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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Christian Priorities?

I read the post below on my friend Editor B's blog just after reading Al Mohler's newest article on Deliberate Childlessness. I am not slamming Mohler here even though the article is goofy. But reading B's post made me stop and think about my priorities as a Christian. Mohler's piece seemed pretty damn irrelevant next to the following:

Tisha Isha

August 18th, 2005

Students go back to the New Orleans Public Schools today. In theory anyway. In practice — but that’s another story.

The big hype this year? The tissue issue. (Pronunciation guide: tisha isha.) Yes, administrators are actually promising toilet paper will be on hand at every school this year! Amazing.

From the Sunday T-P:

A&M executive Sajan George, now the system’s chief operating officer, toured the system throughout the week, spewing orders and making promises, including the bold vow that every school bathroom will start school with toilet paper — a marked departure from past years.

As he made the claim at a meeting with 200 teachers late Wednesday afternoon, the room erupted in gasps and cries of shock. “I’d like to see that!” several exclaimed.

Xy (Editor B's wife) reports that a hotline has been established just for toilet paper. If a school runs out, all they have to do is call the hotline, and someone will be dispensed to run down to the Wal-Mart and buy more.

I shit you not.


Think about it. What would Jesus be debating about right now? Or would he be debating? Note to self--less blogging, more action!

9 Comments:

At 7:40 PM, Blogger Matthew61 said...

That's funny!

But it's also okay to occasionally slam Mohler. You are after all blogging about people hurt by the SBC. And Mohler is the king of the SBC, ergo...well you get my point.

I read that article. The United States is suffering from UNDERPOPULATION!!! IS HE FOR REAL?!

 
At 8:13 PM, Blogger D.R. said...

Martin,

Actually, you can check the figures for yourself. Among Christians, the population is plummeting due very much to low birth rates. Most of that is from people choosing to have either no children or only one. Thus the population is not replicated. Only minority groups are actually seeing a population increases of any significance.

But the real problem is that many Christians are choosing not to have children despite the clear admonitions from Scripture that children are a blessing from the Lord and the call to be fruitful (which I realize many interpret to no longer be in effect, despite the fact that there is no evidence that this call ever ended). Mohler makes good points if you actually read him and think through the issue from a Biblical perspective (ex., the purpose of children as sanctification, etc). The problem is that most people dismiss him because of what you just said above, which to me is only adding to the division between Baptists. I realize that it comes from both sides, but whatever happened to the "love your neighbor" and "love your enemy" banners that moderates fly so proudly? Does that stop with Southern Baptists that you don't like?

Part of the reason that Southern Baptists can so dismiss their moderate and liberal brothers is because they don't see any difference in how they tell us we act and how they act toward SBCers. I get told how much of an idiot I am for believing in inerrancy, or Intelligent Design, or how much I don't care for the poor and that I am only focused on worshipping the Bible. If I actually saw more moderates treating me like they say I should treat them and others (honestly, present company excluded -- both you and Howie have treated me with respect, and I appreciate that), as well as actually interacting with me on my views instead of dismissing me and calling me "arrogant" because I defend them, then I might be more inclined to listen to what they say. But as I see it both sides act like little children at times hurling insults, but not having any meaningful discussions. That's part of the reason why I wrote the article on my blog about Bruce Prescott and much of the reason why I interact with guys like you, with whom I have many disagreements. Sorry if that sounds harsh, I just feel real honest right now. I am not trying to demean you or Howie or anyone else, I am just making some observations. I realize I am guilty of much of what I said as well. And I am sick of all of it. We are missing much of the glory of God while fighting with one another and not listening.

 
At 10:52 PM, Blogger Elle said...

I seem to be confused... are children only considered a blessing if they have your genetic code or are living in your house? I love kids, in fact I'm making my life's work with deaf kids, but I have absolutely no desire to have kids of my own.

I'm finding the diminishing population numbers a little hard to believe since make all of the Christian families that I know but two have multiple kids. One family has two more if you count the stepkids and the other is a single woman whose child is a result of a rape.

 
At 10:14 AM, Blogger SpookyRach said...

Only white middle class Christians are having fewer children? Or are minority Christians childless as well?

"We are missing much of the glory of God while fighting with one another and not listening." - That is certainly true, d.r.

 
At 1:26 PM, Blogger D.R. said...

I seem to be confused... are children only considered a blessing if they have your genetic code or are living in your house? I love kids, in fact I'm making my life's work with deaf kids, but I have absolutely no desire to have kids of my own.

Elle,
One of the problems with Mohler's article for many people is that they misunderstand who he is talking to and what he is saying is the problem. This is what I tried to communicate to Bruce Prescott, who took Mohler's words completely out of context (see http://mainstreambaptist.blogspot.com/2005/07/sbc-empowering-kingdom-growth.html).

So let me explain.
1) He is talking to married couples who do not desire to have children either by adoption or by nature childrearing.
2) He is talking to couples who can have children naturally, but who choose not to because they feel more free in their lifestyle.
3) He says that it not glorifying to God to get married (much less be in a sexual relationship with someone to whom you are not married - but that is a whole 'nother topic) and yet reject one of the purposes of marriage, which is procreation.

So, if you aren't married or you cannot have children and do not want to adopt then he is not talking to you. Mohler is very supportive of people who feel called to celibacy and feels that it is a special calling. Elle, I don't know your situation, but I would say that if you are not married and you feel called to work with children, then Mohler would applaud you for it.

Spooky,
What I understand is that it is mostly white middle to upper class Americans who are choosing not to have children. Having said that I do not think those numbers reflect religion. I think Mohler's point is that many Christians are starting to develop the same attitudes as secularists on child-bearing and raising. Thus he is pointing to those men and women who are married and saying that God is indeed calling them to raise children (either by bearing or adoption) and that it is selfish not to do so based on lifestyle preferences. Does that make sense now? I think he has been misconstrued by many, but I think the vast majority of Christians who do have children would say that if you are married and do not have children then you are missing something in the design of God for that marriage by not doing so. On that point I think Mohler is absolutely right.

 
At 1:07 AM, Blogger Elle said...

d.r. - The way that you interpreted Mohler's audience is virtually the same way that I did, but I think that he is also addressing others of a similar status, albeit in a preparatory/preventative sense.

As I said before, I have no desire to have children if/when I do get married. None. And I will still work with deaf kids if/when I do get married. If I'm investing $200,000+ to work with deaf kids, I'm in this field for the long haul! : )

There are at least six reasons why I don't want to have kids, none of which concern extra time/money/freedom (though I will admit those are nice side benefits and that I would share those benefits with others). I would be glad to share my reasons if it weren't for the fact that they are extremely personal and I don't know you all that well.

If I were still a Southern Baptist, I would be very hurt and offended by Mohler's words because I feel like I've been called a bad Christian for fully intending to be childless by choice and that the importance of my work has been minimized. I don't just teach deaf kids to listen, speak, and do their schoolwork, I often find myself bonding with students who (usually) otherwise lack a good female figure in their lives. However, I'm not SB anymore and I can occasionally read him (providing I don't get too riled up) and just be thankful that he has no impact on my church.

 
At 5:19 PM, Blogger Marty said...

Elle, thank you for giving your life and care to the deaf. I have 8 family members who are deaf and I know the struggles they go through. I used to be an interpreter for the deaf, at a church in Houston where Bruce Prescott of Mainstream Baptist was the pastor. He was terrific with the deaf, they all loved him. Don't ever let anyone make you feel guilty for the choice you have made. May God bless you in your calling, because working with the deaf is indeed a God calling.

 
At 9:21 PM, Blogger D.R. said...

Elle,

I think it is wonderful that you work with children who are deaf. I think Mohler would think it is wonderful as well. But what Mohler is talking about is that the call to marriage is a call to have children, if you are able.

That doesn't mean he is saying you are a bad Christian if you don't. First of all you have to understand that Evangelicals like Mohler (and honestly I have to say I think this way as well) see that every aspect of our lives should be lived with the focus on what is most Biblical and glorifying to God. Thus in marriage, what is most Biblical and glorifying to God according to how Mohler views Scripture is that any married couple would indeed have children. Now, what he addressed in his article that he said was so problematic was that he knew of couples who for very selfish reasons (like the ones I mentioned and the ones you said you didn't have for not having children) were not intending to have any kids. This he found to be problematic.

So, if you are offended by that, I am sorry, but you said yourself that those were not your reasons. Now, one last thing. If you have no desire to have children, and have such a desire to serve in the area that you are, then it may in fact be God's way of telling you that He has called you to remain celibate and by virtue of that give all of your time to serving the needs of deaf children, which would be a worthwhile venture. I think that is something you have to consider in all of this. And if Mohler got you to thinking about that and if you came to the conclusion that God was indeed calling you to remain in this state for life, then Mohler would feel that his article served its purpose -- to make you think and consider God's purposes for your life. And that is a good thing.

 
At 2:46 PM, Blogger lostnacfgop said...

Holy cow. This post seems almost surreal in light of this week's disaster of Biblical proportions, but a public school system in a major U.S. City having to treat the availability of toilet paper as a triumph? Doesn't anybody see that for the disgusting example of selfishness and greed that it is? It is an appalling testament to people's priorities being skewed, and dangerously so. The government at ALL levels should be providing a proper place for public education - nothing could be more central to our future, and common necessities are not available at the schools?

Plenty of money for bombs, ditto depleted uranium shells to spread "democracy and freedom" by the gun barrel. But bring your own roll to Math class, kiddies.
Unbelievable.

 

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