I was struck by a quote from Archbishop Charles Chaput today: “The best moral convictions in the kindest heart can unravel in the face of a life-changing choice such as bearing an unplanned child, alone and unmarried.” Don’t fret, he follows this idea up with a plan: “The surest way to transform a culture is from the inside out. And the surest path to doing it isn’t through reasoned debate or violence but by colonizing and reshaping the culture’s appetites and behaviors.”
Though I doubt you will read this post, I am happy to say, Archbishop, that we at Biking for Babies are doing just that!
Our missionaries go through formation and study pro-life apologetics, fundraise for pregnancy resource centers in their communities, learn how these centers can better serve women in their community, and exhibit a joy of living life. On our annual ride, we not only witness to what community can accomplish, but we learn how to better live in community.
Any missionary will tell you that the national ride is NOT easy. There are unforeseen obstacles, detours, and pains. But, as Archbishop Chaput and others, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., point out: cultural change does not happen by simply changing laws. It does not happen by simply throwing money at a problem. No, it happens with people, people who are willing to change themselves, to alter their lives in order to live the culture they wish to see.
Here is the twist: to make that change requires commitment.
Biking for Babies, and changing a culture of death to a culture of life, is a MASSIVE commitment. Let me say that one more time, a MASSIVE commitment. And here lies the crossroad, as the title of this blog states.
I have recruited missionaries for Biking for Babies for years. I have heard every reason someone cannot go on mission with us: the good, the bad, and the ugly. And as a doctoral student with another job and 4 kids at home, I can honestly tell you I get it. Life is crazy busy; I write that with a lot of sympathy.
I grew up in a generation that was told you must make it big. You must have the right job, before you have the perfect family, and don’t forget the perfect house before that! I do not say that sarcastically; these are real goals that are good when they are ordered correctly.
Jesus said, “let the dead bury their dead,” (Matthew 8:22) NOT because he hated family. He said that because he saw a generation that was only willing to go on mission when the timing was convenient. And it should not surprise us that our God inspired a generation of people who suffered and died on mission for Christ.
For generating a Culture of Life, this is even more significant. You see, I feel a gut-wrenching sympathy for a college student who gets unexpectedly pregnant. I could not imagine doing what I do as a doctoral student (or undergrad for that matter) and bearing a child by myself without any support. To call it an “inconvenience” is a gross understatement…but should resonate with us.
Because the truth is, if we are unwilling to give up some of our comforts in life, some of our dreams, and some of our securities to fight and protect women like this and women in much worse situations, then how can we honestly expect these individuals to bring forth a child and raise it in this world? To reiterate what Archbishop said, “The best moral convictions in the kindest heart can unravel in the face of a life-changing choice…”
It sometimes seems like we are “begging” for missionaries, but here is the truth: I’m challenging you. What Biking for Babies challenges this generation is to join a team of missionaries just like the early church. On this team, we suffer for each other, we suffer for others, and we grow in holiness so that we can be a light and a source of hope for women and their unborn children who have had their lives turned upside down.
Commit to these women; commit to this cause. Commit knowing that it will cost you something. Commit knowing that it will be hard. Commit to the weakest in our society.
It is time for the “maybe” generation to say “yes” and mean it. It is what Christ asked of His earliest disciples and it should not shock us that He is asking us the same thing now.