Good article on the unbiblical practices of “chosen childlessness” by married couples who are able to have children. Check it out.
Interesting article. Pastor Heath Curtis has been “questioning contraception” for a while now. You might want to check out his e-mail list at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/QuestioningContraception/
I’m on it already. This is one of those things where the ideal (no contraception, no surgical alterations) may not be attainable for many couples. As much as I would like to live by that principle, the reality is the lure of “being done with having children after 3-4” is very strong. I’m not saying it is right, but it requires a great faith which I may not have.
Behold! I give you the gift of Faith Beisel!
There, now you have it: procreate with abandon. 🙂
Seriously, though, I hear what you are saying. A good middle way in the situation you note would be Natural Family Planning. I agree that it is not ideal – but the papists have a point: it at least does not separate the gift of sex and procreation. Rather, it says, “If you don’t want the gift of procreation, then don’t try to have the gift of sex either. The two go together. To separate them is sin.”
For Rebekah and me it was a progression. First, living like the pagans. Never heard what the Church taught; assumed it was just a papist thing. Second, found out the pill was an abortofacient. Third, moved to NFP because everything else seemed, well, gross. Fourth, became convinced that all “artificial” contraception was simply wrong – it’s the universal interpretation of Gen. 38 among all Christians of all times until the Anglicans of 1930. (Rule of thumb: if all Christians say one thing, and then Anglicans in the 20th century say another thing; the first thing is right). Fifth, the way we were using NFP didn’t quite seem right. Who were we to decide how far the kids should be spaced or when to stop having them?
So like I said, I think NFP is a good place to land for folks who have questions. It’s respectful of God’s creation – and especially of the woman. Remember St. Augustine’s (rather harsh sounding) maxim: Contraception makes every wife a whore. Honoring a woman begins with honoring the mystery of her very being as Eve, the Mother of all the Living.
Well said. You’ve perfectly described our own evolution on the whole issue.
I appreciate Heath’s approach to this issue. I think it is important to convince the youth and young adults in the parish to look at procreation and contraception theologically, rather than embracing (without a second thought) the contraceptive mentality of our society. This is no easy task. And the pastor receives no help from Baby Boomer parents, in my experience. I would welcome the kind of progression or evolution on the matter that’s been described here taking place among the laity at large. The clergy have to model this, too.Paul, I can understand what you are saying about the “lure” of “being done” after X number of children. I’m amazed at my own situation–six (almost seven) children who call me “Daddy” who did not exist less than a decade ago. This is still amazing to me as the older of two boys in a pre-determined Baby Boomer parented family of four. And I have a sem classmate who still refers to me as “Robert Preus Jr.” Beyond health reasons being a justification for using contraception, I think a concern with the “being done” approach is demonstrated by the comments of any number of congregants with whom I have worked. Their children tend to be their “projects” rather than God’s “blessings” to them. Their children tend to be one more of life’s accomplishments. I don’t know. Maybe there is a better way of saying it, but this is the very definite impression I have received.Another important thing that I have noticed when one’s marriage is left open to how ever few or many children God may give, is an ever developing sense of service and self-sacrifice. The needs and interests or others take priority. I think this is why so many congregants I have worked with over the years see my family dynamic as a burden, not a blessing. For them, there is more self-sacrifice involved than they are ready or willing to give. They tend to see it as limiting their freedom to do whatever they want. I think my ministry has been greatly aided by having a “large” family. When having to deal with six different personalities and all the conflicts that can arise between them, I continue to learn patience and longsuffering. The experience I learn with my “parsonage congregation” benefits me in my interaction with the all the differing personalities of the local parish.Those are some thoughts I had. I hope they make some sense.
I think you’ve hit the nail right on the head.
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