How One Group of Friends is Rethinking Abortion, Women’s Health, and Planned Parenthood

weneedlifebanner (1)

Every week, a group of 20-30 friends meet at the Van Meters’ house in San Diego. Someone from the group will usually prepare and bring dinner that everyone enjoys before diving into a discussion about the Bible, current news and events, life, and how to spur one another on in love and good deeds. In light of the recent videos highlighting Planned Parenthood’s involvement with abortion, which account for a supposedly 3% of the organization’s “services” to women (that is, the death of 327,000 babies), the home-group recently began asking themselves a question that not many seemed to be asking, “What can we do to help?”

As many argue about the true consequences of abortions conducted by Planned Parenthood, which ultimately don’t matter because the death of a baby is a death of a baby, or how the organization may provide other helpful health services for women, the home-group is approaching the conversation differently. Rather than picketing PP, they have identified a basic need for more pro-life pregnancy care clinics in San Diego that offer women the same, if not more, medical/health services than PP – and without having to consider abortion as an option.

Many women in lower-income communities actually have little to no option when it comes to medical clinics from which they can seek help. The East County Pregnancy Care Clinic, one of the leading organizations in San Diego that offers a safe alternative for pregnant women, has also recognized a need to fill these gaps and make medical services readily available for these women of any demographic, particularly in Southeast San Diego. However, the cost to open just one clinic is estimated to be $100,000. It would cost just as much to operate the clinic for only one year. On their own, the East County Pregnancy Care Clinic has already raised half of the amount, but they still need to double their efforts in order to open the new clinic.

This is where the home-group is stepping in.

Because of their heart for the matter, the home-group has started a fundraising campaign to come up with the additional $50,000 to open a new pro-life crisis pregnancy clinic in Southeast San Diego (and hopefully a little extra to go towards the $100,000 annual operating cost). In just a couple of weeks since the launching the campaign, they have already raised over $9,000, almost 20% of their goal. Opening a new center would mean that in an area where more than a handful of San Diego’s pregnant women reside, there would be direct access to safer services for women and their children. They would no longer feel pressured to solely rely on one option to obtain medical services for their pregnancy.

In a dialogue where women’s health concerns and choices come into question, the home-group is not necessarily looking to engage in battle with Planned Parenthood, though all involved are against abortion. Nor is the home-group against women’s rights. Instead, they see a need in the lack of resources available to pregnant women, in general. By opening a new pregnancy clinic in the area (the group also hopes to help open pregnancy clinics in other lacking regions throughout San Diego), the home-group is hoping to fill a need that would help alleviate that gap and ensure that pregnant women make the best informed decision for their families.

Visit the home-group’s fundraising page on Classy to find out more and to make a donation.

www.classy.org/weneedlife
Click here to donate and help
How One Group of Friends is Rethinking Abortion, Women’s Health, and Planned Parenthood

Response: Redefining Divorce

In going through my morning blog rotation, I came across this article by Michael Howard about a married couple, the husband being a renown figure at Google and the wife being a prominent researcher, who attempted to study the effects (i.e. why and how it happens) and affects (i.e. implications) of divorce. Their result? Pretty much inconclusive.

Howard notes that “studies on the effects of divorce are plagued by spurious correlations, incalculable variables, and the near-impossibility of separating cause from effect,” a generalization with which I can agree. Although divorced persons could each have the same reasons for why they got divorced (e.g. finances, career, etc.), I think the whole thing is too deep and dynamic to study and provide any straightforward explanation. However, I do believe divorce is ultimately the result of a ceremony conducted only between people who are, without fail, going to change; their bond and vows destined to be as volatile as the day’s prominent news topic. There is nothing absolute to which their marriage is accountable.

In is his response with regards to how people’s loved ones could better help people assess their situation [of divorce], Astro Teller, husband of the researching duo, says, “in order for things to change, society as a whole would have to lighten up on the narrative.” My initial reaction to this was to respond with “why.” Why would we ever want to lighten that narrative? Shouldn’t we want to engage in a deeper conversation to get to the root of the issue so we can understand and prevent it?

I think Howard actually summarizes this notion in his statement leading up to Teller’s – “[The researchers] would like to see those people’s loved ones understand the situation differently.” And, to an extent, I agree. Rather than offering cliche statements of pity, we could be thinking deeper about the hows and whys of people’s feelings in divorce. I think that carefully employing empathy could be one of the best way to go about consoling, comforting, and having a discussion about the situation.

What stuck out to me most was when Howard says that “blindly encouraging the persistence of a broken marriage may come from good intentions, but it only serves to shame the couple whose divorce could very well be for the best.”

I personally don’t believe comforting equates to shaming especially when you consider the heart of the initiator. There are times when empathy and sympathy come from a sincere heart. A more important question I’d like to ask is why is there often the underlying sentiment that divorce is acceptable and that it’s “for the best” of those involved? Why are we okay with it being an option or an out for [a difficult] marriage? If the narrative for divorce needs to change, maybe we can first rethink it and then take a position where we don’t even allow it as a possibility, thus eliminating the need to redefine it.

Ultimately, I believe there’s another outcome besides divorce for a difficult marriage, one where the only option is that there are no other options – but a Hope – such a Hope that defines and determines the beginning, middle, and near-end of any marriage, if you let Him. If you find yourself asking who this Hope is or how you can find Him, leave a comment. I’d be more than happy to share the Good News with you!

Response: Redefining Divorce

One Year Later

Yesterday was my one year anniversary with my bride. Although we had a slumber party on the beach on Friday night and had needed quality time together all day Saturday, we spent a majority of our actual anniversary day apart. Why? Because my wife was helping set up for another wedding.

Can you believe it? One of the most important and memorable days of our lives, and my wife decides to help make it one of the most important for someone else. But was I offended or morose because we couldn’t be together?  Definitely not.  I eventually met up with her at the wedding anyway.
But she had been running around all day, helping and serving others in every way she could and knew how, never once complaining or throwing a fit. Then, when I saw her hand-deliver plates of food to the groom and bride with the biggest smile on her face, I couldn’t help but feel so proud and in love with her. She was so beautiful. How honored am I that I married someone so selfless and loving that she would take this day, our day, to help make someone else’s one of the most important in their lives?
My wife has a certain way with people that I don’t see too often in others – she manages to naturally make people feel loved, cherished, and important all at the sacrifice of her self. She also takes great joy out of it. This in itself is very rare. Most of us probably only feel happy when we get something we want – emotionally, physically, tangibly – never by giving up something of ours. In this, I know her love will never expire nor run out and thus she will never compromise our vows, commitment, and covenant. By taking joy in serving others, she gives me a real-life example of Christ’s selfless love, something that I am honored and blessed to come home to every night.
One Year Later

Life’s Purpose

Every week, my office puts out a newsletter that lists daily activities and group exercises available to employees, such as workout classes and group runs.  Additionally, there are little snippets of motivational anecdotes intended to help better the lives of readers and encourage a more positive outlook on life.  This week’s motivational piece?

“The purpose in life is to be happy” as quoted by the Dalai Lama.

Of course, some folks are generally just happy people.  They wake up happy, they go to sleep happy.  Their happiness may even be too much for some to be around.  But most of us find happiness in things.  That is, there’s some thing that makes us happy.  Thus, through the law of transitivity, we can say that if the purpose in life is to be happy, then the purpose in life is to do things that make us happy.

Just yesterday (Sunday), Pastor Dave Hoffman touched upon this seemingly unanswerable question, what is the purpose of life?  From Colossians 1:9-12 he pulled out one very important fact – that we should be praying to grow in understanding and knowledge of His will for our lives (re: our purpose) .  If our purpose in life is built upon things which can be taken away or removed, then we are on very dangerous ground.  What happens when our purpose is to continually climb the corporate ladder, but we lose our job?  What happens when our purpose is to save money and buy a house, but the house is destroyed by some natural disaster?  What happens when our purpose is to live for our wives, husbands and children but they are taken away by the hand of Death?  Where then does our purpose and, ultimately, happiness come from?

Now, this doesn’t mean it’s wrong or immoral to strive for these things.  It’s okay to be ambitious and motivated in your job.  It’s okay to own a house and provide a safe refuge for your family and friends.  It’s also definitely okay to ensure that you lead your family and raise your children in the way of the Lord.  But when our purpose in life is dependent upon things which can be taken away at any moment, we have need to know that there is more to living and more to life’s purpose than just fulfilling our selfish desires.  Our purpose shouldn’t depend upon things that can fade away.  Instead, we should be grounded upon the unwavering foundation of Truth.

“11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.”  (1 Corinthians 3:11-12)

“19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)

 

 

Life’s Purpose

Roadtrip

“…all the golden lands ahead of you and all kinds of unforseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you’re alive to see” – Jack Kerouac, On the Road

She’s sitting by my side, my beautiful sweetheart, her feet propped up on the dash. There’s no need for the air conditioner; with the windows down, a warm breeze is flowing through the cabin, tangling her hair and whisping mine around. A peace fills the car. My left arm is out the window, poised like a spade. As I watch my hand cut through the world as it passes by I imagine this is what flying must feel like, the surroundings becoming more and more blurred as the speedometer creeps up. Suddenly, the light catches my eye, and we turn our attention towards the sun setting along the Pacific – a golden rim of yellows, oranges, and reds. We can taste the glory and smell the light. Salty, but familiar.

The dashboard is covered with maps, notes, and captured memories all of which comprise the inspiration and aspirations for this trip. Routes are marked, destinations are scribbled down, but we’ve no end in site. Our only direction and guide, is North, past the shores of San Diego, beyond the great redwoods of the Sequoia National Forest, and onto the ferry landing of Victoria where we’ll make way towards British Columbia. I hear of a great taco stand in Tofino that is just as good as the surf in the upper Pacific. We make camp beachside, brewing some tea and cooking the steaks that have been marinating since the day before. As the garlic-y herbs fill the air, we relish on the things we’ve seen and the people we’ve met up until that eve; the stories that all those eyes can tell…

The sun sets, and diamonds litter the sky. Our breath is taken away as we gaze upon the vastness of the world beyond us. For a moment, we faint into awe and gratitude, identifying with the smallest of creatures that roam the Earth. Realizing that our adventure has not yet come to a close, even though a destination has been reached, we retire to the camper and prepare for tomorrow, grateful for being alive to have seen all that has and all that will unfold before us.

Roadtrip

“We are in danger…”

“We are in danger of forgetting that we cannot do what God does, and that God will not do what we can do. We cannot save ourselves nor sanctify ourselves, God does that; but God will not give us good habits, He will not give us character, He will not make us walk aright. We have to do all that ourselves, we have to work out salvation God has worked in. ‘Add’ means to get into the habit of doing things, and in the initial stages it is difficult. To take the initiative is to make a beginning, to instruct yourself in the way you have to go.” – Oswald Chambers

Many times, we ask God to give us such and such and grant us this and that, but we forget, or rather ignore, that it is up to us to work out many of the things which we ask for – that the life we are called to live as Christians can be directed and guided only so far by God Himself. There is work to be done by us and only us. He cannot do it. There are many commands of action and doing that are found in the Bible – instructions that lead us into becoming leaders, teachers, and disciples. It’s time we stop making excuses and just get after it.

Quote

Believe in Something Bigger

A couple of months ago this was one of the first billboard advertisements I saw for the CA Lottery Powerball jackpot, which is awarding up to $270 MILLION. The immediate and only reaction I got from this ad was the blatant emphasis that, as a country, we have come to the ultimate point where money is god. Yes, this cliche has been thrown around for decades, but how much more obvious can you get? Quite honestly, it sickens and saddens me. This message invokes the sentiment that we’ve succumbed to the almighty power of the dollar, that we can’t take control or take care of ourselves without the supernatural influence of money. It’s saddening that money has become such a powerful, ruling force in our lives, that it is the only thing we need to better ourselves.

Clearly, this is wrong for personal, “religious” reasons. But aside from the dichotomy of God vs. money, do we all really believe that money is above us? That we have lack the power to control our own lives and they would be better off with the help of a buck? For our sake, and for the sake of future generations I sure hope not.

Believe in Something Bigger