HEADlines: Abortion and the Church

Published in The Mustard Seed Sentinel, January 25, 2020~

I don’t know who she sat next to in church that week—or if she even went to church then. And for a long time after I met her, I had no idea what had happened in her life.

It all looked great from my viewpoint.

Then we went on a bus trip to the March for Life. That’s the annual Washington, DC, commemoration of the 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in all 50 states. I don’t know the moment that made a difference for her. I just know that she lived that moment and her life changed. She made a connection with someone she felt she could trust with her secret. And when she did, she found healing.

And I might not have ever known but for a chance meeting.

One Sunday morning, we were visiting a church in a neighboring community. And when we got out of our car, she got out of hers.

She was the guest speaker. She had come to tell us the secret she had carried for years. She had had an abortion.

And she told us about the someone who helped her. And the God who healed her.

Now she helps others. And those others are all around us. We just don’t know who they are or what they are living.

Perhaps one such person sat next to you last Sunday.

One in five women who reported that they’ve had an abortion were attending church weekly at the time. Four in ten said they attended church regularly when they aborted. Seven in ten aborting women identify themselves as Christians.

Only seven of 100 such women said they discussed their decision to abort with someone at their church.

Roland C. Warren of CareNet says, because the issue of abortion has been politicized, many pastors shy away from addressing it. So many women sit in the pews feeling that they cannot speak of their crisis pregnancies.

“[A]s a result of pastors’ withdrawal, there have not been broad-scale ministry on-ramps built around helping women and men make pregnancy decisions,” he writes.

It’s not about politicizing our churches. It’s about providing compassion to people who may hold pro-life convictions in their hearts even when they perceive that their desperate situation has no solution other than abortion. So we also must offer compassion for men who have made abortion decisions. Consider this story:

There is a Planned Parenthood facility in Montgomery County, Texas, that was the special focus of prisoners in the local jail during a 40 Days for Life campaign.

Forty Days for Life was meeting outside the PP at that location from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm daily during those 40 days. One of the participants also volunteered in the chaplaincy program at the local jail. He went to see whether the inmates of faith would be willing to cover the other 12 hours of each day in prayer.

A few days later he “returned to the Wynne unit and the offender heading up the unit prayer vigil gave me the sign-up list. It turned out to be 12 pages full of names. As I examined the list in semi-shock and asked several questions, I realized that each man on the list had agreed to pray for one hour each day for the whole 40 days. For example, 16 men are praying every day from 7 PM – 8 PM for the whole 40 days. Again, 16 different men from 8 PM – 9 PM. 15 men signed up for 3 AM – 4 AM and so it goes. Every hour is covered with at least 10 men who signed up to pray.”

I don’t know how abortion touched the lives of each of these inmates.

But Donna Gardner knows that abortion has touched the lives of many men incarcerated today. Gardner became involved in ministry to post-abortive, incarcerated men after an inmate spoke to a prison ministry about his guilt over participating in abortions.

“The inmate was feeling haunted because he had pressured three different women he had gotten pregnant into having abortions. Surprised that a man was talking about abortions, Lawlor invited Gardner to speak at the annual prison ministry meeting in 2011.”

Gardner believed many prisoners suffered from PTSD because of their involvement in abortions. Her research and instincts found support when “an anonymous survey issued to the inmates at both of the prisons [Martin and Okeechobee in Florida] indicated that 90 percent had been involved in an abortion experience that hurt them.”

She says, “It’s not what you think about men in prison. They longed for their children and somehow recognized that life went wrong after their abortion experience.”

It doesn’t seem like a natural progression of logic that men would find themselves in prison as a result of abortions in their lives. After all, these men had histories before and after their abortion experiences that may also have contributed to their incarceration.

It didn’t seem like a logical connection to the men either—at first. “Many men are unaware that their emotions are the direct result of an abortion experience,” according to Gardner.

Emotional wounding comes from all sorts of trauma. But with nearly 62 million abortions happening in the US since Roe, it’s time to acknowledge that the wounding is widespread.

Gardner’s program includes multiple classes. Men learn how to deal with the pain of the past. They find healing. They experience, she says, “the healing power of God.”

The men are building “this beautiful brotherhood of life . . . behind the wall.”

HEADlines at Mustard Seed Sentinel

Credit: Tim Marshall

Only God can form such a brotherhood. And only God can place a healing helper in our path after we’ve wounded ourselves in a way that seems insurmountable.

Whether the place of ministry is a prison or a church, it must be a place of transparent compassion that says, “We will love you no matter what you face, no matter what you’ve done because there is a great God who loved us and you too,” Gardner says.

That’s the same love that my friend found. And the love she now offers. That’s the love the men suffering after abortion offer.

That love is the Gospel.

And the Gospel is the message of Christ. The message of the Church—if we can be bold enough to share it.

Top Photo Credit: Maria Oswalt

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A Stacked Deck Against the Champions of Life

“This is a case of shooting the proverbial messenger who had the courage to document the business model of the nation’s number one abortion vendor. It was clear during the hearing that Planned Parenthood did harvest and sell infant body parts. What a miscarriage of justice to punish those who documented the disgusting practices.” Kristen Hawkins~

A San Francisco jury has found that undercover journalists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt are liable for damages to Planned Parenthood. The two went undercover to show the world that PP was selling unborn children’s body parts for profit.

Daleiden and Merritt planned to base their defense on the Bill of Rights. But the presiding judge prohibited a first amendment defense.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t get Judge Orrick to back off from his insistence that the jury be instructed that the First Amendment … does not state any kind of defense to the charges in this case,” said Thomas Brejcha, founder of the Thomas More Society, in an update on the case last week.

But perhaps the judge wasn’t the unbiased authority our judicial system calls for. After the trial, Daleiden said Judge Orrick “is actually the founder of a Planned Parenthood of Northern California clinic in San Francisco. . . . 

“We tried to get him recused from this case several times a couple of years ago, and each time he or his peers in the federal judicial system looked the other way and kept him on, and Judge Orrick basically predetermined the outcome of this case from the very beginning of the trial.”

The Daleiden/Merritt case is about punishing those who would speak the truth about what Planned Parenthood’s henchmen and women did (and may still do) to turn a few extra bucks. It’s about silencing any others who may dare to speak truth about what happens behind the doors of PP.

For Planned Parenthood, it’s also about trying to reverse a public relations disaster–the truth.

And it’s about money.

Of course, Daleiden and Merritt’s attorneys plan an appeal.

In the meantime, the Little Sisters of the Poor and 30 other religious non-profit organizations await a ruling from the US Supreme Court regarding their exemption from Obamacare requirements that they provide contraception and abortion for those whom they employ.

That despite an HHS rule that exempts them from the Obamacare mandate.

Yet Obamacare excluded some corporations and government entities (the United States military, VISA, Chevron, and Pepsi, and Exxon). Will those entities provide those services out of their own surpluses–or will the employees pay them out of pocket?

This fight is clearly not about universal coverage.

Maybe these fights over the filming of truth and the sanctity of life are not just about money.

Maybe they’re not just about abortion. Maybe they’re also about power.

J.D. Mullane says it’s not the first time Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro (one of only two AG’s pursuing the Little Sisters) has gone after a “little guy.”

” The AG seems to like picking on little guys like the Little Sisters. Recall how he used the full force of the state to go after a mom-and-pop lawnmower repair biz in Lower Southampton in May, alerting the media with a full-blown press conference with state police, state consumer protection officials, and ‘victims’ who, frankly, should have sought relief at a small claims hearing in district court.”

The Little Sisters of the Poor run nursing homes for abandoned elderly in poverty. They care for those with no one else to care for them at the end of their lives. At the same time, they stand up for the smallest humans at the beginning of life.

In these court cases, religious and journalistic freedom sit in the crosshairs of a weapon aimed at the champions of life–to eradicate their voices and silent witness–to take away their freedom to speak and our freedom to know.

The stakes are high. Get into the game. It’s the only way to overcome a stacked deck.

Photo Credit: Jack Hamilton, Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Then Pennsylvania Came for the Nuns

Martin Niemoller’s famous quote listing the Nazi victims comes to mind today.

This week the Little Sisters of the Poor are back in court–before the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS)–defending their right to follow their religious convictions against abortion and contraception.

This might sound like a rerun of the evening news, but it’s not.

It was just in 2016 that the Little Sisters successfully defended themselves against an Obamacare mandate requiring them to provide abortions, abortifacients (contraception that works after conception–i.e. medication or device abortion), and contraception as part of their employee medical insurance coverage.

The sisters faced the option of shutting down all their facilities or paying millions in fines.

Then they won.

But that’s not the end of the story.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro–presumed by many to be the next governor–wouldn’t let the issue die–despite a Health and Human Services (HHS) rule (at the federal level) that says otherwise. (California’s AG is also pursuing the case.)

A news release from Becket, defending the nuns, explains:

“HHS issued a new rule that protects religious non-profits like the Little Sisters of the Poor from providing services like the week-after pill in their healthcare plans in violation of their faith. This meant their four-year legal ordeal was close to an end. But shortly after, the state of Pennsylvania sued to take away the Little Sisters’ religious exemption.”

According to Becket, it doesn’t seem like a stretch to believe Shapiro has it in for the sisters:

“Pennsylvania admits that it already has and already uses many government programs to provide contraceptives to women who need them.  Pennsylvania never challenged the Obama Administration for creating much larger exceptions for secular corporations—exceptions that covered tens of millions more people than the religious exemption.  Pennsylvania does not even have its own contraceptive mandate at all.”

We of the Keystone Commonwealth should be asking how many of our tax dollars Shapiro has wasted on his persecution of the sisters.

We should realize that electing Shapiro as governor will open the door for more Kermit Gosnells. And we should consider whether that door has already opened.

Anyone concerned about freedom of religion in America should be watching closely for SCOTUS’s ruling on this case.

Photo Credit: Joshua Roberts/Reuters/Newscom

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Abortion and the Church

I don’t know who she sat next to in church that week–or if she even went to church then. And for a long time after I met her, I had no idea what had happened in her life.

It all looked great from my viewpoint.

Then we went on a bus trip to the March for Life. I don’t know the moment that made a difference for her. I just know that she lived that moment and her life changed. She made a connection with someone she felt she could trust with her secret. And when she did, she found healing.

And I might not have ever known but for a chance meeting.

One Sunday morning, we were visiting a church in a neighboring community. And when we got out of our car, she got out of hers.

She was the guest speaker. She had come to tell us the secret she had carried for years. She had had an abortion.

And she told us about the someone who helped her. And the God who healed her.

Now she helps others. And those others are all around us. We just don’t know what they are living.

Perhaps one such person sat next to you last Sunday.

One in five women who reported that they’ve had an abortion were attending church weekly at the time.

Four in ten said they attended church regularly when they aborted.

Seven in ten aborting women identify themselves as Christians.

Only seven of 100 such women said they discussed their decision to abort with someone at their church.

Roland C. Warren of NetCare says, because the issue of abortion has been politicized, many pastors shy away from addressing it. So many women sit in the pews feeling that they cannot speak of their crisis pregnancies.

“[A]s a result of pastors’ withdrawal, there have not been broad-scale ministry on-ramps built around helping women and men make pregnancy decisions,” he writes.

It’s not about politicizing our churches. It’s about providing compassion to women who may hold pro-life convictions in their hearts even when they perceive that their desperate situation has no solution other than abortion.

It’s also about being the place of transparent compassion that says, “We will love you no matter what you face, no matter what you’ve done because there is a great God who loved us and you too.”

That’s the love that my friend found. And the love she offers.

That love is the Gospel.

And the Gospel is the message of Christ. The message of the Church–if we can be bold enough to share it.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Not Some Rapist’s Child

We think it can’t happen to us. It’s something that happens to other people or in the movies or on television.

Jennifer Christie was on a business trip. After a long day of work, she headed back to her hotel room, unaware that someone followed her.

She saw him after she had opened the door to her room and stepped inside. He hit her in the face. He broke her fingers. He broke her ribs. He violated her.

She told herself he could touch her body but not her soul. She awoke in below-freezing temperatures in the outdoor stairwell of her motel.

Today she suffers from a seizure disorder because of the assault. She’s endured six major surgeries to repair the damage he caused.

“I couldn’t wrap my head around the evil we can do to each other,” she told a central Pennsylvania audience gathered last Saturday for breakfast. Her story held us spellbound.

Weeks went by after the assault. Her body healed, but sudden noises made her jump. Her husband was supportive, but she could hear him rage in the shower, shouting, sobbing, punching the wall. He would emerge and tell her: “Everything’s going to be okay,” only to rage and sob and punch again the next day.

At the end of six weeks, he suggested she go back to work–to go do what she loved. He stayed behind with their four children.

Work in this instance was a previously scheduled cruise. What could be a better way to find healing and restoration?

Unless you get dysentery on day two of the cruise.

When she didn’t bounce back as expected, the ship’s doctor suggested a pregnancy test.

That possibility had not occurred to her. Her youngest child was eight years old. Her husband had had a vasectomy years earlier.

“I was raped,” she told the doctor, having only used the word assaulted until that moment.

Yes, she was pregnant.

Others urged her to have an abortion–to get rid of the reminder sure to haunt the rest of her days.

Imagine the physical pain on top of the sense of having lost the sense of security most of us carry within us. Imagine the sense of lost control over your life.

The argument for abortion in the case of rape is supposed to be one of compassion. How can we ask a woman so violated to carry the reminder of her attacker, to bring this reminder to life, to look him or her in the face every day (as we disregard the possibility of adoption)?

Now imagine people telling you what you have to do. What you can’t do. You have to abort. You can’t keep what came from rape. Imagine many people telling you what you MUST do. So many voices saying the same thing.

But she felt protective of the life within her.

“I couldn’t protect myself. Him I could protect. . . . The more I heard how easy it would be [to have an abortion], the more I felt protective.

Her husband’s reaction? “This is a gift. This is something beautiful that came from something horrible.”

She says, “My son is a reminder that every day we can rise above our circumstances. . . . He came into our lives when we were hurting and broken and he healed our family.”

Jennifer Christie has lived that reality. She looks into her reminder’s face every day.

But five years later, she does not see “some rapist’s child.” She sees “God’s child.” His name is Joshua. And he is beautiful.

The voices that would have snuffed out his life were many. And Jennifer says, “Those voices were loud.

“But little boy, we loved you louder.”

Only a loud love can drown out the voices that would tell us that an innocent life must end because of the evil of someone else.

See beauty. See that there are no rapists’ children. There are only God’s children.

Love loud.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

HEADlines: Our Culture’s Perspective of Sex

Republished from Mustard Seed Sentinel, Saturday, October 26, 2019

I remember watching a segment CBS journalist Harry Reasoner did—perhaps for one of those television news magazines—in the early or mid-1970s. It was about our changing perspective of sex. The most powerful words Reasoner said came at the end of his piece. They went something like this:

It may be that the head cheerleader would give in and have sex with the quarterback. But she knew she was giving away something important. And he knew he was getting something very valuable.

Reasoner bemoaned the shift in America’s thinking that told the young woman she was giving away something trivial. And the young man was not receiving something precious and irreplaceable.

That perspective shift turned into big changes in our culture. The cheerleader and the quarterback who had sex in the back seat of the car would likely marry and likely stay married.

In that back seat, he knew he wanted to. She knew she wasn’t supposed to. Often, they both understood the risks were grave—upset parents, loss of reputation, untimely pregnancy, disappointed hopes for the future.

Today, he still wants to. But she believes she’s supposed to want to also. And neither has any fear of consequences.

The key today is whether she wants to. Whether she consents. In theory, it sounds fair, sensible, progressive. But it doesn’t play out quite so simply in reality.

David French: “You can sum up the sexual ethic of the sexual revolutionary in one sentence: Except in the most extreme circumstances (such as incest), consenting adults define their own moral norms. . . . Desire is elevated over fidelity and certainly over propriety, so bosses bully, spouses stray, hearts break, and families fracture.”

Nearly 60 years after the birth control pill and 46 years of legal abortion in America, we may be waking up to the idea that casual sex has opened the door to exploitation on a level unseen since the dawn of Christianity.

Jennifer Joyner is one who has awakened. She had thought casual sex would be pleasurable and empowering. But it wasn’t. She calls it a “rigged game.”

“Whether we like it or not, sex is intrinsically biased against the woman: biological reality dictates that she carries the brunt of sexual risks while he wields the majority of sexual power.”

But women aren’t the only ones to lose at the rigged game. A male reader provides this insight into his post-abortion world.

As a man who found myself an un-knowing and un-willing participant in an abortion almost 25 years ago, my life became a very dark place. It was 20 years before I ever allowed myself to say the word and then God, somehow opened the floodgates of denial. The last 5 years or so have been a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs (mostly downs), as I have tried to come to grips with the loss alone. There have been a few close friends that kept watch over me when I was in the deepest pits, and I am grateful they were there. . . . [Two] days before the anniversary) I found myself back in one of my pits. I walked to my closet and retrieved my 45 handgun, and stood there for a moment crying. I honestly couldn’t tell you if I was trying to decide whether to pull the trigger, or trying to talk myself out of it.

His situation began with human connection—perhaps a deep emotional connection. He still has a deep connection to his child. But he finds it difficult to work through his grief.

A typical situation begins with two people who come together in passing or in love–but always in passion.

She becomes pregnant.

He doesn’t resist when she says she’ll have an abortion—even though she may be hoping he will take a stand on behalf of their child—that he will choose to stand by her.

Or perhaps he pushes her to abort the baby. Or perhaps, like our reader, he will learn of the abortion only after it’s already happened.

Since before Roe v. Wade, we’ve heard that abortion is between a woman and her doctor. It’s nobody else’s business.

Except it doesn’t work that way–even though it may take some men years to understand that the wound from abortion is like a stone that has been weighing them down.

In The Tears of the Fisherman, Kevin Burke writes:

“[Many men] do not associate the symptoms they are suffering [depression, addiction, inability to maintain relationships] with that abortion event in their past. Even if a man is aware that he is hurting from participating in the death of his unborn child, there is no safe place to share that burden.”

He has no place to go–either because no one else knows about the abortion or because those who do know don’t want to discuss it. The reader quoted above was blessed to have people encouraging him to work through his pain to a better place of healing.

Burke explains why healing is so important:

“When you went through that abortion experience the natural need for you to grieve the loss of your child and your parental relationship with your son or daughter was also aborted. For some men and women, forgiving self and letting go of the burden of self-condemnation feels like letting go of the only real connection with their unborn child or children.”

Yet there is hope—for both women and men.

A pregnancy scare at 19 turned Jennifer Joyner’s thinking around. She realized that her sex partners were gaining all the pleasure of the act (which she often found painful) and she was carrying all the risk. Instead of playing a rigged game, she could change her behavior. She could play a “long game.” She writes:

What’s attractive to me today is the sort of romance that lasts a lifetime. Men who seek this know it requires patience, wisdom, and a firm grip on their own reins. Because he’s responsible, he restrains his sexuality until he’s ready to share her sexual risks—including that of parenthood. . . . Until then, he’s researching the contours of her character rather than those of her anatomy; he’s focused on the long game.

And more from our post-abortion male reader:

When I started this walk, I was completely alone, with no idea where to turn. I have friends who have supported me once I broke my silence, and I love them to death. But through no fault of their own, I really didn’t trust anyone with the storms that were constantly raging inside me.

I knew there were programs out there, but for a variety of reasons, (pride mostly, but I have to confess to a degree of distrust as well) I wouldn’t reach out. . . . I guess I was waiting on something to just fall in my lap. Once I took a few small steps that is exactly what happened.

There are other men like me out there, many of them probably less informed than I was. Still, it took a lot of searching before I knew what was out there. Anything, and anyone who helps get that message out is a tremendous blessing.

Women can play the long game instead of the rigged one. And men can find healing after the tragedy of abortion.

But that requires a supportive community and the right resources.

A woman seeking to pursue sexual purity (with or without an abortion in her past) will find a wonderful resource in Dannah Gresh’s And the Bride Wore White.

A helpful community comes in the form of Pregnancy Resource Centers and Clinics. CareNet is a network of such organizations who help with crisis pregnancy, STD diagnosis, post-abortion recovery, and wise counsel.

For post-abortion men and women, hope comes, not in forgetting, but in honoring and remembering. Healing ministries provide the opportunity to remember, to name the child, to repent, to find forgiveness. Burke’s book lists the following resources:

Abortionforgiveness.com is part of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.

Menandabortion.net helps men find healing and works to raise awareness of men’s abortion pain in counselors, pro-life workers, and society at large.

And Rachel’s Vineyard is a ministry for married couples, parents, and grandparents. This ministry provides the stone that symbolizes the burden of abortion.

The rigged game is a lie too many of us have bought into and lost. The foundational lie behind the game is that we belong to ourselves. We think our bodies are ours to do with as we please—and we seek only to please ourselves.

What happens to the other is not our concern.

HEADlines at Mustard Seed Sentinel

Yet the game’s prize for all players is emptiness and a devaluing of our very souls. Every selfish act brings an eventual negative return. Every selfish act is a refusal to let God own us.

Young people convince themselves—or our culture has convinced them—that their sexual purity is of little value. And even our nation’s laws have told them that the result of their casual unions is inconsequential.

In the forty-six years since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion from conception until birth, uncommitted sex has destroyed the lives of 60 million unborn and countless adults.

David French once more: “An ethic that indulges [the sex] drive while also denying the emotional significance of sex will inevitably wreck lives. The wise person understands that desire — even mutual desire — can be dangerous. How many happily married men and women look back on the momentary temptations of the past and wish they’d indulged? How many are grateful that they had the self-discipline and moral character to refuse to do what — at that moment — they wanted to do?”

And how many still carry the burden of an unwise choice during a moment of temptation?

It’s time for society to admit that the sexual revolution is over and our ownership of self has been only destructive.

It’s time for us to give up the lie of the rigged game, to give ourselves back to God.

It’s time for us stop living for ourselves—and in so doing—to make our lives even better than we thought they could be.

Photo Credit: Jared Sluyter and Aaron Burden, respectively

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

When Jurors Cry

A civil trial is underway in California in federal court although you’d never know that from watching network news sources.

Imagine you are the plaintiff. You are suing someone for $16 million. They filmed you without your permission. You go to court.

When one of your employees testifies that the videos harmed her and her family, the defense attorney points out that she has contradicted sworn statements she made in a deposition earlier that the videos had done her no harm since she had said nothing wrong.

The employee is Deborah Nucatola an “abortion provider” who spoke openly on the video recorded by David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt–the defendants in the case–about how she would alter her abortion methods in order to obtain baby body parts to sell.

Nucatola’s contradiction pried open the door to finally let the jurors see what all the furor was about. Until then, the judge had refused to let the jury members see any of the videos in question.

The video shows Nucatola munching on a salad as she cavalierly describes managing the abortion process for maximum profit. She describes how abortion site staff would meet every morning to discuss which parts were on order for that day.

A court observer provided analysis of the jury’s reaction to the film.

“The jury was stunned. It was the first time during the three-week trial that they had seen any of the debated video. It was a game changer and a huge victory for the pro-life defendants. Planned Parenthood’s star witness [Nucatola] turned into a star witness for the defense.”

One court observer said, “tears could [be] seen on the faces of some members of the jury as they watched Nucatola speaking on video ‘about liver, lungs, hearts, muscle, and calvarium (baby heads) that were harvested from the bodies of aborted babies.'”

Daleiden and Merritt have asserted that their recorded conversations always occurred in public places where others would be able to overhear. Therefore, the expectation of privacy was low, and so the recordings do not violate California law.

Further, Daleiden had earlier testified in a preliminary hearing that, before releasing the videos on the internet, he had interacted with police and public officials ten times over a one year period.

David Daleiden had not intended to release the videos to the public. He went to law enforcement. Ten times.

In the meantime, California regulators have shut down the businesses that had been buying baby body parts (often from children born alive)–and two congressional committees are investigating.

But Planned Parenthood, Nucatola’s employer has circled the wagons and is shooting back. They had hoped the jury would not see the truth the videos reveal.

The truth that they were picking apart the bodies of the most innocent humans for profit.

Now the fate of Daleiden and Merritt is up to twelve people. Twelve people looking through their own tears.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Dehumanizing of America

In Ohio this week, a jury refused to convict a teen accused of killing her newborn to keep her secret that she had been pregnant.

In Ohio vs. Richardson, the defense argued that the baby was stillborn.

The prosecution argued that Ms. Richardson had searched Google for “how to get rid of a baby” before giving birth.

In her own back yard, Richardson buried the newborn girl, whom officials didn’t find for two months, ensuring that evidence of any violence against the child would be beyond reach.

A doctor, whom Richardson saw only once, testified that at her only prenatal appointment–when the doctor confirmed the pregnancy and determined she was in the eighth month–Richardson made it clear that she didn’t want a baby. The doctor urged her to tell her mother–to tell someone.

But she didn’t–not even while she was in labor.

Not even as she was delivering the little girl on the floor of her bathroom in the middle of the night.

Not even, supposedly, when the child was born not breathing.

And not even after she dug a hole in the yard and covered the baby in two inches of dirt.

Ultimately, the jury found her guilty of abuse of a corpse. She will serve no jail time.

As I watched part of the proceedings against Richardson on Courttv last week, I couldn’t help but wonder how much our liberal abortion laws have affected such cases. Did it go through the minds of jurors that, but for a few days, the child could have been disposed of without dragging a teen through a trial?

In many places in this nation, it would have been legal for Richardson to abort her daughter–even when she found out she was pregnant at eight months–even right before birth. And she would never have to tell her mother.

A.E. Samaan: “Humanity has overcome the food chain, and having surpassed all other predators, has now turned to a strange form of cannibalism: humanity preys upon itself. We cull our own herd. We murder our own children. This is what we call ‘progress’.”

In Ohio, a young woman thinks she has her life back. She won’t be going to jail for murder.

She is free.

Or is she?

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Snakes Return to Ireland

“[G]hosts of dead men . . . have bequeathed a trust to us living men.” Patrick Pearse,

Patrick Pearse was an Irish Republican (one who sought independence from the British) during the Easter Rising–the failed insurrection in 1916 that preceded eventual independence for Ireland.

His full name–Patrick Henry Pearse–might lead us to assume that he is the namesake solely of the great American orator who called the Virginia Assembly to liberty or death. America’s Henry survived our rebellion. Pearse did not survive the Rising. He gave his all to it.

But there is an older Patrick of Ireland whom Pearse’s parents may also have had in mind as they named their new babe.

It was Saint Patrick who chased the snakes out of Ireland, the Irish say. But the Irish admit that serpents didn’t inhabit the Emerald Isle in Patrick’s day. The snakes in Patrick’s metaphor refer to pagan practices of ancient, pre-Christian days.

Among those pagan practices was human sacrifice.

Today, Ireland is a beautiful paradise for tourists. Small farms and large ones dot the countryside between a few big cities–growing cities as the young begin to abandon the rural for the urban and urbane–as the country reaches perceived heights of sophistication.

Ireland has come a long way from its pagan days and from its hungry days since the potato famine of 1845 and following. It’s now a land with a solid economy and a growing population. That growth is from immigration.

In 2017, the Republic of Ireland had the highest birthrate in the European Union–yet it was still below replacement levels. And that was before abortion became legal at the beginning of this year–an occurrence that seemed impossible to many even as it unfolded.

In Luck and the Irish: A Brief History of Change, 1970-2000, R. F. Foster includes a chapter entitled “How the Catholics Became Protestants.” That chapter explains the country’s shift from Catholic values to secular ones.

“The notion of Catholicism as indivisible from Irish nationalism and even from Irish identity might be counted as one of the casualties of the last thirty years’ cultural upheaval,” he writes.

Ireland has taken the same path other western countries have followed from a rejection of sexual license (including nonacceptance of contraception) to the embrace of LGBT sensibilities. From traditional marriage to a no-holds-barred free for all.

Legal abortion was another step on the path to today–although, unlike in America, abortion is limited to the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, barring a risk to the mother’s health and the euphemistic “fetal anomaly”–a death sentence for the challenged at every stage of development. A human sacrifice to convenience, cost-effectiveness–ultimately to self.

Foster: “[T]here is a point at which a la carte Catholicism becomes a kind of Protestantism” (57). It’s the same point at which any Christian decides he or she knows best. Whatever our denomination, it’s when we follow our own way.

Hence, legal abortion in Ireland and the rest of the West. And so we abandon some children to death and others to a different kind of desertion.

Michael Brendan Dougherty is an American-born man who grew up hardly knowing his father who eventually married and built a family in Ireland. Dougherty’s mother instilled in her son a deep understanding of his Irish roots. The boy grew into a man who would relish his Irishness and seek a deeper bond with his father.

In My Father Left Me Ireland: An American Son’s Search for Home, Dougherty explains the shift of heart that’s happened in the West. In the past, we revered and appreciated those who came before us. Our humility in light of sacrifices they made on our behalf “leads to self-sacrifice in the present and new life and regeneration in the future. . . .

“When we do have children we so often have them as consumable objects, as part of our life-style choices. We do not receive them as gifts, as living things, inviolate and inviolable. We calculate about them, not worried over what we might give them, but what they take from us. . . .

“We are great consumers. We are useless as conservators. Useless in this way, we deepen the pattern, failing to have children, or failing the ones we have” (205-07).

Dougherty, however, has found humility and respect for those in the past. He is breaking the pattern in which he grew up. He and his wife together are raising two young children. He intends to pass Ireland onto them. But he will pass along more than that.

He is chasing away the snake of selfishness and embracing self-sacrifice.

The ghosts of Ireland’s Patrick speaks through Dougherty. “[T]he past reproaches the present on behalf of the future. . . The ghosts of a nation reproach the living on behalf of posterity” (204).

Those same ghosts of Ireland speak to us today–even those of us an ocean away in Dougherty’s America. They call to us to chase away the snakes of selfishness once more–to cleanse our land by washing ourselves in humility and self-sacrifice.

Dougherty quoting Pearse: “There is only one way to appease a ghost. You must do the thing that it asks you” (213).

Photo Credit: Paul Head

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Restoring the Shattered: Reviewed in The Altoona Mirror

I’m grateful to Linda Gracey for writing this gracious article about Restoring the Shattered. Republished from The Altoona Mirror–June 7, 2019~

Local Author Likens Life to Glass

In her book, “Restoring the Shattered,” Nancy E. Head of Altoona looks at several facets of life that are like broken glass, but can be restored to a beautiful and colorful stained glass window in God’s hands.

Her original goal in writing the book was to encourage Christian unity, but she also writes about broken pieces in her life as well as in society.

The subtitle, “Illustrating Christ’s Love Through the Church in One Accord,” reflects her original reason for writing the book.

Head, who is an instructor at Penn State Altoona and Great Commission Schools, said she wants to make the Christian Church aware of what it has in common, as opposed to allowing differences in traditions and doctrines to keep believers from accepting one another and working together.

When one of her five children converted to Catholicism, some of her evangelical friends had trouble understanding his decision, she said. They seemed to have misconceptions about the Catholic faith, she said, and she wanted them to understand that the Catholic beliefs were not that different from Protestant ones.

“So much division, separation, is based on misunderstandings,” she said.

In her book, Head provides background on the Protestant, Catholic and Eastern Orthodox faiths and examples of how they have worked in unity to spread the gospel. She gives examples of misconceptions and points out how spiritual leaders including Saint John Paul II (pope from 1978-2005), Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Charles Colson encouraged ecumenism.

She also covers legitimate areas where the faiths differ in doctrine and traditions, including concerning communion and baptism.

“Some of our disagreement over communion and baptism is authentic,” she writes in Chapter 10.

“But some is distortion, some is misunderstanding. Determining which is which can help to repair the broken window of our faith communities.”

Whether she is writing about the Christian faith, concerns for societal issues or her own personal life, Head compares the subject to glass in various states. Sometimes it is broken, sometimes it is shattered, sometimes it is scored for a certain purpose. Sometimes she points out how it reflects or transmits light.

Head said the Holy Spirit gave her the idea to use glass, especially stained glass, as a theme throughout the book, but she wasn’t sure how it was going to fit. She knew she was on to something, she said, when she read Ciara Curtin’s article in the Feb. 22, 2007, edition of Scientific American that defines glass as being neither a liquid or a solid, but a state between those two states of matter.

“It’s fluid and flexible,” Head said.

In addition to Christian unity, Head writes about poverty and other societal issues, such as homelessness, abortion and divorce and a need to understand people’s circumstances without being judgmental.

Having known poverty herself, she said, “A lot of people look down on you. You can’t perceive how you ever will become a taxpayer (as opposed to someone who benefits from others’ taxes). You accept the label people put on you.”

Head said, “The church applies labels, too,” adding that that is part of the problem. “The Church needs to look more kindly on people and realize that there but for the grace of God, go I. Instead of judging, we need to learn how to lift them up.”

She gave the example of approaching a homeless man in a church parking lot while others feared him.

“I gave him a gift card (to get a meal at a fast-food restaurant),” she said.

In her own life, it was a divorce in the 1980s that left Head financially challenged. She had to find work to support herself and five children.

In “Restoring the Shattered,” she talks about her struggles and how government programs can be a help and a hindrance. Although she received daycare assistance while she worked, she lost almost all of her subsidized childcare when she decided to attend college. She was able to pursue her goal to acquire a degree, to earn more and get out of poverty, because of Christians who were willing to take on childcare responsibilities.

“We are to encounter the world and meet needs,” she said.

Among those who have read the book are Cindy Updyke, the wife of a former pastor and formerly of Altoona.

Updyke, of North Carolina, said she read the book from the perspective of people who have been wounded and how the body of Christ as a whole has been wounded by suspicion and misconceptions.

“I love how she wove church history into the story … and compared the personal shattering in her life to how the Church was shattered,” she said.

Updyke said the book points out that “We are more effective in healing personal wounds and society’s wounds together rather than when we each stand in our own theological corners. We are more effective in ministering to those who are shattered,” she said.

Updyke said Head is an excellent writer and the history in the book is interesting and relative.

“It’s an easy read,” she said.

Peter A. Joudry, CEO of The Nehemiah Project, said, “Nancy Head is a personal storyteller, a church historian, … and a compassionate believer in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

He said he read her book while ministering in South America earlier this year and became so excited about what he read that he called her from Bogota, Colombia, to congratulate her.

“She believes that our message is far too important to be hijacked by religious squabbles and personal biases,” he said. “She makes a compelling call to all Christians to unite toward the common objective to be Jesus to our troubled world.”

Local Author Likens Life to Glass by Linda Gracey, Altoona Mirror, June 7, 2019

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