“What do you have going on this weekend?”
One Friday, while I was still pretty new at my job, I got this question from a co-worker. What should I tell him? The new season of my guilty pleasure show came out on Netflix. I might go get pizza. I don’t know. My weekends are usually low-key. This is small talk anyway. Oh yeah, I’m doing THAT Saturday morning.
“I’m going to do some volunteering tomorrow morning.” That’s vague enough.
“Oh really? Where at?”
“Uhh, Planned Parenthood.” Please let it end here.
“Oh that’s cool, what are you going to do?”
I AM DOOMED. By nature, I am a very non-confrontational person. I don’t like controversy. I don’t like politics. I don’t like arguments. I don’t even like the pressure of choosing where to eat with my friends. Oh well, time to light the fuse.
“I will be praying and witnessing outside the clinic.” I might as well have my pro-life button and t-shirt on at this point. But his answer surprised me.
“You know, I’m trying to speak out against abortion and stuff.”
“Oh, well that’s cool. Good for you. Yeah, I don’t really agree with abortion either.”
That was it. I left it at that. We kept on working and the day went by with us probably talking about sports and music and other stuff. But this conversation helped me to remember something. It reminded me that in our public outreach, we tend to find ourselves around people on the far edges of both sides – from the awesome pro-life people who have become my closest friends – to the angry people who believe what we do is “suppress womens’ rights” and “butt into the personal lives of others.”
But this was a stark reminder that the majority of our family, peers, and co-workers probably haven’t studied anything on this issue. They haven’t seen Abby Johnson or Kristan Hawkins speak – or Cecile Richards and Dr. Wen, for that matter. They’ll just have formed opinions based on how they perceive the world, maybe depending on who they follow on Facebook or what their parents believe.
Be natural about your pro-life advocacy. Don’t be weird.
Talk about some of the things you do for the movement. Sprinkle in a little ERI apologetics here and there. Talk about some of the amazing facts of pregnancy. Talk about success stories from time to time. Talk about the resources you’re aware of for women. When I say talk, I mean have a conversation and read the conversation. Don’t shoot down opposing opinions in a close-minded way.
Sometimes it might go nowhere and when that happens be OK with it. But you’ll also see some amazing conversations happen! I know the people I work with will engage in some very interesting philosophical debates that sometimes tangent off this issue if not bisect it directly – and they will usually find me to join in! It’s actually really fun to have these discussions (not arguments).
Anyway, don’t be afraid to talk about what you’ve got going on this weekend. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Guest Post by Mario Madawela, Pro-Life Future Lehigh Valley PA