pursuing holiness and wholeness together

In Uncategorized on January 29, 2011 at 2:35 pm

the friday before last i was snowed out of work and stayed home with a sick lydian. around mid-day after the snow had stopped and the winds had picked up i was almost physically arrested by the sight of wind-blown dry snow streaking towards cabot and glinting in the sun. that was one of the first times in my life a sight brought a recitation of the psalms to my lips – “wash me Lord and i will be white as snow” – and a deep longing for holiness into my heart.

holiness, the hope of being set apart for God’s righteousness and justice, has always been somewhat of a puzzle to me. i was reminded of this yesterday when one of my closest colleagues – with whom i work on a number of vital, deeply life-affirming initiatives – asked me if i had been one of the christian kids protesting at the abortion clinics.

i had been. i talked about my experience, carefully foregoing a description of the gruesome protest poster i preferred, and it brought back a deluge of memories good (learning to pray the rosary with catholics), bad (kicking mud all over a particularly unkind counter protestor; being physically threatened by a jeep that jumped the curb and crunched our signs), and indifferent (namely, puzzling through how i can hold onto a life-affirming perspective on women’s reproduction without mirroring the absolutist perspectives of my youth).

my friend was on the other side. she told me that she worked at the planned parenthood sites where women were usually seeking prophylactics or addressing women’s health needs not related to abortion. we briefly talked about our current perspectives on the issue and, though we had differences, the conversation was amicable and marked with trust for the each other’s intentions.

i don’t really know what holiness is nor can i describe it in any complete or comprehensive manner. however, as i reflect on that conversation i realize that in my youth i thought of holiness as a characteristic that set one apart from and in opposition to the other. when we were holding the strip of public property outside of the clinic, we thought we were absolutely right to protect the lives of the unborn and those on the other side were absolutely complicit in the act of murder.

now i realize that my absolutism was rife with naiveté and i am thankful for the opportunity to struggle, strive and work beside a woman who i once would have considered my enemy to pursue the wholeness, health and vitality of others.  different perspectives on significant issues like abortion do not need to be denied in order to pursue justice, mercy, wholeness, and perhaps even holiness in community and solidarity with one another.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff Gentry, Jeff Gentry. Jeff Gentry said: pursuing holiness and wholeness together. […]

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