At 9:30 Saturday morning, I’ll lace up my shoes and walk. I probably won’t say a word. I’ll gaze up a bridge at gorgeous surroundings — sun, clouds, and shimmering water — at the breathtaking horizon that greets me, I’ll place a tread-worn Adidas running shoe on a strip of pavement, and I’ll walk.
It’s something every Christian has to do now and then.
You may be aware that one of the largest Christian charities in the world, World Vision, issued a statement this week changing their employment policy, which forbids pre-marital sex for all employees, to be open to individuals in state-sanctioned homosexual marriages.
The Christian world exploded. Or should I say imploded. Or should I say shrank to a gaseous swirling mass and shot out in every direction in a paroxysm non-Christians could only identify (mistakenly) as definitive proof of the Big Bang.
Then two days later, they recanted. Reversed. Showed fingers crossed behind their backs. Said “Nomo homo.” And it bang again.
This time, the left was rocked. Traditional Bible-believing masses let out a sigh of relief.
And whichever side of the debate you may be on, as the dust began swirling around this newly created gaseous center of controversy, aka. black hole of the universe, World Vision issued a statement that, “they never meant to undermine their firm commitment to Scripture.”
So there’s that. And that’s the last you’ll hear of that controversy in this post. Because it is about quite another organization, a debate you’ve likely never heard of that’s raged silently under your, um — line of vision, and an eerily different decision-making process.
You see — I say this without passing judgment either way — World Vision claimed they were under no duress from the progressive culture to make the change. No lawsuits. No lobbyists. No pressure.
At the same time, a very different organization that fights for children faced, and has faced, extreme pressure to cave on its “firm commitment to Scripture.” It’s been attacked, threatened from within and without, publicly lied about, and *here is the real sin for a non-profit* it has risked, and lost, funding from many large donors for one reason and one reason only:
It is unwilling to change the mission statement that Scripture is the only inerrant and infallible Word of God.
That’s it. No contraceptives debate. No homosexuality or baptism or alcohol or post-millenial stance. Just — is this the Word of God or isn’t it — and are we willing to share it, with no pressure or strings attached, at the complete comfort and interest of our clients, upon request.
A continuous, shocking barrage over the last couple years of high profile community members, and unfortunately even church members, has fought to change that simple standard. More money. Bigger donors. Better business. More promise. Scripture quietly compromised.
The organization is CareNet of Indian River County. The founder — Caroline Ginn, a prominent Catholic community member who started this ecumenical movement to unite Christians around saving babies in crisis pregnancies and supporting, at all costs, the young mothers who carry them.
The answer to that question in this debate — an unequivocal, unshakable, immovable, resolute, No. No. Did I say immovable?
When an opportunity to pray with a young mother — who very well might end the life of the tiny child within her — comes, CareNet counselors offer to pray. They offer the Word along with their services as a secondary side note. And give full services if it’s unwanted. No strings. No pressure. And their opponents fight this furiously. Who would want to pray with pregnant mothers in crisis, after all?
CareNet knew the cost. They counted it. And when faced with attacks from their opposition, and the damage it could do to the mission, CareNet simply. said. No.
“Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.”
We all talk. I do it all the time on Twitter. Too much probably. Few of us lace up our shoes, eye the climb, place well-worn treads on a strip of pavement, and walk.
This week, I ignited a firestorm on Facebook by stating that in 2012 more black babies were aborted in New York City than were born. And I attributed this to Planned Parenthood.
Let me give you a contrasting statistic. In 2012, CareNet of Indian River County was recognized by Choose Life, the national organization that makes Choose Life license plates, as the #2 crisis pregnancy clinic in the nation for six crisis pregnancies averted from abortion and placed in adoptions.
Little po-dunk Vero Beach, and CareNet saved six — six — babies’ lives that year. In 2013, six more babies’ lives were saved and placed in loving adoptions. So far, in 2014, already two have been guided past abortion to adoption. Death to life.
I’m going to say this another way. I’m a newbie to this whole marriage thing. I was married on 9/10/11 because my wife thought the date sounded cute. We were both virgins who didn’t know our elbows from our utero’s, and didn’t take seriously the condoms my brother had placed in my tux back pocket. So by the end of our wedding weekend, two relatively ignorant newbs were joined by this little guy:
Another quickly followed —
— so we now have two entirely adorable bundles of cuteness in just over two years of marriage.
And in the time since I’ve discovered marriage, ignored condoms in the pocket of my tux, returned from a honeymoon, and learned what waking up at 2am with no concept of reality means, little hometown CareNet alone has saved 1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1 babies. Lives saved. Babies loved. Placed with Christian parents. Kids discipled in Christ. Mission fulfilled.
Oh, and they give continued therapy to the mothers who often experience residual effects from loss or abuse.
Is there any better example of being the church today? And under intense pressure to compromise the call?
This Saturday is CareNet’s Bridges to Life fundraiser. They’ll walk State Route 60 bridge in Vero Beach, Florida, they’ll celebrate and raise funds for life.
I’m going to be blunt (and brutally honest). If you support them with me, this will probably be the most important money you give all year.
Your church needs money. The pastors need salaries to serve, the building needs maintenance, the ministries support, and churches give to charities around the community and the world.
But donations to CareNet simply save lives. In what most Christians see as the most critical right to fight for in our day, CareNet doesn’t argue, debate, or talk. They lace up shoes and friggin’ run.
So I’m going to do something crazy (because let’s face it I’m a fool). And I’m encouraging foolishness of Jesus’ kind. If you hit the link below, I will match all money you give from now through Saturday, up to $2,000. CareNet has agreed not to tell me who gave, so I promise to never thank you. All your glory will be saved for God. If you’re one of my crazy generous fool friends and you give $5,000, I will only match the first $2,000 and CareNet will keep all of it. AND I will never thank you. But you will save 1+1+1+1+…
And little adorable shoes will lace up someday because of you.
At 9:30 Saturday, I’ll lace tired old Adidas and walk. Whether I am alone or you are next to me. I’ll eat some complimentary Bono’s wings and write a bigger check than I’d planned, because somewhere along the way I’ll see a face like this —
— and I won’t be able to stop myself.
My heart will be happy. My arms will be full (of toddler). And I’ll know, soon enough, another bursting heart and set of unbelievably happy arms will be, as well.
And that’s the way it should be.
It’s the perfect way to spend a morning. It’s the perfect way to spend — if I may — a life.
So when the world’s vision turns to us, and nothing at all that we say matters — or what we debate — only what we do, I say we walk.
If you’re willing, I’ll meet you at the top of a bridge.
It’s something every Christian has to do now and then.