My wife and I have 5 children. I know that some persons have a problem with that.
I will just say this – I resonate with what Pastor Larry Peters wrote in this post about the “child-free” life many are choosing this day. See in particular the third paragraph below, where he hits the nail on the head (by the way, this is one of the best Lutheran blogs you can be reading):
In the past marriage and children were the marks of adulthood but today we live in a world in which adulthood, marriage, and children are not the highest of goals for a generation that worships youth, freedom, and a lack of strings attached to life. In short, who wants to grow up if growing up means accepting responsibility for more than yourself, carrying the burden for others, and sacrificing personal desires for the sake of another? This is, perhaps, only one more evolution of the “me” generation — a generation far removed from what many have called the “greatest generation”.
So what should the Church do? There are many who believe that it is too late to do anything. There are many who have taken a sort of refuge mentality in which the Church is sanctuary for those who have retreated from what is happening in our culture. There are many who insist that we cannot change the push for gay marriage nor can we undo what has been done to the ideas of marriage, family, and children. I think that there is something we can do. But in order for us to do it, we will have to abandon the constraint of culture and act and speak as distinctly as we are in Christ.
A personal example. Not long ago a family in our parish with two little ones announced that they were expecting a third and some, many in fact, sighed the knowing sign of disapproval. You already have your hands full and children are costly and your resources are already spread thin and you have no family locally to help you out… and so on… In other words, in the very church where this choice should be celebrated, a young couple often finds folks whose views have been so shaped by the world around them that they also think enough is enough. A child. Maybe two. But why anymore? We have for too long allowed the world to shape not only our values about life and success but about marriage and family. What we can do is to begin talking again about children as gifts and blessings, about the nature of love which delights in sacrifice, and of the noble vocation of being a father and mother. What we can do is change the minds of those within the congregation and then, just maybe, we can begin to challenge the false images of a full and happy life outside the church.
At this point, let me bring up the book What to Expect When No One’s Expecting. If you are unaware of what is happening in the world demographically, you really do need to find out. Not to worry, child of Christ, but to be aware. Contrary to popular opinion, the author Jonathan Last shows that many countries are now in a situation where it will be mathematically impossible for their populations to avoid shrinking drastically in the future. Pastor Peters posted something else the other day – something that I found to be quite jolting. I would like to have some of the claims of the video verified, but if the facts are basically right, it has a lot to say to all of us in the Western world. That said, I wish whoever produced it would have done some things differently – as the whole thing seems shrouded in mood or spirit of fear – I think the facts are foreboding enough without the additional dark drama. Ours is not a spirit of fear – in Christ, our love will not grow cold.
Before getting to the video below though, note also this excellent video from Pastor Jonathan Fisk, of Worldview Everlasting, “When Relevancy Fails”, where he gives some very sound counsel to the church regarding this issue.