Tag Archives: god

Couple with unborn baby pictures

Why Abortion is a Men’s Issue

(A seven-minute read)

Did the title of this piece get your attention?

We don’t talk about this enough: abortion is a men’s issue as much as a women’s issue, and in some respects more.

Don’t Misunderstand Me

I generally don’t write to help people feel safe, so I encourage you to hang in there. You may read something important. In the end you may have something important to share back to me. If you bail on me now, pre-judging this as just more mansplaining, all you do is stay in your own intellectual silo. And that’s too bad.

Two Important Points

First, if you or someone you love had an abortion, I don’t condemn you. That’s not the topic here. Abortion, whether actively or reluctantly sought, is painful and challenging. It’s emotionally hard and morally fraught. I have no business in your personal business. But then, you have no business in mine either. But I’ll share it anyway.

Second, women bear a great burden (no pun intended) in pregnancy. To do it alone makes it greater. The frequent abandonment of women by men is a main reason why men have a say about abortion. An obscenely large number of children are born to single mothers. As they grow, they are borne by single mothers. It’s unconscionable, and it’s wicked on the part of the men who bailed.

My Personal Business

So, to my personal business, where I confess to possibly being an accessory to manslaughter. It was a grave crime. I thought I was doing the right thing at the time. But with my help, a baby died.

It was the spring of 1972. Two of my best friends at school engaged in a private display of affection, resulting in an unwanted pregnancy. It was, as we said back in the day, ‘Big Trouble’. Oh, an abortion was the only solution, we thought. It was completely justified, we believed. There was good reason for it. (Isn’t there always?)

Having a baby out of wedlock in 1972 changed lives forever and carried a huge stigma for a pair of teenagers, and especially for the baby. You are a bastard! This was a day and age when that term still meant something and was a shameful millstone.

Looking back, I can only see it as a murderous business. I prevailed upon my parents to work through our family physician to arrange an abortion for my friends. All very illegal in our state, legal elsewhere. All very hush-hush. It was all resolved quietly and no one spoke of it again.

There was no talk of ‘family planning’ or ‘women’s reproductive rights’ or ‘health care options’ in those days. It wasn’t a political issue either. It was just a pair of scared kids deciding to end an innocent life to make theirs easier to bear.

So why do I air this dirty laundry? Why do it a half-century after the fact?

Three Reasons

First, as a Bible-believing follower of Christ, I know that all life is precious, so abortion is wrong, no matter what situation it alleviates. I don’t get to choose; God’s word prevails in this matter. 1

Second, because of the first bit, I want to repent for my part in what I now acknowledge was a sin and a crime.

Finally, I also must acknowledge my own youthful premarital indiscretions which, thank God, never led to an unplanned pregnancy. Neither I nor my partners ever availed ourselves of UnPlanned Parenthood. Why do I call it that? Well, if you are planning parenthood, you don’t look for an abortion, do you?

Okay, Take a Deep Breath

Why the roundabout introduction? To show you that I’ve had some skin in the game. As a man, I have to take responsibility for my actions. All of them.

I’d like to think that if one of my youthful escapades had resulted in a pregnancy, I’d have ‘done the right thing’. In my day and age, that meant marriage, no question. Nowadays, with more than half of American and UK babies born out of wedlock, that would at least mean being an active and responsible father.

But that’s the problem, isn’t it? It takes two to tango, but when that third party joins the dance, many of the men leave the floor.

It’s wrong, it’s ugly, and has led to two ugly outcomes.

The first is the wholesale slaughter of millions of babies under the euphemistic fiction of ‘family planning’ or ‘reproductive health.’ How many abortions are ordered up because the father is either absent, going to be absent, or refuses to take responsibility for a lack of self-control? How many would be prevented if men did their part?

After that, for babies allowed to be born, many of them grow up fatherless. The long-term implications of this are frightening. Fifty years of statistics prove this. We see it lived out every day. Fatherless boys become fatherless men. They are emotional orphans. They are more likely to turn to crime, use drugs, join a gang or engage in other anti-social behavior. The vast majority of men in prison grew up without a strong, loving dad. The truth of this is inarguable.

Boys without fathers search for fathers. And they will take whatever they believe gives them a strong identity, even if it is evil. This is not a new concept. There is research on this going back to the 1820s.

Boys disguised as men are also more like to unthinkingly father children for whom they will take no responsibility. They do what they’ve learned. This leaves two victims: a betrayed and wounded woman, and a dead or fatherless child.

What Do We Do?

I don’t know much beyond supporting organizations that build strong two-parent families, or which build strong, protective, loving men. In personal relationships, we can encourage the men we know to be more selfless.

Selfless men are godly men. They take responsibility for what they do, and they live honorable lives. They are willing to protect women: all women. These are men who know what a zipper is for. These are men who are willing to be accountable to others, especially other men. If they make a mess, they clean it up and make amends. If they need help, they ask for it.

Protecting Women Beyond Abortion Rights

The abortion debate (mostly passionate and violent shouting) has been all about women on one hand, and about babies on the other. Women, because they incubate, carry and bear children. Babies, because they are silent, innocent victims of abortion and – if born – too often have no father.

But the discussion should welcome and include men as well. Too many men play their part, unthinkingly, unconsciously and unconscionably and then walk away. ‘It’s your problem, Babe – you sort it out. I’ll even pay for it,’ they might say.

Or they may just disappear. Or they may turn up later demanding their ‘rights.’ They may become violent.

By their negligence and selfishness, these men essentially force women into the pain of abortions after giving them the pain of betrayal. Or force them into the pain of single parenthood. Either way, they ruin lives.

A Call to Men

I saw this quote3 recently: ‘Strong men live according to their morals. Weak men live according to their urges.’ But morals alone aren’t enough because morals have to be lived not just held. And they have to be lived in community. In the right kind of community. A community built by fathers who want to raise children, not kill them.

Family Business

Finally, I have a legacy to dispense with. Family history tells me that my grandmother, a nurse, worked directly with Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. Because I believe unequivocally that abortion is murder, I publicly renounce my family’s historical connection to this organization.

I know Planned Parenthood has provided much-needed pre-natal care to many women, but by all accounts, its primary purpose in recent years has been to kill innocent children.

The wrangling about Margaret Sanger’s history, and whether she was a racist or a eugenicist is for others. For myself, I’m only sorry my family was involved, and I publicly apologize to anyone who has been misled or hurt by Planned Parenthood in any way.

1. We can argue about this later
2. Ephesians 5:25-33
3. I apologize that I cannot attribute this quote. I jotted it down at the time without noting the author.

Image by Rodnae Productions via Pexels

Mystery Equals Freedom

I’m engaged in a life-long love story but I didn’t realize it until just a few years ago. The story reflects a remarkable thing the Apostle Paul wrote, celebrating the unending impact of God’s glory in my daily life. It’s a powerful idea.

Because you and I are made in the image of God, we are by definition something amazing. From this it logically follows that God could have nothing but good plans for all of us. ‘For we are God’s Masterpiece,’ Paul wrote. ‘He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.’ 1

I answered Christ’s call not for eternal life – ‘go to heaven when I die’ as is often said. No, I wanted a release from pain, a release from bondage. I wanted freedom. I wanted it now! Fortunately, freedom doesn’t wait until we’re dead. Freedom is an immediate reward of grace. Heaven intersects with earth for those of us who believe it will.

But there’s a price to pay to live in the Land of Freedom. It’s the necessity of living in the World of Mystery. One of my mentors, Chuck Parry, teaches this simple equation: Mystery = Freedom.2

What does he mean by this? He means that the mysteries of life open up opportunities to seek God’s ways and have a closer relationship with Him. This relationship underscores the freedom. Relying on Him by embracing the mystery takes the stress off me.

When I’m willing to live with mysteries, instead of striving to make sense of them, I rely on the Lord for answers. When I do, what I need always arrives right on time, even if I don’t understand how it got here. God’s grace must exist because free will exists in a world where sin exists.

Read that again: grace must exist because free will exists in a world where sin exists. If that weren’t so, God wouldn’t a loving God, would He? His nature demands He give us a way to reconcile ourselves to Him after we messed everything up. That is the Christian story. It’s the story of Christ.

In his letter to the Ephesian church Paul tells his readers that each of them is God’s ‘Masterpiece’ – variously translated elsewhere as ‘poem’, ‘workmanship’, ‘creation’, even ‘made out of nothing in the Messiah Jesus for good works.’ The Greek word he uses is poiema, literally ‘that which has been made.’ Poiema comes from the word poieo, which means ‘to perform something that has been promised’. You and I are God’s promise. We are His Masterpiece, promised by God Himself to minister to a world in desperate need.

Despite the choices I made in life, or perhaps because of them, God called me back to Him after decades of sinful self-destruction. Because I was willing, He refined me through many trials and brought me out as something new. Years after the fact, being ‘born again’ now seems less about my circumstances (peace, joy, hope, optimism and a desire to give love) than it does about my identity.

I am now, finally, as I always was made: God’s handiwork, His Masterpiece.

God works through broken people like me. It’s all He has to work with. He’s the master at taking people like me back to their beginnings for a fresh start. All the Bible’s heroes fit that mold: Abram (a fearful liar);3 Jacob (his very name means ‘deceiver’);4 Moses (a murderer 5 and frightened runaway);6 Samson (an egotistical7 blasphemer8 and lawbreaker9); David (an adulterer and murderer10).

I’m in good company: Alan (once a drug abuser, alcoholic, porn addict and fraud), but now living with a glorious future. Now, a Masterpiece. And no matter what you may have done, you too were made for His good purpose. You are His Masterpiece, just as I am. I know. It makes no sense. It’s a mystery. But now you know what that means. It means freedom.

This contains some material originally prepared for my first memoir, Masterpiece: A Love Story (A memoir about sexual abuse)

1. Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
2. Chuck Parry, Director of Bethel Healing Rooms, speaking at a London UK conference 25 July, 2019
3. Genesis 12:12-13
4. Genesis 27:12
5. Exodus 2:12
6. Exodus 2:15
7. Judges 15:16
8. Judges 16:17
9. Judges 16:1
10. 2 Samuel 12:9-10

The Lie Called Cancer cover

God? Or Doctors?

(A three-minute read)

Here are some thoughts based on material from my upcoming memoir, The Lie Called Cancer (A Divine Comedy) being released in October. Yes, it’s a comedy. Sign up here to learn more.

[I promise that all email communication from this website will be covid-free. I always wash my hands before clicking <send>.]

Last year at this time I was being treated for cancer; I was just about to enter my fourth round of chemotherapy. A group of faithful friends gathered regularly in prayer for me. They certainly encouraged me, and I’m convinced their prayers helped tip the balance toward my complete recovery.

My prayer request this week in 2019 was to focus on God’s promises, not on the physical discomfort and weariness in my body. Those were transitory. ‘This too shall pass’, and all that. Despite these truths, and the comfort they brought, my life was in crisis.

Crisis provokes one of two responses in the human heart, faith or fear. My choice? I can either turn to the God I know and lean on Him in faith, or I can turn away from Him and blame him for my problems. Faith or fear, my only options. There is no ‘wait and see,’ because even the grossest procrastination dumps me into one or the other in the end.

I knew the trial of cancer treatment would be spiritual as well as physical. So I appeared to face a stark challenge. Do I approach healing spiritually, supernaturally and trust God? Or do I attack it physically and trust the doctors? Was it possible to do both? It was a much more complicated question for me than you might think. But the answer was simple.

I stupidly thought that these paths were mutually exclusive; one path leading to greater faith, the other dead-ending in despair. My foolishness was undone by a friend.

Until it closed due to covid concerns, I would spend my Tuesday afternoons as a volunteer (and later, as a client) at the Healing Rooms of SW London. This particular week I was on a ministry team with Catherine Q. After the ministry time ended she shared with me a scripture that was given to her specifically about healing.

‘Someone shared this with me when I was very ill. It can speak about the healing power of communion – how remembering Christ’s sacrifice can bring physical healing, not just forgiveness of sins,’ she said.

‘For we who are in this tent (figuratively, the mortal body) groan, being burdened, not because we wish to be unclothed, but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal might be swallowed up by life.’ 1 (insert mine)

That life that swallows us? It’s Father God’s love through the sacrifice of His Son. What I receive at the communion table swallows me up within His greater life. I go there with nothing; I leave with everything. What is mortal (the dead parts in me) is swallowed up by life and made whole again!

This section of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church talks about living a faith-filled life. This seemed particularly apt as I underwent treatment for a condition the physicians said had a 50-50 chance of killing me within ten years. I read this passage often in the ensuing weeks. It’s worth quoting more fully here, (in The Message translation) so you know the faith I was trying to cement into my heart to offset the fear running laps in my head:

‘So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.’ 2

I’m instructed to walk by faith, not by sight, to rely on the invisible more than the visible.3 I see myself blindfolded, groping forward cautiously. Forget what I can see with my eyes, what does my heart see? Moreover, what does it mean?

It means making decisions based on faith, even while I’m surrounded with the facts of the case, coming at me like a pack of yapping dogs. It means trusting God, and His promises first, while simultaneously listening to doctors.

Walking by faith, and not by sight. I’d be doing a lot of that in the following months.

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1. 2 Corinthians 5:4
2. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (MSG)
3. 2 Corinthians 4:18 ‘while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.’