05 November 2011

Fish, flesh, good red herring, and the Church of the Augsburg Confession

This thingy was at Mere Comments a while back. It looks at the "religious fertility" of a variety of traditions and categorizes them into four groups:

Religious Malthusianism idealizes 0-2 children
Implicit Natalism idealizes 2-3 children
Patriarchal Moderate Natalism idealizes 2-4 children
Patriarchal Extreme Natalism idealizes "the more, the better"

This struck me as another one of those times when we just don't fit. I have never heard any CSPP type say or imply, "the more, the better" (although they have been caricatured by their detractors as saying so, and worse). Once again, we are not Quiverfull™. The theology of the cross tells us that some won't get many or any and some will be overwhelmed. There is no right or wrong number. There is only faith's response to the gifts God would give, and faith's response to the gifts it does or does not receive.

8 comments:

Aubri said...

"There is only faith's response to the gifts God would give, and faith's response to the gifts it does or does not receive." Yes!

I had the privilege to hear Katie Schuermann (He Remembers the Barren) speak this week and was struck by what we actually have in common. We take in faith what Christ gives us and trust that He is good whether He gives us many or none. Trusting His goodness and finding comfort in His control is not always easy, it's scary sometimes and wearisome. Encouragement can be hard to find.

Children as "gifts" has been forgotten or ignored even in the Church. Those of us who haven't given in to society's false idea that "we are in control" are really misunderstood and seem to be on the outside of any discussions on procreation, if there even are any.

Amie said...

As someone who has come from a Baptisty background with a lot of run-ins with quiverfull mindset, I really thank you for this reminder - I the previous poster is totally right though, the bottom line is that society, and the church, simply do not see children as gifts.

Leah said...

Ahh. You articulate so well thoughts I've been struggling to express.

Elizabeth said...

I can't help but giggle a little at the last category name: patriarchal extreme natalism. Patriarchal, as if it's all on the male, and the word extreme is in there, as if having more than 4 children makes you an extremist.

Rebekah said...

The really weird thing is how anyone who has received a child . . . or not received one . . . can understand him as anything BUT a gift. ??

Elizabeth, I thought the same thing. Five kids, so patriarchal and crazy! :D

Gauntlets said...

It's really true. And while I'm not completely sure, it seems that to say "I do not want another child" is a luxury reserved for those who have never lost one.

Monique said...

Rebekah, I want to personally thank you for so beautifully expressing what I’ve been unable to articulate.

In some peculiar way, I find it comforting to label and qualify in my mind, why I do what I do every single day, and why I’ll get up to do it all over again tomorrow.

Keep up the good fight.

Anonymous said...

Children as "gifts" has been forgotten or ignored even in the Church. Those of us who haven't given in to society's false idea that "we are in control" are really misunderstood and seem to be on the outside of any discussions on procreation, if there even are any.


The Church has an obligation to do better at teaching the next generation. I am sure I come off as "the more the better" when really I know that it is up to God what you get. However, I was so affected by the social norm of fewer is better that I don't want my two kids to make the same mistakes or be influenced by the "fewer is better" error that is so rampant that it has seeped into every corner and crawls out from nearly every rock.