July 29, 2014

OCN: Fighting for Life

Here’s a great resource for Orthodox Christian educators. The popular Come Receive the Light programming on the Orthodox Christian Network is archived along with a one-page study guide. These could be used in religious education classes and adult study groups. Those of us with wireless access at churches could listen to the archived program on a laptop and work through the study guide afterward.

In this recent program, host Fr. Chris Metropulos speaks with Frederica Mathewes-Green about the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Orthodox Christian understanding of life, and how Orthodox Christians throughout the centuries have turned belief into practice by reaching out to women and children in need.

Listen here:

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Here’s what Brad Borch wrote in the study guide:

In 1973, the US Supreme Court ruled to confirm a woman’s right to an abortion. Since that time, the conflict over this decision has, in many ways, cast a dark pall over our nation. Some have likened the babies lost to abortion to the holocaust of the Jews in World War II. Of course, we know that the Orthodox Church’s stance on abortion is now—and has always been—squarely and unequivocally in defense of the unborn. Let there be no question,our faith views life as God-given, beginning at conception, and the rights of the unborn as equal to that of any other person.

But this is old news, and many of us have grown up with this issue continuously in our faces. We have written letters, marched in protest, donated of our time, talent, and funds, yet the conflict seems to be stalemated, and political solutions appear out of reach. And so we are tired of hearing about the issue. What can we do to reclaim our holy zeal in support of God’s greatest gift?

We need only look at the life of Christ to recognize that the solutions have never been and are not now political. They are personal. Frederica Mathewes-Green has said, “No one wants an abortion as she wants an ice-cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg.”

What kind of cruel trap is this? According to Frederica’s research, the most important factor that will make a woman less likely to choose this tragic measure is support from those close to her. We cannot legislate away pain, fear, and guilt. No law will heal broken relationships, or rebuild shattered lives. As Christians, our mandate is to make these problems—the situations that have produced the grim holocaust of abortion —- our own problems.

Our task is to share in the burdens of “the least of these my brethren.” One important way to make the struggle for life more personal is to get involved in organizations that reach out to women in crisis pregnancies. There are many such ministries, including our own Zoe for Life, the Orthodox ministry for supporting women in this tragic situation.

Just like the woman who faces this awful dilemma, you too have a choice: turn your back on her, seeking only political solutions, or find a way to reach out to her, to make her feel supported and loved, so that she does not fear the burden that a new life brings into the world. This is your choice.

And here’s a link to Zoe for Life, a non-profit Christ-centered support organization which helps women in crisis pregnancy. To encourage women to carry their infants to term, ZOE offers emotional and spiritual support, confidential access to professional agencies, and connection to potential adoptive Orthodox Christian families.

Listen here:

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Also listen in on this week’s show as Fr. Chris welcomes Sarah Elisabet Oftedal, Director of the Martha and Mary House, who talks about the social trends and spiritual struggles involved in her crisis pregnancy and counseling ministry.

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