It happened again. Lc Clinic in Stuart, Iowa now owns a former Planned Parenthood clinic in nearby Creston; an abortion center yesterday is home for a life-affirming ministry today.
What is stunning to me today is that . . . I’m no longer stunned by this development. We’ve seen variations of this story in Philadelphia, Miami, College Station (TX), Chattanooga (TN) and Grand Rapids (MI). I know I’m missing a couple of other places; and these conversions are taking place elsewhere as I write.
This is no longer just a wonderful surprise; life affirming flips of abortion centers are becoming, shall we say, “A Thing.”
Is this a trend? We’re close. These stories of the redemption of abortion facilities are popping up more frequently. We will likely see even more, and soon.
Often we hear the words, “You reap what you sow” in a negative context. For instance, if we sow gossip, we reap terrible discord. But on the other side of the coin, we are getting a first-hand view of what it means to sow the right seed.
The Pregnancy Help News article on the Creston flip notes that as the Planned Parenthood closed its doors because of a lack of clients, the outgoing director there turned her anger on Lc Clinic in a scathing letter to the local newspaper. But instead of getting involved in a war of words Lc Clinic’s executive director Ruth Fennessey and Creston’s incoming clinic director Hannah Shady took another path: Love.
That’s the right seed to sow, every time.
“I’m what I like to call ‘pro-love,’ Shady told Pregnancy Help News. “I love everyone, regardless of their opinions. I just told everyone, ‘Just take it easy and we’ll keep doing our thing. We know what we’re here for. We’re here to help people. We’re here to love people.’”
Lc Clinic sowed love. The result? A giant piece of ground gained in the battle for life. “For our weapons are not carnal,” the apostle Paul tells us. Stating the obvious, Paul is right.
For Lc Clinic and for all of us in the pregnancy help community, our most effective weapon is love. It’s a weapon that when used skillfully and powerfully, often brings victory. It certainly did in this situation. It’s a lesson worth learning over and over again.
But there is another lesson here as well.
Today there are many who ask, “Will we ever actually win the culture war on this front? Can we ever actually see the end of abortion?” It is a question often asked with cynicism, with doubt. Behind the question there is often an underlying view that society is sliding toward the abyss and is now beyond redemption.
The story out of Iowa doesn’t give us a definitive answer to these questions, but we should certainly see hope.
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And may I be blunt and say that our role in the cultural battle over abortion is not to analyze, philosophize or predict what we believe the future holds? We’ve got too many who try to tell us “the culture is only going to get worse” or “this is what the end times look like.”
Friends, I don’t know what age we are in. We could see the return of Christ tomorrow. We could be smack in the middle of the end times. We may be on the verge of persecution the world has never seen.
Or, we could be watching as the curtain opens on an awakening of faith we haven’t seen for centuries, an awakening which ushers in a new respect for the sanctity of life.
We simply do not know for sure.
This we do know however:
While trying to interpret events is somewhat interesting over a cup of coffee, our true mission is roll up our sleeves, get to work and live out a life of fearless love. That’s what happened in Iowa. And this same story—of love through the life affirming community—takes place day after day around the world.
We will face the anger of some, as they did in Iowa. We will likely face some in the Christian community who have thrown up their hands in despair and decided to leave the battle to others. Fine. None of this matters, because our mission to boldly love those we wish to reach is in front of us.
Our job? Fulfill the mission to love. Keep loving. Then love some more. It’s working. Just ask the folks in Stuart and Creston, IA.