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Bound4Life and Crisis

October 13, 2008

We went out to stand with Bound4Life Chicago again last Saturday morning, and I completely lost it.

Com-plete-ly.

I think this was my fourth time. I know the routine. I know the purpose. I know the prayer. I know the goal. I don’t know what, exactly, happened to me, though.

I got out of the van and there was an unusually large gathering of Catholics outside the clinic. The parking lot is a triangle with sidewalk and fence lining two sides. Usually the Catholics are mostly on one fence and the LIFE team is on the other. They couldn’t contain themselves this week, though, there were so many.

And not just the regulars. There were fathers – or whatever they’re called: the penguins with the little white squares that seem to mark “karate-chop-here” on their throats … I’m getting ahead of myself. There were a lot, and where religion goes, so – apparently – go pictures of anglo-Jesus, mutilated children, and four-foot-high statues.

“Fine,” I thought as I tried to muster up every ounce of grace and love I may have stored away for just such an occasion. When one of the fathers came down our line handing out lyrics and asking the people with red tape over their mouths if they’d like to sing along with them, I caught Pastor Jon’s eye and turned away to laugh before muzzling myself with duct tape just in time.

The weather was really nice Saturday morning, so there were more (biological) fathers than usual waiting, smoking, and chatting nervously in the parking lot. I looked at them, glanced back at the crowd on my side of the fence, and started praying that the fence would collapse.

I started praying for Love to show up. I prayed that our side of the fence would pray, speak, and sing in love, and that people inside the fence would know God’s presence and His love in what may be the most difficult time of their lives. Randy came by and asked us to start by praying for the (biological) fathers, and I prayed for Love to show up.

And then the bullhorn came out.

I opened my eyes and looked at the young men in the parking lot. There were four of them, about my age. They stood against the building smoking and watching the fence. The Catholics sang something in Latin while a young priest read something, very awkwardly, through his megaphone.

Stubborn, hurting hearts faced off against stubborn, hurting hearts. This was not a conversation, this was the beginning of a duel of will. This was us-vs.-them. I stood and watched for probably 10 minutes and then my prayer was answered.

My prayer was answered, and Love showed up but He showed up in me in a way I did not expect and I lost it. I ripped the tape from my mouth and turned around to sit on the curb between bumpers. I prayed in tongues and asked God what was going on. He didn’t answer and I started to choke up.

I walked half-way down the block, called my husband and sobbed at him. This is not love. This is not the gospel. This is not Christ. I’m so tired of Christians being known more for what we’re against than what we’re for, and right now we are against abortion and not for families (or so it probably seems). Some children are saved, but for every one saved how many parents leave this place hardened and offended and less likely than ever to listen to the gospel? I believe our team is here in love, but people inside the fence don’t see the difference – they see Christians kept at bay by a chain-link fence.

“I am a Christian. I am Spirit-filled. I believe in life, and I want to bash that guy’s face in with his megaphone! Do these younger guys look out at us and think, ‘Man, those Christians sure do love me and want the best for me?’ I believe in this and I want to be a light, but I don’t feel like a light; I feel like [insert obscenity here]!”

I cried as Husband reassured me, comforted me, and encouraged me to talk to Pastor Jon about what I was feeling. I can’t do the Holy Spirit’s job and I really don’t know what the young men inside the fence are thinking; I can’t limit God by saying He can’t break into their hearts.

A couple of women emerged from the fence and walked toward me. I hid my LIFE tape behind my back and smiled at them as they passed.

Randy met me and I cried some of the same things at him. He answered some questions and prayed for me, but I don’t know if he understood my heart. He tried to comfort me in that it’s okay if people don’t like us, etc. I’m fine with people not liking me; I’m not fine with people not liking Christ because of me. I don’t know if I communicated that.

Pastor Jon met me down the block a couple minutes later and answered some of my “Why’s?” We talked; he shared some of his heart. I felt a little better, and eventually returned to the prayer line. At the end of the day we decided to get together outside of the second Saturday of the month to talk more about what we can do to really, practically love these people.

I’m really looking forward to that.

James 2:15-17//If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

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