Saturday, September 18, 2010

Something That Made Me Quiver

I've said it before, and I'll repeat it now...I'm all for people having however many children they desire, within the bounds of proper physical and emotional care being provided for each child. If you can't care for 15, don't have 15, and please don't blame God for your own recklessness and irresponsibility. If you can handle 20, and care well and lovingly for them all, more power to ya...even if I think you may need a thorough examination above the neck. For me, it isn't so much about numbers as it is about the ability to nurture and care for fully and responsibly. To give responsibility for this exclusively to God reminds me of a story I heard a long time ago which I'll share...

There once was a devastating flood which inundated an entire rural community. A few residents had managed to secure some small fishing boats, and they were paddling through the community acting as a rescue team, searching for people trapped by the flood. They came upon the house of a certain farmer. This farmer was known as a man of extreme, devout faith, known for his long, passionate prayers at Sunday service, known for his beautiful Christian wife and polite Christian children who knew so many bible verses at VBS. With water having risen to the eaves of the house, the farmer had managed to rustle his family up to temporary safety on the roof. As the rescue boats spotted them and approached, one of the rescuers called out, "Farmer, we've got three boats here, enough for all of your family. Let's load everybody up and we'll take you to safety. We'll have ya'll someplace safe, dry, and warm in just a few minutes." The farmer, with his wife and children soaked and huddled together shivering, looked at the rescuers, gazing in happy, devout defiance at each person in all three of the boats, then said, "No thanks. God will rescue us. I have faith."

Faith is a beautiful thing. So is...common sense. So is...responsibility. 

Exploitation, on the other hand - not so pretty.

I came across this disturbing link earlier. Again, it's not the number of kids that bothers me here. Read the article linked, and perhaps you'll understand my concern.

I left the following comment there, and I have no idea if it will be accepted. Either way, it'll be the extent of the comments I submit on the subject...

"I really don’t think these kids have a lot of choice in their answer. Do you guys really believe that “No…I don’t want marriage, and I don’t want children” would be an acceptable answer in their environment? It was good enough for the Apostle Paul (actually preferred by him), but would it really be acceptable in a quiverfull environment?
By way of comparison, if you asked the typical Palestinian child in the West Bank or Gaza what they thought of the nation of Israel, what do you think their answer would be?
Having these kids publically answer this question, a question pertaining to a foundational aspect of the patriocentric/ quiverfull movement, a question which most of them (perhaps all) aren’t yet experienced or wise enough to remotely understand in full context – and likely not a single one of them has any real frame of reference for a contrasting view, gets really close to exploitation in my book."


  1. 1 or 2 kids is boring???

    I have 2 kids and let me tell you, there's not a dull moment in this house. Especially with an autistic son and a fiercly independent and creative daughter.

    From those answers the kids gave, it IS rehearsed because this is what their parents have taught them all along. The mom can say it's not coached or rehearsed but that's so naive to think that.

    The comment about beating the Duggars? Is it really all about the one that has the most kids when they die wins???

    It's very telling to see the comment about the older ones being helpful. They end up being surrogate parents. And wanting a big family so that child can see how hard it is??? Try being a parent of 2, and one with autism and you'll see how hard it is for any parent, regardless of the number of kids. As if my life is easy having 2 kids??? That's just laughable!

  2. Bounded choice, anyone?

    Raised under strict milieu control, what real choice do anyof these children have?

    I guess you can choose between supporting your parents' QF doctrines or being a rebellious child guilty of witchcraft who deserves to be set outside the camp and stoned.

    It's not much of a choice, is it?

    As far as having two kids being boring, they have to tell themselves little lies like that all the time to shore up their faltering conscious.

    In a home where there is no room for privacy, you talk about how wonderful family closeness is!

    In a home where there is no money for lessons, you talk about how spoiled the children of such homes are! You have to make it out to be a bad thing that you are purposely avoiding for your children, otherwise you have to admit that there are things that would be good for your children that you just can't afford. That's depressing. Better to put down the whole idea of lessons.

    And so you read articles about over-scheduled families stressed out with no time to really talk, and you say to yourself "I knew that was too good to be true! We have it better stuck out here in the country with no gas money and no lesson money. Look at all the time we have together! Our way is superior."

    Ditto college. Few people with many children do a stellar job with all their children's education. I think the oldest come out with the best education, as mom was less over-worked and still enthusiastic about home schooling in the early years. So as QF spread, the ideal of educating for excellence took a hit.

    There would be no money for college plus few would be really ready for college academically, so college was demonized- a waste of time and money on one side, a hotbed of rebellion and apostasy on the other. There. *claps hands together as if to shed any residue of guilt*. College is bad; problem solved.

    I read somewhere recently that youth sports is bad too. The real reason QF home schoolers probably don't like organized sports is that a) if you join the community for sports, your kids will realize how weird your family really has become b) they will be exposed to other ideas about life as well as those nasty sinners we don't want to be like and c) it takes a lot of money and loads of hard work to set up and run your own sanctified sports league!

    So,sports are bad. Problem solved.

    I think it is even possible that the real obsession with "modesty" and family uniforms is because it saves so much money that might be spent on hair styles, make up, fashion, etc. Instead of admitting it makes your family look weird but it's all you can afford, you CHOOSE this look because its HOLIER than the rest of the world.

    That's how I see it anyway. There is a lot of vilification of things that cost money. I don't think it's necessarily conscious, but Aesop noted centuries ago that it's human nature to disdain what you can't have. I think that tendency of humanity explains a lot of QF ideology, including the distrust of modern medicine. =(

  3. Well...She didn't publish my comment. Can't say that was unexpected. But, I suppose she can do what she wishes with her blog.

  4. To better explain why I feel what was done was exploitation of her children, using them as propaganda, to promote the "beauty" and "wholesomeness" of her lifestyle...

    Would it be appropriate for these children to field, and publically answer, questions about sex? No? Why? Because...Other than MAYBE a couple of the older ones (and I've little doubt attempts are made to keep even the older ones as naive as possible on the subject), these children know nothing about sex, what sex is, what sex represents, what sex produces. They would be in no way qualified to offer a comment. Eyebrows would be raised if a 6 year old was asked "Will you have sex when you're married?", and the answer was "Yeah, and a LOT of it!" That would be just as wholesome, in substance at least, as asking them if they want a lot of babies. If they don't know how babies are made, they shouldn't be talking about how many they want to have for public consumption. It's one thing for a child to play pretend Mommy or Daddy - it's another to use the equivalent of such as propaganda.

    And shame on this mother for using her children as ignorant, hapless tools to promote her lifestyle. Shame on patriocentricity/quiverfull for making this a common practice. Shame on men (and in some cases, women) in sheep-skin suits preying on cultural fears to access the pocketbooks of naive and vulnerable people who usually genuinely desire the best for their children, but lack the discernment to discover it.

    Just for clarity, I don't like exploitation of children in ANY fashion. Presidential photo-ops with groups of children, or groups of applauding children used as a backdrop when delivering a political speech turn my stomach, too. Selfishly giving YOUR OWN voice to those in no position to have a voice, and doing so for YOUR OWN benefit, is about as low as one can go, in my estimation.

  5. Did anyone else notice that none of the kids in the picture are smiling? That gave me the creeps!

  6. This is what makes me quiver concerning this family!!!

    Nine children in one room, sleeping on a utility shelf purchased from Costco made to look like bunk beds with four children to a shelf one on top of the other and NO guard rails!!!

    Oh did I mention the room has no finished floors and no air conditioning!!! Someone really should report some of these patrio families!! I am sorry this is abuse!

  7. Agreeing with Erika, two kids are not boring! LOL! They suck the energy right out of ya!

  8. Gina, I was very surprised to just discover that the phrase "be fruitful and multiply" is used 10 times in the KJV.

    Taunya, you will notice that in Mrs. Inashoe's article she states that the children begged them to make the other bedroom into a library. Since this is the children's choice, isn't the solution not only creative as well as functional?

    Lewis, did you interview the children to know that, "these children know nothing about sex, what sex is, what sex represents, what sex produces"?

    From my comments it appears that I am fully defending the family. Not so. Rather my heart aches how we can draw conclusions in any situation colored from our own background and experiences.

    I have misjudged so many times and the rebuke from the Lord is effective. Lewis, apparently your heart is still pained from your romantic disappointment (to put it mildly). I would urge you to forgive for your own release. Our tendency in life is to swing the pendulum clear in the opposite direction and label it as freedom. Balance is one of the hardest keys to use consistently. God bless you as you search and find answers.

  9. ML...I would strongly urge you to be discerning.

    These children likely get to make NO meaningful life decisions of their own accord, yet they'd be allowed to determine the floor plan of the home?

    Do you think these children know much about sex, particularly the little ones? Or do you think they've been sheltered and indoctrinated and sex is treated as the boogeyman?

  10. Anon my youngest daughter, age ten, would likely think sleeping on a shelf in a room with 8 others would be pretty neat as well!! She would also think camping out under a bridge with her friends would be a pretty neat experience.

    Thank God she has parents who care enough to not let her do everything she states she wants to do!!

    Also I am MUCH more concerned with the fact that the children sleep on shelves in stacks of four with no guards, then the fact that they all sleep in the same room. The shelf sleeping is dangerous, period and I don't believe most sensible parents would want their children in an arrangement like that!

  11. ML,
    I don't think Gina was judging anyone by her comment. She was simply stating that you must read verses in context. Please take a look at these 10 verses - in context:

    Genesis 1:22
    "And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth." - God is speaking to animals.

    Genesis 1:28
    "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." - God is speaking to the first man and the first woman, the only humans on the planet, and telling THEM to be fruitful.

    Genesis 8:17
    "Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth." - God is speaking to Noah, telling him and his familiy to be fruitful because everyone else on the earth has died.

    Genesis 9:1
    "And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth." - I don't think I need to repeat myself.

    Genesis 9:7
    "And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein." - God is still speaking to Noah.

    Genesis 17:20
    "And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation." - God speaking to Abraham about Ishmael.

    Genesis 28:3
    "And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;" - Isaac speaking to Jacob; this is not Isaac speaking to everyone on the planet.

    Genesis 35:11
    "And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;" - God speaking to Jacob

    Genesis 48:4
    "And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession." - Jacob telling his son, Joseph, about what God told him personally

    Leviticus 26:9
    "For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you." - God speaking to the Jewish people, not to the entire world.

    So, when you read verses in context, it changes a lot if you have read them wrong in the past. Should you go out and hang yourself just because the Bible says that Judas did so? Of course not. I think a lot people only take verses out of context when it fits what they want to believe.

    Concerning these verses, I think it's very obvious that God wanted people to be fruitful and multiply when there was an extreme dearth of people or when he was speaking to the men who were the fathers of the Jewish people.

  12. "I am against any form of birth control... If God wants me NOT to have kids He won't give me any...."

    I use birth control and barrier methods. If God WANTS me to have kids He will make it happen..."

    Seriously, both of those are the exact same stupid argument. That God is so interested in your little life that He will come down and work miracles on your behalf.
    HA HA HA
    *forgive my sarcasm. Sometimes I can't help it...

    **However, I would like to see someone use the second argument against patrio-quiver-ers sometime....

  13. Good Grief ~Linus sighs in Charlie Brown to Lucy~

    multiply and bear fruit...multiply and bear fruit,

    yep let's uh Duh take dat Literally, as Always, in Christiandumb land [borrowing Paula's term, love that woman, brilliant she is],

    with Multiply there is Also 'divide', we forget That little part,

    bear fruit, SPIRITUAL FRUIT, what Part of that do we NOT get...including to Noah,

    and since well there are minds out there that are stuck in the 'literal 'matter' mode' let's use literal matter/historical dialectic and common Sense, to decipher--what multiply and bear fruit really meant and the Dividing factor, simple math, which is IN nature, music, physics, etc. and in Reproduction,

    God's form of birth control, in let's take B.C., was several 'divisors',

    1. polygamy [unless a man who also wars, rules, hunts can screw at the same time as all Those jobs many women, uh ain't gonna be much child bearing going on, I don't care how much of a stud muffin he is, horses & rabbits don't even breed That much], so with let's say four wives, he'd be quite busy, now if he multiplies that with twenty wives [and children] then he Might have more time to uh breed and let the children/wives work, but see Then there is a little problem that results with that,

    2. those other men who ain't getting any [yea gonna be a smart ass here] and who are getting frustrated and pissed and really about doing all the Work so guess what Virginia, they look at ole stud muffin over there with his 20 something wives, jealousy rises and then,

    3. botta bang we got a WAR going on, oooh guess what happens in WAR, people DIE. Yep, those wombs die because under Patriarchy they are easy targets, for rape/death, and for slavery, concubinage [virgins only of course in that day], another Divisor

    so God had a form of birth control, and that doesn't Even include

    4. that God opens up the womb, that isn't just God opening up the woman's womb but God seeing to it that the man's sperm isn't uh, dead duds, oh yea...we know scientific FACT that not all men can pro-create, oh and I forgot to mention that little uh gift of warfare heavily prevalent in that day called castration, full, why they wound up with numerous Eunuchs which was why many women wound up as concubines as well...

    so If we take just simple Literal 'matter' physics natural World in the tribal [not male centric nuclear bubbaDumb patriarchy today] we see that there must be also another meaning to the Multiply and Bear Fruit, not just 'nation' building, which in that day yes, was priority However lest we forget, what God said to the prophets, that HE chose the Hebrews NOT because they were 'many in number' [so much for that ole multiplying stud barn theory] but they were FEW in number...the small, weak and foolish that God uses to show HIS might, strength and wisdom.

    So bearing Fruit, let's take Noah, was in reference to bearing Spiritual Fruit--evidence, well there is Numerous if we can get our minds out of stud barn here...Malachi, so there will be Godly Seed--those who obey God's statutes, laws, and commands...

    need I say more?

    ~sigh, goes off to play the piano~


  14. Of course, if God told Abraham, Jacob, whoever - to bear fruit, those men would be passing along their faith (spiritual fruit) to their offspring. That is fairly obvious, I would think. ;) No, they weren't perfect, but that was the idea.

    Concerning QF thoughts on God giving children as He wishes, it seems that when you read the story of Creation, God made every living thing to be able to recreate itself - plants having seed, for example. So it makes sense that God was finished creating at the seventh day. He created a world that worked on autopilot. (And yes, He can intervene - that's what you call a 'miracle'). I used to think that God "worked" to create every living thing all the time - every baby bird, every new oak tree, every new baby, but no, He created the world and now watches as it runs on its own. He is smart/wise enough to create every type of living thing *once*. ;) Why would he have Noah take animals on the ark. It would have been easy for Him to recreate them all, but He chose not to. Why?

    As for humanity, it's natural for a baby to be conceived when a man and woman come together at the right point in time (time of the month). That's the way God made humanity to work. This explains why babies are sometimes born into horrendous situations. ("Why would God allow a baby to be born to an abusive family?") God did not "choose" to put a baby into that situation, but He did allow it because of the nature of how He created this world to work. That baby was the result of two people coming together, period. There is pain in the world -- not because God makes it happen, but because He allows it due to the freedom of choice He gives to everyone.

    Think about it -- why would God make plants that have seeds if He is just going to work (separately from it) to make a new plant? Why would female babies be born with all of the eggs they will ever have during their lifetime? Why do they have eggs at all if God could just create a baby out of thin air?

    I know it's obvious I'm not Calvinistic in my thinking, and I realize that most QF families are, so this might not make sense to most of them because they are looking at Scripture through a different lens. I hope it at least makes sense to someone. Or maybe I'm losing my mind. lol

    Sorry that went way off topic, but that was just my line of thinking . . .


  15. I grew up in a large-ish family (not Duggar large, but a lot larger than average) and I did want a large family. Now married with a bunch of kids, I feel the same way, although I believe there are grave deficiencies in the strict QF mindset. However, I agree that there was undoubtedly only 1 right answer to that question and that putting your kids on the spot like that is exploiting them for the sake of the movement.


  16. Sorry to add on to my off topic comment, Lewis, but it just occurred to me that Calvinist/Reformed folks believe that since they are "the elect", their children are as well, thus automatically making every child they have "godly seed". So, they think there is no way their children will not be saved, so why not have as many as possible? Interesting. I don't mean to offend, just trying to sort through the mindset.


  17. I'm not answering as to what these children might or might not know about sex. I don't know them. I could be utterly amazed. I could be right or wrong either way. If they live on a farm or have visited one...well, enough said.

    It's interesting to notice noticed that QF parents in general are charged with not allowing their children to make decisions of their own; then when they do, they're charged with being irresponsible parents.

    The parents were likely wise in not putting guard rails on the beds. Whoa, just a minute. One family who did similar was faced in court with putting their children in cages for hours! The article did not mention the real meaning of that indictment.

    As for the safety or not, it depends upon the children's tendancies. If I had a child/children who is prone to sleep walking or has night mares, the top bunk would not be a safe choice for them. Goodness, I don't know what the fear is, they hardly have enough room to even roll over! Who knows these children best, the parents or us? But, then again, there's the possibility that this stacked, "unguarded" arrangement has it's roots in some evil practice years ago.

    Speaking to no one in particular, my conclusion from experience is that when someone else's lifestyle is convicting, we are quick to criticize so as to justify our own.


  18. "Speaking to no one in particular, my conclusion from experience is that when someone else's lifestyle is convicting, we are quick to criticize so as to justify our own."

    ML...You'd be hard pressed to find someone here "convicted" by the quiverfull lifestyle. I'm not convicted by the commandments and ideas of men.

    It seems to me that you actually are going to great lengths to defend the quiverfull ideal. If that's the case, you're probably not gonna find a lot on this page to your liking. You suggest the need for balance. I'd suggest that balance if the very thing I'm trying to put forward. There's no extreme in my positions. The opposite end of the spectrum from the patriarchal/quiverfull lifestyle would be hedonism, and this page hardly promotes as much. You do a disservice to those who have been terribly abused by authoritarian lifestyles like quiverfull and patriocentricity by suggesting that they're "convicted" by it. Perhaps you should talk to some of the women I have and hear the terrible, disgusting things that have happened to them - all done to uphold the system of belief. You might say that's just in isolated cases like with anything else. You'd be wrong. The system IS the abuse, and gives an enormously wide birth to all kinds of seedy and abusive behaviors.

    When all available evidence, and the experience of so many of my readers, suggests otherwise, it's naive to think that these kids really have any valid choices in their lives based on the one in a million chance that they aren't rigidly ruled by parents who adhere to the commandments of men. It's also naive to think that the children in the linked article weren't being exploited, even if unwittingly, and commenting about things they really know little about.

    You're welcome to read and take part here, but at the same time, I'm gonna protect my readers from comments and ideas that have already been used to wound them, so expect to be challenged vigorously and pointedly if you intend to take this position with regularity.

  19. "Speaking to no one in particular, my conclusion from experience is that when someone else's lifestyle is convicting, we are quick to criticize so as to justify our own."

    If I had a nickel for every time someone said that to me, I'd be rich. :P You know how people joke about "Christianese"? Well there's another language along those lines. I call "Fundian". That phrase quoted above is straight from the Fundian dictionary. It's kinda getting old....

  20. True, Darcy. "Fundian". Might have to borrow that one sometime.

    Something else that I wasn't gonna say initially, but, I think it needs to be said...

    If a LIFESTYLE convicts someone, isn't that idolatry? Conviction via a LIFESTYLE? Seems to give teeth to everything this blog, and those like it, is about.

    People have fashioned their god into the shape of a lifestyle, and bow the knee on it's altar.

    It's so much easier to just follow Jesus and live in His grace and atonement.

  21. Great conversation...

    Tell me, when did the whole "convicting" thing start? It's not biblical. (In the Bible the Holy Spirit brings conviction.)

  22. Let me rephrase my earlier comment for clarity. "When the Holy Spirit has convicted me through the life of another person, initially I am quick to critcize so as to justify myself." I am speaking of no one else here. Sorry, I don't have access to a Fundian dictionary, so the offence/wound was not intentional.

    Lewis, you have a gift for writing. Keep it up. Only the Balm of Gilead can heal.


  23. I'm the second oldest child, oldest daughter of eleven children. If you'd asked me as a teen how many children I wanted, I would have told you, "Lots! As many as God will give me!" and blushed at the subject of sex (which I knew nothing about until about 16).

    Today, I say...I'm tired. I'm in my mid-twenties and ready for a home of my own, free of children. I crave privacy (talking on the phone with my fiance in private is incredibly hard - I have to lock myself in the bathroom or risk being walked in on while in my bedroom), crave quiet and a home where I won't be called to babysit at the drop of a hat.

    I do want children one day, but far less than I once did. Four to five now sounds okay, versus the 10+ I once wanted.

  24. I had the proper answer memorized as a child/young adult (I want a big family--as many as God wants me to have. I wouldn't have dared suggest that I really would prefer 2 or 3 children. In all honesty, my parents were not capable of parenting the 12 children they had and even though I parroted the lines they wanted me to say, I couldn't imagine myself being able to parent anymore than a few children. Now that all 12 of us are adults, only one is willing to not space births in some manner.

    I would not be surprised if some of the older girls are quietly deciding that they will have small families...being one of the oldest girls in a big family is very overwhelming.

  25. Came back across this conversation today and wanted to add something which I believe to be of uber-importance...

    If you've found yourself convicted through the life or lifestyle of another individual, it may be some time for some serious introspection, because the Holy Spirit wasn't doing the convicting. No ones external works or life should convict, especially given that the lifestyle in question isn't symptomatic of spiritual fruit but rather of human endeavor. If someone were convicted by the external aspects or facets of my life, it would seem to me that they're searching for holiness or righteousness through works rather than grace.

    With the family mentioned in this article, I see no grace. I see holiness and righteousness sought through a lifestyle which will never, ever bring holiness and righteousness.