Posts Tagged ‘Women’s Healthcare’

Lions, and Tigers, and Bears…Oh My!

November 25, 2015

The other evening The Wizard of Oz was on. It is a favorite of mine that I rarely pass up when it comes on television. Though, since the advent of Wicked, there is part of me that can never watch the melting of the Wicked Witch of the West in the same way again. As I watched it this past Sunday, marinating in all that is going on in our world, nation, state, churches, and our lives it seemed to me there was a great deal of which to be fearful in that movie.

I know, there was always plenty of which to be afraid while watching Dorothy navigate the plot of the story. Miss Gulch, tornadoes, witches, haunted forests, poison poppies, flying monkeys…these were what frightened me most when I was little, guards, dark castles, wizards, and the list can become even longer as you consider all the darkness and dread that filled the movie screen and the story line.

As I sat and watched the familiar scenes pass before me I could not help but think of our own world, my own corner of the world where there is so much fear and anger, it seems we are saturated in it not only real, but imagined, dreamed up, made up, promoted, and thrust upon us. There are times when I wonder if there are those who just make shit up in order to stoke the fires of fear.

So many times when I turn on the news or open a paper it seems that the powers that be want us to be fearful, I have noted before that notion that a fearful citizenry is easier to control, I am believing that is true.

Terrorist threat, racism, bigotry, religious bigotry, the demonizing of the poor and refugees, homophobia, Islamophobia, fear grounded in a woman’s right to choose her own medical care, fear of losing power, fear of losing jobs, economic fear, fear of those who are different than us, the list can become even longer as we consider all the darkness and dread that fills the images of our minds and lives. Sometimes I ponder; fear is easier than understanding, fear is easier than relationship, fear is easier than trust, fear is easier than cooperation, fear is easier than listening, fear is easier than embrace, fear is easier than compassion, grace, and love.

I am reminded of the psalmist cry, “How long O Lord?” How long will we continue to let fear drive our lives, make our policy decisions, keep the doors of our nation, our state, our churches, our lives, and our hearts closed and locked tight. But we need not let fear, bigotry, and phobia overwhelm and consume us. The place to start is within, that light that burns within us we can share until we light the world. There is enough to counter the fear of those who wish to be imprisoned in suspicion and hate. And who knows, the light we share may not only set us free, but others as well.

As I prepare to join our family for Thanksgiving Day and the Holiday Season and beyond I am pondering fear. While I believe there are a great number of things to be concerned about, to stand against, to speak out in opposition, and refuse to embrace, I refuse to live in fear. I refuse to let fear guide my decisions. I refuse to allow fear to temper my compassion, my embrace, my search for understanding, and my commitment to justice, kindness, humility, and love for all.

There is plenty of light in this world to embrace if we refuse to let those who live and promote fear continue to spread a blanket of darkness and dread over our lives and the lives of all of God’s children. Take some time this Holiday Season, but even more, in each and every moment of each and every day to see and embrace the light of the common good and grace and love for all. There is much for which to be grateful in our lives.

I am reminded of the quote from Glinda the Good Witch at the end of the story when Dorothy asks how she is going to get home and Glinda responds, “You’ve always had the power…” In a world where sometimes we just want to find that peace, that place, safe and sacred, that “home” where we will one day live together all of us, where love is the rule and not the exception, we may not be able to change the world by ourselves, but we each have the power change ourselves for the good and together, then, light the world for good.

In each and every moment, I pray compassion, embrace, and love will overwhelm the worries, suspicion, and fear that would attempt to swallow us up. May we see with the eye of the Divine, even within those who may claim to hate us, the kernel of light and good, no matter how small, that resides in all of humanity … the Light that will not let the darkness overcome it…until we all, all of us…Shine.

Peace and Light for Our Journey…
Kent

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Incivility, Hobby Lobby, Refugee Children, Equal Rights, and Gunslingers

July 17, 2014

I have had a rant coming on for some time now and it began bubbling to the surface today so I turned to my favorite form of therapy, writing, if you choose to read this once it is completed you may carry on, I will have gotten it off my chest for a while. I suppose one explanation is it depends on “whose bull is being gored” as the saying goes, it just seems to me the level of incivility of claiming and taking away rights has risen to a new level of late. We have passed laws giving corporations the same rights as individuals, more rights in some instances, and as I look on and encounter the news, media is a whole other blog; it just seems to be getting worse.

I acknowledge there is incivility, vitriol language, hatred, etc. expressed among politicians and even toward our presidents from various factions of our citizenry over the years. Though, at least since I have taken an interest in the political process over my fifty-five years of life, I do not believe I have ever read about nor seen the level of obstruction, hatred, and incivility like that directed at our current President Barack Obama. I do not agree with everything he has done or is doing, but that does not affect the fact that he is my/our president and the office deserves the respect of the people. Blatant personal attacks, racist comments, and outright bigotry should be unacceptable whether we are talking about President Obama or former President George W. Bush. I just don’t get it I guess.

We have a Supreme Court that, at least in some cases in my opinion, it seems the wheels are coming off. From decisions that would somehow justify the doing away with affirmative action because racism no longer exists… as if. The current Supreme Court that would give businesses the right to deny providing particular parts of health insurance if it is against their deeply held religious beliefs, which opens a huge can of worms. We continue to pass laws regulating women’s healthcare choices and reproductive rights and I keep wondering why there is not the same level of regulation on a man’s reproductive abilities, as if I didn’t already know the answer; something about the beast of patriarchy still trying to raise its ugly head.

We hear over and over again the chorus from so many about how we are a Christian Nation, which we are not and never were intended to be, but this same voice would send refugee children back to countries where they are abused, tortured, and killed. Other voices threaten to shoot them if they cross our borders all the while our own politicians using them for political pawns rather than finding compassionate and just ways to care for them.

There are lawmakers and churches, continually trying to revive laws that would allow businesses as well as government entities to discriminate against same-gender couples and lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgendered persons simply because they are who they are or because of who they love. Not to mention churches, including my own beloved UMC, who continue to claim all persons are of sacred worth and welcome, unless you are LGBT and want to be married or feel a call into the ministry. It’s time to end discrimination and violence of word and deed toward our LGBT sisters and brothers.

I see images of people who would rather stockpile weapons and walk through department stores with automatic weapons slung over their shoulders rather than require background checks, gun regulation, or admit we have an addiction to violence, guns, and war in this country! It is time to acknowledge more guns are not the answer to violence.

This is just a short list really of what I see going on in our country today. A list of things that seem to be getting more and more amplified as time goes by. I hear so many saying our current president is trying to take away our rights and those same who condone taking away the rights of those with whom they disagree. It seems a vicious circle and some days it seems as a nation we are regressing to a time of dark and violent days.

But every now and then I see a glimpse of hope and hear a voice of reason. Every now and then someone stands up to the patriarchy, sectarianism, intolerance, and injustice. Every now and then someone rises up and says, “Enough is enough!” I heard a speaker once say that in our national political atmosphere the pendulum swings from one side to the other, it moves to the left for a while, pauses in the center, and then moves to the right for a while and so on. I want to say, “Swing baby swing, it’s time!” Part of me wonders, with all that I see as wrong in the world, if these crazy unjust laws, and this incivility are but the last gasp of a dying era, one last grasp at power before it finally fades into nothingness, I pray so. Every once in a while I think I see it starting to move back to the left, hasten the day I say, hasten the day!

I have come to think I may not change many minds, though I pray I might influence those who are still wrestling, as I work to make my corner of the world a little more hopeful, just, compassionate, and loving, but if nothing else I pray my voice will lend encouragement and courage to those of like mind who have not yet found their voice and place in the struggle. Justice, kindness, humility, and love will prevail of that I have no doubt and because of my confidence in just that kind of world immersed in the Spirit of God, I will continue to stand and work, and speak, and encourage others to do the same until that day when Love is the Rule and not the exception. May it be so and may it be soon!

Women’s Healthcare, Abortion Care, Access, and the Affordable Care Act

February 19, 2013

There are a good number of reasons to speak to some of the current conversations revolving around women’s healthcare and access to affordable and needed consultation, medical procedures, and medications. There has been a lot of media coverage regarding people of faith and the “Christian” viewpoint regarding the topic. With that being said, often times it is only one particular viewpoint that is given press. The reason for that can be two-fold at best. One being that, it can seem, is the viewpoint the media seeks out when finding someone to speak to the issue as a member of the faith community. A second reason is that often times those who support the access to these services in the faith community do not speak up for one reason or another.

I own the fact that as a man I can, perhaps at best, only begin to imagine the struggles and pain decisions around many women’s healthcare and access decisions can bring. But I want to lend my voice as best I can and speak a voice shaped and formed in the experience of the stories of wrestling with issues such as this, not only on a personal level but on a professional level as well as one who listens to those stories of struggle, heartache, and grief around issues of healthcare and access. So it is for the latter of the two reasons and recent stories regarding the Affordable Care Act and the soon to open South Wind Women’s Center here in Wichita, that prompts me to speak as a Christian clergy person. Being Christian or a clergy person does not require a stance that opposes The Affordable Care Act and Universal healthcare or access to the broad coverage it provides. I believe governmental responsibility includes making sure everyone have access to the best of insurance coverage and the best healthcare possible.

For me, it is a matter of following the ministry of Jesus and the faith as best I understand. Access to the services described in these issues affects not only women but all of us and in particular “the least of these,” i.e. the poor, oppressed, excluded, marginalized, and abused.
The care of others has deep and profound roots in our faith and women and men should have access to comprehensive healthcare including reproductive healthcare and family planning services which provides for safe and expert means to provide abortion care while also working to reduce the need for abortions, and preventing unplanned pregnancies and the spread of STD’s. Consulting medical care and counseling regarding the possibility of ending a pregnancy is a heart wrenching consideration and should be left between the woman, her doctors, with the support of other family or community of faith she chooses with as much care, love, consideration, prayer, and reflection as she needs.

My prayer is that the proposals offered by our current administration are accepted and our nation can move with ahead with progress and grace, and in this particular case the women of our society have access to the comprehensive healthcare they need and deserve. My prayer is the South Wind Women’s Center in our city will carry on in offering the highest quality counseling, care, planning, and medical expertise that was once offered in our city and the current facility they occupy.

I believe my voice is not the only Christian voice in support of this important issue and for me, silence is not an option. I pray one day civil and respectful conversation might be our goal and vision for the good of all concerned and for our good city and nation.