September 21, 2009 by Stacy McDonald
Recently, I was intrigued by a couple of snarky anonymous (unapproved) comments on the quiverfull topic. While such sniper style nastiness is not uncommon on the Internet, it made me think how often we Christians try to “sanitize” similar behavior when someone disagrees with us.
We Christians, especially those of us with strong opinions, seem to have a habit of grabbing onto a truth with the tenacity of a pit bull and forgetting to step back and examine the heart behind it. When we do this, we lose a precious part of the truth we hold so dear, and we fail to communicate anything but our own zeal. I believe, in some ways, this has happened in what has been termed “The Quiverfull Movement.”
Another thing to remember is that conviction is sometimes painful; and people often react to pain in anger. We should be prepared for this with an attitude of mercy and longsuffering. We must respond biblically—with a soft answer (Prov. 15:1).
I’d like to remind us all that if our true desire is to communicate what God has done in our lives, then we need to prove that it is a work of His by the way we respond to one another. If we communicate with arrogance, then our actions are inconsistent with godliness and no matter how “right” we are, we become “wrong.”
And since I would like to do more than “preach to the choir,” I want to be very careful to speak frankly without assuming everyone knows what I mean…know what I mean? Terms are important because they can either communicate or miscommunicate our meaning.
In a few days I’ll be discussing the growing number of “definitions” that have arisen for the word “quiverfull” and why I am becoming more and more inclined to not use the term. Not because I don’t think it’s a valid term; but, since there are a lot of misconceptions out there, I want to be sure I’m communicating what I mean.
So, for starters, I’d like to do an experiment by hosting a poll. In this poll, I have included the names of five fictional women. Each woman claims to view children as a blessing from God. Let’s see how many different perspectives are represented here on this blog.
Please click on the name in the sidebar poll that best reflects your own personal belief regarding Psalm 127:5. The poll wouldn’t allow me to include all the text; so read the choices below, and simply click the “name” in the poll in the sidebar.
Once you click your choice, come back to this post, share your answer, and tell us whether or not you would consider yourself “quiverfull” (by your own definition). Please feel free to share this post/poll with others.
1. Lisa: Lisa believes that the size of one’s family should be surrendered to God—that children are a blessing to be embraced by Christian parents. She trusts that God will equip and provide for her as He blesses her with children, sometimes not before. She understands that it is not simply a matter of giving birth to children (since in reality, that’s the easy part), but it is all about training them up in the way they should go (Prov. 22:6), and relying on Him to provide the measure of strength, wisdom, and provision we will need. It is neither striving to limit pregnancy, nor is it obsessing over conceiving. Lisa has a quiet resolve to trust God completely, and will rely on prayer, wisdom, and discernment as special circumstances arise.
2. Donna: Donne believes that children are a blessing, but that Christians who refuse to ever use birth control are often being reckless. She doesn’t think it’s fair to the children and can’t imagine how a family with more than a few children could possibly nurture each child properly. She believes couples should use wisdom and only have the number of children they can clearly afford.
3. Carolyn: Carolyn agrees with Lisa, but believes that birth control is a good way to take a nice break in between having children.
4. Diane: Diane believes most everything that Lisa believes about the term, but she is adamant that birth control for any reason, in any form is always sinful. She also believes that Christians should attempt to have as many children as they can, either by adoption or by manipulating their bodies in ways that make fertility most likely (early weaning, fertility drugs etc.). While her efforts may wear her out at times, she views this as a mark of godliness and is happy to sacrifice for the Lord.
5. Angela: Angela believes that we should view children as gifts, but that it is up to each couple how many “gifts” they would like to receive, if any at all.
Also, be sure to read Just Another Mouth to Feed
A new post is up: “Jesus-full”