Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Intimacy and Social Networking


One of our recent Care Net staff devotions was on the topic of intimacy. We were challenged with the following questions:

  • What characterizes intimacy?
  • What inhibits intimacy?
  • Do you long for intimacy?
That night, the movie, “The Social Network” premiered. I went to see it while some of the discussion on intimacy was still reverberating in my brain.

The movie is about the phenomenon known as Facebook. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know what social networking is, and you know that Facebook is king of that universe.

The story centers on Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, a 19-year old wunderkind from Harvard, whose awkward personal relationships seem to indicate that he knows little about intimacy. But with his brilliant mind and computer programming skills, he designed an online network for strangers to connect with each other as “friends.”

The fantasy of Facebook is that it promotes some level of intimacy with all those people who have “confirmed” you as a friend. Nothing could be further from the truth.

On the other hand, shared passion promotes intimacy. The more difficult or challenging that passion, the more likely that the people involved will form close relationships and thus, develop a level of true intimacy with each other.

Working in the pro-life arena is born of a God-given passion for life. It reflects intimacy with God, who put that passion in our hearts, and called us to serve Him in a very counter-cultural way.

1 Timothy 6:19 challenges us to “take hold of that which is truly life.” If we are to “take hold of that which is truly life,” we need to seek intimacy with God. And the only way to do that is through repentance.

Repentance is the required ingredient that leads to intimacy. Facebook may have a few confessions posted online by some of its 500 million members, but that’s not the same as repentance.

After spiritual repentance and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, sanctification leads us to “good works” that God prepared in advance for us to do, for His glory (Ephesians 2:10).

Working in pregnancy centers reflects intimacy with God because it requires a repentant heart about abortion. We are privileged to do these “good works” and serve others as a true reflection of God’s heart. He has given us an honorable way to “take hold of life.”

In our sex-saturated, death-promoting culture, having a passion for life can only be from God. Sharing that passion with others leads to true intimacy.

No amount of social networking can compare with that.

Paula Cullen is Care Net's Regional Representative for the Pacific Northwest.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Chilean Rescue: 'Bienvenido a la vida!'


As the 15th miner was rescued, the Chilean President Sebastian Pinera welcomed him with these words: "Bienvenido a la vida!", which in English means "Welcome to life!"

I just took a coffee break and in the break room was a TV showing live footage of the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners in San Jose Mine.  At the bottom of the screen was a ticker that read "21 of 33 Rescued".  I was mesmerized. If you haven't tuned in yet, don't miss this amazing moment...

Since August 5th, 33 men have been trapped beneath the rock, uncertain of whether they would see their families, friends, or the light of day ever again. 

With precious lives at stake, the world has rallied to save them.  No expense has been too large - rescue planners, medical authorities, mining executives and even NASA engineers, have provided support, guidance, and resources to sustain their lives and retrieve them out from under the dirt.

I cried watching this raw footage of the first man that was rescued, Florencio Avalos. The camera pans back and forth from the deep, dark hole to the family members - Florencio's wife, son, and family - all anxiously hoping to see the face of a husband, a dad, a son, a brother, once again. As soon as the rescue capsule emerges, the family is overcome with emotion.

Watch this three minute video just to be reminded about the preciousness of life and the tremendous effort we make in order to save lives. When a child is sick, we will search the nation to find the right doctor and raise expenses to cover medical bills.  When a friend is destitute, we will open our homes and provide food and shelter for months on end.  And when a woman is faced with an unplanned pregnancy, we will go the extra mile to provide support and love so that her baby is welcomed with open arms and into a culture that says, "Bienvenido a la vida!"

The Chilean Rescue reminds me of the work of pregnancy centers and the time, resources, energy, and love that is poured into the ministry of saving unborn lives and loving women faced with unplanned pregnancies. Pregnancy centers provide such a wide variety of free services.  We strive to remove every barrier that would prevent a woman from having the resources and support she needs to carry her child to term.  From parenting and childbirth classes to referrals to community and government agencies for medical care, counseling, job training, and housing.  If it's not a program or service we provide, we will search high and low to help you get connected to that help.  In many cases, the best service we provide is simply a loving, listening ear and the ongoing emotional support to walk someone through an extremely challenging time. 

The lives of 33 Chilean miners are precious. So is yours. And so is every unborn life. Inspire Life.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Conversion of Abby Johnson, Former Planned Parenthood 'Employee of the Year'


One year ago on October 5, Abby Johnson, Employee of the Year at Planned Parenthood in Bryan/College Station, Texas declared she was now pro-life.  Her conversion should spur us all on to pray for and reach out to those in our lives who are yet to understand and embrace the sanctity of all human life. Shawn Carney, director of Coalition for Life in College Station writes about his encounter with Abby who had shown up in his office so unexpectedly that October day:

To see Abby Johnson, the regional Planned Parenthood affiliate’s employee of the year, in my office — in tears — was … a miracle!  Abby had seen an abortion on an ultrasound — for the first time — and was overcome by the reality of what actually happens during an abortion. She knew she was watching a helpless human being die. And she also knew immediately she could never do it again.
Abby, now a former Planned Parenthood staff member, came to our recent Care Net National Conference in Grapevine, Texas, to address the more than 1,300 attendees - pregnancy center directors, staff, board members, and all who somehow serve in the movement.  It was incredibly powerful to hear her praise the pro-life work of pregnancy centers.  So many in the abortion industry Abby has come out of generally do not have such nice things to say about our work. 

Her testimony is a reminder to me that those working in abortion clinics may genuinely think that they are helping women but they are sadly deceived.  It also is a reminder to me that I should be more faithful to pray for those caught up in this deception - not only for abortion providers, but also for those serving in national positions at Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Feminist Majority Foundation, and National Organization for Women to name a few.  Let's continue to pray for Abby as she shares her story around the country - for protection for her and her heart and that she would touch the lives and hearts of many about how precious human life is in all its forms.

Abby's is not the first miraculous conversion, and it will not be the last, if we are faithful to pray. Will you share your "pro-life conversion" story with us?  Will you join us in praying for the work of pregnancy centers and the end of abortion? 

Find out more how you can be involved in the Inspire Life campaign.