live by assumption as most people are fairly gun-shy about even asking questions about things like adultery and fornication, homosexuality and, yes, abortion. These fundamentals are often missing from our sermons and just asking the question tends to cast suspicion and aspersions upon the seeker. So, many of us just come to church and go home, being fed empty calories from the pulpit while governing our conduct based on what we assume the bible says, what we done heard someplace that the bible says, because pastors are, frankly, taking our money and not doing a whole lot of pastoring.

I’d like to start with a couple of truths: First, the bible is silent on the issue of abortion. Somebody comes to you, says, “The bible says abortion is a sin,” they are lying. People love to come to you and say, “The bible says…” At best, what they might mean is, “Our conclusion, based on what the bible teaches, is abortion is a sin.” Which is much more accurate. In the Ten Commandments, God wrote, Thou shalt not kill, which more accurately means thou shalt not murder. Killing, either in self defense or in time of war, or even to save the life of a mother, is not murder. Murder is a willful act. Murder is killing to achieve a goal or purpose. Murder is killing when you really don't have to. And I say with absolutely no condemnation or hatred toward anyone that we can discuss the issue until the cows come home but, at the end of the day there is no escaping the fact that elective, non-emergency pregnancy termination is murder. It is ending a human life to achieve a goal or purpose, usually to cover a sin or to avoid responsibility. Which is a very hurtful thing to say to those who have made that choice, and I struggle with the dogmatism of such statements, but there's not much room to negotiate that hurdle. And we, the church, are complicit in the abortion epidemic because we routinely avoid our responsibilities. Instead of pouring ourselves into the lives of others, we holler and scream and parade around demanding the government come in and do our work for us. There is surely enough blame to go around, but my purpose here is not to blame or even to condemn but to offer a perspective on this issue, one the religious right regularly politicizes and exploits to forward its conservative agenda at the expense of the actual work of the ministry, attempting to do at the ballot box what we continually fail to do in our pulpits.

He Is Not A Side Effect: Sex is designed to create one of these.
If you are in any way confused about this, you need to stop screwing.

When does life begin?

A lot of people, including a lot of Christians searching, perhaps, for some small comfort, wrestle with the question of when life begins, as if that actually matters. A panel assembled by NASA in 1994 was one of many groups to ponder this question. The panel defined life as a chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution. Other definitions include whether an entity can move, eat, metabolize or reproduce. Some definitions of life confuse life with the concept of being alive. A simple ‘We don’t know’ is often the best answer for some questions. [1] Most of us Christians will immediately say life begins at conception, which might be true, might not be true. When life begins should not be something the church wrestles with. When life begins is, after all, just balm for the tremendous guilt abortion inflicts on everyone it touches. Maybe if we abort early enough, it's not actually a child. It's just the potential for a child. All of which is utter foolishness: when life begins is God's dominion, not ours. The human impact of abortion, the toll on the mother and the pond ripples into her family, friends, school, church, and community, are inestimable. So bickering over such questions is just a distraction from core truths about the church and its mission.

Abortion, in particular, is something we dislike talking about beyond damming those who practice it and condemning the practice itself on a biblical basis without ever exploring what that basis might be. The dirty little secret, at least in my journey, is abortion is routinely practiced within the black church. Like sexual conduct, so very little is spoken of concerning abortion, that it kind of exists below the radar as something generally frowned upon but never explored much beyond the crowd-pleasing rah-rah of our Sunday hollering.

As a result, sexual behavior within our churches, more often than not, is conducted along the general moral guidelines of modern society, with society’s views of sexual morays seeming more reasonable and credible than those of the church—mainly because the black church, at least, does so little teaching in this area. So too is the question of abortion, which is, at both the beginning and end of the day usually a woman’s great dilemma moreso than a man’s, considered in the context of the world’s view of such things moreso than in God’s view. We just don’t talk about it. Our pastors are more like cheerleaders, jumping and hollering and profiling up there in the pulpit, leading the rah-rah charge against abortion, while a silent majority of our sisters are tortured by unimaginable grief and unbearable guilt, suffering in silence before our very eyes.

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Beyond the moral imperatives of our Christian faith, what is or is not a sin or whether or not we believe life begins at conception, our first duty as mature adults is to come to terms with our strengths and, more importantly, our weaknesses. That’s the very definition of a mature adult: someone who is accountable to him or herself. Abortion is simply about evading accountability.

Essentials For Sisters   Salome   CHOICE   The Regretted Child   Gone   Time After Time   The Levite's Concubine  Valentine's Day   Teena Marie   Kim Burrell