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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Quiver Full

For reference:

Psalms 127

3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth.
5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

I heard a story on NPR's The Story about the Quiver Full movement (No Longer Quivering). I didn't know it had a name. I had just thought of this as a characteristic of radical borderline cultish Christians, along with prairie wear, long hair, and beliefs that are much more narrow than the Bible (and claiming the rule is from God), reminiscent of Pharisees.

I know I'm entering dangerous territory. I'm not questioning anyone's family planning, nor do I hate kids or question those who want a ton of them. I personally think large families are great. What I'm questioning is if one should abandon God-given reasoning skills in achieving it or if achieving it should be the primary goal. Is it Biblical to have as many kids as possible or to use our knowledge of our bodies and situations to try to some degree to make a decision in this area or are they equal?

I have always approached family planning thinking about how many would we would like, then tempering that with how many we think we can give a good start in life. It goes without saying that children are a blessing from God. No question. Some approach this topic as "leaving it up to God". I guess I have always assumed that people who said that still thought about finances and family dynamics in saying that. I mean, even if you don't use chemical or other birth control, we know enough about science today to be able to more or less control whether or not you're going to have 1 or 2 or 20.

In listening to this The Story, I got a different impression of "leaving it up to God." The Quiver Full movement's interpretation of that is to I guess ignore the body's signals and have as many kids as humanly possible. I guess God will give you as many as you are supposed to have- 2 or 20? It is an interesting and certainly different approach than I am used to. I don't think I am just trying to justify my own view is correct when I say that it seems like that interpretation is akin to using the passage in Matthew 6 (verse 25-34) to say that we don't have to go to the store for food and clothes (God will drop it on your doorstep) or using the many verses in Proverbs about wisdom extending one's life to jump from the 20th story of a building and not expect to die.

I realize the intent is to fill that quiver, be pleasing to God, and put your family's needs above your own (career, a desire not to have 20 kids, etc). Not bad things at all. I have no doubt that a large family would teach one to work hard, be frugal and how to "play well with others." I just don't know that the verse says that you should have as many kids as humanly possible to be pleasing to God. Or that having 20 is more pleasing to God. Or that those with 1 or 2 kids have an empty quiver. Or that choosing to aim for 1 or 2 is against God. Or that you should ignore the health of the child or children or the mother and just trust that God wants you to keep having kids. I don't know for sure if the Quiver Full folks believe this stuff or not; the issues came to mind when I heard this story (and switched on TLC reality TV). I think interpreting a full quiver as having as many kids as you possibly can is taking it a bit to the extreme. (Much like their view on the roles of men and women...) The main point is, I think, about kids being a blessing, not about having as many as God wants you to have vs how many you want to have or whatever. I'm still not sure I understand the movement. I'll just stop here.

These movements are so intriguing. I mean look at the Amish. They are against cars and buttons. They live as though they are in the 1800s. Why not go farther back than that? This isn't where innovation started. Why choose that time? Anyway, I'll save that for a another time. :)

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