What We Stand For: A Brief Reflection on The Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood Shooting

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I’m sure by now you have heard of the Planned Parenthod shooting that took place in Colorado Springs yesterday.  However, just for emphasis, I will summarize it:
At 11:38 local time, 57-year old Robert Lewis Dear burst into the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs and opened fire. The staff and patients took cover in closets and bathrooms.
Police were engaged in a standoff with Robert Lewis Dear that some sources say lasted five hours while other sources state lasted for six hours. Officers continued to encounter gunfire as they evacuated the people who had taken cover.
The standoff ended when Robert Lewis Dear surrendered.

Since yesterday I have been taking to Facebook and joining the flood of pro-life groups and advocates who have been condemning Robert Lewis Dear’s act of violence against Planned Parenthood.  However, that hasn’t stop detractors from using this tragedy to blame pro-life activists and smear our cause.  For me, the biggest blow came when Buzzfeed posted an article entitled, “Some Abortion Foes Cheered the Planned Parenthood Shooting.”  http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelzarrell/some-pro-life-supporters-cheered-planned-parenthood-shooting?utm_term=.uoAz1YPPe#.ggM0eMww9

After that, I just logged off and took some time to take a breath.  My heart was already heavy from what happened in Colorado Springs, and to see a cause I care for being slandered was even worse.
I went to our living room and sat in front of the Christmas tree, staring at the ornaments and lights.  “Why should I even bother?” I asked myself. Why should I even bother to keep posting about how pro-life groups have condemned what happened in Colorado Springs if people will continue to paint us as violent extremists anyway?
I looked at our pictures of Jesus and Mary that hang side by side on our wall. I bore my eyes into Jesus’ image, concentrating at his upward gaze, his purposeful expression.

Then, somehow, I came to a distressing thought: ‘Why did Jesus even bother to die on the Cross?’

I had to sit down.  Jesus died for our sins, but we still sin anyway, so why would He bother?
The answer: Because Jesus’ mission was to save us.

This conclusion lifted me from my drained state.  Why should I bother to be vocal about defending the pro-life cause?
Because defending every life is our mission.

What others say about us doesn’t matter.  How society paints us is irrelevant.  Pro-life does not exist to please others.  Pro-life exists to protect the dignity of every single life.

Pro-life means defending the humanity of the unborn baby.
Pro-life means reaching out to the single mother.
Pro-life means offering hope to the pregnant teenager.
Pro-life means supporting the rape victim.
Pro-life means showing mercy to abortion clinic workers.
Pro-life means feeding and clothing the homeless.
Pro-life means welcoming the refugee.
Pro-life means standing up for the death row inmate.
Pro-life means giving shelter to abandoned animals.
Pro-life means every beating heart matters.
I will say this as many times as I need to: Pro-life does not stand for violence or extremism.  We do not stand for shaming women or abortion workers.  You cannot call yourself pro-life if you do not condemn violence against clinics or the people who work there.  Oppose abortion, but do no harm to those who support it.

Pro-life is pro-peace.
Period.

 

Christian Movie Reviews: Grace Unplugged

Hey Christian filmmakers, if you want to save the genre, this is the movie you need to imitate.

This is my review of Grace Unplugged! Grace-Unplugged

Grace Unplugged is a family drama that centers around Grace Trey and her father Johnny Trey, a former rock star turned music minister.  The opening scene tells you (very subtly) that though they play in the church band together, there is tension between musical talent Johnny and the equally talented Grace.  When Johnny’s old manager Mostin tries to get him back into the secular music world, Johnny politely declines, but Grace goes behind her father’s back by sending Mostin a demo of her singing.  She enters the world of secular music and is given a new identity as Gracie Trey.  However her inability to write her own songs and the rift she has caused within her family hinders her path to stardom. Aj Michalka gives an impressive and sincere performance as Grace.  Though at times she tends to rely on the “deer-in-a-headlights” look in the second act, her facial expressions convey the protagonist’s inner turmoil.   Aj Michalka portrays a frustrated girl who expresses herself through music and just wants to be free to create.   James Denton plays Johnny Trey, and he gets the most transformation as a character.  I hated him in the first half because of how uptight and overbearing he was, but his journey into humility made him more sympathetic until I finally gave in and changed my mind about him.  This movie succeeds at having both Grace and her father learn a lesson; Grace learns not to throw herself into a world that she’s not ready for, and Johnny sees the error of his suffocating Grace’s talent. The film does a great job at not letting the message clash with the story.  The humanistic script allows the characters to be living, breathing people and not become Bible-belt stereotypes.  The God-dialogue sounds like it’s coming from the characters and not part of an agenda.  The filmmakers understand that our God is not a forceful God, so they avoid forcing His role in the story.  By allowing God to be in control without shoving Him into clumsy dialogue, the moral that God is in control is able to flourish in a natural progression. People, this is a freaking good Christian movie.  It’s a believable family drama, a well-thought character study of Grace and Johnny, and the music is pretty awesome.   I’m gonna go ahead and say it: Grace Unplugged and Soul Surfer are the movies that are going to save the Christian movie genre if filmmakers follow their example.   There is hope for this genre, and it’s movies like Grace Unplugged that are going to lead the way.

Saint Cecilia, pray for us.