The ProLife Team Podcast | Episode 49 with Eric Cepin | Talking About Healing from Abortion with a Confessional Community

The ProLife Team Podcast
The ProLife Team Podcast | Episode 49 with Eric Cepin | Talking About Healing from Abortion with a Confessional Community
Loading
/

Listen to Pastor Eric Cepin and Jacob Barr talk about what abortion healing from within a safe & trusted confessional community. Also hear Pastor Eric’s heart and desire for the under priviledged to have steady healthcare.

Summary

This is Jacob Barr, and I had a profound and insightful conversation with Pastor Eric Cepin on the Pro-Life Team Podcast. We delved into various topics surrounding abortion, focusing on pastoral and church perspectives. We discussed the complexity of addressing controversial issues within the church, acknowledging the diversity of viewpoints among congregants. Pastor Eric emphasized the importance of creating a confessional community, where individuals can share their struggles and find support without judgment, especially on sensitive matters like abortion.

We also explored the broader societal context of abortion, including its prevalence among underprivileged minorities and the location of abortion clinics in specific demographic communities. The conversation touched upon the differing approaches within the pro-life movement, particularly between Catholic and Protestant perspectives on birth control. We agreed on the necessity of providing comprehensive support to women facing unwanted pregnancies, including offering low-cost healthcare in minority communities.

Our discussion extended to the challenges of integrating faith into public service, the significance of life from a Biblical viewpoint, and the role of the church in addressing issues like abortion, family, and community support. We recognized the need for churches to engage deeply with individuals and families, particularly single mothers and their children, to create meaningful change.

In conclusion, the podcast underlined the critical importance of understanding and compassion in navigating complex social issues, the value of diverse perspectives within the church community, and the power of personal faith and community support in fostering a culture of life.

#Hashtags:
#ProLifeTeamPodcast, #AbortionDiscussion, #PastoralPerspective, #ChurchCommunity, #ConfessionalCommunity, #SocietalContextOfAbortion, #UnderprivilegedCommunities, #ProLifeMovement, #FaithInPublicService, #BiblicalViewOnLife, #ChurchAndCommunitySupport, #SingleMotherSupport, #FosteringCultureOfLife.

Transcript

The transcript was automatically generated and may contain errors.

Jacob Barr :

Welcome to the pro-life Team Podcast i’m Jacob Barr i’m here with Pastor Eric hey, and we’re going to be talking about topics surrounding abortion from a pastoral viewpoint and from a church body viewpoint. God, I pray for your favor. Pray for you to clear the way as we’re talking about controversial or hard things. I pray that we I just pray for your spirit to say what you want to have said and for people to understand and hear what your what your desire and heart is on life and death and in this culture that we’re living in that’s navigating these things. And I pray this in your name jesus.

Eric Cepin :

Amen.

Jacob Barr :

Amen. So I have a note here that says chit chat because I know that you like to chit chat on podcast personally, I’m more of like the let’s get the business guy.

Eric Cepin :

Yeah so you’re the normal business guy?

Jacob Barr :

Well, like I sort of like, you know, going right for the topic.

Eric Cepin :

Yeah and I want to move this up. If I’m actually doing the recording, then I have to have you really direct on that.

Jacob Barr :

Oh yeah, Is that is that better?

Eric Cepin :

Yeah OK let’s see that compared to that. Oh, OK, good. All right, so we chit chatted what is the name of this podcast so it’s.

Jacob Barr :

Called the pro-life Team Podcast.

Eric Cepin :

Ok. And who? Who’s the team?

Jacob Barr :

So the audience goes the audience is primarily executive directors of pregnancy clinics.

Eric Cepin :

Ok.

Jacob Barr :

And then it also would include leadership people of leadership and pro-life organizations. And then we’ve been growing the audience to now include people who would say I want to support life or support the culture of life. And so. And then all of those groups would be within the sphere of the Christian sphere or followers of Jesus fear but these are people who are sort of called into these certain areas perhaps yeah. And cool, yeah.

Eric Cepin :

Cool. And this is on YouTube and then also on a in the so I could pick this up like on Apple or Spotify yes. Yeah, OK.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah and I have you to thank for this podcast because you sort of inspired me to. Yeah, to want to do it i.

Eric Cepin :

Am the inspiration and I have been invited on the podcast.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah.

Eric Cepin :

Well, thank you.

Jacob Barr :

And part of that is that it’s sort of a hard topic like especially for churches to navigate this a lot of churches i think would probably prefer to talk about other things because I think it’s a hard thing to navigate with a wide range of people who are you know whether they’re followers of Jesus or not followers and then when it comes to this topic, some people consider it a hurdle that you know might block someone from the church doors. But then other people might say, well then who are you? Unless you take a stand on good things. And so.

Eric Cepin :

Well, there are a lot of good things to take a stand on. Yeah, we could have endless stands.

Jacob Barr :

But yeah, so and I listened to your podcast just recently as.

Eric Cepin :

And the Church and state on.

Jacob Barr :

The church and state, Yeah, pastor and pastor having virtual breakfast over a podcast and talking about things at the earliest hour of the day.

Eric Cepin :

Yeah, we do 7:00 in the morning. Yeah, I think we’ve done two i mean, I did one on the right when the brief was leaked.

Jacob Barr :

Exactly, yeah.

Eric Cepin :

With Ashley, who’s a lawyer, and yes, Michael, her husband.

Jacob Barr :

That’s right yeah.

Eric Cepin :

Who will probably soon be a pastor at the village.

Jacob Barr :

That’s right.

Eric Cepin :

Yeah, so i’m excited i didn’t know what I mean. Ai have not prepped for this at all yeah so I know nothing of what you’re going to ask me.

Jacob Barr :

And to be fair, I think you have a lot to offer just based on what you’ve been recently talking about and so I think you’ve got some real depth to pull from.

Eric Cepin :

Ok, well ask away. Ok and I will i will try to do my best to.

Jacob Barr :

Answer So my first so James five sixteen says confess your sins one to another so that you may be healed and the prayers of a righteous person availeth much so and then so taking that in consideration. And then the stats say that one in four women have had an abortion. So what are your thoughts on inviting women and men to share their confession? The confession story of abortion in order to seek and find healing amongst trusted church, family or trusted friends? James five sixteen Styles like What are your thoughts on James five sixteen with people who might have, you know, might have experienced abuse or harm or we might have an abortion story in their in their past.

Eric Cepin :

Yeah well, I mean, you’re asking a couple, a couple questions that. So let’s just start with creating a confessional community, which is probably more important than just being directed at abortion, right? A community that is willing to listen to things that are hard and not react, right. So it’s good if I say in a group of people, I struggled last week and I looked at pornography. Now not everyone’s saying, oh, we forgive you, God Forgives you to go but a creative community that can pursue that a little bit, want to know exactly what that’s happening there, why it happened, what who else knows what kinds of things historically have brought you to this place? All that so that’s a confessional community and then being willing to pray for that person, and then also being willing to give them directives as to what they need to do to step into repentance because repentance is different than confession, right? Confession is just acknowledging what you’ve done. Repentance is changing the way you think about something in order that you might move in an opposite direction. So repentance is actually moving backwards and saying I will think differently about the whatever experience I had that led me up to choosing to look at pornography or choosing to yell at my wife or choosing to lie or whatever those things so that’s like an immediate thing but then there’s you’re addressing, so that’s a confessional community now you’re addressing something like a secret. I had an abortion when I was 17 and now I’m a 30 year old woman, right and I’ve never told anybody, so now you need a community that is simply there for healing right, not judgement right, and to deal with the stigmas that are built onto that so that’s a lot more first, the community has to be safe. So it can’t be a community that says, I can’t believe you did that right. What were you thinking when you were 17? Like, can’t be one that’s shaming or contemptuous. It has to be one that leads someone both to the cross, where forgiveness is right and also to the grace that’s produced there and the mercy of God. And don’t think that the women that Jesus involved himself with in and certainly Paul was engaged with didn’t have abortions because abortions were rampant in the Roman Empire so it’s not it’s not like this is a new thing just because it wasn’t talked about in the Bible. So there they were welcome in the new Kingdom and they were forgiven and they were offered grace and invited into a life not of shame, right. A life out of where they were. So that’s a big important part shame built on to there’s a there’s a shame. Like, it’s very hard because it’s a shameful thing, right? So you’ve got to be able to create a community that doesn’t have shame, which means it doesn’t have judgement. That doesn’t mean you don’t hold people to account for things i’m not talking about that it’s about how you’re talking about confession and healing, and that’s important.

Jacob Barr :

So it sounds like the culture of life has, yeah, studying, setting up this place of where it where it’s safe to share and to open up. It needs to be present before someone can do with that in a in a healthy way, it sounds like.

Eric Cepin :

Yeah so i think that So the last one and i get is that just since we brought up statistics there are two groups of women who are going you’re going to find in those stats. One is underprivileged minorities where the highest and wealthy women, those are the 2 wealthy women who already have a few children. Those are the two who are aborting and they can’t have another. They don’t want another one or it’s too much, it’s going to stretch their finances or you’ve got the economic like a child is too much or whatever reason they’re using, you know that but it’s tends to be minority and it tends to be younger, at least in the data that I’ve looked at.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah and I I’ve seen, I’ve seen data that seems to reflect well, especially the minority group, because it seems like a lot of Planned Parenthood’s are located, a lot of abortion clinics are located in those, you know, certain types of demographic communities.

Eric Cepin :

Well, and to be honest, minority communities don’t have healthcare in general. So that’s the other issues you have two kind of things happening there you have Planned Parenthood becomes quote, unquote and I think I’m doing air quotes, air quotes that healthcare for a minority.

Jacob Barr :

So that’s their new word too that’s what they like to say.

Eric Cepin :

And I think, you know, you want a little admonition to the church. I mean, alongside crisis pregnancy centers, why not just start planting low cost healthcare? General Healthcare centers? There are minority spaces.

Jacob Barr :

There’s some trend in that direction, but it’s we’re not there yet, it’s.

Eric Cepin :

Very absent. Yeah, it’s.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, it’s I would say that the pregnancy clinics that are that have reached that level of healthcare. I would say there’s probably one in California that’s got several locations and then there’s one in Florida, but most are most are providing pregnancy related only a pregnancy focused healthcare.

Eric Cepin :

So, yeah so those are i think, yeah. So, I mean, that’s how you’ve created a confession i think those are elements, but that has to be from top to bottom, right i mean, you have to have a community where your leaders are willing to confess and repent in order to model what that looks like.

Jacob Barr :

So yeah, so essentially there’s all these roots that need to be established before we can have a healthy tree. And that seems to reflect something that Jordan Peterson said when he was asked about abortion. So when he was asked, he said he sort of redirected the conversation to all of the roots that would. So when a woman faces an abortion decision, there’s probably 50 other things in her life that have not been addressed or. You know, healed or there’s lots of things that lead to an abortion so it’s not like abortions, the first domino in a series it’s more like the fiftieth domino of bad things that are happening. And he seems to redirect things to back to like the rebuilding a desire and promoting the benefits of marriage as being the healthiest place to not find yourself in a place where abortion becomes the.

Eric Cepin :

Right.

Jacob Barr :

You know, a likely or where someone’s considering that and so that seems to be like a yeah so that goes back to the roots of having, you know, the roots really affect future dominoes.

Eric Cepin :

Right well, and maybe this and you can add this out maybe if you don’t want to go this direction but I think the one of the things, if you just want to talk about the abortion or the pro-life movement, you have two, what I’ll call 2 movements within the movement.

Jacob Barr :

I would agree that there’s different parts of the movement and some are kinder than others.

Eric Cepin :

Well, and i yeah and I would say that, but I also just say like if you have a strong Catholic movement and you have a strong Protestant movement and they kind of meet in the middle because of their theology so whereas you know, the Protestants are much more willing to embrace different forms of birth control, and you don’t have that in the Catholic movement.

Jacob Barr :

Definitely because of because a lot of birth control, well, some birthing control would be classified as a abortifacient and then some birth control would be classified as well. The only quote air quote birth control that the Catholic Church would promote would be NFP, Natural Family Planning.

Eric Cepin :

Yeah so that has a problem because i would argue that both should be moving as I think you should provide you know all like free birth control to women underprivileged communities and you should have a stricter laws against abortion so that you should be create and you should be supporting the women who are pregnant and with unwanted pregnancy so you have these three tiers that way. I mean it’s already been shown scientifically you provide you provide or not in studies you provide low income people with birth control and they don’t have babies and they don’t abort babies abortion levels go down. But the problem is, Oh well, we’re promoting another moral thing, that we have a problem.

Jacob Barr :

With which is sex outside of marriage?

Eric Cepin :

Yes. But we’re not trying to impose like, So what are we talking about like life, right life is the most important thing it’s the thing that God created were image bearers. And there’s a lot of our, I mean, you can go through a lot of this and there’s a lot of disagreement. But societally we don’t want women to be dealing with the damage of taking a life, right. And then and so I think, you know, part of that is we have to as Christians, remember that we live in a pluralistic culture and with people who all come from different faiths and come from different spaces and belief systems so we have to figure out how to compromise that best leads towards goodness, right because we’re not going to have a theocracy you and I are not going to somehow bring about America as the Kingdom of God. It’s not going to happen, right. And so our job is to try to bring the Kingdom of God as best we can and compromise where we have to. Yeah, for the best outcome. That’s at least where I stand. But you may be in disagreement with many people, but.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, well, it’s sort of. It’s a realistic place to find yourself when it comes to navigating how we live in America we live with people that run in a variety of postures towards these ideas and we’re trying to listen to God’s voice we’re trying to yeah and trying to, yeah. And yeah, there’s just a lot of there’s a lot of variables.

Eric Cepin :

There are well, and it’s why we argue with the village that it’s healing the city one person at a time. The reason is we believe you bring you bring one person into health and that will affect four or five people. That has that kind of impact and it’s my experience with church history is it’s very difficult for the church to try to shape policy and no matter what country or state they belong to, historically, it just goes bad for them. When it goes well is when they have their heads down and they take care of the of the basic fallout from the state. So, you know, in Roman times, what did the church do? Two things. A valued family. So a typical Christian or family would have multiple kids and a typical Roman family would not. So big families. Then when all of the children who were unwanted were taken out into the forest, guess who would scour the forest for babies and deform children to church so their families grew bigger interesting so why did the church become so powerful by Constantine’s time? Not because they had, you know, they did convert people, but it wasn’t conversion, is that they outgrew everyone. And when you and then when the plagues came and the elite left Rome, things like that, the Christians stayed and so if I take care of you while you’re dying and the people like the priestess and the priests of the Roman temples and are all leaving, what are you going to do you’re going to say, well, i think this God that your worship who keeps you here taking care of me might be one that I should think about and so the conversion happened because people engaged in people’s suffering. Really when the church went bad is when it became state right when Constantine took over and he declares he sees this oh wow, like the Christian Church is huge. I need to make, I need to bring them in so he legalized Christianity and then it became a state religion, so to speak and then we have the Middle Ages. Holy shit was not good i mean if you know anything about history, I mean there are good parts of it, but it was the marrying of state and church and the trick became corrupt because it had power and that’s something we have to be very careful is power is dangerous, raw power that’s not submitted to Christ. And the state will never be submitted to Christ, no matter how you want it to be. Because God didn’t come down with tablets like you did with Israel and say I’m your God and you’re my people and here’s you’re my state like you’re the representative now the state is the church, like you and I are the representatives of the Kingdom of God.

Jacob Barr :

So what are your thoughts on how a Jesus loving person can engage as a local state representative? Where does that how does you know because stealing is wrong, murder is wrong lying underoath is wrong there’s lots of things that there’s not and there’s lots of things that are wrong that are not illegal but there’s several things that are illegal that are also wrong and but when it comes to trying to you know legislate morality, when it comes to how someone can be a how someone can build a culture of life in a in a city when it comes to the you know, local you know school board positions, City Council positions like what is you know what are your thoughts on you know how someone can do that well in a way that would honor Jesus.

Eric Cepin :

Yeah, well, I would consider someone becoming a representative as a missionary, not as a job.

Jacob Barr :

Like Jonah going to Nineveh, kind of missionary.

Eric Cepin :

It could be Jonah going to Nineveh or it’s just a missionary to a foreign country. Ok i mean the legislature in the state and the federal government they all are a foreign country of which you are being sent. Ok i thought I think there’s so I think you don’t do that without support. I also think you have to go to the state government to represent your people see, this is the. You’re a state representative you don’t get to just. Represent your interests or the interests of the backers. Once you’re voted in you’re supposed to represent the interests of all people and what you think is best for them because they elected you and you’re now there. So that’s there’s a lot of moral dilemmas that you have to face that I don’t have to face because I’m not a state legislate. Ok, right i mean or federal in the federal government and like I’m not senator or Congress person yet. Yeah, these are hard things.

Jacob Barr :

These are hard things yeah but then again, going to Nineveh was hard.

Eric Cepin :

Yeah, I agree but And Jonah went with the attitude that they should all be punished. And God says what? Like, you know, Yeah, they repented. And so he let them. I mean, Nineveh returned a generation later to its evil ways, but for a generation.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, he was. He was a little sad that God didn’t just smite them right there and.

Eric Cepin :

Well, I think there’s a power of the godly man so if you’re a woman, so if you go to the state legislature and you, you’re someone who listens to people even when you disagree with them, When you’re someone who honors humanity, even when you disagree with people’s choices, when you try to stand up for what you think is right, but not in a way where you’re condemning other people and yelling at them and pointing out their mistakes, but really trying to bring about good things. People have a hard time arguing against that, I think. And I don’t think we have. I mean, maybe we do have a lot of those people i just don’t know them. It feels like as you move up towards power is dangerous.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah. So thinking about defending life in our, in our culture, you know in a variety of places, you know from within the church body, within our city, within our culture. What are your thoughts as a pastor trying to help your church form ideas or figure out and navigate the this topic of life and death when life begins like it’s sort of like you know the death is being brought right to the beginning of life. That’s sort of what we’re talking about and So what are your yeah how do you navigate that and how people, how people also navigate that?

Eric Cepin :

Well, it’s kind of odd because in the Bible there are two theological streams or ways of thinking about this that are both true, and one is that we have and then we’ve lost it as people of God. But what I would call an embodied theology, the reason that our culture, and in particular, even within our church and the evangelical church in particular, we’re struggling with how to talk about abortion, how to, you know, address it politically, is that we don’t have what I would call an embodied theology. So we think our spirit or our soul in some sense is separate from our body. So that’s why it’s easy to separate what’s happening in our body, right so if you’re a woman and you have a baby and life has been produced inside of you, if you have a sense of your body isn’t actually who you are, then you don’t have a connection to what’s happening in you. And it’s easier to have a conversation about is this not life or is this life right. That’s and because a lot of times we talk about, we take hold of a little bit of what Paul says of this tent, this, that it’s going to pass away that we think, oh, the body, like we’re going to go somewhere better and our body doesn’t really matter that much. But what we don’t realize is what’s the thing that God uses to represent himself in the world you, your body, your physicality, you are literally an idol of God you’re a living icon you’re a moving around, waving representation of God like they’re supposed to see you and say God, right? It’s not your spirit, it’s not your soul yes, those things give you substance, but it’s your physical body and what’s happening in you. And so we need to spend more time on that because you’re going to be resurrected. And though you may not look like you in the sense of like the scraggly beard and the I don’t know what the your resurrected body is, but I will look at you and I will say that’s Jake and my spirit and your spirit won’t, like mingle together as mist i will push you and I’ll feel a force right we will. We’re bodies we’re resurrected bodies. That’s important because it helps us understand that what’s happening on us is that a image bearer physical is being formed inside of us, which means it doesn’t matter when life begins that’s a stupid question. An image bearer is being formed in US. A representation of God is being developed in US and will be put forth that. So that gives that child inside of you high value. And the Bible is clear about that without you even having to go to particular verses. The other thing the Bible is very clear about is it actually doesn’t care that much about the baby inside when it comes to laws. What it cares a lot about in Jewish early law is what happens to the baby afterwards, how you take care of the living, right it’s very concerned about the living, which is another failure of the church, right is that we don’t care about the living as much as we should. We don’t because the Bible is very clear in the Old Testament and Jesus picks this up about the orphan, which I would call a child is an orphan in a sense, right because they are completely dependent on whoever is around them. They’re in a sense they’re being developed into the family, they’re being adopted in to the family that burned them. But they’re orphaned. I mean like in A and when I and I mean that in that they have no sense of that’s mom they’re developing the sense that that’s mom and that’s dad. They don’t come up with, come in with a well developed family system in their brains. You may have that well developed family system, but they’re figuring it out so in a sense, internally they’re orphaned and so you’re bringing them into your home, you’re giving them parents, you’re giving them identity, and that’s important. And the widow so the people who are disadvantaged and weak, babies are weak and disadvantaged, right. We’re supposed to spend a lot of time taking care of them. And that’s another thing we struggle to do. I think we as a church like to give money to causes, but we don’t necessarily like to get messy ourselves, you know, And one of the things, so those are the things that you have to talk about in churches is your body is an image bearer the baby that’s in you is an image bearer like your physicality is super important, like it’s part of who you are it’s how you speak that’s a physical thing it comes out of your body like your mouth, your tongue, you make sounds. So these are important things we have to put a lot of. And I would I.

Jacob Barr :

Would, I would say that. So there’s you know, having breath or you know, having you know making it through your first birthday and sort of getting past this dangerous time for as a youngest people in our in our society. But I would say, you know having breath is excellent, but what’s even more important is meeting Jesus when you’re older and because like what’s the value of breath without having you know being born again, I would say is more important than being born the first time but you don’t get the chance to continue down a road unless you’re you survive your first birthday, sure, in order to reach your second birthday.

Eric Cepin :

Right well, and I mean, you know, the church you go to, which is mine, would say that child’s salvation sits under its parents salvation.

Jacob Barr :

Under like a umbrella. Yes. So and I would, but at the same time like, but having breath at that young age, it’s just, I mean let’s say someone you know is rescued from abortion and they’re, let’s say they’re 30 years old now and they don’t know Jesus. I think the real value of life comes when they you know meet Jesus some sometime down the road sure you know let’s say past a certain age of understanding and but I would say that that’s more so you know when someone focuses on not to say that someone has to do take care of all issues like you know it’s OK for the anti cancer group to focus on you know solving the cancer problem or for the this group to solve their problem and not to take on all problems as a way of saying well you’re not taking care of all problems therefore you know what you’re doing is so it’s good for people to help find help have help people find breath but what’s even more important is for that second birthday is yeah, I would I would consider that to be more important than the 1st birthday.

Eric Cepin :

Yeah, I mean, yes.

Jacob Barr :

You but yeah and so, but they but the Yeah, but the roots and the dominoes have to come in a certain order, Yeah.

Eric Cepin :

So yeah, I mean, I think the other thing, if you want to talk about just I think we have to acknowledge that life together is messy because you mean, but this is a little bit off this. No, that’s fine. But what you were talking about. But like, let’s just say our church, Yeah, we have people like you who I would say are pro-life activists, right you your business, your life is built around these things and we love you and support you and engage with you in that. And there are people who line up really with kind of your way of thinking about it. But there are definitely people in our church, like even with the Roe versus Wade, like our church had different thoughts on that. Some wanted to celebrate, some actually cried. And that’s an interesting, but it’s because of what they believe about how laws are worked, what they believe about things in the public sphere versus what they believe in the private sphere and how they’re to act like what they think is the best. Because I would say if all the followers, all the members of the village, if you ask them, do you believe that abortion is wrong and that there should be no abortions, they would all say yes. But how you go about getting that looks different. And so even in that we have to discuss those things and be sensitive to one another and try to engage in understanding of where people are coming from. And that’s messy, right? That but you want a confessional community or you want a community that’s authentic and moving towards good things you got to deal with that mess.

Jacob Barr :

And I think that’s having a church community where people can talk about thinking, you know, it’s not required to all be on the same page on every posture and every point and have that ability to discuss while still being loving and caring towards each other. Because when someone meets Jesus, when they’re 50 years old and they’re and they’re a new believer, they’re going to experience a journey toward, you know, they’re at the beginning of their journey and so it’s really good to meet someone where they’re where they are without bringing shame and judgement, just because they’re brand new to this new life.

Eric Cepin :

Sure well, and I think it’s Journey i also think it’s just different ideas, right different. We interpret how Jesus speaks about things, right? I mean, one of the things i’m a pacifist, so life is a real important thing to me. I mean it’d be interesting for your pro-life thing to talk about the you know the what do you call it might just blanked but war or the capital. Capital punishment is like so the taking of life of a murderer like i don’t think we have that right to do that. We can punish them by putting them in jail for life, but we don’t have the right to take their life only God has the right to take life. Which is why I think a woman doesn’t have the right to take life i think you have we do this all the time and I think this is a hard here’s the hard part for me is in the pro-choice world or however they want to phrase their things now is that none of us have full choice, right? You you’re not pro-choice people are not asking for full choice right Because that would be dangerous if everyone had pro-choice in everything. Well then, you and I, we just.

Jacob Barr :

It’d be lawless.

Eric Cepin :

They’d be lawless, so they’re not looking for that. Everybody has regulation you have to admit that and So what pro-life people or people who are in the more progressive pro-life who are saying we want regulated choice, let’s start there. Like you don’t have, you don’t. So for me personally, like I believe in regulated choice, Let’s start there because we can get there probably and then we’ll work our way backwards towards where we want to be. But you lose your choice i think personally that once you decide to have a child by engaging in an activity now, I think I understand a lot of where women are and why they would want to have an abortion and what’s in front of them and it’s very difficult for the state to come in and say you have to like, sorry, you don’t get to make a choice about your body. I think that’s like you have to at least when you’re asking the state to say that to women, you got to at least sit in the power that you’ve just given the state to tell you what to do because it’s bigger than. So this is complicated. But again, you don’t, you know, that’s for me, when it comes to life, you don’t get a choice to take life that’s not yours, it’s God’s Now I can live in a state that tells me, well, sorry, but the state says you can and I can say, well, I don’t think the state is right and I can do my best in with my calling and that’s the thing like some people are called to really be out front some of us are called to pray and support them. Some of us are called to other ways of embracing life, like adopting a family that or a woman who’s has a baby or somebody who’s, you know, underprivileged so we can help them, you know, get good education, get to a place where they know how to make good choices they don’t feel bound by their cult, you know, whatever cultural circumstances they’re in or financial circumstances so. And that’s a that’s a lot of stuff i just kind of, yeah, that’s.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, I I’m trying to think what I want to go next. Well, OK, let me let me switch into a new.

Eric Cepin :

Sure, and you can go ahead and I feel free. Feel free to edit me how.

Jacob Barr :

No i think this is good and part of you know, whether someone is working at a prensi clinic or they’re working at a pro-life place, they’re all church going. Let’s say 50 % are Catholic, for 50 % are evangelical slash, you know, not.

Eric Cepin :

Well, there’s actually now pretty strong secular movement too. I would.

Jacob Barr :

But most people that listen to this podcast, I would estimate 95 % are probably in a in a are probably faith-based i don’t know what % we have that are not faith.

Eric Cepin :

Based, yeah, they probably would not be engaged in.

Jacob Barr :

I don’t know yeah, I don’t know.

Eric Cepin :

There is a very strong humanist anti abortion movement.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, and there’s and there’s logical reasons and.

Eric Cepin :

Yeah, I mean, just the fact that you want your society to flourish and if you kill, keep killing, it’s babies, it’s not going to flourish. I mean.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, that’s why Elon Musk says.

Eric Cepin :

Well, one of the things is like one of my I’m from Gen x, right, Gen x, you’re Gen x are two right. Our, we’re 20 % of culture like of the United States because 75 % of us or something like that 50 %, I forget the number, it’s huge number we’re the most aborted generation, right?

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, we were in 1973 yeah i was born in 77.

Eric Cepin :

And I was born in 72 so yeah, so the year.

Jacob Barr :

Before and four years after Roe V Wade and that wasn’t when abortion started in America, but that was just when it when the when the when the decision was removed from the state level and was yeah, and abortion can’t decide on certain parts anymore.

Eric Cepin :

Right. But anyway, yeah, our generation was so there. One of the things that I always think about is there are a ton of my friends that are gone like, I could have had a lot of other friends and people who, you know, I think God knows them and loves them but I think, wow, he longed for them to be part, a greater part of who we are as a people and now they’re not here.

Jacob Barr :

So when as when it when pastors consider topics of life and death and abortion and these type of topics. How would you how does, how does the pastor navigate this When from your perspective from the pulpit like when they’re looking to create something that’s going to be presented to their whole church body which might include people who have had abortions, might include people who feel differently about it. People who are supportive of you know one side or the other and how you know and then when it comes to people watching and listening to the recordings and how do you navigate this when in a way that will be helpful to how you know in a in the spirit of building up life in Jesus in the community.

Eric Cepin :

Yeah, well, I mean, you met the fellows long enough to know that we don’t address a lot of issues from upfront, I mean.

Jacob Barr :

And that makes sense because there’s room outside the pulpit to take on issues one person you know, I mean smaller in smaller groups, yes.

Eric Cepin :

Well, so if you go look at First Corinthians as he talks about the structuring of church, you don’t see him saying let’s talk about all the issues that are happening in Rome at a church service in fact he wants, he talks about if people speak in tongues and people who come in don’t can’t understand them. Basically the idea is you’re not going to get a clear gospel. The point is that we are worshipping God. We’re lifting up Jesus together, and that’s the point. And that Jesus will draw all men to himself so we want people to come observe and participate in that, to know Jesus. That’s the, that’s the key. Not telling you what you should think about this issue or that issue. I think if you preach the gospel and you stay true to scripture, people will be equipped to answer those questions and work them out together. I shouldn’t be telling you what you should think or shouldn’t think about certain things up front. Now, I mean, I can tell you the god values life i can give you a theology of life i can give you a theology of the body, and I can let you make those conclusions. And if you sit with me in private and you’re like, I’m trying to work this through, then I’m going to give you more of what I think about it from my own personal perspective but I want to give you the tools to come to these conclusions yourself, because I think that’s when you hold on to your ideas most is when you come to your. The conclusion if I tell you this is exactly how it is now, I’m not saying, let me give you all the tools to figure out you shouldn’t steal, right. I think I can say from the pulpit, yeah taking life is wrong in any form. But I’m not going to make statements about what the state should do yeah excuse me sorry about that my voice is really going growl.

Jacob Barr :

Sure. So one of my favorite stories regarding the my church, the village and this topic sort of stems from Ron Brown. So and I love his story where he came here and he’s podcasted about this and so I feel like it’s fine to share his story where he came here as an atheist looking to prove that God, you know, that this was wrong, the Bible wasn’t true, that God wasn’t, you know trying to prove his atheistic point and while being in this community. He was welcomed and he was we talked to him he came for was it 6 months I perhaps and so and then and part of that journey of trying to you know prove his atheistic, atheistic point. Jesus met him and he experienced like a yeah I guess he calls it the Paul the conversion on the road to Damascus like Paul did when he came to like having the lightning bolt experience and today you know and since then he’s been he’s been baptized he’s proclaimed his faith and it’s just and it’s remarkable to see his journey from one place to another place and in this journey of meeting Jesus and having community throughout that experience and so I think that’s a testimony to this church body And then and meanwhile his view on abortion. I would say he’s pro-choice but he’s not He’s like he’s sort of in the middle leaning on the pro-choice side of today and so he’s he’ll but we can talk about it and he’s on that journey and we can and we have a good time you know and I understand that he’s where he’s at and we still enjoy dialoguing about it and trying to talk about false beliefs talk about truths and so I think that’s and I and I sort of wonder if other churches experience that and I don’t think that’s common at all but I think that I think it’s really good to have that kind of space to be able to meet someone where they are in order to just converse about you know the different ideas in a way that’s healthy and helpful to both people. And I think also I think it’s really good when if everyone’s on the same page, there’s not really much iron sharpening iron going on it’s more of just like we’re all, you know, either you agree or you’re, you know, maybe this isn’t the right group for you whereas I think if you have people that disagree talking, you actually are able to rethink your idea and position and understand it better and understand where they’re coming from and people will, yeah, learn in that situation perhaps.

Eric Cepin :

Yeah and I mean, I think these are hard issues. I think what’s interesting is that the way God turns things upside down so why do you think Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed well, everyone thinks Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed because of their debauchery and their sexual immorality. But if we go to Ezekiel, I’m pretty sure I guess it’s Ezekiel i hope it’s Ezekiel it’s not either it’s either in Jeremiah or Ezekiel i can find it, but they that what’s listed the 1st is that they didn’t take care of the widow and the orphan.

Jacob Barr :

Really.

Eric Cepin :

Yes, and so that’s. So you want me to do what I’m going to preach, but I’ll preach is take care of the widow and the orphan. Well, the unborn is a is an orphan, right that these are so take care of them. I don’t need to make a political statement. God’s judgement will be on you if you are unwilling to take care of the widow and the orphan. And God’s judgement is on the church when they are unwilling to take care of the orphan and the widow more than he would be on the state. Because I’m not. The kings rise and fall they’re raised up by God and taken down by God but the church is God’s people. We are the new creation we are we’re here to proclaim the Kingdom of God has come so if we weren’t willing to take care of orphans and widows, and that’s of the highest value, like James, You quoted James. He has. What does he say he says what is true religion to take care of the orphan and the widow. Right so what is the true Kingdom of God what does Jesus say you’ll find the Holy Spirit, like where you find God and in his children. The Kingdom of God exists in children. So like there’s an innocence and don’t hinder the children from coming to me like this is so this. Yeah, you know, that’s what I’ll preach. And I do preach.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah that’s really good and it and it seems like yeah like the public school system has a lot of orphans who are you know their parents are disconnected and they’re essentially being fed and taught by that you know within that school system and so how can the church better engage with children with orphans in their community and they’re that’s a that’s an excellent desire and yeah in a in a in a large amount of work.

Eric Cepin :

Well, and I remember so when the village first started 20 years ago, I was sitting down with a social worker who works, worked in Tucson and CPS at the time. They’ve changed their name, but they’re child welfare, basically and I said, well, what is it what’s the, what could the church best do if a church really wanted to help out, what could the church best do? And she said, stop going to food, you know, stop going and feeding the homeless. Stop, you know, and you might just be. She actually said stop trying to figure out how you’re going to support abortion or, you know, plan pregnancy. Stop getting yourself involved in all of the cool organizations that you would be would be cool. Adopt one single mom and make sure her kids get to school. Make sure she can get to work. Make sure she has enough food, make sure her car works, and make sure her kids meet Jesus. Just do one family, one kid. That single mom you will, you will bring those two kids won’t be in the welfare system. They won’t. They’ll get their education they’ll meet Jesus they’ll never have to worry about having something to eat. They’ll have uncles and aunts and dads and moms all there for them. They have a community. And she said if every church did that, you’re going to adopt more than one because you’re usually going to be big enough to adopt more than one. And you can do that. And if we all did that, it would, you wouldn’t need all of these different areas because people would want to be part of this thing. Like the friends of the single mom who don’t go to church want they’re going to want to go to that church because they’re like that church allows people, they care about people. They’re willing to go way far. That’s been the model of the village we haven’t always done it well, but that’s what we felt called to. That’s why our thing is healing the city one person at a time. I do don’t hear me say, I think agencies like, you know crisis parking center or Hands of Hope now here in Tucson, those are really important. Soup kitchens are important churches need to be involved in those but I think she was trying to make a she was being dramatic and she was trying to make a point, is that the average sitter in the church who comes in and sits down does not get their hands dirty. They may get their money, they may give their money to these institutions, but they or they may do their once a month, go down and volunteer somewhere. But every day they’re not getting phone calls and getting, you know, really being inconvenienced. And I think Jesus pretty much says he does not say follow me, pick up your paycheck and enjoy it and enjoy like a nice house and enjoy all these good things and really just enjoy that while you follow me and live a moral life, he says. Pick up your cross and follow me, Pick up the most detestable thing for a Jewish person to pick up and follow me. And I think that needs to be super, super inconvenienced for me.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah well, it sounds like the idea of going straight to the person instead of to the program. Essentially programs like princey clinics are going to the people like that’s what they’re doing and one way a church could do that would be to go straight to the person. Or they could actually just work at a princey clinic and then have unplanned pregnancy. You know, people in those in a scenario come in through the doorway and then counsel and provide that counsel to a person but it sounds like people over programs because people’s the that’s the goal. That is to help people, not to just grow a program really in the end, we would it would be ideal and I think every Princeton clinic would agree that they would enjoy not being needed like that would be a beautiful thing if they were. Yeah, not. And really, that speaks to making an abortion unthinkable more so than legislating it out of existence because legislating things out of existence doesn’t stop them. Just because something’s illegal doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen there’s always going to be sin. There’s always going i mean because sin’s part of sin’s never been legislated out of existence. And but if but if you can encourage some if you reach a if you reach a mom and her children for that one family, some bad decisions will become unthinkable and some good decisions will become desired based on that relationship and reaching that person through Christ.

Eric Cepin :

Well, I mean, yes. So the data is ridiculous if you have a single Moms tend to be the women who end up with abortions, right and the data like says you are 75 % less likely as a child to commit a crime if you have a man in the house. Any man, right a man who lays on, you know, a loser man who lays on the couch and doesn’t work. So we know that’s why marriage and family is important, right? But if you, if that’s not possible, if you have a community where kids in a family like that are growing up and they’re like get in trouble and they know, oh, I’ve got Uncle Jake, you know, at church and I’ve got all these people who I can go talk to, I’ve been talking to since I was two, right. If I’m in trouble, they’re not going to judge me they’re going to do whatever they can to help me, right? That’s life transforming for them, right you give them a chance. And I think that’s the vision and the mission because then they’re less likely to have an abortion they’re less likely to go get in trouble in any way like it’s not just a, it’s not just abortions it’s like in general life like you’re just more likely to get yourself in trouble in places you can’t get out of when you don’t have any support. And so I think that’s partly what we’re called to is to provide that support. But I would argue that you could probably look around your church, you don’t even have to go outside of your church and find people who as you know, who are abortion minded, who’ve been abused, who are struggling to have the next meal, who are struggling in their marriage or addicted to drug and we go down the list, right they’re all there. Yeah, we’re all there. We are all there. But we don’t look around.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, there’s not one of us that’s not in need of healing and not and not in need of Jesus like, that’s. Yeah, that’s it those are universal needs.

Eric Cepin :

Well, I think like the other thing I would argue, you know, to go back to Jordan Peterson because you quoted him in the beginning, there’s this idea of he says, you know, clean your room before saving the world, like learn to make your bed and that’s one of his chapters and his 12 rules for life, like actually be able to clean your room before you start telling the world how to live its life. His point is you can’t, you can’t help other people if you’re drowning. And I would argue the church is drowning, like it’s drowning in its own sin and its own hypocrisy and its own brokenness but we don’t want to look at that we tend to point a finger at the world a lot. Makes it very difficult. You know, we tell the world, oh, you need to be moral and all of our examples that we have public is pastor after pastor being immoral yeah And so it’s like, Oh well, you don’t have a right to tell me anything.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah And I think that speaks to the yeah, how it how humility and not you know not judging someone and then trying to invite them to healing from hurt and from damage and from decisions and from yeah just inviting them to healing.

Eric Cepin :

Yes, yeah and I think being willing to be, I think, I mean if there are anything I could leave the pro-life movement is yeah compromise be willing to compromise, not compromise your moral standing compromise. You know, whatever you can do to save a life, do it if it means compromise and so we don’t get everything you want. That’s all right. Let’s get something 1st and then we’ll work our way to We need to go yeah sometimes I don’t feel like the pro-life movement wants to do that yeah.

Jacob Barr :

We want to end up on the seventh, floor but it’s the easiest way to get there is usually the elevator, but when that’s not in service, you take one step at a time and if you try and take 12 steps at a time, or, well, 7 times 1284 steps at a time, you’re not going to make it you know, one can jump that far. And if you try and ask someone who’s at a very different position to meet you all the way over here, it’s better to. Yeah it’s better to save more lives and to save less lives.

Eric Cepin :

I agree with you well if you go like the stats with just New York right 70 % of New York doesn’t believe that after I think it’s after it was either 9 to 14 weeks you should be able to have an abortion right so that’s it’s very that’s a very liberal state So work on don’t worry about yes we believe that you shouldn’t take a baby’s life in those first 14 to whatever i forget what it is. It may be the first trimester we get that, but let’s not have lost for second and third let’s get rid of that and you know, I know it’s not that simple, but there is a willing, we need to have a willingness to say, OK, we’re willing to compromise, we’re willing to move in a direction.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, When someone says all or nothing, they’re saying nothing.

Eric Cepin :

Yes, I think that’s the hard part.

Jacob Barr :

And it’s hard. It’s hard to compromise for that person that says all or nothing because they feel like they’re not obeying at the right level.

Eric Cepin :

And yeah, no, I agree with.

Jacob Barr :

You but at the same time feel.

Eric Cepin :

Like they’re violating.

Jacob Barr :

Something but we live in a world where we have different people who live in different zip codes and we need to meet in the middle and that’s a good place to in order to then to continue traveling in a good direction.

Eric Cepin :

Yeah. Oh, I’m, i totally agree with you. And you know, let’s try to provide as much healthcare for the underprivileged as we possibly can because that’s what they need healthcare and they need to be able to have general basic healthcare that’s just not there for the underprivileged and we should providing it.

Jacob Barr :

Well, thank you Pastor Eric, for being on the Whole Life Team Podcast.

Eric Cepin :

Keep going i’m so sorry.

Jacob Barr :

No, this is good and yeah, I would enjoy talking to you again on Yeah, we could talk a lot more, but this was really good and this will help someone drive that hour to work.

Eric Cepin :

Yeah, I sure would. And hopefully it’ll maybe get them a little irritated at moments and get them thinking.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, i think so.

Eric Cepin :

Hopefully I won’t shut down your podcast. Foolishness strips the soul of its light, We foolishly said, because we were all blind into the dark you brought in the light, but light with outside his perpetual night. And then he learned peace. Give us life give us vision give us love. Give us mission. Give us courage. Give us power. Give us righteousness for this hour. Give us joy. Give us faith. Give us life that we can take years to give us love. Cross Jesus, give us you. We are channels of love that flow from you. We are filming this spirit who makes all things new. We are broken bread and poured of wine. Your Kingdom can release your own lives and even please give US life. Give us vision, Give us love, Give us mission, Give us coverage give us power. Give us righteousness for this hour. Give us joy. Give us faith. Give us life that we can taste. Give us the cross, Jesus. Give us you that healer. Please give us life. Give us vision give us long. Give us mission. Give us courage give us power. Give us righteousness for this hour. Give us joy. Give us faith. Give us life that we can chase. Give us the cross, Jesus give us you.