by the Rev. Georgette Forney
Stephanie Gray recently appeared on my Facebook newsfeed in a video that featured her speaking at Google headquarters. I decided to watch and was amazed. Like “TED” talks, Google Talks try to “feature the world’s most influential thinkers, creators, makers and doers all in one place.” As I watched her presentation, I was impressed with the clarity and depth of her message, and was equally amazed that she was speaking at Google. Her message was about how to stand for the sanctity of human life.
She focused on how to start conversations and engage people without offending those on the opposite side of the opinion spectrum. She used questions and answers to lead to productive dialogue in making the case for life. She did a phenomenal job of weaving stories together to create relatable and real analogies to the pro-life and pro-choice arguments.
At the end of each discussion point, she brought the conversation back to how the ultimate affirmative answer supports life. Stephanie explained that when starting conversations, whether in an environment that’s friendly or not, it is best to begin with open-ended questions such as “Who inspires you, and why?” She explained that while people she interviewed often gave very different answers to the first question on who inspires them, it was the second question of “why” that produced very similar responses. Stephanie found that people were usually inspired by those who had suffered some kind of great difficulty, trial, or challenge and had overcome it.
What did she find was so similar in their responses? How had they overcome their great challenges?
1. Putting others before themselves. Love is universally attractive and deep down we are all attracted to selflessness.
2. They have perspective. Sometimes suffering is unavoidable, but despair is avoidable if we give that suffering meaning.
3. They do the right thing, even when it is hard.
Stephanie concluded her Google Talk by challenging her audience to follow the example of those who inspire them – to put others before themselves, gain some perspective on tough circumstances, and do the right thing, even when it is hard. Her challenge changed the conversation and opened the door to more conversation on why standing for life can make all the difference.
Stephanie was Executive Director for twelve years of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform. She now serves on the faculty at Blackstone Legal Fellowship where she trains law students from around the world about conversing persuasively on sanctity of life issues. She is author of Love Unleashes Life: Abortion & the Art of Communicating Truth as well as A Physician’s Guide to Discussing Abortion. Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and a Certification (with Distinction) in Health Care Ethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Stephanie will be one of the featured speakers at “Life Summit 2018: Mobilizing the Church for Life,” co-sponsored by Anglicans for Life and the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic. It will be held at Falls Church Anglican (Falls Church, VA) on January 18, 2018.
The Rev. Georgette Forney is President of Anglicans for Life and co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.
To learn more or to register for Life Summit 2018, as well as the Life Symposium in San Francisco, CA, visit https://anglicansforlife.org/summit-2018.
Stephanie’s talk, “Abortion: From Controversy to Civility,” is available online here: https://youtu.be/DzzfSq2DEc4