Faith Song Mission, Isaiah 12 Records & Studios, and Vital Force Publishing is a Christ-centered mission and ministry, developed in two specific areas: First, in production, publishing and release of Scriptural, testimonial, public and/or personal expressions of the Christian faith in each applicable, cross-cultural context, through music, audio, written and visual art forms; and second for support of research, teaching and/or information sources and outreach ministries.
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Wander P: Karen Johns is with us today with Faith Song Mission. Karen can you tell us a little about your organization.

Karen Johns: You bet. We are actually three different organizations in one: Faith Song Mission, Isaiah 12 Records & Studios, and Vital Force Publishing. We are a Christ-centered mission and ministry developed with two special objectives: First, we produce and publish various expressions of the Christian Faith through music, audio, written and visual art forms; and second we support Christ-centered research, teaching and outreach ministries and missions. In our music division we are currently working on Christian CDs 4 and 5, and in our Mission and Ministry division we focus into the areas of Sanctity of Life (which is my ministry field of study) and World Missions and Intercultural Ministries (which is my husband, James' field of study and ministry focus).

Wander P: Okay. Now today we want to talk a little bit about the Sanctity of Life in the Womb. You want to start us off on what you have going on in your organization?

Karen Johns: Well first of all, to give you a little background. As I mentioned, my main ministry focus in conjunction with our music ministry is in the area of the sanctity of life of the child in the womb. When I was in Seminary I spent a great amount of time focusing research on this particular area of ministry on all sides of the issue. In conjunction with my own MA degree research in this area, I was able to train with the Pregnancy Counselling Center in the town I was attending Seminary in Canada. Additionally, I did go through training with the Hope Clinic For Women here in Nashville. Currently, on our web page, we have a lot of information regarding the different issues that surround the child in the womb, and unplanned pregnancies, post abortion stress as well, and how this all effects both women and men. We also have other links to pregnancy and sanctity of life web sites.

Wander P: What do you find is a typical scenario for a person involved in this type of situation?

Karen Johns: Well one example is that sometimes a woman feels as though she is completely alone when facing an unplanned pregnancy. She is dealing with a multitude of issues and emotions that foster this isolation, such as fear, shame, regret and so she often times will move about in dealing with her circumstances in complete secrecy, not knowing what resources are available for her and her baby, and if she does in fact go through with an abortion, she can face this alone too. As a matter of fact, most abortions occur in secret. Later, she can come to a point of deep regret for her choice to abort, suffering from post abortion trauma for years, and then one day coming to a point of saying to herself, 'Maybe I could have done something different', but by then often these women are so far ahead into time, they are dealing with the feelings and problems they never dealt with at the time of the pregnancy.

Navita Gunter: Well, I think it is interesting and I want to know, how do you help the men? You mentioned that men can suffer in these areas too.

Karen Johns: Well, men can suffer post abortion trauma too, as well as the other emotions and stresses involved with an unplanned pregnancy. I know I am talking a lot about the post abortion side of it, but there are so many layers here. Often men do not feel that they have any say in this decision- the woman- its her body- she's gonna go and have an abortion, and sometimes men really don't want that or they just donāt have the information, they don't know what they are dealing with. As well a lot of men and women are not abstaining from sexual relationships in the first place. And there are ways to do that, our Lord empowers us to do that. And there are ways to have a healthy male-female relationship and courtship, what it boils down to is just lack of information.

Wander P: I want to say this Karen, we have done many shows, even recently, where we are talking about relationships, and not just in the African-American community because it happens in all cultures. But when we are talking about where the blame lies first, or not saying blame, but responsibility- but when you are having children having children- so we're talking about a whole lot of things going on here, such as the spirituality and proper parental guidance, what are your feelings on that?

Karen Johns: Well, for example here in the Nashville community there is the Hope Clinic For Women. I've done some training with them, and they are a wonderful group of women and a wonderful organization working throughout the community. One of their teaching programs is an Abstinence program that they are taking out into the community- into the schools to start educating the kids about abstinence. Young people, younger and younger, are becoming more and more promiscuous and sexually active.

Wander P: Lets talk about that right there. Are the schools allowing these programs?

Karen Johns: Yes, in this area, as low as middle school, they are teaching this program... its amazing what young children know and don't know about sexual relationships, their bodies, and abstinence for their own dignity.

Mickly Taylor: What about politically? I think several months ago, President Bush and others in Congress and Senate had talked about what abortions were, I guess quote in quote, "Legal and which aren't". Have there been new laws, new developments in those areas?

Karen Johns: Well, to my knowledge, that's still in a lot of legislative "litigation" and debate, it is a real hotbed right now. What I do know is that there are two very distinct camps: pro-choice and pro-life, there is not a lot of meeting in the middle, perhaps that is what Congress is trying to do?... you have a lot of ethical issues and there always have been, for example, when does life begin? You have medical doctors that give testimony that life begins at conception, you have others that will argue that life begins the moment a baby takes the first breath.. so many ethical issues... you also have the age of genetic science that we're contending with now. You have all these types of issues that are really pushing the margins on what are we defining, what we are looking at, what we are saying.

Wander P: How dangerous is that? Because we have seen the fights and the disagreements with that.

Karen Johns: If you are a supporter of the sanctity of life, which I am a supporter of the sanctity of life in the glory of Jesus Christ, then I don't personally believe that we have the right to take anybody's life... for me, that is a right that is separate and unto God. As well, I don't think it is a healthy or necessarily a Godly thing to bomb an abortion clinic... I am a faith person... I believe that faith and prayer can transform and change lives, and the Church, the Family of God, the Community is a living testimony that transformation can change the heart- that is the victory.

Wander P: And not only that, but if people have any type of idea who God really is... if life was conceived...there is positive outcome, even in the conception happened during rape... if God allowed that conception to happen... we cannot override who God really is.

Karen Johns: Absolutely. And about the incidence of rape and the conceptions that occur due to rape and the abortions as well, actually the statistics I have date from 1999, so from then to now there may be a slight change in level either direction, but it is .1% of abortions occurring that are related to incidents of rape. So what we are dealing with to the majority, is men and women not valuing their lifestyle the way they should, as well as not having all the information... I don't want to put these men and women down, I want to be caring in what I am saying.

Wander P: Right- you're for educating people.

Karen Johns: Yes. Just knowing the stages of development of the child in the womb, or knowing what is involved in the abortion procedure can deter someone from going that route. Knowing the facts...

Wander P: ...I knew a devout Christian family where... one of the daughters had eight abortions and her sister had seven abortions... and these are Christian women, dealing with a lot of shame.

Karen Johns: The community of Christ, the Church must not condemn these women, children and men. Who is anyone to cast the first stone? We are to be Christ-like, a refuge in all times, especially a time of crisis. The shame base is so much the source of destruction. As well, unfortunately people are using abortion as a form of birth control.

Wander P: Lets talk about the emotions of these women.

Karen Johns: There are a myriad of emotions. Women can shut down completely and go numb throughout the entire circumstances, and long after... there is also severe depression; anger- and what is anger but the cover-up of deep pain and unhealed wounds... the list of emotions goes on. One of the other emotions, as studies will show, is that almost every woman when she discovers that she has conceived will experience a moment of joy and awe that they are able to conceive a child... but then fear can set in and panic, and other peopleās choices for the women interfere as well as her own, and that joy can be squelched almost the instant it is felt.

Wander P: Now Karen, I know you and your husband write songs. Letās talk about this song you have for us today.

Karen Johns: Its called My Faith In I said I am a faith person, we are a faith community.

Wander P: What is faith?

Karen Johns: Oh my! You are talking about a theology book about three inches thick and the Scriptures...for one thing, faith is how we walk, it is a journey... it is the nutrient in our belief, as faith and belief are woven together...

Song plays...
My Faith In God
Written by James Johns and Karen Johns.
(C) (P) 2003 by Vital Force (ASCAP); James E. Johns and Karen L Johns

Navita Gunter: I want to ask you this, cause I have run into this a lot. Because our nation in a melting pot of different cultures and different religions... I have had to work through these differences in my own work, and working through not offending others... have you run into this?

Karen Johns: Yes I have. First of all, let me say that melting pot is a delicious stew... that is the "creme de la creme". When we have groups of people and different cultures and we have this social mix going on, we have a good thing happening. My God is Jesus Christ, the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, and He is the Prince of Peace. And so to be like Him, I have to walk the way of Peace and I want to love my neighbor as myself. I do not want to shun them for where they are on their journey, that's between them and God, and if God has brought me into their life for a particular reason, for whatever reason, well He has brought them into my life too. I just want to glorify my Lord... I don't have to compromise my faith while being peaceable at the same time. Overall, that is what makes that melting pot so good, that is the spice and seasoning, if you will...

...Song plays again...
My Faith In God
Written by James Johns and Karen Johns.
(C) (P) 2003 by Vital Force (ASCAP); James E. Johns and Karen L Johns.

... interview wraps up while the song is playing... fading out to Wander's usual closure:

Wander P: Remember God loves you and we do too.