Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Greedy Marriage or How Marriage Ruins Everything

Okay...did they statistically control for the fact that a large part of those helpful-to-parents young unmarrieds are doing the dishes and taking out the trash because they still live with their parents?

Also, did they control for the navel-gazing tendencies of current American cultural schemes? We paint marriage as if it were the ultimate in self-fulfillment instead of the covenantally blessed bedrock for child-rearing that God intended it. No wonder such self-serving marriages (many of which end in "no-fault" divorce) fails to create community. It's inwardly focused in the first place!

(No...I'm not slamming on childless couples. Mohler does enough of that.)

7 comments:

Jim Jordan said...

Also, did they control for the navel-gazing tendencies of current American cultural schemes?

That's hysterical [and true]!

When one is ultimately interested in only themselves what else are they going to do but navel gaze?

There is a greediness inherent in being intentionally childless. Albert Mohler and you are simply calling a spade a spade.

Doug Hagler said...

@Jim

I'm not really clear - how is it greedy to not want children? Say, you don't really enjoy children that much, or you carry a genetic predisposition for something pretty bad. It seems kind of absurd to say that we owe God, or the world, children. I guess if you want kids but don't have them because you think it'll be expensive, that *could* be greedy...or, if you're poor, it might be good decision-making.

Is there really some kind of moral imperative to reproduce? Would you want to be the child of parents who didn't want you, or resented you?

Toby Brown said...

Al Mothler's article was fascinating! I fully concur with the assessment that says we (who are physically and emotionally able) have a divine mandate for fruitfulness within our families.

A part of this idea will work itself into my series this coming week on "missional marriages".

Should be fun.

Chris said...

Doug,

It's greedy to not want children if you are capable of bearing them and you don't do it because of the burden they place on your autonomy. Genetic problems, etc. count for a small number of childless couples, but even they could adopt and contribute a steady home to children who would otherwise be given the sub-optimal life of "ward of the state."

As for poor...Psalms 127 says children are a blessing from the Lord and an inheritance. I've lived below the poverty level for all but 8 months of the time I've been a father. God has remained faithful and we've never been without need. Children can do without a great deal of material goods, so long as there's a solid marriage and faith backing the family. Just ask your nearest relative who went through the Great Depression.

As for a moral imperative, I think Genesis 1&2 and Malachi 2:5 give plenty of reason for Christian couples to seek out parenting. I don't say that you have to have a huge family, but replacement is important - and in our economy where the Government steals from young workers to pay old retirees, it's a sociological and economic necessity.

As for the last part of your question, my father did resent me and didn't want me. Guess what? I'm glad I'm alive. (I know...for liberals who make their every decision based on feelings, it's difficult to imagine a scenario where it's okay to not be ecstatically endorsed and applauded for existing.)

Toby,

You mean I'm being missional by having more kids? (I have four, and a fifth on the way.) Heck...I just thought I was monkeying with the membership statistics of local PC(USA) congregations.

Doug Hagler said...

@ Chris

Ok, I understand your point. I don't think it constitutes anything near a moral imperative, but I sort of understand why you would. Also, I think your liberal comment was...well, its what I expect I guess when I comment here. Good ol' straw man. Here's an equivalent:

"For conservatives who make every decision by blindly following authority, I know it must be hard to conceptualize someone making rational decisions about their life."

See? Shuts down conversation, doesn't it.

I'm glad living in poverty was something you got through unscathed. I've seen a lot of examples of people who aren't so fortunate, though, so I'm not about to point the finger at people who don't have children because they don't feel like they can responsibly care for them. That seems like a good decision, actually, in a country where a fifth of the children go to bed hungry (according to the US Census Bureau).

Amy said...

Chris,
I ran into Avery picking up the mail the other day - youngest theological student I've seen on campus for quite awhile :)
I read the article, and while I disagree with the idea that less social interaction is greedy, the evidence it comes up with make sense. I wonder, if in the control group, they separated unattached singles from those with significant others?
I remember sharing an apartment with one of my close friends as she and her (now) husband were getting serious. As she and David got more serious, they did indeed retreat from interaction with her friends and co-workers. It makes senses - as social beings, when we don't have some type of significant other in our lives, we fill that gap in other ways. It would make sense that Dinks (if there's one income, are they Oinks?) would have less social interaction with friends and family, because they have a social partner built in at home.
I don't necessarily think that means their greedy - I'm certainly not egotistical enough to think those around me are vying for the generous gift of my time - but I don't think it's a matter of perpetual adolescents helping others out so they don't have to go home to their parent's perpetually occupied guest room. Most singles are out on their own, though there is a rise in multi-generational living arrangements.
And, I agree with Doug - I don't think it's "greedy" to choose not to have children - especially in a society whose per capita consumption is proving to be a greater burden on our land than the country we claim to love can handle. In fact, there are many who do choose to have children out of selfish reasons as well, such as the need to feel loved, or the need to create someone in the image of what they wish they were. Just like the ways marriage and celibacy are complementary calling within our society, I think prayerful, intentional childlessness and prayerful, intentional parenthood can both be callings as well. But, then again, you can write me off as one of those Sallie-McFague-reading neo-pagan leftists, if you haven't already ;)
But I guess that's it for right now. I'm still in the process of licking my wounds from ords, but I think I'll be back to contribute another volley or two soon. Who knows, maybe I'll even thrown in a medieval Spanish poet or two?
Amy

Chris said...

Amy,

Thanks for dropping by. Come back soon.

As for "prayerful, intentional childless" folks - more power to them. However, as you point out, our society is consumption driven. Most of the people who are childless (childfree, notkidding, etc) are narcissistic whiners. Don't get me wrong... I feel for those unable to have children. And I respect those who believe they are called to have no children. However, if you want to find religiously motivated childless people, look here not here. Even a moderate sampling of those who are vocal about being childfree by choice will show you that most are just individualistic materialists.