[*] Rooster: Contraception (3b - final)

Now, rather than go on about statistics on this subject (which could fill another post), I'm going to tell you about someone in particular. Prior to his being saved, he was unfit for marriage. He had a tradionally-romantic view of man-woman relationships, which is to say he thought that sex was fine outside of marriage if two people "loved each other" (whatever he meant by that) and they both wanted to. He also thought that men had no business talking about abortion because they could never be pregnant, and if a woman wanted to escape poverty or the burden of motherhood, she was the person driving the train and she should be able to pick the stops she made.

One of the turning points in his life was when he met another fellow (we'll call him "Rufus") who had been having sex with his girlfriend (we'll call here "Jane"), and she got pregnant. It was somewhat of a scandal because they were both allegedly Catholic in a nearly-100% Catholic community, and they planned to get married. The problem was that Jane (she was a girl – about 19 or 20) had significant health issues, and her doctor advised her that carrying the baby full term would kill her.

The pro-choicers out there can already see this one coming, I am sure. Rather than dazzle you with a weepy sketch of what happened, I'll tell you plainly that Jane carried the baby full term, delivered, and then died in childbirth. Rufus adopted the child, quit school, and became this child's full-time father.

Because the subject of our story claimed he did not have an opinion about abortion, he had no idea what to make of this event. He didn't understand why Jane would give up her life for a child that would never know her; he didn't understand why Rufus would give up the rest of his life for this child rather than let it (he did think of the child as an "it", though I use that word here to shield the sex of the child) be adopted by a couple who was "ready" (whatever that means) to have children but couldn't, and he didn't understand why Jane didn't just have an abortion – because there doesn't seem to be any upside here. Having the baby meant that the baby would have no mother, Rufus would have no wife, and both Rufus and the child would live in incredibly difficult circumstances for the rest of their lives.

In his moral calculus, this marriage-unfit fellow did not believe that one child's life was worth all of that. He thought he knew what love was, but when it looked him in the eye, he didn't see it.

Because let's get something straight here: There is no greater love than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. Jane here laid down her life for this child: that is love. Rufus here laid down his life – to a lesser extent, but in a very real way – for this child. And that's for one child only.

Now let's jump ahead in this story in the life of this marriage-unfit fellow. If we jump ahead, he does some pretty dastardly things – things unfit for the text here – and finds himself at the edge of his philosophy, but he is changed. His understanding of things changes. The reason he changes can be read here, since this post is already 2 posts long and you have to get back to whatever you were doing, but the short hand is that Jesus Christ changes his life even though this person deserved to die.

In that change, he becomes marriageable. He becomes someone worth having as a husband and a father. And, by God's grace, he finds a wife – a woman far and away better than he deserves. He loves her, and he's ready to lay down his life for her – not just theoretically, but actively, every day, to love her the way that Christ loves the church.

Now here's the actual point of this story: together, they decide to "wait" to have children. Now, why do they wait? Well, they both are working 60 hours a week; they are both unsatisfied with their economic state (which is not to say status – they weren't looking to impress anyone); they want to provide a "good life" (as if that's about money) for their prospective children. So they practice birth control for about 2 or 3 years before they are "ready" to have some kids.

Being 100% serious about this story, I have to be honest and say that there is a wide gap between choosing to use contraceptive measures to avoid pregnancy and choosing to terminate an existing pregnancy. They would never have chosen to terminate a pregnancy if it had happened. The problem is that the reason for doing either one is exactly the same: the underlying motive for contraception is the view that a child's life will be a burden rather than the view that a child's life will be a blessing from God.

You can dress it up any way you want to – you can call it "stewardship of God's resources" if you have that kind of theology, or you can call it "seeking God's time for parenthood" if you have that kind of theology, or you can call it whatever you want. I'm sure this view is going to get some push-back. The problem is that there are things this guy and his wife put ahead of the value of human life – not of some theory of human life, but ahead of one actual human life, and being open to God's blessing of their marriage bed with children.

Today, when that guy looks at the two kids he now has, and he sees them sleeping in their beds, or they come running to greet him when he comes home from work, or he play Legos with the boy or has a tea party with the girl, he cannot imagine that he deserves to be a father – their father. He knows what the blessings of parenthood are, and he is grateful for those blessings.

And he and his wife still practice contraception, because he is still more afraid of the burden of another child on the home, the marriage, the finances, and frankly himself because he's 40 now and doesn't have the same energy to be a father of a Newborn, and doesn't want to send his third child to college when he's 60 (or older). He still places the financial & emotional risks ahead of a new human life.

I know this because I am this guy. So take the rest of this blog-series in the context that I might be able to preach a good sermon, but I do not have the grace to walk it out.

Have a good weekend. Don't let the blogosphere be your "church" – be together with Gods people in God's house this weekend. It will do you good.