My article “Family Redefined” has been published in the June edition of Gather, a monthly magazine for ELCA women. In it I talk about my decision not to have children, the trepidation I had about coming out of the childfree closet, and why I think the church’s definition of family is far too narrow and small. The article is only in the print magazine. I hope you don’t have trepidation about buying the magazine. It is a well done and thought out magazine (with excellent Bible studies), and they are very generous with writers, so support your Evangelical Lutheran sisters with a subscription.
One thought on “New article published in Gather Magazine”
I am a member of the Lutheran Church, and I read your article with interest. The position of Lutheran churches towards the decision not to have children varies: while the ELCA (the more liberal branch) takes a more or less ‘to each their own’ approach to the question, the more conservative Missouri Synod tends to discourage deliberate childlessness – although even they recognize that there may be some situations (ex. health problems on the woman’s part) where forgoing children might be advisable.
With regard to the Bible, my position is we really can’t find a clear-cut answer to the question of whether or not to have children (or, in my case, whether or not to have more than one child – I have one daughter). It is true that the Bible speaks of having a ‘quiver full of children,’ but we have to remember that in Biblical times, number one, it was an agricultural society, and children were an economic asset in that sense (i.e. children can do things like feed the animals, milk the cows, etc.), and number two, the Jews were a small tribe surrounded by hostile neighbours, so children were in a way a sort of bulwark against that pressure.
However, society has changed since then, so it’s hard to say the Bible promotes anything definitive one way or the other. I’ll give an analogy: I don’t think you can use the Bible to defend either a pro-choice or pro-life position on abortion. There are mentions of women losing a pregnancy (ex. if she is struck during an assault) but nothing about a woman taking deliberate measures to end a pregnancy. My guess is that for the same reasons that having many children made sense in that time, abortion may not have been widely practised in Old Testament society.
So there might be good or not-so-good reasons for choosing not to have children, but if we’re honest, we have to admit that they can’t be found in the Bible.