Newborn babyWe discriminate, even in our suffering.

Many church women’s organizations have said to me in response to an invitation to attend a talk on barrenness, “Oh, we don’t want to hear a talk on barrenness. We’ve already had our children. That issue doesn’t affect us.”

And my heart breaks.

Not just because these women are turning a blind eye to the women in their own groups who have never had children (and to those whose children or nieces or sisters or aunts or friends have not had children), but because they would never say to a sister in Christ, “Oh, we don’t want to hear a talk on cancer. We don’t have it. That issue doesn’t affect us.”

Because, deep down inside, they know it does. Whether they personally have cancer or not, they know cancer affects someone who sits in their pew.

The same is true of all suffering. When one member of the body suffers, the whole body is affected. When the little toe is stubbed against an oak dining room chair, the face flinches, the eyes close, the fists clench, the stomach churns, the knees bend, and the larynx howls, all because a tiny member of the body is in pain.

That is, unless we remove that tiny member from the body and pretend she doesn’t exist.