I'm gonna open a can of worms here, hopefully sparking some controversy and intelligent discussion.
When is safe not safe?
My church is doing a sermon series called "The Untouchables". The pastoral staff is addressing issues such as homosexuality, racism and abortion. I've written a skit for the abortion sermon that is provocative and as someone said, "unsafe."
Yep. That person feels church needs to be a safe place where no one feels any condemnation or judgment.
"Old people don't need to see this. It will offend them, and some of use choose to stay away from secular people so we don't have to be around 'this stuff'."
My skit has four vingettes. Two are the personal testimonies of the actors. In the first sketch, a young woman recounts her out-of-wedlock pregnancy. She was a prominent member of the worship team, lead Bible studies, MOPS, landed the lead in musicals and very outspoken in her faith. Two weeks after her divorce, she found out she was pregnant from a one-night stand. Abortions easy solution called to her. In her monologue, she cries, "I hate you baby! You will destroy my life!"
The second skit is a scene where a mother is demanding her daughter get an abortion. The girl was raped. The family is well-known in the church. The daughter has a ballet scholarship. "No one will understand! They'll assume things about you... about us!" The mother says, "I've already made an appointment with Planned Parenthood."
Scene three is a teen boy talking to his best friend. He's in a panic b/c he got the pastor's daughter pregnant (this is pure fiction). He talks like a teen boy in 2007. People have a problem with this sketch in particular b/c I had the "event" happen at a youth retreat and the teends involved are Christians.
Finally, the last scene is the my own testimony. Several wonder how it even ties in to abortion. I dramatized the conversation John and I had when I found out I was postmenopausal and unable to have kids - ever. The pain, the hopelessness of it. I wanted to juxtapose this scene for a startling contrast. People who deal with infertility have very powerful emotions relating to abortion. Every time I hear the word, it feels like someone is twisting a knife in my uterus. Yeah, there's a connection. Concern was raised that this scene would condemn people who had abortions in the past and keep them from coming to God. At the end I cry, "Oh God, this is so unfair! Women who don't want them get pregnant and kill them I want one and... and..."
Let me pose this question: Would you rather ignore these issues in the confines of church walls to keep it a safe, happy place? Leave folks to get their information from the world? Or, would you rather the church take a risk of offending folks in order to blow away deception.
When I wrote the skits, my intent was to cause audience members to consider how easily abortion would "solve" the immediate problems. I want them to understand how and why that option is enticing, not only to non-Christians but Christians as well when the stakes are high enough.
So, do we play it safe? Or if we do play it safe, are we really putting people at risk?