Thursday, May 11, 2006

Be Fruitful & Multiply

We often are met with strange stares in public places when we come traipsing with our four kids in tow. To be sure, some have many more than four, but four seems to be "above average" here in SLO city. I sometimes strangely stare myself.

Since Sunday is Mother's Day and also our 75th Anniversary Children's Weekend, I thought these artcles from World Mag would get us thinking about the Creation Mandate in Genesis 1:28. . . .

Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
(What does that passage have to do with Mother's Day? What does this passage have to do with our creation stewardship and how we view and treat the environment?)

So here's those articles. . .

The first is called Multiplier Effect: how big families are good for nations and good for the environment and here's an excerpt. . . .
We normally speak of the need to be born again to attain eternal life in heaven, and that is true. But cultures that have been Christian and are now losing population need to be born again through a new Reformation that would once again emphasize God's command to be fruitful and multiplying gardeners. A nation that is not born again will eventually die, and its environment will revert from garden to wilderness."
The second is called The New Baby Boom and here's an exerpt. . . .
In an article in the newest issue of Foreign Policy, Phillip Longman suggests that leaving ideology aside and focusing only on demographics, conservatives are destined to inherit the earth.

The statistics simply don't lie. Mr. Longman says that 'nearly 20 percent of women born in the late 1950s are reaching the end of their reproductive lives without having had children'—and that such a proportion is nearly twice what it was a generation earlier. This 'greatly expanded childless segment of contemporary society, whose members are drawn disproportionately from the feminist and countercultural movements of the 1960s and 70s, will leave no genetic legacy.' The children they might have influenced, Mr. Longman says candidly, were never born." . . . .

Conservatives, meanwhile—typically including lots of evangelical Christians—have gone right on having babies. In doing so, they may be profoundly increasing their influence in the world at large.
Reactions?

So, go ahead and fufill the Creation Mandate. . .

7 comments:

Brian Wong said...

Umm...seeing as how you have a rather large, diverse readership, I suppose it should be clarified that last statement carries the implication that wey're only to fulfill this Mandate within the context of marriage, right?

Brianna Heldt said...

Well I can definitely relate to getting stares when we're out in public as we come traipsing in with our three kids, that's for sure!

I am wondering, are conservative evangelical Christians REALLY having more children? Seems like even in Christian circles, people have their 2 kids and that's it, and you're crazy if you have more. Maybe other areas of the country are different (?)

Overall I think the low number of children people have is related to the low way children are viewed in our society. In other cultures for example, the more children they have, the more they see themselves as being blessed by God. Here, children are seen as a nuisance, something to avoid, too much work. Maybe an example of how this plays out at our own church would be how hard it apparently is to get people to help with childcare Sunday mornings.

I think big families are awesome and I love seeing people who truly delight in their children, no matter the number. I don't know what I'd do without each of my three kids!

Jeannett Gibson said...

The only "red flag" that is raised for me in regards to the issue that 20% of women born in the 50's who didn't have children, is "Thank God". I guess I have a different frame of reference: Someone I know never had children herself. She literally HATES children. Sadly (and I'm not exaggerating) is annoyed by children's laughter. In fact, when shopping for a new house, if they even saw a tricycle on the front lawn of a home across the street from a house for sale, they turned the car around (w/o even getting out) because they didn't want to live in the "breeding grounds". Ick. Makes my heart hurt, but maybe people who are selfish enough to not want children at all SHOULDN't be having kids. :0(

Suzette Lyons said...

When I was going to Cal Poly one of my professors was trying to make a point about how different cultures have different views. He gave as an example the people in a small village in India who were visited by the UN and given birth control and told they should have less children. They never used the birth control. When asked, they said "The people seemed so nice, they could not possibly have meant for us not to have children." He asked us what we would think if there were people from India going door to door promoting the value of having ten or more children. At the time I thought that would be totally crazy. Since then I have had to examine some of my assumptions. There is a lot of evidence to refute the theory of over population. And some good verses from God’s word.

Psalm 127:3-5 “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children are a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them…”

Proverbs 17:6 “Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their
children”

Matthew 18:5 “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.”

I think four is a good number, but my husband wouldn’t mind having five. Good thing he is not a blogger or you might be encouraging him.

Solina Lindahl said...

Other nations have higher birth rates out of necessity and culture(e.g. because men are counted as more powerful the more children they father, they have no social insurance and high infant mortality rates) I don't know that they necessarily count their children as more of a "blessing"; perhaps it's economic necessity- free labor.

Brianna Heldt said...

Actually there are countries where (societally) children are counted as more of a "blessing".

In Ethiopia they count themselves blessed by God when they have a child and they love big families.

When we were there adults everywhere tripped over themselves to hold our sons (even complete strangers), make kissy faces at them, etc.--even grown men. They adore children and esteem them in a way that was very beautiful and refreshing.

Just one example of a culture who counts their children as more of a blessing than our own society does.

Joe Pollon said...

I was listening to a program today that was discussing how Russia is about to pass a law to provide compensation to mothers who have more than two children. Putin has discovered that a society that doesn't reproduce will soon perish. Singapore and several other countries were also providing cash incentives to have larger families.

Countries with improving economics, more options for women and lower infant mortality saw droping birthrates. Religiousity was the most significant counter to that trend.

Makes me worry about how old I and my children will be when Islam overtakes Christianity in Europe... and the rest of the world.