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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

no simple dilemma: part deux

thanks for your posts thus far. jack is a fitting name and we'll go with that. but don't be disappointed when we find out the sex if we don't name it jack...even if it turns out to be a boy!

i would love to have someone interact with the issues i raise in the original post though. this really is no simple dilemma and for those of you who would do (or have done) what we are doing (keep the baby until the lord takes it...i.e not terminate) what influenced that decision? why did you decide to keep it? how did you explain this decision to others? for those of you who wouldn't keep it (don't feel bad if you wouldn't...i'd be lying if i said this was an easy decision for us...we definitely contemplated terminating the pregnancy--yes we are christians and are pro-lifers too), what would influence your thinking? why would you choose to terminate?

this situation and others like it are so difficult. not just because they make us sad and overall, just suck...but because it forces us to live out what we say we believe. i'd love to hear and interact with your underlying beliefs so that you can track with me where your beliefs would take you in a situation like this. it is similar to the hunter post of christian's (let's ignore the fact that no one liked it for a second) because hunter lived out his system of belief until his last breath...completely consistently. where do your beliefs take you?

please do post something, if for no other reason than you feel bad for me!!!:)


At 1:31 AM, March 02, 2005, Blogger Charles said...

Well, we talked about this, but I guess I will comment here. You know that we are all here for you. I would say that you are in my prayers, but I have fear that my prayers have a reverse effect (just kidding).

Good luck, and you know where to find me.

At 5:36 AM, March 02, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

personally I would err on the side of life, however I SAY that not being in your shoes. I imagine we would do all we could for the child and let God make the final decision. Brave words for someone not in your situation, my prayers are with you.


At 7:16 AM, March 02, 2005, Blogger Justin Dombrowski said...

I'm fine with the decision you made. I guess my only question would be, and maybe this is completely naive and ignorant (I'm 25, newly married, and we've not been pregnant [yet]), whether you'd change your decision if you found out that the baby was placing your wife's life in jeopardy in any substantial way. I'm just curious--I hope that's not too prying.

At 3:19 PM, March 02, 2005, Blogger Christian said...

I've already shared some of this with Ryan, but I'll mention it again here as well.

The real issue in all of this is: "How do we make ethical decisions?"

I think many times we want to define things as right or wrongly strictly based on the action: death at all costs = bad, life at all costs = good (and we apply this to all kinds of things... swear words, alchohol, relationships, political ideologies, etc).

The drawback of this approach is that it can sometimes be overly simplistic - we end up spending an awful lot of time just talking about "where do you draw the line" and sometimes lose sight of the human element involved.

The Puritans (of all people!) had a richer, more nuanced understanding of right and wrong. They said that for something to be good, it needed to meet 3 criteria:

1) it needs to be in harmony with the teachings of Scripture (the action/nonaction itself)

2) it needs to be done for the glory of God (goal/intent)

3) it needs to be done out of faith in Christ (basis)

I find this really helpful because it recognizes that Scripture needs to be our measuring stick; at the same time, there's more to rightness/wrongness than just the action in and of itself - its also conditioned by my purpose and motivation (to glorify God).

Even more significantly, though, the Puritans recognized that no action in and of itself is ever pleasing to God - what pleases God are those things done through faith in Christ (cf. Heb 11:6), because Christ himself is interceding on our behalf making our actions pleasing to the Father (cf. Heb 7:25, Rom 8:34).

And this is tremendously encouraging for me as a weak, sinful, imperfect, Christian, because it means that even when I screw up and make a wrong decision (whether unintentionally out of ignorance, or even intentionally out of weakness), God still views me through the lens of Christ's righteousness.

That means that I can't do something bad enough that is going to make him revoke his favor from me. He will never stop being my Father.

That in turn enables me to be much more compassionate to those who struggle in difficult situations like these.

I think Ryan and Rachel are making the right decision by choosing to prolong this child's life as long as God sees fit. But even if they chose otherwise (whether through weakness, despair, sorrow, whatever), I could still offer them hope that God loves them and is with them as their faithful Father.

Why? Only because of their faith in Christ...

So hang in there guys. We love you all and God will be faithful to see you through this!

At 3:26 AM, March 03, 2005, Blogger CM said...

I like the Puritans approack to ethics, although I'm not sure that this side of heaven we will ever fully understand what Right and Wrong mean - but that's not so say we shouldn't think and talk about it - as long as it's constructive.
I guess it goes to show the awsome complexity of the world that He made...
Take care, and I'll pray for you.

At 1:30 PM, March 04, 2005, Blogger Nana said...

Having been down the other road before, I can assure you, that in MY heart, your decision is the right one. However, you also know that I would have supported whatever decision you and Rachel made. I also want to add to Christian's comment that "he" looks like a little pirate. My first, and consecutive, looks at this child's little face show me a heart shape in what I believe is the bone structure of the face. I don't feel that is an accident. I also read that anencephalic babies cannot feel pain and I know that is no accident either. God does NOT make mistakes and He doesn't ever give us more to handle than what He is prepared to carry us through.


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