Does it seem like I am passionate about abolishing abortion?

Well, I hope so. Because I am!  I feel committed to working to abolish abortion in the next decade. Why? Because I believe that abortion is like a silent holocaust that is being tolerated by most people, including Christians. In Nazi Germany, most of the churches were silent about the killing of the Jews.  Now, many churches are silent about the killing of unborn babies.

There is something about silence that really bugs me. I remember clearly when I went to the first government meeting I ever attended. It was the year 2000, and I had been encouraged to attend a Fayetteville Planning Commission meeting. The topic: should Kohl’s Department Store be allowed to violate our brand new tree ordinance to accommodate their rigid requirements for the big box store?

About thirty-five people attended the meeting to voice their opposition to giving Kohl’s permission to break our law.  It seemed pretty ridiculous. People like Fran Alexander had worked for years to finally get a law passed that would protect Fayetteville’s beautiful trees. College Avenue had already been de-canopied and was pretty barren.  Other parts of Fayetteville also looked very sparse and tree-less.

When I walked out of the meeting where the commissioners said they weren’t going to vote now, I asked Fran, “What are they going to do next?”  “They will just keep having meetings that people have a hard time finding out about, and then no one will come. Then they will quietly pass the approval for Kohl’s to violate the tree ordinance.”

I  was shocked, and found myself saying, “I am not going to let that happen.”  And I didn’t.  I stayed on top of when every meeting was happening to decide the fate of Kohl’s, until 200 people attended a city council meeting to say “no” to Kohl’s cutting down trees that were protected by our ordinance.

I see abortion in a similar way. Like the planning commissioners who didn’t want to make their decision when a lot of people were present, abortion continues because most people don’t want to take a stand.   The vast majority of people don’t want to talk about the subject because it can be controversial. Protestant churches are largely quiet about the topic.  Some churches are actually officially pro-choice.

Yet 1.2 million babies a year in the U.S. alone are killed by abortion. In the case of the tree ordinance situation–it was clear as day that there was a law in place to protect the trees. In the abortion issue, we have clear evidence from science that a baby is born at conception. Yet only about 51% of the population, according to a Gallup Poll, identify as pro-life.

I have always been a “stand up for the underdog” type of person. An unborn baby seems to me to be the most vulnerable of all beings–the underdog of the underdogs.  The trees seemed like underdogs to me back then as well.

Something clicked in me just a few weeks ago when I attended a Cast the Vision event for 40 Days for Life, an organization dedicated to abolishing abortion using prayer and fasting,  community outreach, and peaceful vigil.  The speaker said, “What if you knew that three year olds were going to a clinic in your town and being killed.  Would you want to stand up and try to bring attention to that horrific action?”  I felt my heart leap.  Of course I would stand up. Unborn babies are just as important and human as a three year old. It is just a different state of development–starting at conception.

I used to be really proud of my legacy of leading the movement to uphold the tree ordinance and saving the trees. People like Fran Alexander have said that my contribution helped make a change in the government in Fayetteville.  Now that has faded into the past.  Trees are important.  But human life is much more important.  Now I want to leave a legacy of people remembering me as a person who helped abolish abortion, and made it possible for abortion to be seen as being as bad as slavery or the holocaust.  I don’t expect to be another William Wilburforce, who is my hero, but I want to make a difference.

I hope that my children and friends will talk about me at my funeral describing me as a  person who helped unified the pro-life organizations in such a way that we were unstoppable in our quest to shine light on a dark topic and help all people realize how evil abortion is–that it is truly killing a human being. I pray that my efforts to encourage and train pro-life people to have compassionate conversations with people who are pro-choice will build bridges between people who often agree on other issues.

I hope to contribute greatly using all my gifts and talents, partnering with a team of  dynamic, compassionate, peaceful people in a loving community setting on our Wellspring Community land at Living Springs to help create a world where everyone can thrive, especially the unborn.

After the well-attended city council meeting,  I instigated a tree sit where a middle aged grandmother who was really angry was willing to live on a platform high in a tree on the land where Kohl’s was going to be built.  You see, the council members, with 35 people speaking against Kohl’s getting their way, voted to violate the tree ordinance. The tree sit resulted in 33 days of front page news which drew attention to the issue, and gave people motivation to put new representatives in place so that this blatant disregard for people’s voices would not happen again.

The only reason I was able to spearhead this movement to uphold the tree ordinance was because people were passionate about the issue. I think there is a critical mass of people who are passionate about saving unborn babies–including a larger number of young people than older folks–and our time has come to raise awareness to the degree that people will no longer tolerate abortion–just like they don’t tolerate slavery or Jim Crow laws.

I will be using my personal blog to promote these ideas and share my experiences. I hope to hear from you–whatever side you are on! I want to shine a light on the darkness, and give the voice-less a voice.  Your comments are very welcome.  Where do you stand?

 

When The Church was Family: Recapturing Jesus vision for authentic Christian community

This looks like an excellent book by Joseph H. Hellerman. You can find it here

I looked at the excerpts on Amazon and I was thoroughly inspired. The author shared a most powerful quotes that proved why the early Christians were so successful in spreading the gospel and growing in numbers. This  was written by the pagan emperor, Julian who wrote:

“Why do we not observe that it is their (the Christian’s) benevolence to strangers, their care for the graves of the dead and the pretended holiness of their lives that have done the most to increase atheist? …when…impious Galileans support not only their own poor, but our s as well, all men see that our people lack aid from us.”  Works of Julian 69

The fact that Julian calls Christians impious and atheists is pretty funny I think. He must have been tearing his hair out as well as doing mental somersaults and back flips to try to figure these guys out.

I loved the way that Hellerman concludes the book by saying that he hopes that his church would be described as Luke described the early Christians in Acts 4:32-35, particularly in verse 4:33 which i have italicized.

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

I find it interesting that the author did not want his church to be described as the verses before and after–where it describes how they shared their material possessions. I did not read the whole book, so I do not know if he addressed this very important part of the power of the early church.  But I look forward to reading this book in whole as inspiration for the community that I hope to start one day soon.

Intentional Christian Community Handbook

This is a great review of a great book which I must purchase ASAP for my community building project.Here it is:

http://bibledude.net/intentional-christian-community/

Thanks to Dan King, author of  THE UNLIKELY MISSIONARY: FROM PEW WARMER TO POVERTY FIGHTER, who seems to be very much on the same page as I am. I loved the review.

Here are some great quotes from the book

“A longing for deeper community is growing in our land. Many observant Christians have lamented that, despite the hype of worship and glitz of church building and programs, the lives of most American church members look very much like the rest of the world.”

“Our church scene is so different from the first centuries of the Jesus movement, which was notorious for its familial affection and sharing across class and ethnic lines, with a reputation for feeding the urban poor and supporting widows to serve the church…”

I feel so grateful to an acquaintance  who told me about this book. She has lived at Twin Oaks community for twenty years. I  met her when I visited Twin Oaks, which is one of the most successful and long-lived community in the United States.  What an amazing connection! I still have good memories of our time together over 13 years ago.

Getting ready to write my vision for community

It was about one week ago in early Nov. 2012 that I conceived the idea that it is time for me to totally focus on getting a community started on part my family’s 27 acres of land. I have been immersing myself in the teachings of scripture as taught by Bruxy Cavey, as well as a few other teachers.This inspired me to realized that my foundational spiritual belief is pacifism, and that this will be an essential value in the community I start. Another really important issue is to see the whole Bible through the lense of Jesus.

Now I am starting to immerse myself in community research again. This has been from the time I was about twenty my dream and focus of attention. Now is the time to combine the rich, deep, spiritual insights I have recently had with the vision of community.  All of this is based on a foundation of 38 years of study and experience both in the realm of spirituality and community.  The past eleven years have been focused on following Jesus. I surrendered my life to him and have been his disciple for that long.

I am going to write this vision as if it has already happen. I want to pray right now for the holy spirit to lead me.  “Father, I have been resisting this writing and I am scared to put down my thoughts for I have done this before and time and time again I have failed to manifest the community of my dreams.

But I am hoping that this time something different is happening. This vision is not mine, but yours. I am looking at your word, at the teachings of Jesus,and at the actions of the early church people. I am wanting so much to partner with you and to join with you in what you want to happen. This is so wonderful for me.

Please guide me with words that help portray a beautiful community based on your desires and your vision. Help me to just flow with words that inspire people and help them to see your heart.

Father, I believe that you have planted within me a passionate desire for living in and creating and promoting community. I have failed so miserably to manifest this vision. Help me to look to the future possibilities, and not focus on past failures.

I pray that the people who can join me and who want to help create this vision because they see it is your vision will read this and conversations, friendships, and eventually partnerships will unfold.  I pray that i will find people with same values, some of whom have the time, money, and talents to help this community quickly get off the ground.

Thank you for giving me the talent to write, the ability to type, the knowledge of WordPress, and the willingness to go out on a limb.

In your son’s precious name, Jesus, I pray. Amen

Bruderhof Communities–what can we learn from them

I am researching communities which have Anabaptist ties, and I came across this website which gathered information shared by former Bruderhof Community members.  http://www.perefound.org/em-s_sp.html

You can find out information that the Bruderhof Communities want you to know about here

I wanted to find out how their community was structured and to find out if these communities were successful and worth learning from.

There are some wonderful aspects that these communities exhibit including taking care of the elderly and disabled among them, the family being the main people raising their own children, they strive to live in harmony with the environment.

But looking at the rigid rules that were clear on their website, I knew that the community structure I will be presenting will be much more flexible. No one can work outside the community. They have to work on the community business. Wow!  I would never want to limit people in that way.

This is my first attempt to start writing a description of what Wellspring Community will be like.  I thank God that I am finally starting!

 

A small group within a larger community

I visited Twin Oaks, a sister community of East Wind, about thirteen years ago. My sense was that this group had a better handle on resolving and preventing conflict (at that time) than East Wind did. I really loved it there, only spending about three days.

I liked this example of a small group within a larger community. This reminds me of the trend of having life groups, home churches, small groups and so forth in church arenas so that people could have more intimacy and honesty.  Here is the description:

http://www.twinoaks.org/clubs-organizations/sunrise-slg.html

I thought this segment was particularly revealing about what they value in terms of relationships:

“Communication Norms: Unlike other residences, we have agreed to talking directly to each other about any significant difficulties we’re having with each other, and working out conflict between members of our household.”

For some reason this very basic idea of talking to people directly about problems, which is taught clearly by Jesus in Matthew, is not the norm at Twin Oaks. This surprises me, because they have such a long-standing and successful community. Yet I am guessing there might be more tension that is necessary because direct communication about issues is not valued by all. I sure value it a lot! My training in Nonviolent Communication as taught by Marshall Rosenberg has really helped me in this area.