Saturday, January 30, 2010


One nice thing about a blog that almost nobody reads is that I feel freer to write my thoughts on some very controversial subjects. I do not care to debate. I don't have answers. I have many, many questions. Writing it out helps me.

It became clear to me, after participating in the Right to Life March and listening to the speakers this year, that there is a huge divide between what being pro-life means to me and what it means to many who wear the label pro-life. This has been eating at me all week, and I’ve finally decided I need to sort it out – for my own sanity, you know.

Over the last five years or so it has become more apparent that many pro-life people (the vocal ones) do not speak for me. First off, I want to say that I am PRO-LIFE. However, I’m beginning to think that many of the pro-life people are more anti-abortion than pro-life. I’ve come to this opinion based on attending pro-life marches and rallies, being on numerous e-mailing lists, reading the writings of pro-life leaders.

Anyway, I want to get down what I mean when I say I’m pro-life.

Pro-life is huge. See the word LIFE in there. That is from beginning (conception) to end (death). Taking life as a whole, the time in the womb is the shortest part. Extremely important, but very, very small compared to the rest of life. Pro-life is supporting life. Inside the womb as well as outside. When we narrow pro-life to being anti-abortion, we remove the largest part of life. (I can already see arguments and problems with my reasoning, but I’m still working on it.)

So let’s address abortion by itself. I don’t believe we will ever see Roe v Wade overturned. In fact, I’m not sure that is the best way to fight abortion. We would probably end up with more people accused of crimes (according to the law) than our already overloaded court system can deal with. Women aren’t going to stop seeking abortions, and there are doctors who are going to provide them. Making something illegal doesn’t solve the underlying problem. What is the underlying problem? Wish I knew. The pro-life answer is probably a lack of respect for human life, not seeing the sanctity of human life. I see a definite lack of respect for humanity – worldwide – from the unborn to the aged and everything in between. It’s more than that. On a practical level then, what do we do? Try to reduce the number of abortions. Envision a world where abortion is rarely used. How? A few starters might be:

Education. Girls and boys educated about sex. Not just on a physical level, but on an emotional level, too. Teach respect. Can you even do that? We could try. I have personally seen much negativity being taught about sex among conservative Christians, but that’s for another time.

Contraceptives. Make them easily available and affordable. My insurance doesn’t cover contraceptives. Part of me thinks: why don’t you just use birth control? It’s so easy. Maybe it’s not so easy, though. Then I know people who have said they would be more upset and concerned over their child using birth control than having pre-marital sex. My daughter was getting birth control from PP, and it didn’t seem that cheap to me – especially for a young woman who doesn’t make much money. Again, boys need to be taught that they are also responsible for contraceptives.

Support. That young girl that is pregnant? She needs your help. From health care to maybe shelter, food, work, and a shoulder to cry on. I keep hearing about crisis pregnancy centers. Those are great, but I don’t know of any locally that provide health care, probably due to a lack of funding. They have clothes and referrals, but those girls need health care, during and after the birth. And I swear the next time somebody spouts off personal responsibility, I’m going to smack them.

I’m willing to listen to other thoughts. As long as it's not preaching.

Last week I spent an hour listening to pro-life speakers. Their main (only ?) concern this year was that we defeat health care reform. I heard nothing about education (many are opposed to sex education in schools), I never hear anything about making contraceptives more available (there would be problems with the Catholic and some evangelical pro-lifers), and I hear little about support. It’s always political.

Another thing. The pro-life movement seems to be a Christian movement; in fact, a conservative, evangelical Christian movement. While they were decrying health care reform (will increase abortions by the millions and elderly people will be dying off by the thousands), they didn’t miss a chance to encourage people to spread the Gospel of Jesus while they were campaigning against ‘Obama care’. I personally have met several Muslim and Jewish women, over message boards, who would like to be part of a pro-life movement, but find it impossible due to religion. I’ve even met a few non-religious people who self-identify as pro-life but want nothing to do with Christian groups. Shouldn’t we be reaching across the path to the other side? Is life only important to Christians?

With all the flack going on about Tim Tebow’s ad during the Super Bowl, I did a little reading. His mother was in the Philippines while pregnant with him. I think abortion is illegal there, so I’m not really sure if abortion would have been a legal choice. I’m positive even if she were here in the US, she would not have chosen to abort. I admire her choice. That’s fine. But. Just because everything worked out fine for her, there are many women in similar circumstances (major health issues) where things didn’t work out so well. Not everybody gets a miracle (regardless of faith, religion or how hard they pray).

While abortion is severely restricted in the Philippines, many women choose to abort and many end up in the hospital due to lack of proper care during and after the abortion. I found an article about a woman who went to an older woman for an abortion. She performed the abortion through massage (crushing the baby???). This lady bled for a week afterwards. She was begging God to forgive her. Why did she do it? Because she didn’t know how she was going to feed another baby. The one thing that becomes more and more apparent as I get older, is that life is not black and white. It’s rather a beautiful color of gray. I didn’t sleep well after reading that article. No-one should sleep well after reading an article like that. Especially pro-lifers.

Then there was the woman who found out that her baby was developing with only a partial skull and no brain. The answer I read? That we (including her) needed to learn to love sitting at the foot of the cross with Christ. Somehow, that just isn’t a good answer. This woman and her husband did decide to abort. Answers to these problems are not easy nor are they always black and white. I know what the Christian pro-lifer says about this, but I’m not clear what God is saying. The one thing I think both sides could agree upon is creating a world where abortion is rarely chosen. But to do that, you truly have to support LIFE.

Pro-life also means to me:

I’m opposed to the death penalty.

I’m opposed to war (although this appears to be a pipe dream).

I’m opposed to oppression, by religions, governments, the rich. Remove oppression, and we might be a good way towards eradicating war.

I believe people have a right, simply due to their humanity, to basic health care, clean water, food, simple shelter.

I believe in personal responsibility. I also believe in responsibility for the whole of humanity. I am responsible for my own actions. I am also responsible for humanity. I am inseparable from the whole of humanity. When humanity suffers, I suffer.

I would love to go to a pro-life rally that truly supports life.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tea Memories

I come from a long line of tea drinkers. My great-grandmother (who refused to give up tea during her Mormon days), my grandmother, my mother, and now me. Drinking tea is such a spiritual act. To serve tea to a friend is an act of love. Drinking tea is a simple act that fills my soul with peace. Drinking tea is sacred.

My brother-in-law from China will serve tea to family and friends when he is here. The process is quite detailed and takes time. There is no rushing tea. When he has served me tea, I feel special, cared for, honored.

Tea at our house is nothing as elaborate as his teas, but they are still sacred. Even a cup with a tea bag and some boiling water is special. Every day I try to take time to have tea and let my mind clear for a few moments.

When I drink tea, I am drinking tea with several generations of women in my family. I am not alone. The last thing I ever said to my mom was, "I'll drop by tomorrow and we'll have tea". And we do.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Trusting Myself

I often ponder why it is that I seem incapable of trusting myself with my own spiritual journey. For crying out loud, I'm 49 years old. I've been married, successfully, for 24 years; I've given birth to 5 children, two grown and gone from home; I've buried both my parents; I've worked through grief. I have trusted myself to make many big decisions, decisions which could have had huge ramifications for my family. I've made decisions about my career, I've made big financial decisions, I've made parenting decisions (the biggest ones yet), I even made the decision to educate my children myself. I've trusted myself in making decisions that impact others' lives. Yet when it comes to trusting myself to find my own way spiritually, I end up feeling totally inadequate, not capable, not trustworthy.

All my life I was told to stand on my own two feet, make my own decisions, think for myself. I come from a long line of very strong women. Women who made their own decisions and made their own way. Liberated before their time women. Yet, when it came to matters of faith, I never heard that lesson. Yes, I was told I had to make my own decisions and that I had free will, but underneath those words you fully understood that the decision of faith had only two outcomes: truth and the right way or lies and the wrong way. So in the end, you weren't really free since if you made a choice other than the true one, you would find yourself headed to hell. It's so easy to say 'you need to follow your own conscience but if you choose anything else than our way, your damned'. Yeah, lot to choose from.

Add to that the belief that I was flawed, weak, given to sin, easily led astray by any temptation, and that the only way I could ensure my soul was safe was to follow the teachings of the church, irregardless of whether I understood or believed them, I'm pretty much crippled when it comes to trusting my inner voice. The last time I discussed this with another person, his strong suggestion was that I find myself a spiritual adviser, and quick. They would listen, make sure I wasn't falling into error, and it would be someone on the side of my soul. The suggestion didn't help much. Sure, go to someone, bare my soul, have them tell me I'm being led astray (as I know they would if they were a devout Catholic - they would have no choice), that I need to keep believing in spite of my doubt. That I need to humble myself and be obedient to the church's teachings. Basically, don't' listen to your own voice, it's not trustworthy. No thank you. I've already been there.

Of course, I've been surrounded by ultra-conservative, radical, orthodox Catholics. The real Catholics. Not those false Catholics that are trying to tear down the church. Yeah, whatever. I have completely removed myself from them. Still, I can't shake it. I've given very brief thought to asking our Pastor if he would give me a little time. This is a priest that those conservative Catholics run from as though he's the devil incarnate. However, I'm not very comfortable with him. He's not, or certainly doesn't seem, approachable. Frankly, I don't want to talk to anyone that has all the answers. Lately, every Christian I meet, has all the answers. The truth is their way.

I think it's time for me to grow up and start accepting responsibility for my own faith life, whether right or wrong. It's time to quit blaming others for my inability to trust myself. I have the power to choose to listen to myself, find my own God, a God that I'm comfortable with. In fact, I do believe it is each person's own responsibility to do this, to be personally responsible for what they believe.

I just wish I could embrace this journey with excitement and without fear.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Is it possible to walk away from religion, deconstruct your entire faith, start over at the beginning, and end up with any faith at all?

Sometimes I have this uneasy, very distressing feeling, that the atheists are right....

I don't like that feeling. At all.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's ....

Resolutions? Goals? Promises? Pursuits?

I don't care for any of them. Maybe pursuits. I will pursue:

Peace with what I know and what I believe right now, and peace with the knowledge that what I know and what I believe might very well be different by the end of 2010.