Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Quiverfoolery

Now that I've outfitted my email inbox and comment sections with Kevlar vests, I thought it might be time to present my thoughts on the Quiverfull movement and concept.


I suspect most of the readers here are fully aware of Quiverfull and it's meaning, but for those who aren't...Quiverfull is based on Psalm 127:3-5 (which we'll dive into in a bit). It's the belief that birth control is wrong, even sinful, as God alone controls the womb, opening and closing it as he sees fit, and couples should accept as many children as God gives them because they're blessings. Attempting to control family size is seen as a lack of faith that God will provide for the material, emotional, and medical needs of as many children as he blesses you with. Ironically, the only part of this belief that fits Psalm 127:3-5 is the idea that children are a blessing. None of the rest of these ideas are mentioned in that passage, or any other, but instead are the commandments and ideas of men and men alone. Men with sociopolitical agendas. Men who are making a lot of money from the sale and promotion of these ideas.


Now, lets look at Psalm 127:3-5...


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.


If you'll look literally at what's being said there (and those who follow this kind of fundamentalist movement prefer literal interpretation if asked), it's speaking in a militant, confrontational, and adversarial context. It was written in a time and to an audience that, although under monarchy, was still largely tribal in nature, and it's speaking of children as weapons of warfare in one's personal army, which often they were. Yes, it's very clear that children are a blessing, but it's speaking in the context of having plenty of children for personal soldiers when one's enemy or enemies attempt to make trouble.


If you'll examine the passage closely, nowhere, I repeat: NOWHERE, do you see any mention of birth control, any discussion of what constitutes "faith" with regard to family size (in fact, it would seem to be suggesting a scenario where faith is put in human numbers), it says absolutely nothing about God's control, or lack thereof, of the womb, nor does it give any specific indication of quiver size, what specific amount constitutes "full", what specific amount constitutes "blessing", or when one has delved into gluttony, as one can with any blessing.


There are many things in the bible that are mentioned as blessings. Why aren't entire lifestyles built around those things? Food, for instance, is very much a blessing - but gluttony is sinful. As to the idea that God is in control of the womb, if one's faith was TRULY in God, one would realize that God could work around birth control as if it were the French army. If God has already determined FOR you how many children you're gonna have, do you think a little pill or a piece of latex can stop God? Doesn't this belief ultimately render God far less than sovereign, particularly given that most who practice it are of the reformed faith?


Do I demonstrate a lack of faith by driving my car? I mean, if God controls the womb, he'd have to control transportation and everything else, too, right? And, there are instances in the bible of God supernaturally transporting people where He wants them (Elijah and Philip the evangelist come to mind). So why am I taking it upon myself to get where I want to go and failing to trust God? The thing is, I'm not interested in debating whether or not God controls the womb (I'll even concede the issue without a fight), because to even get there you have to skip the fact that people control the sex.


A good wife is a blessing, biblically. Does that mean I can have a quiver full of them? I mean, the guy who wrote Psalm 127 had a thousand of them! A thousand! "Yo Solomon...Go boy!!!" Right? Easy for him to have a quiver full. If he were to dedicate one day to each wife for intimate relations, it would take him over 2 and 1/2 years to make the rounds - and he'd need lots of Red Bull and an extended vacation when he was done. Ironically, his "blessing" eventually led him away from the Lord and into blatant idolatry.


So, biblically, the ideas behind Quiverfull aren't really supported...at all...and as I said before, they're the ideas and commandments of men speaking where the bible doesn't.


In the earlier stages of our relationship, when things were taking a more serious turn and an eventual marriage began to look more like a probability, my ex and I had this exchange...


Her: How many kids do you want?
Me: Hmmm. I've always thought 4 was a nice round number. Ideally 2 boys and 2 girls.
Her: Ohh, ummm, ok. (I could hear disappointment)
Me: How about you?
Her: I've always wanted a large family.
Me: (with growing concern) Define "large", please.
Her: 10 or 12 or more.
Me: (as spittle makes it's way down the wrong pipe) *cough*...ummm...*cough* *snort*...Just how many jobs do you want me workin'?
Her: Well, I've always believed that God controls the womb.
Me: Why do you believe that?
Her: (silence)
Her: Well, I believe that birth control is a form of abortion.
Me: Why do you believe that?
Her: (silence)


She couldn't answer those questions because she wasn't aware of the answer: Indoctrination. These ideas had been drilled into her head her entire life, presented, wrongly, as biblical commands, and she had no choice but to accept and believe them or be labeled "rebellious". This is a sad, sad testament and heritage that's being left to the second generation of this movement. Their parents had a choice to follow these extra-biblical beliefs. The children don't, and shame on the parents who are force-feeding these commandments of men on their children on the level of "thus saith the Lord." As my friend Hillary McFarland said recently, "Why is it sometimes easier to trust God with an open womb than with our adult Christian daughters?"


I touched earlier on the militant, combative context of Psalm 127:3-5. If you'll look at the sociopolitical agendas of the proponents of Quiverfull, and it's kissing cousins, I think you'll see that it fits. 200 year plans, political involvement, isolationism, persecution complex. It all fits. The men at the forefront are fighting a culture war. They share a common enemy with Communism and radical Islam: 20th and 21st century western society. They hope to eventually choke out the enemy by sheer force of numbers. Faith in the strength of human numbers is dangerous. Just ask King David, and the thousands of Israelites who died because of his census.


For those who have large families by choice, able to care for them and meet the needs of the children, without older children being forced to become defacto moms and dads and forced to help financially sustain the household...more power to ya. 


For those who have mega families according to "biblical command"...make sure that you haven't accepted the words and commandments of men as the words and commandments of God, as I unequivocally believe you have. The difference could determine the quality of life, and quality of relationship with the Lord, of your children.

26 comments:

  1. One thing that is bothersome to me . . . the majority of folks in this movement believe that it's better to start from scratch (with new babies)to raise an army of believers to share the love of God with the world than it is to go and make disciples of all nations. At least that's the impression I get. (That was a serious run-on sentence - sorry about that.)

    My husband and I have six children and believed this commandment of men for a few years. We are thankful for our children, and do not regret having them in our lives, but we feel we are done. One thing that personally woke me up was something Michael Pearl, of No Greater Joy Ministries, says: "Don't tell me how many children you have. Tell me if they are walking in Truth."

    Thank you for your blog.

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  2. Wow...that's a good quote from Michael Pearl!

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  3. Wow, Hillary...Thanks for those links. In the first one, "Population Bust", I found this particularly scary idea amongst the horde of scary ideas...

    "There is however one other necessary requirement for reaching this end. The Christian parents averaging 4 or 8 children must also successfully raise their children to similarly follow the Lord and to also marry and reproduce accordingly. Many children straying from the faith or following the world in averaging only 2 children per family, and things do work out nearly so well."

    Leaves little question just what has become god in the life of the writer, to the point that a plan is put into place to do what, in essence, amounts to offering his children and their children to Molech.

    Children as pawns in a cultural war. Scary stuff.

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  4. Anonymous...Thanks for stopping by.

    "One thing that is bothersome to me . . . the majority of folks in this movement believe that it's better to start from scratch (with new babies)to raise an army of believers to share the love of God with the world than it is to go and make disciples of all nations."

    That's a legitimate concern. It's troublesome that rather than sharing the gospel with the lost, the primary goal is to breed new Christians.

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  5. Lewis, Thanks for another great post. You seemed to have summarized for me my feelings about and objections to the Quiverfull ideology.

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  6. Excellent essay, Lewis! I am on the founding board of a non-profit called "Take Heart Project," dedicated to helping women who want to leave the Quiverfull movement. Would you consider linking to it on your blog?

    http://www.takeheartproject.org/

    Kristen

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  7. Good post. It troubles me that some men will take Bible passages like this one that would apply primarily to men and turn them into more work for women. The lesson I see in Psalm 127:3-5 is that men should rejoice in fatherhood. From husbands in the 1800s to boyfriends today, many demanded abortion just because they couldn't be bothered with children. They're the ones who need this message, not over-worked mothers.

    Also, I agree with Anonymous 1. Imo, the only reason why Christians feel threatened by Muslims is because we've given up on converting them.

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    1. "The only reason why Christians feel threatened by Muslims is because we've given up on converting them."

      This. So much. You know that bogus video that's been going around about (ironically!) how Muslims are going to completely take over Europe because of *their* population growth? (It is bogus by the way. It's not a lie made up from scratch, but it takes one or two true statistics and extrapolates from them in completely unscientific ways, drawing conclusions that are completely off the wall.) My dad, poor guy, is a missionary to France whose supporting churches are in Texas, and last time he was going round the supporting churches he had to debunk that crap in question-and-answer sessions almost every single Sunday. He would always remind people that when they are talking about Muslims they are talking about people who need Christ, same as anybody... he said he often got "oh yeah, didn't think about that" reactions.

      That's when you know it is truly a culture war... one culture against another. Not really about faith at all.

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  8. Anonymous 1:50...Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad it resonates.

    Kristen...Will do! Glad to help in whatever way I can.

    Jenny..."the only reason why Christians feel threatened by Muslims is because we've given up on converting them." ...There's a lot of truth in what you said right there. I'm sorry to say that I could even apply that to myself in a lot of ways.

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  9. I think you've pretty much nailed it. Indoctrination is a serious thing; and the sad part about it is that no one knows it's happening. It's so hard when people among Christian/homeschooling circle, look down on you, or judge you, and think you're wrong/in sin simply because you don't believe in the quiverfull movement. To me, it seems like it's another of man's ideas, and nowhere have I seen evidence of it coming from God, no matter what people have said. I like the quote posted above from Michael Pearl; it's very true. Thanks for posting this. I'm always happy when people get out there and write about these issues.

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  10. "the only reason why Christians feel threatened by Muslims is because we've given up on converting them." That is so true, Jenny.

    I know this is off-topic, but I just have to add this bit: I just finished reading Tortured for Christ by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand. This book is amazing in many ways, but the main thing that stood out to me was when Pastor Wurmbrand said that he could not be angry with the Communists because they were totally deceived. They were in need of the Truth just like everyone else. He hated the sin of communism but he did not hate the communists, even though they beat him and imprisoned him for 14 years.

    I quote, "Christians are often half-heartedly on the side of the whole truth. Communists are whole-heartedly on the side of the lie." The word "Muslims" fits in that sentence just as well.

    Back to the topic at hand, one thing that I never considered when we started having children was the fact that if any of our children were not born again, they would end up in hell. This may sound foolish, but I just never considered it a possibility. I assumed that they would all be saved because of the home they would be brought up in. We would teach them God's Word and do our best to raise them to love Jesus. Thanks be to God for His mercy in bringing me out of ignorance. But if I would have thought about this years ago, I would have had many less children, simply because it is a HUGE spiritual responsibility, and a very scary one at that.

    Thanks for letting me ramble a bit. I really do appreciate you pouring out your thoughts, Lewis. I'm realizing much through your writing.

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  11. "Kristen...Will do! Glad to help in whatever way I can."

    And it's already done! Thanks so much!

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  12. Seriously, I have argued this subject with homeschoolers more times than I can count. I always end up talking in circle. They've no concept of logic when it come to this. I've given up except for the occasional directed question.

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  13. Good post, good blog too btw, I wanted to add, that I don't believe the reason for the whole Mutterland in QF is to Combat culture, but instead,

    is the Root of the whole ideology that is based on Nordic/Thor beliefs-Nazi ideology [that took from] and that is Also tied into the whole dominion Masonry-Christianity movement in the West...been doing a lot of research on this--this goes back to the founding of this nation, where the politics mixes with faith--

    IF it were for an 'army' we have to remember [meaning God's command for] that in OT, God divided the sons from the courageous to the non--even Within Israel-Judah, with that whole hand washing in lake test, so just having masses of numbers of children does not an army make--

    but, now if one is going with the whole Christian Identity movement, the Aryan movement, the Nordic Odinism, a neo-pagan religion related to Ásatrú, ideology/religion [that was yes pagan Christianity] then THEN the whole QF begins to make a lot of sense as to WHERE THE IDEOLOGY OF QF COMES FROM, caps for bold emphasis...here, do some research, btw, I stumbled onto this researching a whole Other topic...so,

    QF in a True analysis nutshell:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=UB-wwaFMrqkC&pg=PA192&lpg=PA192&dq=nordic+religion+ayran+thor&source=bl&ots=L9pedOpzRJ&sig=mb1Oimf2QJEZTk2DTPPo62q-hYw&hl=en&ei=LqJtTIydJ4q4sAOd9ZHNCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CEAQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q&f=false

    http://aryannordicalpinealiens.blogspot.com/2008/10/germanic-gods.html

    want to see the Occult roots, don't let Tibet fool you, read entire thing:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/36095712/Nazi-s-in-Tibet

    read over all--the whole ideology is no doubt, Odinist pagan.

    Jane

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  14. btw, in the first link, [you have to paste the thing in the bar/click] there are Four types of main ideologies in the West that are branches of this Odinist pagan [and if you know the political roots of, then you Really will see how far back and how much power-money is into this goes, including the Azteca movement in South America and the Nazi's in South America, a lot to go into here, but IF you are politically minded do some research there]...but the four main branches, which INCLUDE mainstream--evangelical [that is and has been Colonizing through the shepherd/umbrella movements and the whole dominion movement] is:

    Christian Identity [also branches of the Russian Orthodox/Cossack/Serbian Nationalist heavily influencing the West/America, that are extremely anti-semitic and are also working with these Christian identity groups]

    Christian paganism via Nordic Christianity

    Odinism--free wheeling fundamentalism

    and last but not least--get this,

    Creationalism. [the whole Cain's seed as serpent and Seth's, that is increasing btw--and will continue to do so especially with the increase of the whole alien-fallen angels or alien cults that are taking over].

    how I stumbled upon this was the critique of Masonry--doing RA abuse research, what is Interesting though, is how these race-based serpent seed/population war ideologies mixed with the whole genealogy cult--which Paul said to avoid,

    is also the same ideology being promoted in the whole pro-alien's as gods from the Egyptian RA worship to the Sumerians created us to the whole they are coming back to fix humanity, cults that are Huge and growing in these days--

    though they claim to [fundies that is] be opposed to those ideologies, in fact that are very similar--particularly in HOW they control women and birth/reproduction,

    what I found interesting, was the Rivals in the Hitler-Tibet article, between the masons, the other occults for power,

    with the odinist-pure Aryan search--which btw, is Exactly what the alien cults are also looking for--pure blood lines, eugenics trees and cloning.

    Connected, I think so--in more ways than one, the whole 'it's for Jesus' thing is nothing but a clever Front--

    it wreaks more of Anti-Christ than anything...in my opinion. Just because of the parallels in the occults. The child abuse--and the adoptions of children from Liberia [and the abuse/murder of them] also is a clue--

    this is more than just some sicko 'off track' doctrine cult, far more--and it's No coincidence that the ones who jumped on the anti-QF women were the very Malthus who are Also, pro-population 'race' control, they are tied into the Zero Population Control--why they are Hostile to any who are Christian who may be non-QF but not friendly to the scientific cult elites/social engineers, and why there are many Hindu types on there==there is also That caste system--that guess what,

    ties into the Aryan beliefs, that whole religion is based on. Where they got the caste--light skin ruling/enslaving dark skins.

    Put it this way, it smells like a rat, it probably Is a rat.

    jane

    Jane

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  15. sorry had to comment on this too, the whole communism on lie side, used to be Communist, and well aware of the abuses under STATE CAPITALISM VIA STALIN, which was Never communism [esp in the satellite countries] so anyway--just be careful of some of the political manipulation that is IN some of those torture ministries [what I term them], because they ARE manipulative, for a political agenda--the LIE is in the 'materialist' Nationalist thesis, not in the economic and that Really needs to be emphasized, and the Only reason I mention this,

    is that this Has been the fuel to also feed into the whole 'right wing' Christian nationalist agenda that is Fascist to the core--Mussolini ring a bell? It gives ump to the whole 'us verses them' demonization tactics that puts the brown shirt fascists into a very good position of Duping and Dumbing down using morality [false] to also do the Very same things [and they have, all over South America, Africa and in other countries and STILL are today--and yes they Too are in bed with political Islam/despots that Kill Christians] with the whole anti-communist Cold War rhetoric, because truth is,

    they are Both of the same schools and have been for long time, they are Both totalitarianism and rely on social engineering, terrorism and institutional brainwashing yes using materialist ideology [education is big one] or religious-- they Both are from the same school of socialist thought.

    I see this a lot in the whole anti-communist ministries that are just as corrupt as the pro-communist propaganda machine--it's All psyops, they both lie, they both terrorize and they both torture, rape and kill.

    In the same population numbers--and Christians, peasants, poor, WOMEN ESPECIALLY are used, as pawns in their dirty little warfare for power and then sacrificed and thrown in the human garbage heap...

    it's all a chess game, IF the common citizen ever Knew the truth, they'd be appalled, seriously, why it's better to critique All of the politics involved, rather than get on the whole 'commies are bad demonizations' or Generalizations or the 'liberals' or the 'neo-cons', etc.,

    because it's about Power, and the abuse of, and resources. Right wing Fascism has slaughtered [by clever indirect manipulations, police training, military coup support] of MILLIONS OF INNOCENTS just as much as Communism did--and they Did so, in the name of God. FACT, they tortured children, in South America, with Bibles in the room,

    it's all the same filth, ok...and it really Needs to be exposed.

    Just thought I'd throw that in there

    Jane

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  16. sorry, no more comments from me, not meaning to spam here [see top there above], I read here a lot, but had to comment on these things, not to argue or cause any conflict--but to Encourage, more research, because this goes So much deeper than just the surface, it really does, and it's going to become a lot worse--and it's NOT just in the fundie circles, or in the liberals/or conservatives, it's in mainstream--and it's going to get a lot worse. And it's also in the other forces that are Working with the disgruntled so to speak that have their own agendas, but the thing is,

    it's all tied into the very same core--same coin, that is tied into the totalitarian agenda, social engineering

    why love [not lip spin] is so vital and necessary, the Only way to move away from the mind controls, and these controls are not just in one group ideology--and it's Much larger than many would think--goes all the way to the top [political], why I posted here today.

    Peace,

    Jane

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  17. I didn't realize that Michael Pearl HAD anything good to say. ;)

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  18. "I didn't realize that Michael Pearl HAD anything good to say. ;)"

    I was going to let this pass, but I have to step in and defend . . . folks who have not read the child training books in full nearly always say this. Either they haven't read them, or they try very hard to see evil in them. I haven't figured out why, except that it is spiritual warfare.

    Also, I've learned more about real and correct Bible study from Mr. Pearl than from anyone else in my life, and I've been in the church for all of my FORTY years. I pray that his ministry keeps growing.

    To get back on the topic of this blog, check this out: http://www.nogreaterjoy.org/articles/general-view/archive/2009/february/06/the-balanced-patriarch/

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  19. I haven't read all the comments, so maybe someone else talked about this. But Lewis, I just had to mention what jumped out at me in the post:

    >Her: Well, I believe that birth control is a form of abortion.

    This is the train of thought that it presented me with:

    Premise: abortion is a sin to be avoided at all costs.

    If *all* birth control is a form of abortion, then vasectomy is a form of abortion.

    Since vasectomy is a form of abortion (allowing the woman to ovulate without impregnation), a 13-year-old virgin's menstruation is a form of abortion.

    Since a young teen (or even pre-teen) girl's menstruation is a form of abortion, then we should...marry off our daughters during early development to prevent all menstruation?

    I believe that demonstrates the ethically flawed parallelism between abortion and birth control fairly well. God has no need to contradict His own principles, and if we find a Scripturally-rooted ethic in not marrying off child brides (defending and protecting the vulnerable is one of the most common overt ethics in both OT and NT, for instance), then we cannot come to Scripturally unsupported, absolutist extrapolations about the sinfulness of all birth control.

    BTW, when we married, we were told that a literal Israeli war quiver held four or at most five arrows. My mom-in-law's elderly spiritual mentor winked at my husband and said, "Don't quiver too much!"

    Regards,

    Cat

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  20. If QF's really have a deep desire to have 20 children and the couple can sustain the financial need of such a alrge family, and they are raising children well, then have at it. But don't berate other people who do not hold to the same beliefs and don't teach it as mandatory to 'please God'. It really frustrates me when people turn 'walking in faith' into legalism.

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  21. This sounds like a conversation that I had with a Catholic friend... I just don't understand the venom some people display towards birth control. If you can't afford a massive family and you don't want to be a pez dispenser (just keep poppin' em' out...), than bc is your only alternative. I agree that abortion is evil, but it only occurs AFTER conception... that is the fact that has failed to enter many a close-minded head.

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  22. A word about defacto moms and dads (i.e. older siblings who have no say when their parents KEEP having kids). I had an aunt who spent her entire childhood raising her younger siblings, of which there were many. She refused to have children when she grew up, b/c she felt that she spent the first 20 years of her life being a mom, and didn't want to do that for the next 20.

    Just something to think about.

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  23. The more I hear about Patriarchy,QF and the like, the more this one particular issue bugs me:

    do they really think God gives such shit gifts and blessings?????

    We're not talking build-your-own or assemble-your-own gift - we're talking a gift from God.

    Don't they come perfect?

    HE put brains in the heads of his gifts -why do the fathers in particular think they have to make sure that their children, especially girls, never use them?
    HE gave them hearts that are full of emotions, why would He want a parent to belittle and kill any emotion?

    I see no grace in the way these gifts are being accepted and treated!

    And I haven't come across the passage in the Bible that says "God knows best -except for the father and then the husband of any female or the father of any male until the day he marries"

    As the parent of a young child, the thought of spending my whole life breaking his will, dreams, passions,personality, possibilities and talents for ANY reason breaks my heart and I'm so sad for everyone who went through that hell.

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