DOING GENTLENESS – PART 2
The year was 1974. The place was Kinshasa, Zaire. And the fight would become known as “THE RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE.” George Foreman was the undisputed champion with a record of 40-0 (37 by knockout). The challenger, and decided underdog, was former champion Muhammad Ali. Ali’s supporters weren’t just afraid that he would lose. They were afraid that he’d be killed. But Ali had a plan.
Beginning in the second round, Ali frequently began to lean on the ropes and covered-up to protect himself as best he could, letting Foreman punch him on the arms and body. He would later dub the strategy “the rope-a-dope.” By the 8th round, both Foreman’s punching and defense became ineffective as the strain of throwing so many wild shots had taken its toll on him. Ali was then able to move in on the exhausted Foreman, knock him to the canvas, and win the fight on a TKO (technical knock-out).
Foreman’s fists were arguably the most lethal in the history of boxing. And this resulted in his earning early-round knockouts in nearly all of his bouts. But it was in this strength that Ali deduced his weakness – a lack of stamina.
So this is the lesson I suggest we take from Zaire and bring to Pittsburgh. When someone insists on going “toe-to-toe” with us out there at the vigil, they’re expecting us to verbally punch back. After all, doesn’t everybody? But if we decide instead to listen patiently to all they have to say – without interrupting – what then will happen?
At the very least, “fight-fatigue” will eventually set in upon our opponent because we won’t be giving fuel to their fire. As a bonus, we’ll have some time to pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance about what we should say if that chance does come about. And if it does come, I’ll also suggest that we begin by respectfully summing-up their point of view to make sure that we have it straight. By following the principle of seeking to first understand, then to be understood, will be a further surprise – and a little more water on their flame.
Where things go from that point, no one can say. But if we approach these encounters from the beginning by remembering to STAY HUMBLE AND REMEMBER THE RUMBLE, we’ll have given ourselves ‘a puncher’s chance’.
AND NOW OUR STORIES AND PICTURES FROM THE SIDEWALK
It was a quiet, peaceful, and prayerful morning. The Saturday regulars were joined by the ladies from St Alexis in Wexford and Mark, a prayer warrior. Then Father Tim and his van full of the faithful Guardians for Life filled the street with prayers and song.
Tim B., 7-9
Part of my Lenten devotion is a daily email with a reflection and something to think about for that day. Today’s theme was “This Day We Fight”. On the way down to PP I kept psyching myself up for the fight and thinking, YES…This Day We Fight!!! We are there to fight for those women, children, fathers and workers.
Well, when I arrived there was already an army amassed including Fr. Tim and the Guardians for Life, a large group from St Michael’s in Wheeling, and a Sister Jolene(?) (sorry if I didn’t get her correct name). She came to pray in honor of her brother’s birthday. Her brother, Fr. Joseph, passed away in October 2015. He was a devoted Pro-Life advocate throughout his priesthood. Sister also wants us to know that 40 Days for Life is remembered daily in prayers at the Mother House! The battleground was set with many PP escorts and many praying pro-life warriors. Chuck and his group were doing the Jericho march, Bill came and walked around the circle in constant prayer. A lot of clients went in and a lot of life-affirming information was handed out, including the 10-week precious feet pins! Please pray for a couple who was in need of housing. A trio of lovely ladies from Good Samaritan came as I was leaving to start their shift. We all covered that place in so much prayer that I left confident we won this spiritual battle, ’cause we are God Strong!
Sue D., 9-11
I will title this: “Judy from the Northside was spat at today.”
This is what she wished she had said in response: “God would love you if you had spat at God Himself…because your life is precious beyond words!” Judy and I are Sidewalk Advocates together and as a result have become friends too! I was standing next to her as we saw the young men approached. Judy offered information and the spit came in response with the spittle landing right at her feet. Just previous to this, I had asked Anita from WV to be one of the dedicated prayers for us as we witness on Saturdays. “The devil saw Jesus in Judy today as it walked by.”
As I came into my favorite coffee shop to write this, a middle aged woman was sitting discussing her writing with a mentor of sorts. The woman was wearing a hat with horns. If you know me by now, I had to ask her before left “Why the hat?” She responded it was part of an act and she decided to keep wearing it. I told her I write about people I meet. She smiled, left, and another woman with interesting symbols on her sweatshirt sat down… to be continued!!
So I ask questions of the many wonderful witnesses who come to the street called Liberty at a site where liberty is ripped from the womb. The three ladies pictured are not only active in 40 Days for Life, but they are Ladies of Charity and in a women’s group which hosts baby showers.
I met Mark who came with the group for WV. He has been witnessing since the abortion clinic was in the other location in Pittsburgh. Bob, who prays everyday as he walks by, also has been praying since the abominable clinic was in that other part of town. I asked the young escorts and the women coming out of the volunteers training program today if part of the training included showing them what an abortion looks like- videos are available. No one would answer me– not even the trainer herself.
Marian C., 11-1
We handed out some of the Rachel’s Vineyard literature to S., who had been at P.P. today. She asked us to pray for her. We know that she’s hurting right now. Otherwise the afternoon went fairly quietly.
Food for thought when refuting the abortion argument: The abortionist sells the concept that the unborn baby is an nonviable mass of tissue. But, they know the harvest potential from selling these babies organs.
Dean D., 1-3
Began the shift with sun shine. Ended shift with Sonshine Jerome from St. Thomas Moore and Pastor Ben from Mt. Zion Baptist. Prayed throughout this shift. Pray for T. His girlfriend was awaiting her abortion upstairs. God let him talk in such a way that it was shared that it’s never too late to leave the clinic and not have the abortion. He took our info then went back in. Intense prayer followed for him and girlfriend. At end of shift Sonshined as SM Joe and Pastor Ben ministered to homeless man.
Kathy K., 3-5
Prayerful Christians serving the Lord. Carry on Christian soldiers!!! (Picture below.)
Joe W., 5-7