Saturday, September 15, 2007

god is pro-choice

Watching the news tonight - there's a story about a Planned Parenthood opening in my city. It's a large state-of-the-art facility that provides services to women and families. And yes, in some cases, abortions.

Of course the story turns to the protesters. Protesters who walk up and down the sidewalks - circling the building seven times (a Biblical reference, of course). Some wearing t-shirts, lots carrying signs, and a few carrying crosses. The vast majority of protesters - Christians. Wearing Jesus shirts, carrying crosses, reciting prayers and creeds...

"Abortion is homicide."
"Life begins at conception."

Nothing that anyone reading this hasn't heard before.

The protesters have succeeded, thus far, in hindering the opening of the facility - a facility that rightfully and legally applied to the city, and been granted, the approval to build the structure and occupy it. Now, due to these protesters, the city has put the opening of the facility on hold pending more investigation of whether or not paperwork was filed correctly.

Planned Parenthood - the organization that strikes fear and anger in the hearts of Christians everywhere. Yet Planned Parenthood is not, and has never been, synonymous with abortion. The organization provides services including STD testing, sexual health resources and education, pregnancy testing, pap smears, birth control and yes, abortions.

I know the facts - I know that Planned Parenthood facilities perform approximately 17% of the total US abortions performed each year. And I also know there are approximately 1.2 million abortions in this country each year.

A point of contention for me is that I do not believe that all abortions are evil and wrong. I have to leave room for extreme health circumstances. But I firmly believe that abortion is not a form of birth control. And it shouldn't be treated that way.

So, all of that said. I'm just simply infuriated by "Christians" who protest these clinics. To them I wish I could convey how some of the rest of the world feel when we see these ridiculous protests that benefit no one. They don't save lives. Protests haven't resulted in any marked difference in the number of abortions performed in our country. And protests haven't resulted in a difference in the number Planned Parenthood performs.

There is no measurable result of your holier-than-thou protests. There is no measurable result coming from your marching, your chanting and your arrogant and ignorant dissent.

These people really do practice what is a huge turnoff to me: ala carte Christianity. They pick and choose which portions of The Bible they use to condemn and judge others. In one breath, they chose to become Christians - to follow God, to surrender their lives. But the very next breath condemns choices that others make - using that same free will.

You see, I believe, very firmly God is pro-choice.

That's right - I'll say it again - GOD IS PRO CHOICE.

And how can I believe this?

Get two post its - label one YES and the other NO. Then think about a decision you have to make.

If God didn't want us to have a choice - the only post-it that would be out - when you're looking at any decision would be just the YES or just the NO. No choice. You are only given the option God wants you to have.

We have free-will We are GRANTED free-will.. And you, Mr./Mrs. Protester, can't have it both ways. You can't believe and profess that God has granted man free-will and be anything other than pro-choice.

[if you'd like to argue free will - here's my thoughts: Throughout the Bible, God continuously instructs mankind to make righteous decisions through free-will. Yet these protesters misinterpret a few verses to arrive at the false idea that mankind does not have free will to do good or make righteous decisions. If you need a few reminders on God's giving man free will, check out Deuteronomy 30:11-19, John 14:15; John 15:7; Romans 2:10; 1 Cor 9:24; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 2:21 and 1 John 5:1.]

If God were not pro-choice - then there'd be no options. God has the ability to completely take away the ability to take away a choice. He has the actual ability to remove one of those post its. And as humans, we are in no position to do or think or say otherwise.

Either God granted man free-will or not. You can't have it both ways. Either God grants free-will and allows there to be a choice, or not.

Why not set aside your signs and your t-shirts and stop your chanting and get involved with the women who have one of the 1.2 million abortions each year? Why? Because you won't get news coverage for that. You don't get cool matching t-shirts that say "Choose relationships." You don't get to make signs, carry them around and be seen. You don't get to end your day getting high fives from 20 other people who stood next to you.

No, instead you'd have to make a difference in someone's life, one on one. You'd have to set aside your warped and tunneled view of what and who belongs next to you on Sunday morning - or who you choose to spend time with instead of you ladies circle or church softball team. You'd actually have to do something measurable for a real-life-person.

But instead, you choose to carry your signs, march and complain about how unfair it is that the rest of the world has choices.

I find that disturbingly ironic.

And simply because you, Mr./Mrs.Protester believe it's in your hands to pick and choose which portions of grace you pass onto others, God gets to freely choose. And so do I.
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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

who does number 3 work for?

Last Sunday I participated in my first ever comedy contest. A lot of comics have mixed feelings about such contests - and I'm one of them. In one respect, it's like comparing apples to oranges, quite often, but on the other side it's fun to be a bit competitive, at least outwardly.

The organizers of the contest did a great job with things, IMHO. We had a great host/emcee - Vince Carone, and it was at ComedyComedy Live in Aurora. I love that venue - well, when there aren't bands in the courtyard.

11 comics - 5-8 mins each. It was a good mix of folks, really. Some seasoned, some not.

The audience voted - everyone there at the beginning of the show got a list of all the acts and chose their 1st, 2nd and 3rd place selections. The 1st place comic got a paid slot as the feature for a weekend at ComedyComedy Live and also a spot in the fall competition at CCL.

I was fourth in the lineup. I'd rate my set as a B-. I had thrown in 2 new bits I'd not done on stage yet (not something I'd normally do, but wanted to get them out there to a real crowd). The outcome of those two new bits? One needs to be pared down, but had 3 definite full crowd laughs, the other went really well and I'll be keeping it - though it's definitely a bit that needs to be in the middle of a set - and some crowds may benefit from it being explained to them [snicker]. I added a zinger to my intro based on the host/emcee's set before the competition started - that was a good move to get the crowd on my side.

At the last minute - I threw in an extra bit because I was worried I didn't have a long enough set. I realized about 3 lines in that I had already fucked it up, and then that bit was a struggle to fix. That was simply due to not practicing enough.

I tend to over prepare - to the point of not being engaged enough with the crowd - but in this case, I didn't prepare that bit enough and I shouldn't have added it. I think that bit changed the outcome.

The result? I came in as the 2nd loser (3rd place). Not bad. The winner did very well - he was a semifinalist in the Chicago Sierra Mist Comedy Challenge this past summer, and 2nd place was taken by Stacy Lynn Fletcher - a fairly seasoned comic who has done some cool things on a big scale - including "Showtime At The Apollo".

So, all in all - not bad being third. Not as good as first, but not as bad as last.
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