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The following post was written by Rebecca Mayes
and posted on He Remembers the Barren~

One of the aspects of barrenness that is so awkward is the fact that the “success” of your marital relations (more modernly called your “sex life”) with your spouse is often scrutinized by those around you, either privately in their own minds, or quite publicly to your face. The joining of two fleshes into one in the bonds of holy matrimony used to be treated with such modesty and respect. No one would dare ask you whether you’re “doing it” right or if you’ve tried such-and-such a method. But the sexual revolution changed all that, and in numerous Christian publications we read that the act is a beautiful, natural part of marriage and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. We should celebrate our gift of sexuality and teach the children in our Church all they need to know to be prepared for utilizing this gift. But is this what the Bible says? When we blush at the questions about what’s wrong with our reproductive organs, is that for a  good reason, or are we just prudes?

Linda's bookLinda Bartlett, former national president of Lutherans for Life, has just published The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity, which exposes the myths that our generation, as well as our parents’ and grandparents’ generations, have been taught to believe about what children should know to be prepared for marriage, the marital act, and procreation.

Bartlett begins by giving the necessary history of how the Church,  during the mid-20th century, put too much trust in “experts” instead of the inspired Word of God and willingly traded in our biblical understanding of manhood, womanhood, procreation, parenting, and purity for a more “scientific” approach to teaching children about the intimacies of marriage. Falsified, inaccurate, and even perverted studies on the “sexuality” of the human male and female conducted by Alfred Kinsey were presented to universities, medical associations, and church bodies as facts which could not be ignored by enlightened academics. Christianized versions of the sexual revolution’s message were then (and still are) passed down to schools and parents to share with children.

And just what are some of these myths?

  • Children are sexual from birth.
  • Children should be taught about sex, and with the proper terminologies, beginning in early elementary school.
  • If children are not taught about sex early on, their naiveté could make them prey to sexual predators.
  • Parents aren’t trained to properly teach their children about sex. The schools are the best environments for this to take place.
  • Boys and girls should be taught about puberty and sexuality while in the same classroom, since there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
  • Sex education will help prevent unplanned pregnancies, STD’s, and abortions.

The Church was naive in its promotion of sex education in the parochial schools, Bartlett points out, but not malicious. We were deceived into believing that we are “sexual from birth,” and this brainwashing had the complete opposite effect on our Church members as what was intended. It cleared the way for the acceptance of fornication, homosexuality, birth control, and even abortion as a normal part of life for those who are simply expressing their sexuality – being who they thought they were created to be.

But that’s not how we were created, Bartlett reminds us. The solution to the mess we are in now is our Baptism. This is where we received our true identities as children of the Heavenly Father, not sexual beings created to express our sexuality, but holy beings, created to live holy (not sexual) lives. “It is important,” Bartlett says, “for the Body of Christ to see each member as fully human as opposed to sexual and, therefore, an instrument for God’s purpose and glory whether a child or adult, single or married, in this circumstance or that,” (pg. 108).

Because Bartlett presents such shocking evidence of our deception, she presents her case in the form of a patient dialogue between herself and her readers, including over 100 questions and then answering almost every objection one could think of to the notion that there is anything wrong with the way the Church has been educating her children. Her love and concern for her Church family flow through each section as she gently reminds us all that, “Even well-intentioned sex education in the Church leans the wrong way if built on the wrong foundation,” (pg. 129).

If you have children, if you teach children, if you are related to children, or if you once were a child, this book is for you.

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Eric Metaxas from Breakpoint (10/28) brings something to Ezerwoman’s attention.  Having been concerned about the separation of procreation from sex here in the American culture, I find the following worthy of our attention.  Eric Metaxas writes:

Long-time BreakPoint listeners know about Japan’s catastrophically-low birthrates: by 2060, Japan’s population is projected to fall by a third, the same percentage killed by the Black Death in 14th-century Europe.

Japan’s demographic decline has spawned some creepy adaptations, such as lifelike talking dolls for elderly Japanese without grandchildren, or the borrowing of other people’s grandchildren for a day.

Attempts to encourage child-bearing through economic incentives have failed, as they have in other countries with low birth-rates. Younger Japanese aren’t interested in reproducing themselves.

And now, according to a recent article in the UK’s Guardian, they’re increasingly uninterested in sex, as well.

A 2011 survey found that 61 percent of unmarried men and 49 percent of unmarried women between 18 and 34 were not involved in any kind of relationship. Another survey found that a third of those under thirty had never dated.

Daily_Commentary_10_28_13MMore ominously, a study by the Japan Family Planning Association revealed that 45 percent of all Japanese women between the ages of 16 and 24 “were not interested in or despised sexual contact.” More than a quarter of their male counterparts felt the same way.

As the Guardian puts it, “Japan’s under-40s won’t go forth and multiply out of duty, as postwar generations did.” Why? Part of the reason has to do with Japanese attitudes to women in the workforce. As one 32-year-old woman told the paper, “a woman’s chances of promotion in Japan stop dead as soon as she marries.” The assumption is that she’ll become pregnant and have to resign.

While that helps to explain why her generation isn’t having children or even getting married, it doesn’t explain the lack of interest in sex. And it certainly doesn’t explain why an increasing number of Japanese men aren’t interested in it either.

One 31-year-old man spoke for many of his peers when he said, “I find some of my female friends attractive but I’ve learned to live without sex. Emotional entanglements are too complicated . . . I can’t be bothered.”

“Can’t be bothered.” Or mendokusai in Japanese. (Didn’t think I could speak Japanese, did you? Well, I can’t.)

Most of the other possible factors the Guardian cites, including “the lack of a religious authority that ordains marriage and family,” are only partial explanations. Japan’s “precarious earthquake-prone ecology that engenders feelings of futility, and the high cost of living and raising children” don’t explain the increasing lack of interest in sex. But here’s something that does: it’s the lack of interest in having children. The assumption of the sexual revolution was that, having severed the link between sex and procreation, the result would be “better sex.”

Newsletter_Gen_180x180_BBut the Japanese experience suggests that the opposite may be closer to the truth. Having stripped sex of one of its God-ordained purpose, we turned it into just another pleasurable human activity, albeit one that often comes with complicated emotional entanglements.

Since the “urban pastimes” available to younger Japanese provide pleasure without the entanglements, sex can seem like a bad investment of time and energy. Mendokusai.

The Guardian calls Japan’s separation of love and sex “pragmatic.” But the evidence strongly suggests that there is nothing “pragmatic”—as in “dealing with things sensibly and realistically”—about that separation. We human beings simply aren’t wired that way.

In some important respects, the difference between Japan and us is one of degree, not kind. It remains to be seen if a generation of young Americans will one day replace “whatever” with “mendokusai.”

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rings on a BibleRefreshing.  Hopeful.  Faithful to the God who created us… and marriage.

That is is the Marriage Generation.  I just signed on as one of them and applaud their courage.  Below, you will find their statement and five core principles.

Perhaps you’ll want to become one of the “marriage generation,” too!

We are millennials who understand that marriage is a lasting promise between one woman and one man. It is the unique human relationship where bodily, emotional and spiritual differences converge to form something new, often leading to the creation of life itself.

Sadly, the marriage culture our generation inherited was eroding long before we were born. Marriage in America has become increasingly associated with the fulfillment of sexual desire, and the self-actualization of adults, rather than the fulfillment of a lifelong commitment and the well being of children.

It should come as no surprise then that our generation is so ambivalent about marriage. There has never been a generation of Americans so starved for marriages to emulate or so confused about what marriage actually is. Competing claims that marriage is both an obstacle and a key to our happiness has led an increasing number of young Americans to declare marriage obsolete, delay or forgo marriage, or embrace calls to redefine marriage altogether.

Marriage remains indispensable to society, and we need marriage, rightly understood, to make a comeback.

We’re millennials who remain committed to the meaning and enduring value of marriage. Neither court rulings, nor elections, nor cultural pressures will dissuade us. Our passion is to revive a marriage culture, and to shape the way our generation thinks and talks about marriage.

Our Five Principles

1. Virtually every civilization throughout human history has recognized and upheld marriage as the permanent, exclusive and comprehensive union of one man and one woman.

2. Marriage uniquely provides for both the creation and nurturing of children.

3. The State has a compelling interest in upholding the meaning and purpose of marriage because marriage is the beginning of family, and family is the foundation of society.

4. Affirming the meaning and purpose of marriage through the law is an important and necessary step, but an insufficient one. As a society, we must redouble efforts to promote a culture of marriage and family, for the common good of all current and future citizens.

5. Recognizing the dignity of every human being and ensuring they receive the full protection of the law can and must be accomplished without redefining the meaning and purpose of marriage.

We aren’t indifferent. We aren’t giving up.

We are the Marriage Generation.

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Some inquiring religious people once asked Jesus a question.  They wanted to know to whom the woman of several husbands – all who had died – would be married in heaven.  Perhaps Jesus’ answer to those religious men also answers the question about our “sexual” identity.

Jesus said, “In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage . . .” (Matthew 22:30).

If we identify ourselves, first and foremost, as “sexual beings,” then what becomes of us in heaven?  Are we no longer a being?  Do we lose our identity?  Are we just floating angels?  I think not.  Our true identity will remain intact.  We will be fully human, but perfect in every way.  We will still be His special possession, but unburdened by things of the world.  We will still be His treasures in Christ but, at last, able to truly reflect His magnificence.

Our sexuality – or all things pertaining to procreation and marriage – will not matter.  What will matter is living in a perfect relationship with God as His holy ones.

Excerpted from Faithfulness: One Child at a Time
A Working Document by L. Bartlett, PDF at Titus 2 for Life

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There is a stage being set.  I see male and female players, but focus on those of my own gender.  Why?  Because the way we women choose to play our role determines much for men and children.  Our character matters.   Each woman being called on stage is a daughter of Eve.  Each one is prompted with one question.  “Did God really say . . . ?”  So far in my lifetime, I have heard many responses.

“We are not created, but self-evolved!” proclaim deceived women.  “We are unbound sexual beings with the right to express our sensuality and seek pleasure.  Our daughters must be made comfortable with their sexuality.  Give them all knowledge and they will choose well.”

“We are no different from men,” proclaim foolish women, “and entitled to an equal playing field.  Men do not have to bear children, nor should we.”

“We have the right,” proclaim restless women, “to unlimited access to birth control and abortion.”

Deceived, foolish, and restless women have difficulty holding men accountable as faithful husbands.  Devoted fathers of their children.  Laborers who work for honest pay.   Builders of vibrant community.

When the act of sex is disconnected from procreation, an entire culture pays the price.  Everything – from the family to the economy, from ethics to health care – is affected.

Choosing to follow after the sensual lifestyle because “it’s who I am” comes with tremendous cost to society.  There are pills before sex and after sex.  Pills to fight infection.  Pills to fertilize life or abort life.  Fearing they may lose their “sexual freedom,” women cry out, “Do not come between me and my right to health care.”  In fact, “whether the conscience of my neighbor is good with my lifestyle or not, they must help fund my pills and procedures.”

The stage is set for Election Day.  Do you see the lines forming?  “Stand here, if you’re in favor of women’s health!”  “Over there, if you don’t give a wit.”  Backstage are powers and principalities busy pitting women against men, parents against children, a people against God.

Well, I give a wit.  But, my conscience can’t embrace the funding of Planned Parenthood or health care that mandates religious institutions to cover abortion-causing drugs.  Nor can my conscience turn away from deceived and restless women.  They may speak in one trained voice: “My body, my choice.”  They may be loud.  Bold.  Impassioned.  But, loud, bold, and impassioned voices can be a cover for unhappiness.  Fear.  Discontent.

Knowing this, I am compelled – mercifully compelled – to take a stand for women.  Not for our foolish and hurtful choices, but for women of character who are needed by men.  Children.  A nation.

Because God really did say there is a way that is right.  A way with blessings.  A future.  Hope.

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June is the traditional month for weddings.  Marriage expectations are high.  Most brides and grooms expect to have all their hopes and needs met by the other.  Is this possible?

In God’s perfect world, yes.  In a fallen and sin-filled world, no.

Marriage was instituted by God.  It is a union of two completely different people — male and female — for the benefit of children and society.  It is a relationship that models the agape love of patience, kindness, selflessness, and faithfulness.  It builds family and community.  It mentors the vibrant and compatible roles of manhood and womanhood for generations to come.

History explains.  After God created man, He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone.  I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18).  God wanted man to know that he was not yet complete.  He had no mate appropriate for him and he had no means of procreation.

Fit for him” literally means “like his opposite.”  Imagine that.  She fit perfectly with him, yet they were not the same — anatomically, hormonally, or psychologically.  With God, they would procreate new life.  She would be the vessel for the young one he would protect.

Equal, but different, the man and woman would unite in a partnership.  Their unique character traits and personalities would harmonize.  In God’s order of creation, a “helper” (Hebrew: ezer) would be an “assistant” and “ally.”  The ezerwoman would not be dissimilar from the “Helper” sent by Jesus to the disciples.  That Helper, the Holy Spirit, was called a “comforter,” “advocate,” and “encourager.”

The woman would know joy and contentment in her role of “helper.”  She would find limitless possibilities in her multi-faceted vocation.  She would help man to be a better steward over all creation.  She would help nurture all the living.  The  man would rejoice in his completeness.   He would love the woman built from his rib and guard her life as if it were his own.  He would serve not his own glory, but the glory of God (to her benefit).

In the first marriage, there was no fear.  Resentment.  Envy.  Frustration.  Anger.  Heartache.  Disappointment.

Everything changed when the first husband and wife sinned against God.  They were equally guilty, yet the consequences of their sins were as different as their natures.

Today’s bride and groom may expect to have all their needs met.  But, in a fallen and imperfect world, no person can do that for another.  Only God can and will fulfill our deepest needs.  At the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Bishop of London noted, “As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life.  This is to load our partner with too great of burden.”

Let us ease the burden with encouragement.  Sin distorts God’s perfect plan, but the original design is still in place.  It serves well when trusted.

  • A woman “fit for him” remains a husband’s opposite.  She is made to think, act, and love differently.  Sin complicates those differences.  Not only are they male and female, they have contrasting personality traits, quirks, familial histories, and experiences that may threaten to tear the marriage apart.  But, there is another choice.  With forgiveness and practice, husband and wife can merge their best qualities for the benefit of a stronger marriage.  They can stop playing “me against you” and become “we.”  They can unite as a team for the sake of their children.
  • A woman’s role still complements the man’s.  She is his “helper.”  Regardless of sin and circumstances, she has a choice: to help him be a good or poor steward; to encourage or discourage; to build up or tear down; to connect him to children or disconnect.  He has the choice to use God’s Word for life, warn against death, and cover his wife and children with his faithfulness — or not.

Equal, yet different, husband and wife have an example to follow.

Jesus is equal to God.  He is God yet, in His role as the Son, He submitted to His Father’s will in order to be the Savior of the world.  A wife who respects her husband and submits to his appropriate leadership is really submitting to God.  A man who loves his wife as Christ loved the Church is submitting himself to God.

Marriage expectations?  On this earth, husband and wife won’t make each other completely happy.  Won’t meet each others every need.  Warm fuzzies will fade.  But, Jesus in a marriage makes two “better than one.”  Opposites who glorify God rather than self change the environment.  Root deeper.  Build stronger.  Persist against every foe.

A threefold cord (God, man and woman) is not quickly broken” (Eccl. 4:12).

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Maura is “hooked,” but she has faith in the Savior of her life.  His Word is real to her.  It will speak to her conscience.  Maura also has a friend who will be honest with her and always remind her why setting boundaries and guarding body, mind and soul is healthy and hopeful.

But, Nichole has faith in the things of the world.  She doesn’t have a friend who will be honest with her.  She, too, is “hooked,” but doesn’t realize it.   Nichole, like Maura and most every other young (or older) woman, doesn’t know about neurochemicals.

Oxytocin is a neurochemical.  It is present in both male and female, but is primarily active in females.  The female body releases oxytocin at four different times.  Take note!  Each has to do with procreation and the care of children.  Oxytocin is released:

  • During meaningful or intimate touching with another person (Action: bonding and trust)
  • During sexual intercourse (Action: bonding and trust)
  • During the onset of labor in a pregnant woman (Action: causes uterine contractions, results in birth)
  • After baby’s delivery (Action: stimulates nipples and produces flow of milk from mom for nursing)

How does the human race continue?  God said that husband and wife would become “one flesh.”  Sexual intimacy results not only in the bonding of two people, but in procreation.  Oxytocin plays a vital role in the continuation of the human race.  With sexual touch, the woman’s brain is flooded with oxytocin.  She wants to be with the man she has bonded to.  Long-term connectedness often results in healthy male-female relationships.  It is actually rare for an American woman in an intact marriage to have sexual intercourse with anyone except her husband.  Such stability is affected by oxytocin.  Think of the significance.  The bonding of father and mother greatly increases the chance for a child to be raised in a healthy, two-parent home.  Such a child is blessed, not necessarily with a perfect home (do they exist?), but with a hopeful environment for becoming all God desires them to be.

The world speaks about the emotions of love.  The emotions of connectedness.  In reality, the desire to connect is more than an emotional feeling.  Bonding is like glue.  And it can’t be undone or ripped apart without great emotional pain.

Whether Maura or Nichole realize it, they are “hooked” to the men with whom they are sexually intimate.  The flow of oxytocin serves to promote trust.  Oxytocin will trigger the bonding process even if a girl hasn’t “gone all the way,” but has kissed and hugged a boy.  For this reason, if he wants to “do more,” it will become increasingly difficult for her to say “no.”  Parents!  Do you know this?  When you allow your thirteen-year-old daughter to spend long periods of time with a boy, you are placing her in serious jeopardy.  Her protective boundary of modesty and inhibition will gradually break down with each kiss, each touch, each pledge of love… even though the boy she’s with has no intention of marrying her or having children with her.

Maura’s confession to me said it all.  “. . . It’s so very strange.  The more time I spend with my boyfriend, the more I need to be with him.”  Does Nichole find herself in the same circumstance?  Before a well-meaning counselor, Planned Parenthood clinic, or parent gets her on The Pill (or whatever), do they tell her about oxytocin?  Do they explain that she’s going to be “hooked” because neurochemicals are doing what they’re supposed to do?

The cruelty is this.  Our culture removes all the boundaries.  It encourages sexual activity among boys and girls.  Then it washes its hands by saying, “We explained how to do this safely.”  But, who turns off the oxytocin?  Maura has difficulty breaking with the boyfriend who isn’t good for her because she has bonded with him.  Nichole has been in several intimate relationships.  She has “hooked up.”  Has “friends with benefits.”  All seems so casual.  So harmless.  So sophisticated.  But, oxytocin is at work.  Every time that Nichole and her “friend” break up and she moves on to a new sexual partner, a bond is being broken.  This is emotional.  Painful.  Sometimes paralyzing.

In truth, being sexually intimate with one person, breaking up, and being sexually intimate with another is like a divorce.  Repeating this cycle again and again places a girl in danger of negative emotional consequences.  Nichole doesn’t realize it, but she is acting against — actually fighting — her own body and the way she was designed to function.  Eventually, damage is done to her brain’s natural connecting or bonding mechanism.

Sexual intimacy, as Maura has discovered, is addictive.  But, she has the hope for change in God’s Word and the honesty of a friend.  What does Nichole have?  Who will speak on her behalf?  Who will guard her body?  Mind?  Soul?

(Source: Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting our Children  by Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., M.D., and Freda McKissic Bush, M.D.)

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