A Pro-Life Ethic: Finding the place God wants you

When I first moved to the Twin Cities and began ministry, I plunged into as many community activities as possible. I served on neighborhood boards, school committees, park committees, etc., looking for what was going on in my part of the city. What was God doing and how could I join him?

The shotgun approach worked for a time, but I reached a point where I was needing to back away from some things because I was honing in on what I thought God was asking of me. When I had lunch with a board chair on a committee I was resigning, he heard my heart and then gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever heard:

“You can’t boil the ocean.”

So true.

We think we can do everything. But when we try that, we do nothing. 

We have to pick our passions.

This is a place I find myself again, and I am praying this for my church.

I am working on a pro-life ethic, but when it comes to action, I know I can’t boil the ocean. I know my church can’t boil the ocean. We can’t tackle everything, but we can tackle something. 

This is what I am praying about, and I am thankful there are those in my church who are asking the same questions. What will be our “spot?” Where will we choose to get active?

For some it’s abortion and pro-life causes.

For some it’s human trafficking.

For some it’s hunger.


Job training.

On and on.

These are the things we have before us. If we will ALL ask about our part, issues can truly be addressed.

Ask is what we shall do. It is the nature of the Kingdom.


A Pro-Life Ethic Revisited

I want to return to my theme of a pro-life ethic. By this I don’t an ethic only anchored in abortion or right to life. It’s an ethic I want to build for ALL of life.

But I return to it because of the horrifying case of Kermit Gosnell. He was convicted of killing three babies after they were born. He performed many late term abortions.

For “pro-lifers” this is a rallying case.

Already pro-abortion people are couching this case in these terms:

Supporters of legalized abortion said the case offered a preview of what poor, desperate young women could face if abortion is driven underground with more restrictive laws.

I’m sorry. You may be trying to sell that, but I’m not buying. 

It’s just not plausible. Abortion is legal and these poor women were still exploited by this man. It was all “above ground” and babies who could have easily lived died.

This is a case where we truly need to walk through more of a true “pro-life” ethic. Not just a narrow view of limiting abortions. It’s helping the poor. It’s doing better in our education. It’s churches not abandoning the urban core so we can try and reach and teach young women.

It’s about having a pro-life ethic that will treat women well, so they will not be sexually exploited by men who abandon them. A pro-life ethic will need to address the SYSTEM. All the way through. Regardless if the original idea of some part of the system was “Republican” or “Democrat.”

Do not excuse Gosnell’s actions. Do NOT put this off as something that will further strengthen abortion laws. I am one “pro-lifer” who truly wants a conversation about later-term abortions ONLY. I have yet to meet a “pro-choice” person willing to concede. They are like NRA members foaming at the mouth if they are threatened with giving up 15 bullet magazines. THAT needs to stop.

I know there will not be any honest conversation out of this. Only excuses from the left. Only rants from the right. I know that.

But I pray for something more. And, if anyone is listening, I am willing (as one) to work for more. To work for BETTER. Because I know this: We can talk about poor women being on the margins, but those babies Gosnell killed were ALSO on the margins and they ALL deserve a voice.

One of these days my pleas may be heard. Until then, I pray. I ask. I plead.