When you read the story of JFA’s volunteer “Adam” in my Christmas letter, you may be tempted to heap scorn on him for missing an important opportunity to minister to a woman in need. That’s the opposite of the right response, in my view. I think Adam was doing exactly the right thing, at least in one important sense: He was on the path. He had started the journey towards becoming a good ambassador.
That day at the poll table, Adam was putting himself in the uncomfortable position of being in a conversation with someone who disagreed, with the likelihood of “eating crow.” One can best learn what not to do, sometimes, by doing it. Or, what to do by not doing it. And he was certainly “not doing” one thing he needed to be doing at that moment. (Although he was asking good clarification questions with an open heart; and he was focused on the question, “What is the unborn?” which is generally a good practice.)
So, I say, “Bravo, Adam! Keep up the good work, trusting Christ to make good results from your efforts, even if they include missteps. I’m praying for your next conversation!”
Some of my readers may think that they can learn from Adam’s mistakes by reading his story. Sure, I think there’s value in the story; I wouldn’t share it if there wasn’t. But let’s not overestimate what a story like this can do for us. It can make us more aware, but hearing a story of a mistake is not a foolproof method for not making the same or similar mistakes when we are ourselves in the crucible of a real conversation. This is why JFA emphasizes Seat Work and Feet Work. They are like train tracks. You can’t have one without the other. To say we’ve learned to dialogue, we must…ahem…dialogue. Or, to quote an old Charlie Peacock tune, “We can only possess what we experience. Truth to be understood must be lived.”
So, I invite you to follow Adam’s model and join JFA for a Seat Work seminar so that you can gain enough confidence to get “on the path” (like Adam did), followed by a Feet Work outreach event, so you too can “eat crow.” It will be the best thing you ever did for your growth as a pro-life advocate.
Recent Posts in this Series:
A Tale of Two Gifts (Christmas Letter + Extras)
My “Don’t Be Like Me” Story(s) – Lest We Get Cocky
What Adam Was Doing Right (this post)
When You Fall Off Your High Horse, Don’t Get Off the Horse Altogether
On Scribbles and False Ideas: Are They Beautiful?