Child-Free and Loving It

Not me. Them.

In my latest insomnia-fueled excursion around the internet I ran across the above-linked article at The Daily Beast. Go read it. I’ll wait here…

It’s quite a piece of work, isn’t it? It is, in case you were too smart to take the bait, an article cobbled together from reader comments that The Daily Beast had solicited in response to an earlier Newsweek piece about the birth dearth. The intentionally childless—er, childfree, they like to be called—don’t take too kindly to the idea that what they’re doing is foolish, but it is, and for a multitude of reasons.

When I read this article last night, I didn’t feel very strongly about it. In fact, I almost skipped right over it, because there’s nothing new here. Just a bunch of people doing what people have always done when given the opportunity: living for themselves, and seeing no problem with it whatsoever. In fact, Ayn Rand-like, they have managed to make a virtue out of selfishness. A few quotes from the article:

I don’t like it when people and the media imply that I’m not doing my job. I am far more than a baby factory.

I never wanted to put another human/soul/awareness through anything as miserable as what I was dealing with…

I just see it (having children) as a losing battle on the way to an eventual future straight out of the movie Idiocracy.

I read The Population Bomb at puberty, around the first Earth Day. I decided at 15 that I’d like to adopt one kid of every race, to have a rainbow house. When I grew up and realized humans were causing mass extinction, I got cats instead…

…I don’t want to be defined first and foremost as a mother…

I saw how much my mother hated the drudgery of caring for children on her own…

 

Yawn. Just the chatter of a self-absorbed, affluent culture that thinks children suck, mostly because their parents thought they sucked. Not my demographic, though, and no need to address it, I thought. So I ate some ramen noodles and went to bed. (I’ll do penance for that indiscretion by doing low-carb next week. Pinky-swear.)

However, by the time I woke up this morning, I was feeling a little restless about it. There’s a lot of worldly reason here that just makes sense to the natural mind, but I get comments to this effect all the time from people who identify themselves as Christian!

These people quoted above are correct, according to the logic of their own worldview. Raising children is a very poor way to try to give life meaning. If you’re adding children to your life for the sake of finding purpose, you will most likely find yourself with nothing but a handful of trouble. Parenthood is just drudgery on the World’s terms. These (I’m guessing 100% non-Christian) non-parents believe that the purpose of their lives is to, as I once heard Voddie Baucham put it, “get all you can, can all you get, and then sit on the can”. Why in the world would anybody add more people to this miserable existence when they don’t particularly like kids?

Why carry on something as meaningless as human existence?

It makes sense to the World. Of course it does!

But Christians, who have changed hearts and transformed minds, ought to know better. The next generation does matter. We do need them to take up where we leave off. And our hearts ought to be softer than this toward those younger Christian brothers and sisters whom God has given us as offspring. In fact, our hearts, when they are in the right place, will turn to our children.

“See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

While this was a specific prophecy, and I don’t want to take it out of its Messianic context, it does show one of the benefits of repentance to a nation. Their hearts turn toward their children, and the children in turn incline their affections toward their fathers so that the generations benefit from mutual love and protection during the vulnerable years at both ends of life.  The hearts of men and women in this nation are so hardened toward their children that they don’t even care enough to bring them into existence. This is a form of self-hatred, as evidenced by those commenters who reveal that they believe the human race (to which they must surely realize that they, themselves, belong) is a scourge and shouldn’t be encouraged to continue.

There is a consequence—a curse–to this hard-heartedness.

The generational pyramid scheme always topples.

The European nations, Russia, and Japan (to name the most recent examples history has to offer) have amply demonstrated the fact that when the burden of the economy suddenly shifts to a generation that is much smaller than the one before it, a nation’s resources begin to be used up at a rate that exceeds creation of new wealth. A nation can only be as healthy as its inventors, builders, thinkers, and fighters, after all.

Social Security is only one example of the damage caused by an upside-down generational pyramid.

Social Security is only one example of the damage caused by an upside-down generational pyramid.

 

I admit freely that the hole in my individual argument for allowing fertility to proceed naturally is that some people are indeed just fine, thank you, with no kids to take care of things for them. They cruise through to the very end of their lives with both enough money and enough health to set things up to their own liking, and no offspring need ever cramp their style. For many, that happy ending is a pipe dream, but it works out often enough that it still seems plausible to try.

However, even if it turns out well for some individuals, in the aggregate, it never turns out well. No amount of saving and planning will save any but the very lucky once the economy that their savings and investments rely on teeters over the edge of the generational cliff. As nations depopulate—whether voluntarily or not–poverty and discord follow.

Children really are an asset!

In addition to financial devastation, the responsibility for elder care becomes physically and emotionally too much for the few offspring left behind to do all the work. The bulk of their effort—mostly in the form of tax money, because the children are as hardened toward the parents as the parents were toward them–goes toward keeping up the last generation rather than raising the next, and so the next generation is further depleted. Further, the increasing frailty of the aging population makes it ripe for conquest by immigration. There’s simply no getting around the severe social and economic costs of a population implosion.

I can enjoy the results of other peoples’ child-rearing while I live MY best life unhindered by duty. Let the people who like kids (aka suckers) do that job for me:

Among the comments that really got my attention were the ones who are relying on their family and friends to provide un-wrinkled hands to hold in their old age.

I am fortunate to be very close to my nieces and nephews and to experience a form of grandparenting with their children. I have mentored dozens of my friends children through college frustrations and job searches.

I’ll be the cool, hip aunt to my sibling’s kids, or godmother to friends’ kids…

I don’t begrudge my childfree relatives that, because I want my children to care for the elderly. We have a duty to help the lonely and destitute wherever we find them, and no matter how they ended up in that condition.

However, there’s an attitude of entitlement here that shouldn’t go unrebuked: You do the unpleasant work. I’ll just sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

While these commenters confess that they are emotionally freeloading (I don’t know what else to call it when it’s on purpose), I doubt they’ve fully understood that they are financially freeloading as well. Economies aren’t built on dollars and gold. They are built on people.

But freeloading doesn’t bother this crowd much, because they’re happy little grasshoppers, and who cares whether there’s a next generation? After all, they’re not going to be around to see the world in a hundred years anyway!

I got a lot of outraged comments (and emails…oh, the emails.) on my post about the need to breed because of the strong wording I used. I make no apology for it. I meant it when I said “I truly hope you find the accommodations to your liking.”

I really do hope that, for those shortsighted individuals who intentionally have no children, things turn out better than they have historically proven to turn out for the childless. When people start to feel justified in their selfishness to such an extent that they’re proud to spend their entire lives without sacrifice to the f-word (family), what happens to the sick and infirm in the resulting culture is a fate not fit for any human being, whether they unwittingly asked for it or not. Naturally, I wasn’t speaking to those people who are for one reason or another unable to have children, though their end may, tragically, be the same. I will personally (whenever possible) be thrilled to hold their hands and listen to their stories about the good old days when they are in their dotage and need a neighborly ear.

When I see someone heading for trouble, and with a smile, that seems like a very bad time to use soothing and choice-affirming words, so comments about my “merciless” attitude fall on deaf ears. “Merciless” is the word I’d use to describe allowing people to continue in wrong beliefs just because we don’t like to ruffle their feathers. Choosing vivid words to wake people up (and yes, tick them off enough to keep them awake) might just be the most merciful thing I can do.

I am, at the very least, showing mercy to my own children. It is they who will suffer the most for the loss of their generation’s strength to the selfishness of the intentionally childless, and so I do have a vested interest in pointing this out. My passion in the matter is justified, because I love my children and want them to have a secure future.

These Daily Beast readers are right, though. They shouldn’t have children. They should repent of their sins, and God will add the blessings afterwards, as a gift, and a reward.

Childfree? Not such a great thing.

.

Responses:

  1. Really appreciate this.
    “This is a form of self-hatred, as evidenced by those commenters who reveal that they believe the human race (to which they must surely realize that they, themselves, belong) is a scourge and shouldn’t be encouraged to continue.”
    It is amazing how quickly the beliefs evolved on this subject. Not so long ago, humans couldn’t afford to ponder utilizing the choice to not procreate. As soon as we had more comfortable lifestyles, of course we think to make it even better by not ‘burdening’ ourselves with children to care for. Add in the false beliefs around population theory and over zealous environmentalists (worshipping the created rather than the Creator) and you have a couple generations of students indoctrinated with the idea that it is MORE selfish to have children. More selfish than living for your own desires and I guess nursing that gaping hole in your life by caring for all the poor, downtrodden animals (eaten or beaten)
    Maybe I’m generalizing. I’m certainly running off at the keyboard with giant, run-on sentences.
    Anyway, great response to a sad article and great followup to your previous posts on the subject. No reason to back down. You are never uncaring in your posts. Strong words can be loving too.

  2. More people need to be reading you. That’s all I can say.

    • Well, that about sums up what I would say too, Cindy! Excellent thoughts. I hadn’t even considered some of these topics before. Bravo.

  3. Cindy, you left one arguement out of this… If our world is evolved – through the planting of seed from an alien culture yet to be identified by our sub-par human bains, surely, they have planted this new seed so they can destroy us and then repopulate the earth with a more intelligent life-form.
    Your article… hits so many nails on the head – between free-loading, affluent (wanna-be), entitled children – who by the way are running our country.
    And to add one more thought – I question why people do have children. I mean, have the kid, put it in day care at 6 weeks old and then….preschool, followed by school, then college. Who are the true free-loaders? The kids of the parents or the parents who…well, never parented but took them to and fro others who parented… just seeds planted in another part of the city while the parents were off making money so they could have a better life. Oh, so many soap boxes,but you…you write and capture it much better than I. Please start having google hang outs so we can discuss….

    • I’m not sure I know how to do hangouts. Google+ is a mystery to me, though I keep opening up my page and scrolling down and trying to make sense of it. Why don’t you have a hangout and teach me how to use the durn thing?

  4. Proverbs 25:11
    “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”
    I think it’s time you update your blog design to be apples of gold in a setting of silver. :)

    • That is a really fine design idea. Way too nice for the likes of me, but I’ll get my girl on that right away! (I don’t really have a girl, btw.)

  5. While you are correct that many couples choose not to have children for selfish reasons, that is not entirely the case. I think motherhood is a calling, not a command from God. If it was a command, then couples who couldn’t have children wouldn’t exist.

    I have struggled with this “sin” as you call it, and because I want to do the right thing, I have prayed over and over to God and studied furiously about what to do. So far, I have not had a prodding, or command from God to have a child, but rather the opposite. Yet, the minute I feel that nudge and choose to ignore it, I would definitely qualify that as sin.

    I really liken it to a single person versus a married one. God calls some people to remain single while others find complete joy and satisfaction in a marriage. You can glorify God as a single, and as a married individual. You can also glorify God as a family of 6, or as a family of 2. They simply play out in different ways.

    For right now, my husband and I have chosen not to have children for a variety of reasons, but we are not the hard-hearted and cruel individuals you make us out to be. We do not hate kids – we enjoy playing with our nieces and nephews, and last year we committed to a mentoring program at a local children’s home where we spent much of our time with a special boy and girl there, loving on them and taking them out for activities.

    There are so many God-glorifying activities we can do as a couple without kids…….and still be a blessing to others.

    • So, instead of taking what God’s word says about procreation and the purpose of marriage, you choose to wait for a “nudge”? Get back to me when you update your worldview to a Biblical one.

      • “If God doesn’t impress upon other Christian men and women the same view of the family that I have, then I trust that they come to that disagreement honestly. I make no pretense of knowing their hearts.”

        “I have several more posts on the topic of faith and fertility, but it is a touchy subject that threatens to damage the cause of Christ if done unlovingly.” –

        We obviously don’t have the same view, and that’s OK. But the damage is done in a response that is less than loving. I fear your response drives more people away from Christian Living, than towards it.

        I’ll leave it at that, my friend. Blessings to you.

        • There is nothing unloving here. I’m simply challenging you to find out what God, not in your head, but in His Word, where He speaks to believers, says about children. Not all truth results in a warm fuzzy feeling, but it is not unloving just because of that fact.

          • God never contradicts His word. If you don’t “feel” like doing something God commands, or say the opposite, lets say you feel like doing something that God says not to do. Does that mean that its okay based off of your “feelings”? Many a “Christian” would say they don’t feel like going to church Sunday morning, or that they don’t have a nudge to sharing the Gospel. Hmmmmm, just something to think about. Our faith is not based on our feelings, I suspect many people would not do much of what is commanded by God if it was based off of how we felt. Its called obedience, we do it, then God gives us what we need for that mission. And motherhood is indeed a mission.

            • It isn’t a feeling. Like I said in my very first comment, I have studied God’s Word and prayed over this, and God is not calling me to be a mom. You’re right, Tina, motherhood is a mission, just as pastoring is a mission, but God does not call all of us to be pastors. Just as He does not call all of us to be mothers. If He did, there would be no infertility in this world at all.

              • Self-imposed infertility is hardly the same thing as God choosing to close a womb. Still waiting for some Biblical backup, rather than your own feelings on the subject…

              • I believe that if you “felt” called into marriage then motherhood is also your mission. Just as ALL Christians are called to the mission field of sharing the Gospel and making sure it goes to all the corners of the world; ALL married people are called to parenthood, now what that looks like doesn’t necessarily mean the traditional birth of a child through your womb.

              • One final thought about this “feeling” of being called to motherhood or not. If you are correct in that you and your husband are not called to parenthood, then I would think you wouldn’t have to worry about any type of birth control or abstinence if that is the case. Not to pry on you habits or anything. Just saying if what you say is true then there would be no need to be concerned about becoming pregnant, God would take care of that for you. Unless of course you are not participating in what married people do, in which case you in fact would be sinning. Just some thoughts to ponder.

          • Did Paul sin because he did not marry or have children? Obviously if one chooses not to marry, then one also chooses not to bear children. While marriage and children are a good gift from God, there are times when this gift can be set aside, for Christ’s sake.

            • Oh, I see! You misunderstand my meaning. No, I don’t believe that anyone is required to marry. What married people do, though, is married people stuff, and that makes babies. By Design.

            • Careful, now your choosing which “gifts” you want to accept and which ones you will pass on.
              And no Paul didn’t sin by staying single, however I suspect if he married he would have also had children.

        • People aren’t DRIVEN away from Christian Living because people like Cindy care enough about them to inform them of the truth. They RUN away from Christian Living because God cramps their style. They are their own gods, relying on their own subjective and deceitful hearts for direction rather than God’s objective Word. I have friends who wish they had known a Cindy in their life who would have put her neck on the line to tell them the truth years ago. They now live with empty homes and hearts full of regret. I pray you do not find yourself in that same position in a few short years. Because God DID give you a Cindy. And maybe even a nudge.

    • I’d like to ditto what Tina had to say on this. If you feel called by God not to have children, then obviously you do not use birth control of any form, because God knows that he has called you not to have children and thus would not give you a child that he did not want you to have. Right? But if you guys do use any form of prevention, then you are contradicting yourselves: “God has called us not to have children. But we have to use birth control, because if we didn’t, God might mistakenly give us a child that he doesn’t want us to have.” Something to ponder.

  6. Women are getting cancers at a younger age now then 40 years ago, according to an article that I read just this week. Among the reasons doctors think is causing this trend; birth control and waiting later and later (if at all) to have children, and low breastfeeding rates also. I found it interesting. I’m not saying God is punishing those women who choose that, however it is interesting the natural consequences that happen when you go against the Creator’s way.
    Great post Cindy!

  7. Very interesting conversation in the comments here. Another excellent post!

  8. I highly recommend this paper.

    http://www.cedarville.edu/personal/sullivan/cedarethics/papers/2012/vasser.pdf

    Go ahead and read it. I’ll wait.

    Your comment to my wife “Come back when you have a biblical world view” was neither necessary nor loving. It was unloving because for you to say that without knowing any of the circumstances surrounding our childless life is disrespectful and irresponsible. As is to suggest that every couple who chooses not to have children or plans the timing or number of their children to be “selfish.” I suggest you go talk to a few physiologists and doctors about why they recommend to some families why they may want to decide waiting, or forgo children completely. You may be surprised to know that there are many medical reasons that it could be very wise for particular people to choose not to have kids… and for it not to mean they are selfish kid haters.

    Let me weigh in on the purpose of marriage. The purpose of marriage is to be as best a picture possible of Christs relationship with the church. That picture is created by the Husband and Wife relationship. While there are many pictures of how Christ loves us through the relationship we see between parents and children, none of those are as strong as the picture created by marriage (A picture that is often overlooked and missed when parents start living their lives for their kids and leave their spouse in the background… but I’m sure you will cover this in a future post).

    I have spent quite a bit of time going back and forth on whether or not to post in this thread… but you called my wife selfish, you infer she’s basing her life on “Feelings,” and accuse her of not having a Biblical world view… all after knowing her for 5 whole paragraphs. I finally decided that as a husband, I could not let that stand unchallenged. I’ve been married to my wife for almost 6 years. We have had many trials and tribulations together and will go through many more. We both grew up in solid Christian homes and have both given our lives to Christ. We don’t have it all together, and we don’t claim to. We turn to Christ less often than we should but we are constantly seeking to please him in all of our actions, and decisions. We are not making those decisions based upon feelings but on the word of God as seen in the Bible and by the spirit of God within us (and as someone posted – we understand that the spirit will never contradict the written Word of God.) I appreciate your views as posted in your article (I did take the time to read it) but challenge you to study the scripture further (starting with the article I posted above). You can guarantee that my wife and I will also continue to look into this subject as we have over the past years and we will have many good discussions with people who will come to the table understanding that they might not have all the answers either, but are willing to talk with us respectfully, and on the same level, as Christ followers, living in a fallen world.

    Respectfully,
    Joseph

    P.S. I also recommend a study of whom Jesus was most harsh with during his earthly ministry. You will find it was with the Religious elite… those who prided themselves on making sure they followed the letter of the law… while completely missing the spirit – and who spent their time judging others who missed a letter. It is sobering to realize how easy it is to slip into the mindset of the Scribes and Pharisees.

    • I read that paper. Thank you for waiting. First of all, I’d like to apologize to your wife for my words. They weren’t meant in an unloving way, and I’m sorry she felt bad because of them. However, there is nothing less Biblical than choosing to ignore the Bible in favor of our own feelings about a subject.

      I find it amusing that you direct me to study the scriptures by linking to non-Scripture. That paper fails miserably on several counts, many of which I’ve already addressed on my blog. It is full of fallacious reasoning. To begin with, it relies on the faulty argument that just because we live in a broken world where some are infertile, that means it’s fine to impose sterility on ourselves. This argument is in the same vein as the one that says that because people have miscarriages, there should be no problem with abortion. Things go wrong. That doesn’t give us the authority to MAKE them go wrong. Lacking time to tackle all of the problems with this mess of a paper, I’ll just take this one and give you the last word:

      One of the most striking biblical supports for a fulfilling and
      God-honoring marriage with no children is found in the imagery of Christ and the Church, His bride. Revelation 19:7 says,
      “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of
      the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”

      And then it goes on to explain that there are no children mentioned here. Newsflash: there is no marrying or giving in marriage or procreating in Heaven. This is a METAPHOR. Unless you’re a Mormon, I guess, in which case, we have much bigger fish to fry than birth control.

      This can’t possibly be held up as a serious example (though I see that someone has tried) because Christ and his Bride are JUST GETTING MARRIED in this image of things to come. This is a bride. A virgin. Of course there are no children at the marriage!

      Or are you perhaps saying that because the Marriage Supper isn’t literally a marriage, then neither should your own marriage be? If you think that The Lord and His Bride are to have a fruitless “marriage” (though it is not, of course, a literal marriage), rather than earthly marriage being a model given to us to demonstrate the Heavenly, fruit-bearing and ever-multiplying family of God, then I guess we’re at an impasse. We simply have different ways of applying the Bible to our lives. As I’ve said before, and meant, though your wife seemed to think she was proving the opposite by quoting me, I trust we come to these disagreements honestly.

      Coming back this morning, I recall that one of the arguments was that “Be fruitful and multiply” wasn’t a command given to all humans, but just to Adam and Eve. Genesis 1:26-28 says:

      And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female created He them. And God blessed them and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

      If you are going to say that the blessing/command to be fruitful and multiply only applies to Adam and Eve, and not the rest of us because (duh) we didn’t exist yet, then you also have to say that the dominion belonged only to Adam and Eve, and that only Adam and Eve are image-bearers of God. There is no indication of separate applications for each item in this list. The dominion, the image-bearing, and the procreation are of a piece. The passage contains no hint whatsoever that some of these conditions apply to the offspring of Adam, while others do not.

      Adam and Eve were the only ones there, as representatives of the whole race, so of course they are the ones being told to be fruitful and multiply! But they are being told as a race, not as individuals. It takes a great deal of sophistry to convince oneself otherwise. If they weren’t commanded and blessed with fruitfulness, and given dominion as a race, then neither could they have sinned as a race, nor would the Curse apply to the whole race.

    • Joseph,

      I wanted to comment on a particular point you made (which is accurate) just to offer you something more to chew on as you and your wife search out this issue:

      “The purpose of marriage is to be as best a picture possible of Christs relationship with the church. That picture is created by the Husband and Wife relationship.”

      When we consider this picture of Christ and the church, we remember that the command to “make disciples” was the last one given to us. God’s plan for the church was to grow, multiply, increase, make disciples, be fruitful.

      (You may enjoy: http://www.generationcedar.com/main/2010/01/the-church-that-turns-visitors-away.html)

      Interestingly, he also created the marriage relationship to grow, multiply, increase, be fruitful (and then we are to make disciples of that increase) all without any “decision” on our part. In a typical marriage, infertility aside, children come. It’s part of the plan that we don’t even have to think about.

      But when we intervene and interrupt the fruitfulness, it interrupts the true picture of marriage, thwarting God’s natural design.

      And we really cannot comprehend those repercussions.

      • Amen, Kelly. Great post you linked to, too.

    • Cindy,
      Yours is the only blog (out of maybe 5 that I stalk…) where I consistently read the comments. Always entertaining. Thanks for keeping me up an extra 30 minutes and giving me a little more courage when thinking about a 3rd pregnancy and my poor bladder. ;)

      • My bad back and I sympathize with you and your bladder. ;-)

  9. What’s worse than inverting the population pyramid is doing it while keeping no faith in marriage. My parents only had me, then they divorced. Eventually I’ll get to be responsible for parents who haven’t been on speaking terms for twenty years and counting. And they don’t like my husband. There’s no one to split the responsibility with me, so I suspect it will be a difficult period for everyone involved.

    • I’ve seen many, many lives torn apart by this scenario. I’m saying a prayer for you now, while it’s fresh on my mind.

  10. It is so difficult to convey the desired attitude of a comment in a comment thread. I would imagine that if all of us “commenters” were sitting around a table with a cup of coffee, this discussion would be more fruitful. I don’t think anyone here would intentionally hurt another.
    However, it is a serious issue to ponder. The idea that any person could hope to derive a specific instruction or calling for their life apart from God’s word. I deal with this issue a lot in my extended family, although not necessarily regarding fertility. These are people who consider themselves to be Christians, read the Bible, pray often. They have areas of their lives that they can plainly see are not completely in line with scripture. (Like all of us, really) But instead of constantly turning from the carnal and towards the spiritual, they continue in the carnal. The explanation they give is similar to a previous commenters regarding not having children. They say that they have prayed and prayed about it, and they still feel the same way, so God must want them to continue as they are.
    This is a simplification, of course. But the point is, while we (none of us) are going to be perfect (except in Christ) in this life, we still have clear guidelines in the Bible that should be defining our lives here. Not for perfect “rule following” but for us to know where to aim.
    Marriage is not mandatory. But marriage naturally brings about procreation. When it does not, it is because of the fall and the curse and the resultant infertility that affects many. Not as a punishment individually, but to humanity on the whole. Like all other diseases, etc. I am still growing and studying on this topic, so I won’t pretend to have it all right. But I believe this is how the Bible speaks on this subject.
    Bottom line, selfishness is so much at the root of what evil is. We all are guilty of it. It takes many forms, not just in the subject of family size, etc. Selfishness is carnality and is the battle that we all wage within ourselves in this life. We all look for ways to rationalize our “favorite” vices. But in the end, there is only one truth. Praying that we all aim for “speaking the truth in love.”

    • Many of your comments, Ashley, were things I was thinking as well. Infertility comes from the curse and is not a personal or individual punishment, but God also gives us the command to care for the orphan, which allows us to “multiply” our families.

      Cindy, thank you for your words of encouragement and for speaking the truth. Most of us know that you try to tell us the truth because it is better to turn our hearts now than for us to regret our decisions later. I believe that people tend to become very defensive when they know they are doing the wrong thing. You have certainly had a very positive impact on my life, and for that I thank you.

    • Yes, Ashley. It would have helped if she could have seen the twinkle in my eye when I said it. I should have winked, thusly: ;-)

  11. great post, great comments, great conversations. I think one can always talk oneself out of something they don’t want to do. :(

  12. The only good thing about this attitude is that it can die with all these people, becuase they will go extinct, if we can raise kids who have a better convictionof God’s direction for their life….

    • Unfortunately, that attitude won’t die until the Judgment, because it’s written into our fallen DNA. Mine and yours, and our kids’ too. :-( That’s the bad news. The good news is that Jesus is alive and restoring us, so that we might be restored in the fullness of time. Praise the Lord! :-) Which of course, you know quite well, but I felt like praising the Lord this morning.

  13. I think one of the worst fallacies ingrained in our present generation is the term “unplanned pregnancy”. There is only 1 type of unplanned pregnancy, and that is the type forced upon a woman completely outside of her control (e.g. rape). Otherwise, if you are having sex you are planning pregnancy.

    There is an article written about abortion rates in the New Zealand that looked to the Netherlands as a model to lower abortion rates (http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/pry/abr_netherlands_00.html) . The following quote, which comes from a doctor in the Netherlands sums up the whole issue of pregnancy planning, and the risk it is to the future of society . It broke my heart.

    ““Yes,” said Dr Rademaker. “And a lot of women who have an unwanted pregnancy feel very guilty and very stupid because they have always been taught you should prevent an unwanted pregnancy.” “

  14. As a single woman, I am saddened and disturbed by some of the comments on this blog. A few years ago, I lost my fiancé. I have grieved not only for him, but for the children we expected to have and the life we dreamed of building together. Grief is a lonely and challenging road. And yet, instead of supporting me, many young mothers in the church have shocked me with their prideful attitudes. I was home-schooled, grew up in a loving Christian family, and earnestly desire to serve the Lord in all that I do. And yet, there is a clear divide between me and many other young women in the church. I respect that raising children is an all-consuming, challenging, and rewarding job. But it is not the “best” way to serve the Lord or the “only” way to bring Him glory.

    In the midst of my grief, I became very angry with the Lord for taking my fiancé. I spent a lot of time comparing myself to my friends, who were in their first happy days of marriage. I felt that I deserved to be married as much as they did. The Lord brought me to Romans 14:4 – “Who are you to judge another man’s servant? By his own master he stands or falls.” This verse served as a rebuke to my self-pity. But it has also comforted me when I felt stung by the superior attitude of mothers in the church. They have not drunk from the same cup of bitterness and suffering; they do not know what my master has asked of me.

    I would ask my sisters in Christ on this blog to prayerfully consider Romans 14:4. Some of you have responded harshly to Joseph and Kalyn. And yet, you do not know them, nor do you know the Lord’s plan for their lives. Joseph and Kalyn have said that they serve the Lord and seek to know him more. He is their master.

    In the last few years, I have learned that we serve an exuberantly creative God, who does not limit himself to a one-size-fits-all plan for our lives. He knew us intimately before we were born, and he continues to work in each individual heart and life. I know that the Lord is good and that I can trust him, and it gives me strength to know that his opinion is the one that really matters.

    • As a single woman, Emilie, this post doesn’t even apply to you. As interesting as your story is, I fail to see what it has to do with anything.

      As for the things commenters have said, I haven’t seen anything worse than my (admittedly too dismissive) comment to “get back to me” later. You are right, though. God is, indeed, very big, and I trust that the Lord can make His servants stand through all sorts of disagreements and confusions and even outright wrongness. However, Joseph and his wife inserted their personal stories into this discussion themselves, and so we couldn’t very well keep it entirely off the topic of their personal story.

      The fact is that marriage has a social purpose, as well as a personal one, and that purpose is being intentionally sidestepped by those who would prefer to have a similar living arrangement without the consequent responsibilities. That’s a fact no matter how many people feel good and peaceful about it in their hearts.

  15. Okay. Firstly, I respect your opinion. However, I’d just like to express MY opinion/experiences without being ‘labelled’. For ten years my husband and I, worked within the field of child-abuse. My husband as a police officer in numerous Child Protection Units, both domestically and internationally. One of the most well-known is the Daniel Morecombe case in Queensland, Australia. I worked as a nurse working with children abused by their mostly church-going, married parents. I’m not just talking sexual abuse – by emotional, mental and physical anguish. After years of dealing with persistant trauma in our jobs, my husband and I decided to head overseas where we’ve lived and worked for the past 17 years in India, Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, Turkey, Morocco, Spain, Germany, UK and Chile where I worked as a nurse and my husband as a consultant to various police forces. Before we got married, we decided we didn’t want children. I’ve never wanted them, nor has my husband. However, our experiences of working, living and volunteering within communities of developing nations and first world nations has proven to me that some of the most selfless, loving, kind, giving, caring, wonderful people are those who have chosen to NOT reproduce. The people we both met and worked with who were married but opted out of having children proved to me first hand that not everybody who was married but childless was ‘going against (insert interpretation of) God’ – as their actions, behaviour and dedication to the bettering the lives of the less fortunate was more Godly than the majority of religious-text sprouting people we met. I wonder how many of those who claim to be ‘Godly’ have spent time in other nations, for a good couple of years, volunteering off their own back and at their own expenses? Or have taken in a poor homeless woman and her child? I’m NOT pointing the finger. But I think, after 27 years of hubby & my experience, I can guarantee that not every married couple who have CHOSEN to remain childfree is ‘going against (insert interpretation of) God. I met many, many childree couples who dedicate their lives to helping others. I met more of them than the religious, childed types. Thank you for the chance to express this, I hope it published (but I doubt it).

    • I publish all kinds of things. Thank you for being respectful. I disagree, obviously. :-) I’ll try to respond to both of your comments in the same spot here.

      Now, I happen to believe that most of the people who go to church every Sunday are not Christians, mostly because they haven’t been preached to properly. Evil people run for the cover of the church, thinking that they can hide amongst the sheep, or prey on them. Obviously you’ve witnessed that. I hate what happens to the name of Christ because of them. I also hate what happens to the name of Christ when I don’t do the best job in the world of getting my point across, so I’ll try to straighten this out however I can.

      This post was responding to a small set of self-described selfish people. I don’t want to tar all intentionally childless people with the same brush. Many have reasons that they think make sense, but lead only to misery and death. (I think I might have said that somewhere in here.) I can’t help but say something when I see people so nihilistic, depriving themselves of one of the greatest joys and comforts human existence has to offer!

      I don’t doubt that many (most!) purposely childless folks are truly wonderful people, as people go. I’ve met very, very few people that I don’t find quite likeable, and even wonderfully philanthropic, even in the midst of grave sin in their lives. In fact, those good and wonderful people are testament to the common grace of the Creator. He gives us all souls that reflect him in some way when they are at their best. I’m not so great myself, sometimes, so I surely don’t want to pretend that this is about how awesome I am or how bad they are. I’m just a sinner clinging to Jesus. They’re just sinners who don’t.

      Not all are childless for purely selfish reasons, and many of them are, I’m sure, better people than I am, by many objective measures. But they are, in spite of their good intentions, deceived into thinking that they can fix the human race by not participating. Only trusting in Jesus for salvation can fix that kind of nihilism, so I’m not going to dwell on it. Suffice it to say that mankind has his kind of righteousness, and God has another kind entirely.

      Intentionally leaving the world without children, I’m sure you noticed, leaves the world with fewer people. Our disagreement is most likely on whether or not that is a bad thing. I think it is. You don’t.

      On a practical level, it is a bad thing because I want my children to have a reasonably peaceful life, and depopulation never accomplishes that. On a spiritual level, this is a bad thing because God (I am a Christian, so I don’t just pull these “preferences” out of a hat) loves children and the people they grow up to be. He loves them! He loves YOU! Those who don’t have kids on purpose are missing out on a HUGE part of the blessing that God wants to bestow on them. That is beyond sad. It is also distressing to me, so forgive me if I get a little too wordy about it.

      My own sister, until recently, was intentionally childless, and you’d have to fight me if you wanted to say something bad about her. She is precious to me. We just happen to disagree. I asked her about this post, specifically because I knew it might hit her in a bad way, and she (not a Christian) knows that this is a worldview disagreement, and not personal. I hope you can know that, too.

      As for marriage not being a religious or Christian thing: Christ is Lord. All the Earth is the Lord’s. It is in rebellion, yes, but it’s still His. He made it, and he instituted marriage. We can make it as irreligious as we are, and pervert it however we like (for a time) but it still has its origin in His design for human relationships.

      • Thanks for your response, I do appreciate it. Now, quick question. To truly embrace Christ, (I believe in God but not religion – any religion), I ask this – how many homeless people have you accepted into your own home, or fed out of your own kitchen? Have you donated all your possessions and money to the poor? Is that not what Christ taught? How many victims of rape, incest,poverty, prostitution/sex trade, grief, have you personally – PERONSALLY – counselled or comforted, as is that not embracing Christ? Is that not what Christ and his Apostles taught and the behaviour they displayed? To me, whom I suspect you may deem ‘unGodly’, actions speak louder than words (again, through the experiences we had and witnessed over past 27 years). The actions of many non-Christian and Athiest people were more Christian than many of the good God-fearing Christians (church-going or not) whose main aim was to judge and convert. Especially in India and Nepal, where certain well-known Christian groups/charities would only assist local communities if a certain percentage converted to the Christian faith. Now, THAT’S GODLY!! Thank again.

        • You’re right. (editing: I misread your “quick question” to read “trick question”. Hence the weird intro that I just deleted. I hadn’t had my coffee yet. Sorry.) First of all, I don’t “deem” anybody ungodly. The Bible says that none are righteous, and in fact, even our good deeds are as filthy rags (literally translated it would be menstrual cloths) because of our sinful nature. We cannot stand before a perfect God because we are imperfect. No amount of good works can cancel the debt of sin.

          Now, as to what I have done personally, I don’t feel comfortable speaking about it online, or even in person. Suffice it to say that I reach out when God puts someone in my path whom I may help, and I seek out opportunities to help when I can’t find any close to hand. I’ll stand before God one day and give an account of both those things that I’ve done, and those things that I’ve neglected to do. But if I do all these things without the Holy Spirit, I deceive myself into thinking I’m saving myself. And I’d also be making people materially better off without altering their true condition at all, so that’s just more condemnation on my head, not less.

          Good works mean nothing without faith, but good works do prove faith. You’re right about that.

          Have I donated all my possessions? No. Christ doesn’t require that. My first responsibility, in fact, is to care for my family (1 Timothy 5:8)–something that I couldn’t do without a home to put them in and food to put in their bellies. Good stewardship and receiving the blessings of hard work are not antithetical to Christianity, but are at the core of it. It is when we believe that we’ve provided these things for ourselves through all our hard work that we go astray and start to rely on our money to save us. In fact, most of the Bible’s most righteous men were quite wealthy by the end of their lives. Most of the Christian martyrs and first believers weren’t, of course, because they were in a time of great persecution. Even among them, though, God used many wealthy believers to support the poor among them. My husband and I are hardly wealthy, but we do more than anybody would probably believe (unless they looked at our budget) by living simply and giving generously.

          If you’re thinking of the story of the rich young ruler, in that encounter, Jesus was testing a heart and showing that man that there was something that he wouldn’t be willing to do to enter the kingdom of God. The young man condemned himself, not by being rich, but by going away unrepentant, knowing that he loved his riches too much to trust God with his life. He proved that he wanted the kingdom of Heaven to serve his purposes, rather than being willing to submit himself to God’s purposes.

          God requires us to be willing to be poor, in order to do His will, and that is actually one of the things I talk about pretty frequently on this blog. Most American Christians are so scared of not having the latest gadget or nicest car that they neglect the duties they’ve been given by the Creator. “It is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than it is for a camel to go through to the eye of a needle, but with God, all things are possible.” (People like to leave off the last part of that. I wonder why? :-) )

          As for those Christians in India and Nepal, I can’t go by gossip or hearsay, especially when we might be talking about fellow Christians. Unless God puts me in a position where that actually has something to do with me, I can’t possibly know what was really going on. I would venture a guess though, that when resources are limited, Christians might have to make a choice between shepherding those who are already believers and going further afield, in the same way that I must feed my children before donating to a food bank. However, that’s just a guess. They might be the Devil’s own sons, for all I know. I’ll bet you don’t know as much about the situation as you think you do, either. All that is neither here nor there, though. In the end, we’ll each stand before God with only one thing that can justify us–the covering of the blood of Christ. Our deeds can reflect him (or not), but they can never save us.

  16. …and just to add to the above. Marriage is not necessarily a Christian or religious construct. It certainly wasn’t thousands of years ago.

  17. Jesus didn’t have kids. Food for thought.

    • If you think that is food for thought, your brain must be starving.

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