During “Choice” Chain, we often have more than one person listening to our conversations. If I’m standing on a street corner talking with one person, there might be a few others who are waiting to cross the street. My audience is suddenly larger. Or if I’m speaking with a group of people but one of them is doing most of the talking, I need to remember the others are listening as well.
Last Friday we were doing “Choice” Chain along Stephen Ave. in Calgary. Each day, Stephen Ave. is closed to vehicular traffic, allowing pedestrians to make their way between shops, pubs, and cafes. It’s a highlight for tourists and a regular lunch spot for local white collars. With last week’s beautifully warm sunshine, we had a lot of foot traffic by our display.
A half hour in, I noticed a steady stream of bubbles floating past me. A young woman had shown up with a little bottle of bubble solution in one hand and a wand in the other. She didn’t carry a sign but considering her close proximity, she was there because we were. She’d be able to hear any conversation that I had.
An older woman, Emma*, approached me and commented on how terrible abortion is. She was incredulous at why women would have abortions. As I spoke with Emma, this was an opportunity to also share the pro-life message with our protestor. “Yes, abortion is very awful. Some women are in very difficult circumstances and may feel that abortion is their only option, yet we want to show them what that option looks like before it hurts them and their child.” Notice how I acknowledged the difficult circumstances pregnant women find themselves in so that I could create common ground with the protestor while I tried to address Emma’s thoughts about abortion.
I continued, “If we believe in human rights for all human beings, we need to show people what abortion does to the youngest humans.” I was intentional about bringing part of the human rights argument into the discussion. When Emma shared about her 3 miscarriages and 2 still births, it was an opportunity to first love her but also to show the protestor the heart behind the pro-life movement. I asked Emma how she is doing and gave her a hug before she left. My first priority was Emma and then where I could, I threaded basic pro-life apologetics through the discussion to try to reach the younger woman at the same time.
The person in front of us must come first, and we want to focus our conversation on responding with what we believe they need to hear. Yet we can “season” our conversations by slipping basic pro-life conversation tidbits into what we say as we try to reach the rest of those listening.
*Name changed for the woman’s confidentiality.