Monday, January 22, 2007


... not to be confused with "I'm thinking about an abortion".... since that would be biologically problematic.

This Wed. night at our youth small group, HOP TOPICS, we have decided to talk about abortion. I came across a great article by Dorothy Butler Bass, whom I have much respect for after reading her book, The Practicing Congregation.

In her article she states that the church really is not in a place to make statements about abortion. The reason for this is that the Church has "given in to slogans and untenable philosophies" and coopted theological reflection for American political ideology.

In thinking through this she went back to some writings by Stanley Hauerwas on abortion (now I really know why I like Diana- she has great theological taste). Here's what she posts on those reflections:

Nowhere, however, is Hauerwas more provocative than in debunking both "pro-life" and "pro-choice" positions. He reminds pro-lifers: "Christians do not believe life is sacred." Indeed, he points out, "Christians took their children with them to martyrdom . . . Christians believe there is much worth dying for. We do not believe that human life is an absolute good in and of itself" (Pope John Paul II also made this point in Evangelium Vitae). As for "pro-choice" advocates, he attacks the idea that abortion is individual and private, arguing instead that Christians must embody "the kind of community" that can "sustain the practice of hospitality to life." Finally, Hauerwas states that abortion is intrinsically linked to Christian sexual ethics: "The church has to make it clear that sexual relations are relations of power." From that perspective, he states that abortion is not primarily a women's issue. Rather, abortion starts with male sexual promiscuity, "nothing but the exercise of reckless power." He claims that until the church clearly addresses male sexuality, which it appears loath to do, Christians will continue to misunderstand the ethical dimensions of abortion and its proper theological context. Male promiscuity, an expression of sexual power, victimizes both women and children.
Wow, once again I and we the church are challenged to think about how we reflect and come to some sort of idea on an issue such abortion. But I agree with Diana, while we are reflecting on this issue, let us not forget to have as our underlying "practice"- "hospitality to the "least of these" or prophetically challenge the disordered "relations of power" that plague our lives, churches, and society."

1 comment:

David said...

I can honestly say I struggled with Hauwerwas in seminary. In fact,I did not like him, as he stretched my brain a lot more than I wanted to stretch at that time. But, I can also say with great certainty that this post has been extremely helpful and eyeopening. (Although I will say it reminds me a lot of "Penn & Teller's Bullshit!" on HBO, as it exposes the scam behind the story.