An Apology from Matt Chandler/Elders of The Village Church and a Statement of Forgiveness from Karen Hinkley

"Matt and Josh specifically told Karen, after further review of her situation, that she did have biblical grounds for divorce or annulment, that she should have been released from Covenant Membership as she requested and that she should not have been put under church discipline."

Statement to TVC Covenant Members (June 10, 2015)

"I know this is not the end of the story for many, but I believe it is the end of the story for me."

Karen Hinkley

http://www.thevillagechurch.net/about/staff/Matt Chandler

It appears that The Village Church / Karen Hinkley debacle is finally coming to a close, at least for Karen. 

In case you are not familiar with this situation, you can read about it at the following links:

Part 1    Part 2    WatcKeep Documentation

We have been in close contact with Karen Hinkley since before her annulment was granted and have been supporting her efforts to move on with her life. 

On Wednesday, May 27, Matt Chandler reached out to Karen via email, hoping to arrange a meeting with her.  After seeking counsel and praying about it, Karen agreed to the request. 

That face-to-face meeting took place last Wednesday (June 3).

Matt Chandler and the elders have just released a statement to covenant members of The Village Church, which you can read below. 

Karen Hinkley has also shared her thoughts in a statement, which we are pleased to publish.


Statement to The Village Church from Matt Chandler and the Elders

Covenant Members of The Village Church,

We want to update you regarding our review of The Village Church’s current care and discipline process, specifically our desire to repent where we have sinned against those we have not treated with the love and care we are called to give as shepherds under the authority of a holy, loving God. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to watch or listen to the sermon “W​anderer/Restorer” ​from May 31 before reading further. This email will review one specific situation and then give a brief update on the elders’ current work related to care and discipline at The Village.

Over the past few weeks, you received two emails explaining a sensitive and tragic situation involving Jordan Root and Karen Hinkley. Those emails were intended to provide clarity and insight into a fragile and complex series of events. Since we sent those emails, we have had the opportunity to gather more information, have more conversations and hear from more people.

Early on the morning of Wednesday, May 27, Matt Chandler sent a personal email to Karen asking to meet with her face­to­face in a place of her choosing. The following afternoon, the church sent an email to all Covenant Members in order to communicate our belief that we owed Karen an apology. Karen responded to Matt a few days later noting that she was encouraged but cautious and wanted time to seek counsel, pray and process before agreeing to a meeting. During weekend services on May 30­31, Matt’s sermon reiterated our desire to repent, ask forgiveness and seek out genuine reconciliation with anyone we treated unlovingly.. After the sermon was posted online, Karen responded with an email communicating her desire to meet with Lead Pastors Matt Chandler and Josh Patterson. On Wednesday, June 3, Matt and Josh met personally with Karen and a couple of Karen’s close friends. Karen’s friends extended gracious Christian hospitality by offering their home for the meeting.

Matt and Josh started the conversation by telling Karen that they were not there to defend the actions of The Village but to ask forgiveness. Matt and Josh specifically told Karen, after further review of her situation, that she did have biblical grounds for divorce or annulment, that she should have been released from Covenant Membership as she requested and that she should not have been put under church discipline. Matt and Josh reiterated that they were not there to defend the actions of The Village but simply to repent and hear from Karen directly. Karen’s response was seasoned with faith, hope and love. She graciously accepted the apology and extended forgiveness. This beautiful exchange set the tone for the rest of the day, which was spent trying to unwind stories, clarify confusion and discuss next steps. By the end of the meeting, Karen was satisfied that we had heard all of her concerns and was eager to see us follow through on some specific items.

In the days following the meeting with Karen, Josh and Brian Miller met with Dallas campus elders and staff to further examine our interactions with Karen and Jordan in a new light. As a result of these conversations, The Village Church is taking the following actions:

We are apologizing more specifically to Karen in front of you, our members. While Karen is no longer a member, we are doing so with her permission and cooperation. Some of the information in our original Covenant Member email sent on May 23 was insensitive and did not reflect the fuller picture we have learned through our subsequent meetings and conversations. We are sorry for our error and how it affected Karen.

While the gospel is certainly for all sinners and grace is available for Jordan, we believe that the nature of his sin requires treatment that is beyond what The Village has been able to offer—and we should have recognized our limitations earlier. Based on an external referral, we have engaged a Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Provider to counsel Jordan Root. We will vigilantly follow the recommendations of this counselor regarding necessary next steps.

We reached out to several individuals at SIM, including the president, to apologize for times when we did not fully heed their counsel and were perceived to be threatening. Also, we are working with SIM to continue in our long­standing partnership to take the gospel to the nations.

As we communicated in our previous emails, we believe that the policies and procedures that are currently in place at The Village Church to protect children and families are strong. However, that belief has not stopped us from diligently moving forward with a thorough assessment of our abuse prevention and reporting processes across all campuses. In the months to come, experts will be analyzing everything we do in this regard to ensure that we implement best practices across the board.

The elders have also already had several meetings, both small and large, to review our current practice and procedures. There will be definite changes to our system based on these meetings, including a much more patient process before a member enters formal church discipline. We also want to recognize that there is a time and place for specialized treatment that goes beyond the kind of care that we, or even a qualified biblical counselor, can offer. We are working on these new policies and procedures and will update you when they are complete.

As Covenant Members of The Village, you know that the Church is comprised of people who have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. As a result of this divine reconciliation, we have also been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18). We are also called to an ongoing ethic of confession and repentance. Our hope in sending this email is to show you we are, by God’s grace, trying to do both of these things and to update you on the specific steps we are taking to repent and change. Reconciliation is often hard and painful, but it is always beautiful. Thank you for your patience and grace in this time. It is an honor and joy to serve you.


Statement from Karen Hinkley

As I laid in bed the night of December 16th, I wondered if I would wake up the next day and find myself in the middle of a crisis of faith. But by the grace of God, every morning since I’ve woken up with my faith intact and even strengthened. I believe that the only feasible explanation for this is that God had a plan for me that required me to trust Him. In His goodness, and in answer to the prayers of many of His people on my behalf, He has sustained my faith during the most trying of times, and He is now bringing this chapter to a close for me in the most beautiful of ways.

I woke up to an email from Matt Chandler the morning of May 27th. He apologized and sought forgiveness for not reaching out to me sooner, and he asked if I would consider sitting down with him and Josh Patterson face-to-face, with the sole purpose of hearing from me about the hurt I had experienced at the hands of The Village Church and what they could have done better. Naturally, I was skeptical at first, and I wrestled with whether I could trust his motives due to the timing of the email. But I decided to take a few days to pray, process, and seek counsel.

By Sunday, May 31st I had decided to take a leap of faith and meet with Matt and Josh. I knew it was a risk, but I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring about repentance and reconciliation, and I felt that God was leading me to be willing to hear my brothers out. That evening I watched Matt’s sermon from the weekend online and was further encouraged in this direction. I sensed sincerity in his confession and apology. I emailed Matt, and we set up a meeting for Wednesday. We both communicated eager anticipation for what God might do.

As Wednesday approached I wasn’t sure what to expect. I chose to keep the meeting under strict confidence at that time, sharing it with only a few trusted friends so they could pray. I thought the meeting would have the best chance for success if it wasn’t a public spectacle from the beginning. Two of those friends graciously offered to host the meeting in their home and provide lunch for the five of us. It was clear to me that God was at work.

After sharing a meal together on Wednesday, the conversation turned to the reason we were there. Matt and Josh looked me in the eyes, apologized, and asked for forgiveness. They told me that they felt awful about how I had been treated. They said I had biblical grounds for annulment or divorce, that I should have been granted my withdrawal from membership immediately, and that I never should have been put under discipline. They wanted to hear anything I was willing to say about what had happened, and they promised to do everything they could to make it right and make sure that what happened to me never happened to anyone again. I thanked them for their obvious sincerity and forgave them.

We spent the next several hours talking about what had happened to me and what my concerns were. By the end of the day, Matt, Josh, my two friends and I were delighted to realize that we all wanted the same things for the same reasons. Matt and Josh promised many changes to come, and I have watched with joy over the past week as they have kept their word and begun to implement those changes. I believe the elders of The Village Church are showing fruit of genuine repentance, and I believe God will use them powerfully in the days to come.

I am praising God for what He has done, and I continue to be amazed by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to bring about reconciliation in the most unlikely circumstances. God is good, God is mighty, and God is faithful. All the time.

I know this is not the end of the story for many, but I believe it is the end of the story for me. This has been a long and difficult road both for me and for those who have walked closely with me, and I still have quite a bit of healing left to do. I believe it is time for me to move on in peace, trusting God to finish the good work He has started at The Village Church. I believe God is using what happened to me to do something beautiful, in His time and in His way, and for that I am exceedingly thankful.

In the Name of Jesus and for His sake,

Karen Hinkley


NOTE:  We will be doing a full analysis of this situation on Monday. 

Comments

An Apology from Matt Chandler/Elders of The Village Church and a Statement of Forgiveness from Karen Hinkley — 793 Comments

  1. @ Nancy:

    I really don’t understand the debate. Why would we need to debate how many children people need to have? It seems to me that people should be led by their own desires on this without being guilted or shamed into doing something different.

    In my world, I have an ex-wife who wanted nothing more than to have a lot of children, even though she wasn’t very interested in spending time with the one she had. Very unhealthy, and encouraged by the idea of children as an achievement rather than as human beings.

    And now I have three multi-racial step children along with my biological very white son. People assume my wife is a nanny when she goes out with all 4.

    I know of couples in my church who have no children at all. One of those I know is trying, I don’t know about the other two. I never felt like I needed to ask or wonder. Their life is their life.

    It’s crazy enough dealing with my own (wonderful!) family without trying to manage the families of other people.

  2. @ Nancy:

    A good thing we were not Catholic. I can see my mom now smiling while telling the priest it was none of his business!~ In my house those sorts of questions were viewed as similar to inquiring the color of ones underwear.

  3. Dan wrote:

    I am surprised that little is mentioned on the replies that seems to even acknowledge that the Village Church did the right thing in attempting to reconcile….you show little grace in regards to the Village Church or Matt Chandler. Your approach to Chandler and VC’s admitted failures and requests for forgiveness smack of an odd brand of fundamentalism. Reconciliation in a world that lacks grace is a reason to praise God not pile on. At least that is my opinion.

    There have been several articles about TVC on this blog that have generated hundreds of comments. TVC was way out of bounds in their subjecting Karen to church discipline when she had already resigned for annulling her marriage to Jordan whom had lied to her about his years of involvement in (federal and state felony crimes) of child pornography.

    The approach of this blog ‘to trust but verify’ is a wise one given how egregious the TVC elders were and the bizarre theological beliefs that they subscribe to that drove them to do this to Karen in the first place. It’s no different than any other situation in which a person has violated trust: They have to prove themselves to be trustworthy.

  4. Lydia wrote:

    I can see my mom now smiling while telling the priest it was none of his business!

    My mom too. I had mixed feelings about it because I was a lonely only until I was almost 12 and that has its issues also.

  5. @ Dan:

    Dan did you read my open letter to Matt Chandler expressing my joy, and being amazed by Chandler’s courage to do something that CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll could not do? That was pretty straight forward.

  6. @ Lydia:

    My only response to the view some have of God as Monarch is, “Our Father, who art in heaven,” they know not what they do.

  7. Lydia wrote:

    Some viewed it as safer than adopting here because of several incidents of going through the years long foster child process and the adoption falling through at the last minute. Broken hearts as they had to give “their” child back to the bio parent who the judge ruled had completed rehab and earned the right to their child after 7 years or so. You just don’t get over that.

    That is true and is one of the advantages of international adoption. What young daughter faced was shock and disapproval that anybody would adopt from anywhere without first having run through as many cycles of in vitro as necessary. Then add to that the idea of not-from-around-here and it was just out of the realm of consideration that anybody would do that. There are a lot of folks who do, and quite a few around here it turns out.

  8. Umm. What is the problem with what Ken said about God as ruler? Don’t we adhere to the idea that Jesus will both reign and rule? That is not somebody we voted in or can vote out. And sure we have a relationship there, but is it not his to command and ours to obey? I am thinking that obey means obey in the usual sense of the word, not an invitation to sit on some committee to determine what we are supposed to do. Just because we may like him and think he has some great ideas and such does not mean he is any less entitled to be called king.

    I must be missing something here.

  9. @ Lydia:
    There is enough of the old charismatic left in me to relate to the rejection of an ‘institutional Jesus’ believe me!

    The odd thing about the Romans submit to governing authority verses is that in the cultural context of the 1st Century this was the utterly undemocratic Roman Empire, not the kind of govt we have in the West that an electorate can dismiss, and that usuually is itself subject to the laws it makes. So the submit command is easier for us than it was for Christians back then.

    In saying we will all, including Americans, be subject to a monarch again in the form of King Jesus I hope you noticed a bit of ironic, dry, British tongue-in-cheek humour! The thing to look forward to is that this King will be absolutely good in all he does.

  10. @ Jeff S:
    Oddly enough, I don’t think material possessions are intrinsically bad, it’s more the need to stop this dominating all of life at the expense of more worthwhile things. It’s where your heart shouldn’t be.

    Have you never had colleagues you work with who decided not to have children, didn’t want the encumbrance, then changed their minds as the biological clock was ticking away? Suddenly they start talking about more than just the latest gadgetry at home, the posh car, the restaurants and foregn travel. Sadly on more than one occasion pregnances resulted in miscarriage, and then it was too late.

    I think it reasonable for pastors to teach and encourage young believers not to get into this anti-children way of thinking in the first place, and I think Nancy is on to something in that there is an element of modern culture that leans in this direction.

    I have a colleague here who announced she was expecting, and I said as I often do Kinder machen Spass, children are fun. She said I was the first person to be so positive, everyone else said they hoped she would cope with the sleepless nights and nappy/diagper changing. And of course there is a risk with children, they can get ill or in other ways break your heart, and can be exhausting to say the least of it. But the love a child can give and to whom you can give love is more precious than any amount of material goods or fame and influence. This isn’t compulsory, but what a shame to miss out on this by deliberate choice.

  11. Ken wrote:

    So the submit command is easier for us than it was for Christians back then.

    Ok, I get where you are coming from and probably misunderstood based on some semi heirarchical comments in the past but would add that we “submit” or “obey” laws. Not humans. If I hear submit to “governing authorities” one more time from a pastor, I might have to do something drastic. :o) Think what they are teaching kids!~ Be a good little communist. Or be a good little Nazi.

  12. @ Nancy:

    My siblings are much older, too. However, when the last brother went off the college, I was the one doing happy cartwheels down the street. :o)

  13. @ Nancy:

    I call Him King Jesus all the time. I was contrasting it with what I have heard way too often out of the Neo Cal movement and hierarchies. And how we are so unruly here because we are too individualistic and thinkk we can be “lone ranger” Christians and we don’t respect authorities….yada yada yada. There is a kind and correct way to “question” things that it might not be a bad idea to teach our kids.

    The concept of Jesus as King was more of political understanding at the time. There had been other “saviors” of Israel who were zealots. There had also been other Jewish young men crucified before and after Jesus.

    So we are hearing different things, I suppose, on the Monarchy front. I just don’t see obeying God here or in eternity as having to check our brains at the door. You will find me in the question room of the mansion. :o)

  14. Ken wrote:

    Have you never had colleagues you work with who decided not to have children, didn’t want the encumbrance, then changed their minds as the biological clock was ticking away? Suddenly they start talking about more than just the latest gadgetry at home, the posh car, the restaurants and foregn travel. Sadly on more than one occasion pregnances resulted in miscarriage, and then it was too late.

    Actually, I haven’t had that experience.

    The experience I *did* have was my wife, who wouldn’t get out of bed for weeks at a time, wanted to have children. I wanted to as well, but I didn’t think it was responsible given her situation (at the time I attributed her behavior to coping with a physical pain, so in my mind it was necessary, but not a great environment for raising children). I went to my (then) pastor for direction, and he told me to consider my wife’s perspective and that I should perhaps trust God to give us the ability to be great parents.

    Now here I am six years later, divorced and remarried, and my son has had to suffer without the regular presence of a mother figure in his life until just recently when I married my second wife. Now I do not for a second regret having my son. He is a gift from God and a blessing to all of us, but that doesn’t change the fact it was irresponsible to bring him into a world where he would not be properly cared for and have to endure the pain of his mother being absent for the first years of his life (and likely many more to come).

    Is our situation different than the norm? Yeah, it is. But the point is, it wasn’t the pastor’s decision to make, and he gave us recommendations without really understanding the situation. Best to leave it alone and encourage a couple to be God honoring with their lives and let them make the call. If a couple desires things more than children, whether those things are sinful or not, better that they not have children.

    Quite frankly, I think I’d rather have a few families that don’t get children who live with regret for that decision than have a few families who have children they regret. There is not much sadder in the world than an unwanted child.

  15. @ Jeff S:
    Yes.

    I don’t understand this whole discussion, or at least, i don’t understand why anyone would feel it was any of their business to slam people who don’t have kids.

    You know, when i was in evangelical/charismatic-land, marriage and pardnthood were THE goal. I think many people had kids partlybecause they felt that they were *supposed* to, and thst is a BAD reason to bring a child into the world. For me and for othrrs who were unmarried and childless, it was hsrd – like a kind of superannuated adolesence. Along with a sensr, for me cettsinly, that i had failed to attain full adulthood. It was horrible.

    The odd thing – to my way of thinking – is that i can recall that never-married people were treated with great respect, by my family and in church. Some of those folks were teachers, back ehen women schoolteachers had to quit if they got married. I have this sense that there was much more of a “mind your own business” attitude (out of common decency) back then than there is noe, though i could be wrong.

    So Ken, sure, inveigh about materialism, but as for people who don’t /do have kids, it’s kinder to drop it and…

  16. @ numo:
    Re. the part about never-married teachers, etc., i meant to say that this wad during my childhood and adolesescense, so late 50s-early 70s.

  17. @ Ken:
    Ken, just to be clear, i was simply trying to say that you sound more like certain parties over here thsn you realize. I’m not saying you are a Quiverfull proponent, but i truly am baffled as to why you fell thwt people in ministry should be trlling people to have children. Or why you equate childlessness with materialism and selfishness.

    Besides all that, you canmot ever know that adult children will be there for anyone when they are aging and in need of care. Far too many people wash their hands of this and walk away. It is vety sad, and heartbreaking for the parent (s). I have sern this 1st hand, btw.

  18. numo wrote:

    Or why you equate childlessness with materialism and selfishness.

    I can’t speak for Ken and am not trying to do so. But I will tell you why I think that materialism can be a part of the picture for some people. After the adoption of #1 grandchild and when the parents were talking about going to get #2, the other grandparents opposed it mightily based on the fact that the parents did not yet have a house and a house was more important. Now mind you they had a condo which was easily big enough for two adults and two children, but it was not a house and one really must have a house by this time in life. It would really not be fair to the child to snatch it up out of some orphanage where the child had poor medical care and basically no future and bring it home to a condo, don’t you know. Any nutsy argument to get the idea of a house across so everything would look competitive over at the church. And yes I mean over at the church.

    And most tragic in my mind, a woman I knew some years back, married with two children turned up pregnant for the third time. She aborted the fetus saying that they were in the process of building a house and they really could not do both at the same time for financial reasons. Except for the timing she said she would have wanted a third child.

    A house. For the love of a house somebody did these things.

  19. @ Nancy:

    I believe materialism can be at the root of many decisions, but attack materialism, not the choices themselves.

    Can deliberate childlessness be a symptom of materialism? Yes. Can having children be a symptom of lack of fulfillment in Christ? Yes. Both can be valid choices, but both can be sinful. The point is not to make assumptions based on possible symptoms.

  20. @ numo:

    People who are not married really are wise to not have children-at least not biological children, for practical and religious reasons. The issue is about people who are married. I don’t think that anybody thinks that unmarried people are less than in some way for not going ahead and having children while being a single parent. Now, a few of the never married teachers where young daughter teaches do have children; some have a live in boy friend but not all. This is social acceptable in some groups. I don’t frankly know what I would do in that circumstance. I know what I think I ought to do, but whether or not I would do it–let us hope so.

  21. We are at 97 F with a real feel of 102 and no rain in sight. And young son used to run in this heat for high school track training. Now middle aged son runs at the crack of dawn. Sometimes wisdom comes with age.

  22. @ Nancy:
    It depends on what house of worship you attend, what that place believes, social hierarchy, and much more. I am telling you what my experience was; I am not saying it was or is the same for everyone. Nor do I think marriage = adulthood, though clearly, a lot of people do.

  23. @ Nancy:
    Frankly, I think Ken’s worries about population “replacement” are a little off the scale (re. ethnic Germans and the like), but that’s just me.

    I guess part of that comes from this being, with the exception of First Nation peoples and native Hawaiians, a nation of immigrants.

  24. Ken wrote:

    I’ve not got anything against DINKYs, but I do have more respect for someone who doesn’t want children and admits this is for materialist reasons rather than hiding behind ‘saving the planet’ or similar.

    Interesting conversation especially as one of the factors in me not having children was Calvinism. I will not bring a child into this hard universe unless I can be sure Jesus loves them & wants to save them, not torment them eternally to bring him glory. I’m weird like that.

  25. @ Ken:

    I never wanted to have children.

    A big reason I never wanted a child is that I find them annoying. I also did not want to experience being pregnant. My choices don’t have anything to do with materialism.

    Have you ever wanted to buy a pet giraffe and dye it green? No? Well, that explains a big chunk of why I was never too keen to have a baby, for the same reason you never wanted to buy a giraffe and color it green.

    I don’t accuse you of being selfish or materialistic or whatever for refusing to get a pet giraffe.

    If I had a kid it would only be if I got married. I never found “Mr. Right” and so remain single.

    If you think I’m having a baby out of wedlock and raising it solo, you are bonkers.

    Your opinions on this topic are so very repulsive to me. Churches in America, especially the evangelical and Baptists, already hype and promote marriage and natalism out the wazoo, which makes anyone who never marries or who is infertile or childfree (whether by choice or circumstance) feel excluded.

    The Bible simply does not promote family, natalism and marriage, not in the New Testament.

    Christ was a single, childless, celibate adult. He is a role model for Christians.

    Christ also taught that other people remaining celibate and hence childless was a viable life option. Paul said it is better for a man not to touch a woman, and that singleness is more beneficial than marriage (1 Cor 7).

    More and more women (and men) in America are either choosing to be childfree or delaying when they have children. That is simply a reality.

    Insulting these women, or chalking up their life choices and decisions to insulting motives, isn’t going to give them incentive to go “sure, I’ll have a kid! You telling me I am materialistic was so convincing.”

    The family, marriage, and having children are simply not revered in the Bible as much as conservative Christians assume. See this page:
    “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?”
    http://www.cbeinternational.org/resources/article/who-my-mother-and-who-are-my-brothers

  26. @ Nancy:

    I can assure everyone here, from actually spending time talking to oodles of Childfree adults on Childfree blogs, on social media, etc, that materialism is not the biggest reason why most of them go CF (Child Free).

    There is probably a sliver who go with that reason, but most just never had an interest in having a child, anymore than you are interested in going to your kitchen right now and juggling an apple and two oranges. You just don’t want to. Not interested.

    Some women (such as myself) simply lack a maternal drive or interest in human kids. I just never saw the appeal in having kids. If other people want them, great.

    But too often the choice to not have children is meant with suspicion, disdain, false assumptions, put downs, people assume your motives and get them wrong (like what is going on in this thread), etc.

  27. Nancy wrote:

    I have assumed nothing in the two cases I mentioned. The people themselves stated their own reasons.

    Yes put too often the one or two cases you know get broad brushed on to people like me who have different reasons and motives.

  28. Daisy wrote:

    I never wanted to have children.
    A big reason I never wanted a child is that I find them annoying

    Daisy, I absolutely appreciate your honesty. To think every woman wants to get married and/or have children is the biggest fallacy I can think of. Talk about stereotypes….

    I know several women who married and wish they hadn’t and several who wanted to marry, did, and shouldn’t have. LOL!

  29. Nancy wrote:

    @ numo:
    People who are not married really are wise to not have children-at least not biological children, for practical and religious reasons. The issue is about people who are married. I don’t think that anybody thinks that unmarried people are less than in some way for not going ahead and having children while being a single parent. Now, a few of the never married teachers where young daughter teaches do have children; some have a live in boy friend but not all. This is social acceptable in some groups. I don’t frankly know what I would do in that circumstance. I know what I think I ought to do, but whether or not I would do it–let us hope so.

    Even then, whether to have a kid or not is that couple’s choice. There is nothing wrong with a married couple choosing to not have children.

  30. numo wrote:

    Nor do I think marriage = adulthood, though clearly, a lot of people do.

    Oh yeah. Very true.

    Many Baptists and evangelicals (and some Non Christians) view marriage and-or parenthood as adult hood benchmarks, so if you neither marry or pop out a kid you are considered to be immature, selfish, etc.

    The Bible just does not support the notion that everyone must marry and-or have children, or that people who do not are somehow lesser than, are stunted, are sinning, are selfish, etc, but Christians keep holding tightly on to those insulting stereotypes.

  31. @ numo:

    Yes, there are fringe groups of Christians who think Christians must out breed (their term) the heathen.

    They are also freaking out because white people/ Christians are going to be outnumbered by people with darker skin and/or Muslims.

    This idea (of ‘out breeding’ everyone) has bled into more mainstream Christian groups, to the point, I’ve heard them say on some of their TV shows that Christians need to be having more kids to keep the population up and so on.

    I just saw an article about “X” number of reasons the Southern Baptists are losing numbers.

    In this article the writers actually suggest that SBs need to have more kids, or do a better job of indoctrinating the kids they already have, since that is, in their view, the easiest, or best way, to insure a new generation of church sitters.

    It’s like they have replaced the Gospel – (tell your neighbor about Jesus) – with “bed room evangelism. Don’t witness to your neighbor, instead, get married, and have ten kids and take those ten kids to church.

  32. @ Victorious:

    I think I would still like to marry, but I was never keen on having children. If I had married years ago, I was open to having kids, but I’m in my 40s now.

    I guess I am on a spectrum between childless and child free (CF). I wouldn’t say I am hard core CF.

    CF are people who deliberately choose not to have kids, they have pretty much known since childhood they didn’t want to have kids.

    Seriously, a lot of CF people knew as young as age 5 or 6 they didn’t want to have kids when they got older, so Ken’s idea above that it is about materialism is laughable. I pretty much knew when I was around 5 or 6 I was not keen on having children.

    About the money thing, materialism. It’s not that most CF are materialistic, it’s that they just were not into having a kid, and a natural consequence of them not having a kid was simply having more disposable income.

    That extra income was not their prime motive for many of them, it was just a consequence.

    Even though I find kids annoying, I do not hate them or wish them ill. I am disgusted by all forms of child abuse.

    CF people run the gamut, by the way. (Non-CF folk tend to lump all CF together, and all CF motives.)

    You have some CF who are very nice, kind-hearted people, and some who are grumpy. Some CF really like children and even take occupations where they can be around kids.

    Then there are CF at the other end who really, really detest children to the point it creeps me out, like at one CF site where they talk about intentionally tripping small children who run past them in stores, which I think is mean.

    Then you have people in the middle between those two poles (extremes)

    BTW,there is lots of CF jargon. What Ken did above, where he was saying something about “but don’t you think these people will regret their choice one day not to have kids because of this reason or that one” is referred to as a “BINGO.”

    Childfree people get hit with the same comments over and over by people who are parents:
    “But who will take care of you when you are old,” “but you will never know what real love is til you have a kid,” and CF women get the “you will change your mind some day” bingo a lot.

    CF people really resent the bingo’s. They get very tired of having to justify or explain their CF choice all the time.

  33. @ numo:

    I know lots of adult (50+) single musicians of both sexes, and most of them are really cool people, not materialistic in the way Ken is describing at all. I don’t know any of these stereotype people (kids will prevent them from going on their 35th cruise and own 3 Ferraris, etc.). Granted, I’m not in white collar/wealthy corporate environments, and I’m sure those stereotype people do exist somewhere, but I don’t know them.

    In fact, come to think of it, the most materialistic (i.e., status-symbol-stuff like coolest car, coolest gadget, etc.) people I know, all have multiple children. And at least some of their children are as materialistic and self-absorbed as they are. It’s almost as if people learned this stuff from adult role models at some point. :-O

    There is also absolutely an unspoken thing here where women are supposed to want children. Career bachelors who never marry or have children have been with us forever and no one bats an eye. Women who did the same thing were called “spinsters,” which is, let’s just say, decidedly less positive than “bachelor.” (And “bachelorette” somehow became a term for engaged women about to get married instead of just the feminine version of “bachelor.”)

  34. @ Daisy:

    Another phenomenon I’ve noticed is that all the people I know who are most intolerant of children, are not the single people who never had children. They are empty nesters and grandparents who are now “done” with small children and complain whenever any small child makes noise in public. I.e., if a baby so much as gurgles during a concert (not talking about a bawling meltdown, which yeah, obviously, remove the kid from the situation), when the concert is over all you will hear about is OMG the baby and how irresponsible its parents are.

  35. @ Hester:

    That’s for sure. Being intolerant of children is a thing in and of itself and there is not a 1:1 correlation between between tolerant/intolerant and reproductive history. My mother used to boycott mother’s day at church because she said that giving birth did not make one a mother, and mother’s day was not about quality but quantity. I totally agree with mom on that. OTOH, there are situations where children do not belong because they do cause disruptions, and I do hope that nobody here thought that I am tolerant of bad behavior from children. The conversation from my viewpoint has not been about behavior up to this point.

  36. Nancy wrote:

    I have assumed nothing in the two cases I mentioned. The people themselves stated their own reasons.

    I get that. But you also said “But I will tell you why I think that materialism can be a part of the picture for some people.”

    Of course it can be part of the picture, but it also doesn’t have to be part of the picture, and that’s my point.

    And TBH, if a couple wants a house more than a child, I’d rather them get a house. (This was not your example, since an abortion is a different story, I’m just making the point that if a couple really doesn’t want children, it’s not good for the child to shame them into doing so).

  37. @ Nancy:

    That is to say has not been about children’s behavior. In the two cases I mentioned above these people’s attitudes and behavior splashed over into my life. One was because the child in question, of whom we already had a picture, was my grandchild whether they wanted her for their grandchild or not. In the other case the woman in question had been a school teacher of one of my kids, and the issue was now sitting at my dinner table as to whether what she did was okay or not, and what if the law says it is okay, and what does God say about that?

    The idea that whatever anybody does is purely their own business has its limitations, because beliefs and actions and such do impact more than just the individuals involved. I am thinking that people do determine their own lives, but to come along and think that nobody else has any right to have an opinion about about that is too far removed from reality to be worth considering. We all impact each other’s lives in a multitude of ways all the time. Of course humans have strongly held beliefs in lots of areas. If we as a species were solitary animals and night predators this would perhaps not be so, but it is hard to build cultures like that and whatever else man is we are a species that groups up together.

  38. @ Jeff S:

    I have not said this, but we have a thing here that I will mention by way of explanation. Like you, I also went through a divorce. It was a huge and awful event in my life and the lives of my children and has impacted our lives right on. I have lived through the divorce of my daughter and the fall out from that is how they come to be living with me now. In other words, two divorces in one way or another have whapped me up side the head. And, I have now the second set of children growing up in my home. That is very different from what it is like to be a grandmother to my other set of grandkids who live across town with their parents.

    Okay, so what? Some of the things you say are basically word for word some of the things that were said to me or about me or about divorce or about remarriage or about children and/or represent some attitudes which my former husband had and which were issues between us. I believe in your sincerity and good will, that is not the point. But I have refrained from getting into conversations with you because I know myself and I don’t want a lot of issues to come up for discussion between me and anybody. So please understand if I use that often misused statement that it is not you, it is just some of my own tender scars in this area.

    But and also, I have lived long enough to see some really awful stuff happen to some of the folks that I believe did us wrong, and happen as a direct result of what they did (as in sowing and reaping) so at this point I am more and more convinced that I have been right about some things. Once a person gets to that level of conviction and passion about stuff it is often well to just be silent and let it be.

  39. numo wrote:

    Or why you equate childlessness with materialism and selfishness

    I don’t equate not having children with materialism and greed, it is an observation that in modern first world countries there is a sizable minority who choose not to have children despite being the best provided for generation in history. This same generation is having great difficulty in keeping its marriages together, or providing the love and security children need when they do have children. Talking in generalities of course, this is not universally true.

    I also neither said nor implied that pastors ought to be telling the married in their churches that they really ought to be having children. What I have said is that they should try to ensure their fellowships are not following the culture around them. Clearly there can be very good reasons why some people don’t have children.

    I’m not making any judgment on anyone who has not had children or doesn’t want to, I am trying to discern how much our modern culture is anti-children and to what extent this is due to selfish reasons or an unwillingness to grow up. I don’t know about the States, but modern UK society is desperately selfish.

  40. @ Nancy:

    I am truly sorry that things I’ve said have been triggering for you. That does explain our interactions, so I appreciate your transparency.

    I’ve always been a little confused at our conversations regarding divorce and remarriage, but I can sense now why that has been a painful subject. Rest assured, I firmly stand with victims when it comes to divorce, and for whatever I’ve said that has placed a burden on you regarding your divorce, I want to apologize. I would be interested to know what that is so I can be careful in the future, but you are by no means obligated to share. Dropping it is certainly a peaceful and respectful path forward.

    I too have seen the effects of reaping and sowing regarding those who have done me wrong, so I identify with you very much in that regard.

  41. @ Jeff S:

    Thank you, Jeff. It is very clear that you are a thoughtful and good hearted person, and I both recognize and appreciate that.

  42. Ken wrote:

    I don’t equate not having children with materialism and greed, it is an observation that in modern first world countries there is a sizable minority who choose not to have children despite being the best provided for generation in history. This same generation is having great difficulty in keeping its marriages together, or providing the love and security children need when they do have children.

    So the thing is, right here the problem isn’t whether people choose to have children or not. You say right here that this generation is having trouble providing for the children it does create. Creating less of them isn’t as indicative of selfishness as having them and not providing for them.

  43. I see many wealthy people, married and unmarried, Christian and nonchristian, giving birth and/or adopting children. I also see some of the same who don’t want children. BUT I also see the same actions among poor people. The wealthy as well as the poor have reasons for not having children.

  44. @ Ken:

    Do you think that the people of Europe have been affected by the scars of living through two world wars? When I think of the loss, pain, and destruction many lived through and heard about, their thoughts on the subject of children are probably riddled with differing perspectives.

  45. @ Ken:
    Are you not aware that your remark about Germany and “ethnic Germans” is *really* creepy in light of Nazism, Aryan “superiority,” the Holocaust and WWII?

    Even if you were meaning to include Roma, and Germans of mixed ethnic/racial backgrounds, it still is highly insensitive at best.

  46. Ken wrote:

    I’m not making any judgment on anyone who has not had children or doesn’t want to, I am trying to discern how much our modern culture is anti-children and to what extent this is due to selfish reasons or an unwillingness to grow up. I don’t know about the States, but modern UK society is desperately selfish.

    But yes, you are making judgments on people who haven’t had a kid or who does not want to.

    Jesus and Paul actually advocated celibacy and singleness in the Bible, and said devotion to Jesus was to be primary for the Christian, not marrying and having children.

    If you want to marry and pop out a kid, Jesus is like, that is dandy, but it’s not a command, and people who do not are not necessarily “anti child” or fails or selfish.

    Even if a married couples chooses money over a kid, that is their business.

    I think having children is selfish on the part of many people.

    Most folks want a kid to carry on the family name, to cave in to societal or family pressure to produce kids, some lonely women think having a baby will take away all their empty feelings, some women have a kid to keep a failing marriage together, some expect the kid to take care of them in adulthood, etc. Those are all selfish reasons.

    The culture in the USA is still too child-centric, as are most denominations.

    Churches do NOT celebrate or support virgin or celibate single adults, Ken. Christianity is already in collusion with secular culture to put motherhood up on a pedestal.

    Single, childless women like me do not get a “Singles Day” at church, where we get carnations and gift certificates to Denny’s or IHOP Waffle House for being single and CF or childless.

  47. Ken wrote:

    This same generation is having great difficulty in keeping its marriages together,

    I think that was true of generations past, only women were stuck in such marriages. Now they have the money and laws in place to leave abusive or selfish husbands. That is not necessarily a bad thing.

    If women back in the ages you are making nostalgic had the power, finances, and ability to leave dead end or abusive marriages, they probably would have.

  48. @ Ken:
    And Ken, I left you a long reply early in the morning, but it got no response.

    As such, I am not sure if you overlooked it or just chose not to reply. You did reply to I think Nancy, Numo, and/or Jeff? But not my post. My post was here:
    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2015/06/10/an-apology-from-matt-chandlerelders-of-the-village-church-and-a-statement-of-forgiveness-from-karen-hinkley/comment-page-2/#comment-201896

    Or maybe you saw it and did not want to reply, which I guess is fine, but I am a living, breathing childless/CF single who is telling you straight from the horse’s mouth (no speculation or guessing) as to why myself and women like me do not have kids. Or marry.

  49. @ Hester:

    That is sure true.

    I have seen people who have grandchildren (who are toddlers or infants in age), and these people are cranky around children, because they have already lived through that with their own kids and do not want to re-live it.

    Some seniors communities are “kid free.”

  50. @ numo:
    The context of my remark about ‘ethnic Germans’ isn’t really controversial here.

    The Federal Government after WW2 had a policy of allowing members of the German communities scattered throughout eastern Europe, for example in parts of the Soviet Union, territories incorporated into Poland or the German minority in Rumania, to emmigrate to Germany if they so wanted. It might seem a bit racist at first, but was little different to maintaining a right to return for ex-pats of any other country. They were often a hated minority for obvious reasons.

    What happened was many took advantage of this offer to the extent they were allowed to, and since the fall of communism even more so – who wouldn’t want to exchange the moribund economies of eastern Europe for the wealth of Germany.

    Large numbers also came whose ancestors left Germany centuries ago, who lost the language after the war due to its suppression if they hadn’t already, and are now simply regarded as “Russians” or “Poles” by the native German population who resent them. Not a healthy development. The new arrivals are certainly often culturally identical to the countries they came from.

    It’s only my opinion but the govt continuing this policy coincides with a long period where the German birth rate has been well below replacement level, and I reckon it was a means of maintaining a more stable population and thereby trying to head off the problems of a declining one (pensions etc.).

    The strange thing is the provisions in terms of financial support and leave, and the right to return to a job after maternity leave (one colleague here returned after 9 years and 3 children and the company was obliged by law to take her back) is about as good as it gets if you want to combine career and having a family, yet despite this the birth rate is low. It’s a very peculiar phenomenon.

  51. Daisy wrote:

    I think having children is selfish on the part of many people.

    Yes. And I think many people would think it’s crazy to even think this. Which is why the evangelical church is guilty of idolatry of the family.

  52. @ Jeff S:

    Jeff S, FWIW, and I’m not sure what Nancy was upset about with you, but I have appreciated your posts defending adults in whatever child related choices they make.

    I’m a never married, childless woman, and get beat up over those facts by both Christians and secular culture.

    There is only a small fraction of people who understand it (and that is mostly in secular culture). The rest feel fine condemning you or shaming you, or attributing false motives to you, for why you never married or never had a kid.

    Many people really do feel okay about dictating life choices to other people over things like having kids, or getting married, or judging them on those things, and I do not know why they feel entitled to do this.

    Some seem to be threatened by people like myself who don’t fit what was once the cultural norm of “get married and have children.”

  53. Jeff S wrote:

    Yes. And I think many people would think it’s crazy to even think this. Which is why the evangelical church is guilty of idolatry of the family.

    Yes, very true: not everyone has a child out of altruistic motives.

    Yet only women who are CF of Childless get ripped on for being “selfish.”

    (CF or childless men rarely get this stuff. Only women. Women are expected by most secular culture and churches to have kids. Which sort of tells me I am valued only for my ovaries – not my skills, talents, brains, or personality).

    On the CF blogs I visit, the CF will post stories from “Mommy Confession” sites, where mothers spill their secrets about things, incluing about how they regret having children.

    Some of them will also admit they had a baby to try to save a failing marriage, or to “trap” a man into marriage. They are not all having children for pure motives. They they regret having the baby.

    Some have a baby to stave off loneliness and get a sense of purpose in life, but then the baby turns out to be super hard work (more than they expected), and they resent the crud out of the baby.

    Churches offer Mother’s Day celebrations, Father’s Day, and non stop marriage sermons. They are really marginalizing anyone who isn’t married with children. I just do not see the Bible placing so much importance on “THE FAMILY” as churches do.

  54. @ Daisy:

    It’s a very person issue for me, though not in the obvious way. Having been on the receiving end of someone finding her self worth in having a child but not investing in her marital or parental relationships- it was painful both to receive and to watch my son be “used” in that way. To have his existence validate her but not his person- it just makes my heart hurt for him.

    It’s quite redemptive in his life to have someone filling that role now who really does invest in his life, and I’m beyond grateful to her and to God for bringing her into my life.

    I’m also quite sympathetic to how churches treat singles, because I’ve been there. I think my church did an above average job with me, and yet I still felt often like I didn’t fit in. So I do empathize with your pain, and I know you aren’t treated well.

    Jesus made it very clear than neither marriage nor procreation was part of walking with God. Which was at the time radical, because Jewish thought saw Genesis as commanding all men and women to get married and procreate. In the first century, childlessness was an allowable reason for divorce, perhaps even one that would COMPEL divorce

  55. Jeff S wrote:

    than neither marriage nor procreation was part of walking with God

    I mean, “necessary”. I accidentally hit “submit” on my previous comment.

    But I was going to say, divorce could even be compelled over childlessness because they thought the relationship was hindering their great call to populate the earth. So for Jesus to introduce the idea of singleness and celibacy was completely radical.

  56. Jeff S wrote:

    Jesus made it very clear than neither marriage nor procreation was part of walking with God. Which was at the time radical, because Jewish thought saw Genesis as commanding all men and women to get married and procreate. In the first century, childlessness was an allowable reason for divorce, perhaps even one that would COMPEL divorce

    Absolutely.

    Jesus (and later Paul) completely taught that being single / celibate/ childless was perfectly okay (they were bucking the trend of their culture and time), but churches today teach the opposite of all that.

    Jesus came to free people of certain cultural baggage, but American churches keep trying to load them down with the same baggage.

    I am sorry for your ordeal in your marriage.

    My mother passed away a few years ago, and I still miss her.

    I suspect that my mother was a tiny bit like your ex wife when it comes to parenting.

    My mother did love me, but I think she sort of used me in a way to get her own needs met. I think she got comfort, or her identity out of, the “mother” role.

    My mom’s family of origin, as well as my family (my dad, that is, her husband, and my two older siblings), were emotionally and a bit verbally abusive with my mother.
    She seemed lonely, hurt, and isolated. I noticed all that at a young age and tried to “be there for her.”

    Which meant I was her buddy and met some of her emotional needs.

    I think she liked that. So she did not teach me or encourage me to grow apart from her and be my own person, which had some negative ramifications on my later in adulthood.

    So yes, when a parent has a child to get their needs met, or end up using the kid in that fashion (even if it was not their intent), it can create problems for the child.

  57. @ Ken:
    Oh, but I’m sure the Turkish “guest workers” and Turks who are now German citizens are having kids, though likely, those with low incomes cannot really afford to, so…

    Sorry, but i think your statements are still kinda creepy, and yes, i was aware of the fact that there were/are German populations throughout the former Austro-Hungarian empire. Many of them have offshoot communities/descendants in the US.

    Maybe it is hard for you to see, but this country and Canada have populations that are entirely descended from immigrants + the remnants of the First Nation peoples and native Hawaiians. So your thoughts about the reliance on Germans reproduving seems a bit odd to me, since i know you have in-migration there.

    Apologies if i went a bit overboard in my previous comment.

  58. @ Jeff S:
    So many people have kids for bad reasons, just like so many people get martied for bad reasons.

    Ken, have you taken this into account? Because there are SO many kids growing up in bad – often truly horrendous – situations, and *that* should not be so. I think it is actually a much more pertinent topic than reproduction per se. There are some people who have no business having children, but – as with all of these interrelated isdues – we cannot and should not be policing people. Or browbeating them, for that matter.

  59. @ Daisy:
    Older people often do not have much physical or emotional resilience re. being able to tolerate sustained crying, yelling, outburts of various kinds, or bad behavior from little kids – nor should ghey be expected to, imo. There is a reason that young people (younger women, anyway) are fertile and older women are noy. Please cut them a break!

  60. @ Jeff S:
    Yes, it was radical, and i do not for one second suppose that he ever intended it to be the norm. Not many people can do it for prolonged periods of time, though obviously, a few can. It is not easy! (Speaking from personal experience here… the loneliness is the hardest thing, i think, though that comes and goes.)

  61. @ numo:
    The other point re. in-migration is that all societies change over time. Due to dradtic changes in Europe since the early 1990s, I’m not at all surprised that Germany and many other countries are experiencing profound changes.

  62. Nancy wrote:

    Daisy wrote:

    Some seniors communities are “kid free.”

    That ought to be a blessing to a lot of kids!

    A lot of kids in public schools are living with or being raised by grandparents. Usually the grandmother. Bio parents and are in and out of their life or also live with the grandparent due to economics. I read a study on this for our area and don’t remember the exact percentage but it is inching close to half over the years. I think we will see more and more of this as our economy keeps tanking.

  63. @ Daisy:

    Women are expected by most secular culture and churches to have kids.

    Here’s one for you. An agnostic single friend (who has always known she doesn’t want kids, doesn’t intend to get married or date, and might well be asexual anyway) got really torqued over this one. She went to church with her family on Mother’s Day, and they handed out carnations to all the women present, even the ones who weren’t mothers. She tried to refuse and they wouldn’t let her. She processed this as either 1) assuming she’s going to be a mother just because she’s female, or 2) “stealing” a day that’s supposed to be for mothers and giving it to everybody who happens to be female. I can’t say I disagree with her. It was a bit weird.

  64. numo wrote:

    Older people often do not have much physical or emotional resilience re. being able to tolerate sustained crying, yelling, outburts of various kinds, or bad behavior from little kids – nor should ghey be expected to, imo. There is a reason that young people (younger women, anyway) are fertile and older women are noy. Please cut them a break!

    I agree with all that… did you mean to send that reply to someone else?

    My name was on it, but it seems you were replying to someone else?

    I’ve had low tolerance for screaming babies and toddlers even when I was a kid, LOL, so I certainly don’t hold it against older people that some have a low tolerance for it as well.

  65. @ numo:

    Anyone can do it. It’s not always easy being single/celibate, but it can be done.

    The Bible does not state what God considers the norm – marriage/sex Vs. single/celibate.

    More and more people are single these days in the USA and other nations, not married.

    I’ve heard lots of Christians (usually preachers) argue that “marriage is the norm and God’s intent for most humanity because most people marry” – as though that is a biblical argument – but the Bible does not say that anywhere. It’s just their assumption.

  66. @ Daisy:
    I think i simply meant to add to what you said. Not sure it’s so much about not wanting to re-live it as it is not being able to tolerate at 80 what you could handle at 30 – and even then, it’s still tough.

  67. @ Lydia:
    There’s already been a lot of articles in the last 3 or more years about the changing nature of the American family.

    Two trends that I’ve seen reported on time and again:
    1. more people are living totally single and alone (and in spaces designed specifically for a single adult),
    and
    2. generations of families living together, (the adult kids with their kids moving in with Grandpa and Grandmother)

  68. @ Daisy:
    I do not think that anyone can do it for prolonged periods of time. It is not an eady thing, and some people are far more suited to it than others.

    Just because you have done it, or i have done it, does not equsl “anyone.”

  69. @ Daisy:
    More people are single, but that does not necessarily = celibacy. As for being single vs. being married, yes, i do think it’s posdible for most adults, and sometimes it is forced on folks via the death of a spouse. Most women outlive men, so there are more wifows out there than widowers. My mom has been a widow for 24 years – involuntay singless.

    As for celibacy for prolonged periods of time, that’s a different, though obviously related, matter.

  70. @ Hester:

    I am sympathetic to your CF agnostic friend. I really do think churches should ditch Mom and Dad’s day things altogether, but this really, deeply hacks off some parents. (I don’t know why, churches have never honored adult, childless, never married virgins.)

    On the other hand. I at least give that church a gold star for trying to include all women, rather than alienate singles or celibates or whatever.

    There might be women who were there who wanted children but who could not conceive or carry babies to term.

    Mother’s Day can be so deeply painful to people who cannot have kids, whose mothers are deceased, etc.

    But people like this (I am one of them) who feel it should either be dropped or scaled back (people can celebrate in the privacy of their own homes), get absolutely flamed on Christian forums and blogs, by other Christians no less, for suggesting churches drop Mom’s Day or cut back on it.

  71. @ Daisy:
    Catholicism and Orthodoxy have honored celibate women since very early in church history, though. But American Protestants are a different species altogether, in that respect!

  72. @ numo:

    I guess my post looked like I was being critical of older parents who get cranky around toddlers, but I was being sympathetic. I was replying to someone else who raised that topic first.

    I don’t blame older people who want to be done with raising children and who find them irritating now.

    I’ve had a low thresh hold for being around kids even when I was a kid. Even as kid, I preferred hanging out with adults who were in their 30s and older. If a screaming baby is on a TV show I am watching, I have to turn the channel until the baby is off.

  73. @ Hester:
    I get what she’s saying, and they shouldn’t have insisted. At the same time, they were at leadt *trying* to not leave anyone out, which is better than complete exclusion. Sounds like their idea was good, but the execution of it – not so much.

  74. @ Daisy:
    I’ve never been great with screaming by anyone, so i do get what you’re saying, and think it would have been a real liability if i had had kids. Still wish i might have had one or two, though, but those days are padt.

  75. @ numo:

    But the Bible teaches in the NT that all people are possible of self control. That means anyone can in fact pull celibacy off over decades.

  76. numo wrote:

    More people are single, but that does not necessarily = celibacy.

    Yes, I understand that. A lot of people who are single fornicate.

  77. numo wrote:

    Catholicism and Orthodoxy have honored celibate women since very early in church history, though. But American Protestants are a different species altogether, in that respect!

    I don’t know about orthodoxy, but catholicism has also honored marriage and parenting. I think that is how it ought to be. because all of it is honorable, depending of course on how the person manages their life in the process.

  78. @ Daisy:
    I disagrer, but will leave it at that. There is very little about either topic in the NT, and i doubt it was asdumed that people eould live as monks or nund, which didn’t happen til seversl centuries later, anyhow.

    There is nothing about celibacy being life-long in the NT, either.

  79. @ Nancy:
    The Orthodox Churches used to simply be the Eastern parts of THE church, so yes. There are Orthodox monks and nuns, and have bern since very early on. Monadticism began in the Middle East, not in the West, though it quickly spread to Westetn Europe.

  80. numo wrote:

    Yes, it was radical, and i do not for one second suppose that he ever intended it to be the norm. Not many people can do it for prolonged periods of time, though obviously, a few can. It is not easy! (Speaking from personal experience here… the loneliness is the hardest thing, i think, though that comes and goes.)

    I totally agree. I actually think if you look in the context he was speaking (about valid and invalid divorces), he was actually calling out the idea of divorce for infertility. That is, if people can serve without being married and still fulfill God’s commands, inability to conceive is not grounds for divorce.

    But really, the broader point is that you can serve God without your life looking like everyone else’s.

  81. Daisy wrote:

    But the Bible teaches in the NT that all people are possible of self control. That means anyone can in fact pull celibacy off over decades.

    I disagree, and I think that 1 Cor 7 is applicable to this issue.

  82. Jeff S wrote:

    But really, the broader point is that you can serve God without your life looking like everyone else’s.

    We need to send a memo to a few thousand churches.

  83. numo wrote:

    There is nothing about celibacy being life-long in the NT, either.

    But if you are single your entire life, you have to be celibate. The Bible does not permit sex for unmarried people.

    Being celibate for decades is achievable.

    I have a normal sex drive. I was engaged and spent time alone with my ex fiance, and he understood my values.

    Presently, I see little reason to abstain because nobody, not even 99% of Christians, support adult abstinence, so I might as well go ahead, provided I get a steady boyfriend again.

  84. Nancy wrote:

    I disagree, and I think that 1 Cor 7 is applicable to this issue.

    I don’t get your point with bringing 1 Cor 7 up.

    Unless that is the passage that contains the “if you burn, then marry” reference.

    Nancy, I burn. I have a normal sex drive.

    But there is no Mr. Right around for me to marry (I broke up with my ex years ago and have zero interest in marrying him) – so you’re saying I should go ahead and fool around with the first date or Boyfriend I get?

  85. @ Daisy:
    But you are not accounting for people who believe differently than you, which was my point.

    I think I’ve said everything i can, so i will bow out.

    Best,
    numo

  86. @ numo:

    (and reply to @Nancy‘s last post.)

    I’m not sure what either of you mean.

    The Bible teaches that sex is for marriage only, so singles should not be having sex – they should be celibate.

    Married couples, even ones apart for a year or longer (like people in the military where one spouse goes on deployment) should be celibate. The Bible just does not give the green light to unmarried sex.

    The Bible also says, that yes, people have self control.

    I’d like to be married, but there is nobody for me to marry. So, any verses that talk about “marry rather than burn” don’t help me out.

    It’s not impossible to stay celibate… not easy, but not impossible.

    The Bible doesn’t give people any exceptions to this, or say, “if it gets too hard, or too many years go by, just cave in and do it anyway.”

    As for “people who believe differently than me”

    I realize that some liberal Christians like to worm their way out of clear biblical instructions on sexuality, so they can fornicate and say, “God is fine with it, really!,” but I see no allowances in the Bible for anyone to have sex outside of marriage, no matter the reason.

    I’m in my 40s, and still hanging in there – I have a normal libido, so yes, anyone can do what I have done.

    It’s a matter of choice, self control, conviction and things like that. But a lot of people, even some Christians, choose to follow their desires.

    I notice that neither one of you really answered my question, where I said, “So, are you saying I should just go ahead and have sex with the next boyfriend I get.”

  87. @ Daisy:
    Not everyone is xtian; some people who are disagree on sexual ethics.

    Enough of this. You made your point, many times over.

  88. @ Daisy:
    To some extent I have taken what I have read in your posts into account in general replies. This is obviously a subject you are very sensitive about, and I find it hard enough not treading on numo’s toes even when imo we don’t really disagree. So I have no desire to wade in with my size 10 hobnail boots with you and only make matters worse. 🙂

    My criticism of childlessness, such as it is, is specifically targetted at those who have more than enough material wealth to comfortably look after them, yet choose even more material things over this. I think ultimately this is to their loss, but in the end it is their business. But in the church, such materialist attitudes ought to be conspicuous by their absence. Mind you a pastor living in a mansion is hardly in a position to dish out advice on not being materialistic!

    There may well be people who shouldn’t have children. My sister (single and not altogether by choice) used to teach in an area where the rank neglect of so many children, a common British phenomenon and not always just materially but in love and security and giving time to them, was proof of this.

    The issue of being single by choice or circumstances is a different matter. The bible does address this, though not in any great detail. It’s not something I’ve heard dealt with very much in churches this side of the Pond. One of my favourite bible teachers Roger Price did a message on this theme called Single Status, which I bet is good though I haven’t hear it, but unlike some of his messages is sadly not available on youtube.

  89. @ Ken:
    You write a very gentle answer, I should take a leaf or two out of your book I think Ken. It’s too late at night for me to write with any nuance and I’m moving house, so I’m tired. I don’t think I’ve spoken much on the married/single topic. I personally don’t think either way is better than the other. It’s just two different ways of living. Both have downsides, both have benefits. I had a friend once who had an arranged marriage with three kids and we had these kind of discussions (I was single). In the end we both agreed neither of us was better or worse off. Just different. We were neither envious of each other or consolatory. Further, I don’t think virginity is a big flag to wave above your head, neither do I think being a super shagster is a flag to wave either. And it’s not for others to prescribe how I should feel about sex, who I should have sex with, how to have sex, and when – whether that be the church, or society (I’m biting down my anti-pornography rant). As a supposed intelligent, educated being, I have to live with myself, and the choices I make, and I hope never to use anyone for my own gratification.

    My sexual history (or lack thereof, I’m not getting into semantics here) does not define me. We are not our sexual history, we are so much more than that. And we are not our shame or pride, or regret, or smugness. Sexual pride, whether in virginity or shagability, is a carcass I choose not to drag along with me.

    Perhaps I would write this differently tomorrow, but there, I’ve said it now. I don’t identify as Christian, so I don’t look to the bible as a sexual toolkit. I think way too much harm has been done to women over the centuries, by the church, and society. I choose freedom. Freedom to make my own choices. At the moment, I feel free to choose celibacy. It suits me – for now.

  90. Ken wrote:

    Mind you a pastor living in a mansion is hardly in a position to dish out advice on not being materialistic!

    True, but the pastor and his prosperity are a small part of it. There is also the idea that if you have money it means that God likes you specially in some way as compared to the guy down the street who is having trouble meeting the co-pay for his MRI, because the-bible-says. There is the idea that the man on the pew who is a high level manager at xyz corp has attained some spiritual level which can automatically be used by the church for ministry. Or, I like this one. If you can afford to pack up your whole family for a couple of oversees mission trips you are so far ahead of the guy who only serves maybe one night a week all winter at the homeless shelter. In the world of women it can look like this: she must know what she is talking about because look at who she married and how much he ‘doe$’ for the family so why don’t I let myself slide into envy and just try to copy everything she does and train my own your girl children that marrying well($) is the main goal in life. The point being that you don’t actually have to be affluent to be materialistic. It can be somebody else’s material that one is -istic about.

  91. Ken wrote:

    My criticism of childlessness, such as it is, is specifically targetted at those who have more than enough material wealth to comfortably look after them, yet choose even more material things over this.

    But what if they have all of this wealth, but they don’t *want* children. Why should they have a child they don’t want? Where does this obligation come from?

    I have the material wealth to do lots of noble things in this world that I don’t do, yet I do other noble things. I have children, but I don’t personally support a missionary. Why is having children called out as the one noble act that people with wealth are obligated to perform?

    Children are more than just about resources. It’s about having the emotional strength suited to caring for them. Why would we ever compel people who may not have the amazing and particular strength required to have children to do so anyway?

  92. Jeff S wrote:

    Why is having children called out as the one noble act that people with wealth are obligated to perform?

    Well I suppose there is the general mandate to ‘go forth and multiply’, but I’m not sure you can simply take this as a reason out of context – there has been multiplication on a grand scale since then!

    To me it’s more the strange priorities. It’s not a sin to be rich, but such things pass away, whereas baring tragedy a relationship of love with a child can last a lifetime. I think what I am reacting to a bit is people I have read about or more importantly met who look down on children and family, who have substituted more transient things for this, who love themselves, who have never really grown up.

    My grandparents and great-grandparents (and earlier!) pretty much lived in poverty compared to my generation, yet never considered family such a burden. They had to face war and economic depression. Of course they weren’t in a position to prevent large families either back then, I realise that, but doesn’t it strike you as odd that moderns who have so much can’t cope? What’s gone wrong with us? Previous generations even managed to reproduce without the benefit of Tim and Beverley LeHaye as well!!

    I once saw a program about a senior developer at Microsoft who retired with burn-out in his early forties. He and his wife and amassed a fortune and built a luxury house out of this. It had everything you could want in it, but was only ever going to have the two of them rattling around in it, they had left it too late for children. You may say ‘Ken it’s not your job to pass judgement on them’, which is fair enough, but don’t you find something tragic about this kind of situation?

  93. @ Ken:

    I think what I am reacting to a bit is people I have read about or more importantly met who look down on children and family, who have substituted more transient things for this, who love themselves, who have never really grown up.

    I don’t think you’re intending to do this, but I worry you’re treading dangerously close to making a desire for or decision to have children/actually having children = being grown up or adult. I’m sure you know that having or wanting children does not automatically transform a person into a mature adult, and there are plenty of people who have children and remain immature. You yourself mentioned widespread neglect of children, which is pretty clear evidence that the parents (assuming they really are as neglectful as you allege) are no more mature than the childless selfish materialists you keep talking about. In fact neglecting children you already have is, IMO, actually worse than remaining childless and just being self-centered. Esp. since neglecting your family materially actually is specifically called out in the Bible, while deciding not to have children isn’t.

    The myth that having a child will make you shape up/grow up/mature/whatever, is a pretty toxic one IMO, which will actually lead to more neglected children when people have kids and discover that they don’t magically create maturity after all. The church absolutely should not be preaching or even implying this.

    It’s not a sin to be rich, but such things pass away, whereas baring tragedy a relationship of love with a child can last a lifetime.

    I know this isn’t what you meant, but it’s also not hard for me to imagine someone having children for an “emotionally selfish” reason, whereas the children exist to love them and give them self-esteem/meaning/etc., in a one-sided relationship. Except this is hardly healthy, because eventually the children will grow up to be their own people, not just emotional supports for the parent. This is just as selfish as hating children because they will cramp your style and make you unable to go on your 35th cruise. In some ways this is actually pretty close to what extreme patriocentricty/comp teaches women to do: they exist to serve men and make babies, so they need to find their meaning solely in their husband and children. And of course if your husband ends up dead, traveling, distant, etc., and you end up somehow with a bad relationship with your children, the basket that held all your emotional eggs is destroyed and you will be in a pretty bad psychological state.

  94. @ Hester:
    Hester, thanks so much for your comment. I tried to make several of these points a couple of days ago, but you’ve done so very eloquently, and perhaps better, than I was able to.

    I wonder why this has turned into a discussion about materialism and children, when the bigger problem (*much* bigger) is that of child neglect, whether emotional, physical, or both, and abuse. And poverty, which is a stark reality for far too many children in this world – even in this country, affluent though it is compared to most other countries.

  95. Bridget wrote:

    Do you think that the people of Europe have been affected by the scars of living through two world wars? When I think of the loss, pain, and destruction many lived through and heard about, their thoughts on the subject of children are probably riddled with differing perspectives.

    Bridget posted this query for Ken yesterday, and she has not received a reply. It is such a good thought that it seems good to re-post, just in case it was missed the 1st time around…

  96. Ken wrote:

    doesn’t it strike you as odd that moderns who have so much can’t cope?

    I think the word is “choose not to” rather than “can’t”. People choose the transient over the eternal all the time, and yes, that’s a problem. I do it all the time, and it’s sinful. What I’m calling out here is that not all people who choose not to have children are doing that, and many that are out of a sinful heart have the same struggle as many of us, just manifesting it in a different manner.

    Ken wrote:

    I once saw a program about a senior developer at Microsoft who retired with burn-out in his early forties. He and his wife and amassed a fortune and built a luxury house out of this. It had everything you could want in it, but was only ever going to have the two of them rattling around in it, they had left it too late for children. You may say ‘Ken it’s not your job to pass judgement on them’, which is fair enough, but don’t you find something tragic about this kind of situation?

    I would see it as tragic if they felt that something was missing. If they are now wishing for children, I would say that they make for a cautionary tale. But if there is still no desire for children, well then if they aren’t sad, I see no reason to be sad on their behalf. Perhaps they are finding their value in things, or perhaps the things don’t mean that much and they bought them just because they could, but their focus has been on a deeper, more intimate relationship with one another.

    Or perhaps there is a sickness there, and perhaps they are miserable, but childlesness really isn’t the issue- it’s something deeper in the soul that is finding value and self worth in achievement and possessions. But those same issues can be (and are) lived out with children just as well as with material possessions unless the underlying heart issue is dealt with.

    The bottom line is, oftentimes deliberate childlessness may be a symptom, but it’s never a cause. And as the church, we are better off helping people with their underlying issues than judging their symptoms.

  97. @ numo:

    That was not addressed to me, but I want to say this. No. The birth rate is down pretty much world wide. There is more going on than anything merely local.

  98. Having children can be a purely selfish endeavor, or not, for the rich and the poor alike. Some people should never have had children for sure. But if someone says they have no desire to have children, then I would not want them to be compelled to, unless their heart was completely changed about children.

  99. @ Nancy:

    My response was to Ken regarding his concerns for GB and Europe specifically.

    In other news, I heard a news report just yesterday that the birth rate is up 1% in the US, while teen pregnancy is down 6-7% in the same time frame.

  100. @ Nancy:

    Maybe it is the baby care taking classes many of them are being required to take. They have to take care of a fake baby that is connected to a wireless program that lets the teacher know if there is neglect. I hear complaints about it all the time. But an improvement over the sacks of flour mended with duct tape. This fake baby crys to be fed and cries over wet diapers and keeps you up at night.

    Many schools only do one weekend. Some here do it for a week and both males and females have to care for the baby. They carry them around schools in back straps. It is hilarious to hear about the bleary eyed students who are worn out.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PiD97wsJQ0

  101. @ Nancy:

    That is what a I thought as well. Just hoping it is not getting pregnant at all as opposed to other options.

  102. @ Lydia:

    That is a great idea. Most children today don’t have a clue what reality is when it comes to having children. I’m glad they are getting a reality check.

  103. Bridget wrote:

    Do you think that the people of Europe have been affected by the scars of living through two world wars? When I think of the loss, pain, and destruction many lived through and heard about, their thoughts on the subject of children are probably riddled with differing perspectives

    The immediate post-war generation, which was my father’s, had a contradictory outlook. On the one hand, rationing and real austerity continued in the UK and much of Europe for a good decade after the end of the war. This does not seem to had led to a drop in the birth rate.

    On the other hand, rebuilding and the advent of relatively full employment banished the spectre of the pre-war depression. More than this, the welfare state in Britain was designed to ensure the grinding poverty, absence of opportunities to get an education or good medical treatment could be banished. The financial insecurity of previous generations was massively reduced. The more long-term future for bringing children up looked good, all the more as the physical and psychological effects of the war began to recede. This was the 1950’s golden era of the family, I assume the equivalent of the Eisenhower family.

    The drop in the birth rate occurred much later than this, despite generous welfare and medical provision, and despite a sustained increased in wealth and income across most of the population.

    I don’t have a new 11th commandment ‘thou shalt have children’, but in the UK at any rate some aspects of feminism coupled with welfare provision have enabled irresponsible men, i.e. men no longer want the responsibilty of standing by a woman and the children they have with her. There is a very real problem of neglect and abuse going on here. I don’t see this as a healthy development – parts of London have an illegitimacy rate of about 50%. Welfare has infantilised a section of the population. Marriage has turned into consecutive polygamy.

    The church, both in teaching and example, should imo be setting a better example than this, in stable marriages and family life. Teaching men – and women – not to shy away from responsibility, and supporting them when they do accept it. A real chance to be salt and light.

  104. Hester wrote:

    I worry you’re treading dangerously close to making a desire for or decision to have children/actually having children = being grown up or adult. I’m sure you know that having or wanting children does not automatically transform a person into a mature adult, and there are plenty of people who have children and remain immature. You yourself mentioned widespread neglect of children

    I can understand you thinking that! It’s not really where I am heading. I don’t think anyone probably thinks they are cut out for parenthood. I certainly didn’t. And I’ve certainly made my share of mistakes. I was scared stiff when she announced the first one was on its way, and I understnad the need to ‘count the cost’ of having a family. I broke out into a cold sweat when the first one actually started to arrive, whilst my wife remained all calm and serene! This still amuses her to this day. (Sorry if that ruins my carefully crafted macho image. 🙂 )

    But isn’t there a point in life when you have to hold down a job, and be prepared to take on such responsibility even if does scare the wits out of you? Even if the financial and employment outlook is currently bleak?

    You are right having a family does not equal sudden maturity, but at the same time should the church be content if some members remain in a kind of permanent adolescence, even if a section of society around them wants to do this? And that’s regardless of whether they go on to have children.

  105. @ Ken:
    Your comment about welfare and infantilization… no words.

    Something you are not taking into acvount is the increasing availability of effective contraception, beginning in the late 50s-early 60s. People finally had an effective means of limiting the size of their families, so that the number of children they hsd didn’t outsrip yheir ability to provide for them.

  106. numo wrote:

    People finally had an effective means of limiting the size of their families, so that the number of children they hsd didn’t outsrip yheir ability to provide for them.

    It is more complicated than that. The women of my mother’s generation (she was born in 1909) limited their family size, or not, as they chose, or so my mother told me in the usual mother-daughter sex ed instruction. I don’t have to get into how that was done, but the birth rate during the depression certainly shows that it was in fact done, just like Mom said. The pill did not come on the market until I was in my late 20s.

    The pill was easier except that the high doses of hormones in the pill make you sick as a dog, women could take the pill and their husbands not know it even if he wanted more children, single adult women could take the pill and still have sex while pretending that they never intended to do that but were overwhelmed by the moment (I kid you not) and conversely women who did want more children but their husband did not could quit taking the pill and nobody would ever know and thus achieve pregnancy which would be duly reported on the stats as a pill failure. Did I actually know people who did these things? I knew people who said they did.

    There was also a moral and religious aspect to the pill. The advent of ovarian suppression which the larger doses of hormones used in the the original formulations did was a factor considered by a committee which the vatican had appointed to make recommendations to Vatican II as to whether this would be morally acceptable seeing that it actually suppressed the ovaries. There is a whole history of what went on in the RCC regarding this new technology and what happened on the ground while V II delayed their decision and regarding the decisions themselves which the council eventually promulgated, and that is all interesting but not for this venue. I first learned of this in the seminar on catholic medical ethics which was required of those of us who interned in a catholic hospital. I am not making any of this up.

    So I am saying that it was not just effective technology, which indeed it was, but there were also lots of social and religious issues associated with birth control which came to the fore at that time. Probably this could be googled for more details, but I have not done that. Women not only had birth control options which they had not had before because of the privacy issue, but also there was a shift in thinking about whether birth control itself in any form was acceptable. This all happened in this country right at the time that the nation was lurching itself into the cultural revolution, so it also gets murky as to which was the horse and which was the cart.

  107. @ Nancy:

    Just so I did not give the wrong impression, the formulations of ‘the pill’ have greatly improved over the years and ‘sick as a dog’ is no longer what it was.

  108. @ Nancy:

    The 1930 Lambeth Conference gave the nod to contraception in some circumstances. The anglican communion has ever since been labeled and criticized in some quarters as the first denomination to cross that boundary. My point being, people had the technology and intent to limit family size before the pill.

  109. Ken wrote:

    But isn’t there a point in life when you have to hold down a job, and be prepared to take on such responsibility even if does scare the wits out of you? Even if the financial and employment outlook is currently bleak?

    If you are called to have children, then yes. Just like if you are called to be a foreign missionary, then you go no matter the outlook. But not everyone is called to these things.

    Ken wrote:

    . . .should the church be content if some members remain in a kind of permanent adolescence, even if a section of society around them wants to do this?

    I think trying to assess as complex a condition as “permanent adolescence” is a fool’s errand for the church, and even more problematic is trying to fix it. In general, I don’t think it’s the job of the church to fix people, but rather the individual believer’s responsibility in cooperation with the holy spirit.

    I’ve tried to fix a “permanent adolescent”. It did not go well.

  110. Ken wrote:

    Large numbers also came whose ancestors left Germany centuries ago, who lost the language after the war due to its suppression if they hadn’t already, and are now simply regarded as “Russians” or “Poles” by the native German population who resent them. Not a healthy development. The new arrivals are certainly often culturally identical to the countries they came from.

    Sounds like a similar dynamic as we have in California (and the other states along the Mexican border, where feelings run HIGH on anything having to do with immigration).

    Something else is how does Germany define German citizenship?
    Jus Soli or Jus Sanguinis?

    Jus Soli = “Law of Soil”; if you were born within our borders or naturalized, you are considered One of Us. This is the system in use in the USA and most (if not all) of the Anglosphere.

    Jus Sanguinis = “Law of Blood”; if your ancestors were of Our Tribe, or you are Ethnically of Our Tribe, you are One of Us. Basically ethnic/tribal identity, used by most countries and cultures both historically and outside the Anglosphere. (In German history, the infamous NSDAP regime was definitely Jus Sanguinis, carried out to the point of Madness.)

  111. @ numo:
    To understand the issue about the infantilisation of the poor in a system of beneifts, you would have to get into the political arguments over the ‘dependency culture’ attacked amongst others by Mrs Thatcher. This would probably end up in fruitless party political discussion, but I would only add that there is undoubtedly an entitlement culture of the world owes me a living amongst many young people in the UK today.

    The issue of contraception is at the heart of the issue this thread has wandered into. Limiting the size of families: mostly uncontroversial. Not having families at all: more problematic, at least I think for the Christian. As the UK has turned its back increasingly on its Christian heritage, the family has been one of the things to suffer most, and I use that word deliberately.

  112. Ken wrote:

    As the UK has turned its back increasingly on its Christian heritage, the family has been one of the things to suffer most, and I use that word deliberately.

    Ken, I agree with you about the infantalization of adults through a dependency culture. It is a huge problem and entitlement is the result. However, I do take issue with the idea of a “Christian Heritage”. Would that include King Henry the 8th as “Defender of the Faith? Is your current Queen a “Defender of the faith”? The religious civil wars? King James’ political bible translation? Your Christian history is an evil bloody mess more so as opposed to ours. :o0

    I think you are talking culture and not really a Christian society that was “lost”. If it were, you would have never needed any kings/queens, would not have punished Protestants and later Catholics. :o)

  113. Jeff S wrote:

    If you are called to have children, then yes. Just like if you are called to be a foreign missionary, then you go no matter the outlook. But not everyone is called to these things.

    I can’t go as far as you go in that line of thinking. As far as having and rearing children goes the idea that one may have to be ‘called’ to do that looks to me like over-spiritualizing something. Having and rearing children has a lot of aspects to it that have little or nothing to do with religious ideas like ‘calling.’ I just don’t see turning it into some home grown mission project or such. That is to say I do not see that in scripture, which says little on the subject actually, and neither did I personally experience parenting as some religious exercise. In fact, I/we have taken out some people decisively and verbally when they tried to downgrade #1 and #2 grandchildren into some pseudo-religious project.

    Feeling ‘called’ to be missionary decidedly does not mean that one hops on the boat to elsewhere regardless of other considerations. Missions agencies try to weed out some folks who feel ‘called’ for example and circumstances/responsibilities prevent others who felt called from pursuing missions as a career and rightly so. One long term and well known person/couple at SBC mega here started out as ‘missions volunteers’ and were prevented by circumstances from following that path, resulting in a very effective ministry in another direction.

    One problem with the idea of calling/called is that it is subjective and can be misunderstood by the callee. Another problem is that it is such a popular construct in christianese and has morphed into something which is way over used and misapplied. Yet another problem is that is used as an excuse by some people to keep from doing anything at all by just saying they are not ‘called.’ So if one says to somebody like that: so tell me what you are called to do and how we can find a place of service for you in this church they just say that their call has not yet come and therefore they make no commitments and put their shoulder to no plow and pick up no cross and take no chances-at which point it becomes evident that the issue has nothing to do with some call. Furthermore, I do not see in scripture where one has to be called to do the obvious: find a ‘place’ and make life decisions and such. I can see in scripture some arguments for a degree of determinism in some things, and I can see in scripture some arguments for something that looks like free will or close to it, but I have a hard time with the idea of just hanging out doing nothing until struck by lightning.

    Well, now, that ought to be enough for lots of conversation with lots of people on this topic.

  114. @ Ken:
    Ken, if it were not for the NHS, now sadly being dismantled, a lot of people would have no recourse for health care. I am no fan of M. Thatcher, as i come from a state whose mining and steel industries were gutted during the sae time period that your former PM was up to union-busting. I know a fair amount (for an American, though obviously far less than any Brit) about what that did to the miners and others. We had tons of compay towns where everyone was jobless, save for cashiers at grocery stores and the like. It was a terrible time, and I’ve often wondered why nobody has made an American equivalent to “Brassed Of!” (Though colliery brass bands were not a thing over here.)

    I do not think xtians have some sort of duty to either reproduce or not reproduce. Societies do change, as in the UK and Germany now. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

    Do you think there is anything good wbout either UK or German society at preseny? -i am asking honestly, because i am not sure if you see anything that is positive, based on your posts here. If you do see some glimmerings of hope, it would be cool if you could post about them.

    My apologies to you and everyone else for having raised the DINK issue here (again), as i do not think it was a good idea to do so. (Understatement!)

  115. @ numo:
    Off, not o

    Very good movie, btw. I had not known about colliery bands until i saw it, and i love brass ensembles, so that aspect of it was a real win for me. Aso nice to see a movie set in the north of England, though the bleakness of the former miners’ lives was very tough going.

  116. @ Nancy:
    I like the idea of vocation, as used by many in the RCC. at heart,it is extremely practical, though goodness knows, it certainly has been over-spiritualized at times.

    And one never knows. I remember that one of the 1st women ordained by the Episcopal church was in her 80s and said she had waited for most of her life for that to happen, never knowing if it would become a reality. Her name was Jeanette Picard.

  117. @ numo:
    Piccard. Btw, she was also a high-altitude balloonist, and had wanted to be ordained since she was 11. (She was born in 1895.)

    Definitely woth looking up. She was quite a lady!

  118. Ken wrote:

    there is undoubtedly an entitlement culture of the world owes me a living amongst many young people in the UK today.

    Hi Ken, Can you provide some evidence for this? Having worked with 1000’s of young people in the UK for the last 21 years, including providing NEET advice for those Not in Education Employment or Training out of a local JobcentrePlus on Thursdays for the last 3 and a half years, I have met a minority of young people with an entitlement attitude out of the hundreds I’ve met in the JCP. It’s a really obnoxious attitude & I’d have noticed if ‘many’ have it.I have called it out when I’ve seen it. I’ve actually met far more who are vulnerable, disadvantaged or desperate (for many many reasons including parental abandonment & abuse) who have no help of any kind in their blackest moments because so many benefits have been withdrawn for young people aged 16 -18 due to the scaremongering done by this Government (building on their hard work in installing this myth in the last few years) that MOST people who need benefits are swinging the lead & so we really should stop as many benefits as we can in case these selfish hoardes overwhelm us with their greed.The real truth is the biggest cut of our benefit bill goes on working tax credits- yes, for working people who aren’t earning a living wage.The myth of a gigantic grasping underclass is a convenient smokescreen for the tax evasion & tax ‘amnesties’ that cost our economy approximately 60 – 80 times as much money as benefit fraud per year. I have met so many other young people desperate for work, ready to do anything, & one lovely Traveller lad aged 17 who wanted me to teach him to read so he could read the Bible.
    That is a really lazy statement from you Ken.

  119. @ Beakerj:

    How about just a different opinion on how much and for how long government benefits keep people from learning how to strive for achievement. If you have a teen who wants to learn to read what were the schools doing? Why are children left in neglectful situations?

    This is not an arguement about whether to have corporate welfare (which is horribe as the failures walk away millionaries thx to government) vs individual welfare. This is an argument about how to help people become self sufficient with self confidence that comes from striving to achieve isntead of owned by the government. It is a form of slavery not independence.

  120. @ Lydia:
    Whilst I agree with some of what you say Lydia, in that I really do believe in striving, & have done myself, & think we should all work hard to achieve. But there is a bottom line you have to be above before striving is even possible as a choice for you. If you have no food, or are homeless or mentally ill, or various other things I encounter in my young people weekly then survival is what you do, & any self-sufficiency is a long way off. No home = no address = no clean clothes = no job etc, & some of these kids are 16. 16. No matter how hard they may work they still can’t afford to be self-sufficient without someone helping somewhere. At least here in the UK.
    And as for the guy with literacy issues – I’m not sure why he was like that at 17, probably that he didn’t manage school for behavioural reasons or that as a Traveller (part of the Gypsy community) he was in & out of schools, or maybe had dyslexia which tripped him up. There’s a range of reasons, which may not be the School’s fault at all. There can be faults on both sides.
    I’m not sure it all comes down to just an alternative view of things, because we have a huge problem with the ‘official’ narrative on welfare issues & the amount of scroungers, which is very different from the facts of other’s experience. Beware the propaganda.

  121. @ Ken:

    But isn’t there a point in life when you have to hold down a job, and be prepared to take on such responsibility even if does scare the wits out of you? Even if the financial and employment outlook is currently bleak?

    The issue of contraception is at the heart of the issue this thread has wandered into. Limiting the size of families: mostly uncontroversial. Not having families at all: more problematic, at least I think for the Christian.

    …except you still sound like you’re equating being a mature adult (i.e., not a “permanent adolescent,” as you put it) with at least “being prepared” to take on the responsibility of children – i.e., at least not ruling out children. Ergo, people who have ruled out children as a life choice, are not mature adults. And then in your second statement you say that “not having families at all” (i.e., children, given that that’s been the subject of this thread so far) is “problematic…for the Christian.”

    You say you don’t think Christians are absolutely required to have children (“I don’t have a new 11th commandment ‘thou shalt have children’”), but then how does all this fit together? Because you sound to me like you’re trying to have it both ways here.

  122. @ Jeff S.:

    I think trying to assess as complex a condition as “permanent adolescence” is a fool’s errand for the church, and even more problematic is trying to fix it.

    Try even defining “permanent adolescence” and getting everyone to agree with you. These are just a few of the things I’ve seen “permanent adolescence” include:

    – Playing video games after age 18 (esp. if male)
    – Wearing clothing the speaker perceives as too casual
    – Not being polite or socially adept to the speaker’s satisfaction
    – Being unemployed
    – Being underemployed
    – Being employed, but not in the field the speaker thinks you should be in
    – Actively doing anything artistic
    – Blogging (here’s to Cheetos in your mom’s basement! 😉 )
    – Living with family after age 18
    – Going to college later than the cultural norm of right after high school
    – Not going to college (even if you have a trade job)
    – Not having children (not in reference to Ken and whether he is or is not saying this – I have seen other people say it in no uncertain terms)

    …basically, whatever suits the speaker’s needs at the moment to point to something they don’t like that someone younger than them is doing. The term probably is describing a real phenomenon in some cases, but to me it’s rhetorically loaded to the point of being a buzzword and doesn’t really convey much meaning or content anymore.

  123. @ Beakerj:
    I still see people believing in “welfare queens” and the like over here, unfortunately. The kids here who are in dire straits are experiencing thd same problems as the kids you work with. I have experienced 1sthand what living on extremely low wages is like, and i had a bit of a cushion to fall back on, but thd kids you speak of have none. Am afraid that there are far more adults in the ranks of the working poor here as well, especially since the bank crises in late 2008.

  124. @ Hester:
    Yeah, i hear you. The narrative has scsrcely changed from my late teens/-early 20s til now, excepting the games/phones/internet part.

    It does irritate me when i see younger people being told thingd like this, because 99% of the times, it is the speakers’ prejudice.

    But then there are people like Mark Driscoll…

  125. @ Hester:
    It sounds that way because it is true. This has come up previously, when the subject has been raised.

    Ken, you seem like a nice guy, but surely you can see what Hester is pointing out?

    And on behalf of all the women I’ve known via church who would undoubtedly have made great mothers *if* they had been able to find the right kind of people to marry, i would like to say that i think this contention of Ken’s has pretty much missed the point. Somehow there has to be some leeway for people to live their own lives, rather than being dictated to by churches re. who they ought to marry and when they ought to start a family and how many kids they should have and all the rest.

    When i think of the Duggar girls, and all of the other kids in QF families plus the women stuck in those kinds of marriages, i just want to scream. Especially when people make having kids into an Absolute Requirement From God.

  126. @ numo:

    But then there are people like Mark Driscoll…

    But when the pastor is acting like a stereotypical adolescent (including the sexual fixation), he’s just trying to be hip with the kids! Surely you got that memo!

    /sarcasm/

  127. @ Ken:
    Ken, you never answer me when I challenge you – not on this, not on the intersex questions I posed on another thread.It both saddens & frustrates me as it makes me feel a bit like your script has run out at that point so you can go no further. This is not something I want to think about you.

  128. @ Nancy:

    I think you are reading more into my word choice of “call” then I intended.

    I think “calling” can be a wide spectrum, from Godly inspiration to a sober look at the situation and making a logical decision.

    I would say in either the case of having Children or going across the globe in missionary work, these are big enough choices that a person would want to prayerfully consider the choice, and probably seek wise council, before moving forward. That was what I meant.

  129. Beakerj wrote:

    The myth of a gigantic grasping underclass is a convenient smokescreen for the tax evasion & tax ‘amnesties’ that cost our economy approximately 60 – 80 times as much money as benefit fraud per year.

    All round clap from me too. The BBC’s “The Super-Rich and Us” by Jacques Peretti looks at the post-2008 GFC financial climate – those who have benefited and at whose expense. I noticed it’s on YouTube now. Is the Archbishop of Canterbury still sticking his neck out on poverty and financial injustice issues?

  130. @ Beakerj:
    Nor has Ken addressed anumber of points that i made, and that other people have made.

    Ken – i feel disappointed, too, because i want to believe that you are better than this.

  131. @ Haitch:
    Boy, did it get some scathibg reviews over here. Sometimes things don’t translate well… but all the more readon to see it.

    Have you sern the National Theatre Live broadcast of “The Audience,” with Helen Mirren as the Queen? I went to see it mainly because of Helen Mirren, but one of the best bits is in the segment where M. Thatcher comes to see her at a certain point in the 80s. I don’t know if you have accesx to a theatre that shows NTLive productiins, but there are other ways… (the actual script has bern changed a good deal since it was filmed, and other actresses have taken on the role, but i gather nobody has filled Mirren’s shoes as yet.)

    Back to tv shows: you might like Jordskott, which is only available via Sky TV atm, but again, you can find it if you know where to look. The 1st episode was not that great, but it’s beginning to pick up considerably…

  132. @ Beakerj:

    Ken, you never answer me when I challenge you – not on this, not on the intersex questions I posed on another thread.

    He has failed to answer my questions about intersex conditions 3-4 times now.

  133. @ numo:
    Thank you for the tips – I’ll follow up. I’m trying to remember the other BBC or Scandi one that you recommended – I checked the shop at the time – unsuccessfully. I have only just discovered “The IT Crowd” and loved it. Where have I been?

  134. @ Beakerj:
    Give us a chance to reply – especially with a weekend inbetween! 🙂

    My evidence would include my sister’s experience in a ‘difficult’ school in a ‘difficult area’ over 35 years or so, my father having worked for years in various voluntary groups and seen first hand those who abuse the system (and those who are let down by it), reading such as by Theodore Dalrymple, personal observation, and the occasional TV program, especially on this side of the English Channel. Anecdotal – yes, and no one source particularly scientific, yet I think enough to establish there is a reality behind the ‘it is better to receive than to give’ mentality. I don’t slavishly believe everything I read or see on this.

    I’m afraid I said ‘many’ people have this dependency on the govt way of thinking, whereas I would have been better to say ‘some’ do – unfortunately, I came over much more Dail Mail (or Wail) than intended.

    You should also take into account I have been out of the UK for a long time now. The German system by comparison to the extent I can make one is less shy on holding people responsible for their actions, and is aware that money given in benefits often though not always has to come from someone else who should not be unnecessarily burdened.

  135. @ Hester:
    My argument such as it is is with those who are materially well off, yet choose not to have children they could easily afford because this would impinge on their personal autonomy. The part of the population with an anti-children mentality.

    Now in the end, this is not my business; and unlike any pastors who contributors here claim are – in essence – telling people to have children as though this is still a divine command, I don’t think a pastor should or has the right to do this. That’s going too far. Point people away from thinking material possessions, fame and career are more important than human relationships and fellowship by all means, but not to go as far as manipulating them into having children. In the end, it’s their loss.

    But I appreciate I possibly come across as a bit contradictory in this. Encourage yes, command no.

    Permanent adolescence to me is being like a student – you know the usual lifestyle of students – not just whilst studying, but still wanting to play field and avoid any long term commitments when still in late your 30’s or early 40’s.

    I rarely avoid answering a point people have made, sometimes though a thread goes the way of all flesh and it doesn’t seem worth it, or more often lack of time, or I keep getting spammed and the moment passes, or I do answer but it doesn’t get noticed (that’s happened a couple of times!). I’ve answered you directly on the intersex question at least once, and indirectly more than once I reckon.

    I’m not going to trawl to find it, but I would bet you my lottery winnings that the reply was that this is a genuine medical condition albeit extremely rare, one that is recognised, unlike ‘the woman in a man’s body’ claim, which I hold to be nonsense. This doesn’t mean there is no underlying problem, but I for one cannot go along with the lie that a man is really a woman or vice versa. I have no scientific credentials for saying that whatsoever, it’s just little old me as a member of the general public trying not to be gullible, all the more so when the lifestyle being pushed has a record of human suffering attached to it that rarely gets mentioned.

  136. @ Ken:
    Actually, there are a variety of medical conditions referred to as “intersex.” Both Hester and I have provided you with links to good information in the past.

    “Gender dysphoria” is a separate thing; not the same as intersex.

    I get the feeling you don’t want to click on our links.

  137. @ numo:
    The list of conditions (I counted 16) might also be helpful: http://www.isna.org/faq/conditions

    And yeah, I realize my replies might be seen as overkill, but both Hester and I have posted all the links to ISNA before and it seems you didn’t follow up our posts, or else you would have a better understanding of what we are all talking about. Maybe you didn’t see those links? I know that sometimes posts get lost in the shuffle, but I bet you will check back here, so…

    *

    btw, I’m wondering about whether you see anything positive in either UK or German society, as I asked a few days ago? I don’t mean to sound hectoring, but it is kind of hard to have a convo with someone who doesn’t want to engage with questions posed by others (like me) who are replying to you.

  138. numo wrote:

    @ Ken:
    Actually, there are a variety of medical conditions referred to as “”\intersex.””\

    I looked at one site over the weekend. There are way more issues surrounding intersex than I new. Some are more common than others.

  139. @ Ken:

    I’ve answered you directly on the intersex question at least once, and indirectly more than once I reckon.

    Just for clarity’s sake, if I saw a reply from you that was mostly about the “man in a woman’s body” issue (which is what I recall you mostly talking about), I do not process that as a reply relevant to intersexuality because that is not intersexuality. That is transgenderism/transsexuality, which is not what I was asking you about. I think after the first time I questioned you about this, you said something brief and general like the above, that intersexuality is a rare medical condition, but IIRC you quickly moved back to transgenderism again as you have here. I’ve asked you some pointed, practical questions beyond “intersex exists as a condition” in other threads that I don’t remember you answering. Maybe all your answers happened after I left a thread. But in any case, thank you for answering me here.

    I worry that you’re defaulting to intersex is rare = we don’t have to talk about it. Because the logic of something is rare, therefore we don’t have to address it, is obviously faulty and we know this in other areas. If we all really believed this, we would never have installed life vests on planes because plane crashes are statistically rare.

    Most importantly, as a complementarian, have you thought through the ramifications of intersexuality per your sex/gender beliefs? This is what the pointed questions from other threads were about. For instance, this:

    Complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS) is an intersex condition where a person with male (XY) chromosomes doesn’t respond to testosterone. Their body can’t “hear” it in utero, so they develop as a female (except for the fact that they have internal testicles instead of ovaries and no uterus) despite the fact that their body is pumping out testosterone. Outwardly, they are indistinguishable from a biologically normal female and would be identified as female by everyone around them. They won’t menstruate and won’t be able to have children, but that’s usually just chalked up to fertility problems.

    So let’s say a person with CAIS is married to a biologically normal man (male parts internal and external, XY chromosomes). They are trying to have children and failing. In the course of attempted fertility treatments, they discover this person’s condition and that they have XY chromosomes.

    So I have two practical questions for you.

    1. Is this person in a same-sex marriage? After all, both parties are chromosomally male.

    2. Should a person with CAIS be ordained in a complementarian church? After all, they are chromosomally male.

    this is a genuine medical condition albeit extremely rare

    It’s not as rare as you think. In general, studies turn up about the same rate of incidence as Down syndrome. I don’t know how it is in the UK, but on this side of the pond you hear a lot in churches about children with Down syndrome in connection with abortion. In other words, everybody talks about and knows about Down syndrome, but this other condition, which is equally common (maybe even more common, according to some studies), nobody wants to even acknowledge. That’s a pretty transparent double standard, and it only exists because, to be perfectly honest, intersexuality scares the bejeezus out of conservative Christians.

  140. @ Hester:

    Just a couple of thoughts. Apparently what you are wanting to talk about is the social implications of some medical conditions. I don’t know if Ken understood this, but I did not know what you were trying to say/ask. There are indeed social implications. Like, whether in the case you site there are biblical grounds for divorce and if so whether either party can remarry. Well, danged if I know, and I am thinking that danged if anybody else knows, so I personally have no opinion since any opinion of mine would be pure emotion.

    However, I want to mention that the link that numo provided regarding intersex conditions says some things that are thought provoking, like saying that there are no clear medical lines to be drawn between what can be called ‘intersex’ and what cannot and that ‘doctors’ are of different opinions about this. That link also says that the idea of ‘intersex’ is a ‘social construct’ in which humans decide what they think about it as to what can or cannot best be under that categorical idea. This places the entire idea in a different category than merely something medical. I personally note, however, that some of the things on the ‘list’ of things that have been called intersex by some could and would be contested by some people as not being sufficient to place the patient in that category, specifically I am thinking that there would be debate about hypospadius and whether it is to the patient’s advantage to be categorized as intersex. So now we have two large issues to consider: (1) what to think about the idea itself and the categorization of various specific conditions in the first place and (2) what social and religious ideas to give credence to as they arise as a result of this.

    That all being said, the issue is indeed worth talking about as it relates to ‘religious’ decisions especially among those who place such high value on sexuality as the comp people seem to do. I think that the hypercomps got a lot of ‘splaining’ to do, but I also think that individuals in marriages have both the right and the responsibility to come up with something that works for them without trying to enforce that on the rest of us.

  141. @ Nancy:
    I do not agree with everything said there, but think they make some very good points about the sociocultural aspects of gender, as well as perception. I do not think intersex activist are tied to gender-essentialist thinking, and that’s a good thing.

  142. Pingback: David Murray on Brian Williams: The Most Painful Blog Post I Ever Read | Wondering Eagle UNITED STATES

  143. @ Nancy:
    I think part of the basis for what they say is the idea of gendrr as a social construct, rather than physiology. In the case of individusls with CAIS, i doubt anyone knew what was going on until x-ray tech (plus some other things) came along. I don’t doubt thst most people with CAIS live as women now, as (likely) was the casd in times padt.

    Our society has a very sttict binary approach toward gender, but this is not so of all other cultures, in all other times. I think some intersex folks are more comfortable living outside traditional definitions of gendrr, while others strongly iddntify as male or female. The worst thing is, imo, the kind of thing that the late John Money (who was at Johns Hopkins) tried to force on kids whose parents were anxious to have them identigied as a specific gender, eithout the kids’ consent. Google Money’s name and you’ll see whst i am referting to.

  144. numo wrote:

    I’m wondering about whether you see anything positive in either UK or German society, as I asked a few days ago?

    I wrote on another forum discussing ‘British Values’ the following, which is in partly very tongue-in-cheek (i.e. don’t take it all too seriously):

    Siding with the underdog.
    Pretending what matters is the honour of taking part when you haven’t trained enough to win.
    Moaning about the govt while sipping your mass produced gassy beer.
    Thinking it is more important to appear polite than say what you really think.
    Not using American spellings.
    Not being able to move on from WW2 and the Empire.
    An ability to laugh at yourself, the country and it many foibles.
    A police force that is not routinely armed.
    Prime minister’s questions.
    Implementing naff EU legislation that the rest of the continent won’t actually enforce.
    Driving on the left in common with all civilised countries.
    Building aircraft carriers with no aircraft.
    Having an unelected upper chamber as part of the mother of democracy.

    It got a lot of likes from fellow Brits!

    On a more serious note, there is much going for the UK and western Europe. One very important thing is that these countries are under the rule of law, not something you can take for granted in other lands. I’m not quite sure where you have got the impression I think everything is bad. Though increasingly curtailed in some areas, there is still freedom of expression and assembly.

    I’ll give you one criticism of the UK where the decline of Christianity has imo played a part, as well as being part of the Thatcher inheritance. This is the worship of money and the acquisition of wealth. I know it’s always been there, but this has increased exponentially in the last 25 years or so. Christmas Day and Easter are the only two days of the year when the shops shut. It’s an area where I find Germany to be better. Public holidays here are just that. Everything shuts, there is a break from shopping and making profits, the hustle and bustle and above all stress. Then there’s the long working hours culture …

    Both the US and the UK could do well to consider why in surveys of advanced industrial countries they come bottom for taking care of children and family life (BBC resport on this from time to time). In the UK this is very broken and insecure, again more so than in Germany. That doesn’t mean everything is bad, but the country does seem to have returned to some of the less savoury aspects of ‘Victorian Values’ rather than moved on from them.

  145. Hester wrote:

    Most importantly, as a complementarian, have you thought through the ramifications of intersexuality per your sex/gender beliefs?

    Thank you for your long post.

    I haven’t thought this through particularly, because a) I am a Christian nobody and I’m not sure who really cares about what I think (:-)) and b) this is unlikely to affect me personally whereas transgenderism could. That’s why I have concentrated on it. Saying something politically incorrect about it could land me in trouble with the professionally offended, including hassle at work.

    Being intersex is a medical condition, whereas transgenderism is a moral choice if acted out. As far as complementarianism goes, the latter transgresses against So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them if it blurs the distinction between male and female. You don’t have to have ‘strict’ gender roles nor be afraid to acknowledge that male and female overlap in a large variety of ways, nor acknowledge all are justified by the same faith in the same God and receive the same Holy Spirit to see there is a line God does not want us to cross. Men were very obviously not designed to have sex with other men. A mother’s relationship with her children having carried them to birth is different from a father’s. A son is not a daughter.

    Someone who is intersex would have to make up their own mind and follow their own conscience under pastoral and medical advice as to just whether they are more male or female, and live accordingly. This would need to be respected by the church. As far as I know I have never come across this; I have come across people who have ‘transitioned’, albeit very rarely. I’m sorry if you think I am evading this issue, it’s just it is a bit too theoretical for me.

    It wouldn’t affect where I go to church, whereas Mrs Bible Teacher can and does! I tried it not that long ago.

  146. @ Ken:
    I still do not see that you understand what gender dysphoria is about.

    Imagine something: that you, Ken, went to sleep last night and woke up in someone else’s body this a.m. How would that feel? Profoundly disorienting, for starters – you’re in a body that is completely alien to you (even if the physical sex of that body is the same as your own, e.g., you’re in a male body). Everything about that body is not part of your personal experience of what it is to be “you.” It would send your sense of self reeling.

    That is how people at the far end of the gender dysphoria spectrum feel – every.single.day.of.their.lives. This has nothing to do with “moral choice” or “disobeying god.” It just simply is on a different level of experience entirely. It is not about cross dressing (often known as transvestism) or drag (which usually involves stage performance, and while practiced mostly by gay men, is not limited to them). Nope. It is about “my brain and my sense of ‘self’ do not align with my body.”

    It is like something out of a horror story for most people who experience it. No wonder they wish to dress as, and often get surgery to conform their bodies to, the gender they feel that they actually are.

    And no, this is not about self-mutilation, which is a while different thing, though it does show up in *some* (a very small fraction) of people who wish to have gender reassignment surgery.

    The prep for gender reassignment surgery is a huge ordeal, all of it. There is no reason any sane person would willingly put themselves through it *unless* it was so vitally important for them to be able to bring their physical selves in line with their mental/emotional selves. And it is extremely costly. I cannot imagine going through any of it myself, but if I were trans, I am sure I would desperately want to.

    I have no doubt that science will be able to come down conclusively on the side of true transgenderism being a biological condition, having to do with genes, hormonal levels while in utero, the works.

    Please, a little more imagination, and a little more compassion – and a little more learning wouldn’t hurt, either.

    Apart from this, I have nothing more to say. Both Hester and I have tried to help, but all I can suggest is that you read/listen to the stories of transgender people with an open mind and heart. Also, keep in mind that not many trans people survive to adulthhood. Most attempt suicide in late childhood/adolesensce, because the onset of puberty is so difficult for most of them that they are going to try to end their lives. It is not a choice for these folks.

  147. @ numo:
    apologies for typos.

    “Becoming Chas”(docu on Chastity – now Chas – Bono) might be a good place to start.

  148. Gender dysphoria is a diagnosis of a mental condition in DSM-5 and is a name change from a diagnosis of the same condition under the name of gender identity disorder in the prior DSM. Nobody is denying that it is a serious and debilitating condition. The debate is over whether surgery and all that accompanies that is appropriate treatment. The religious idea that it represents moral failure does not have any evidentiary basis at this time and should be discarded in the absence of evidence.

  149. Nancy wrote:

    The religious idea that it represents moral failure

    That sentence should have said ‘the religious idea that this condition represents moral failure.’ An argument could be made as to whether the stated surgery/hormones etc represent moral failure on the part of the physicians could be argued since ethical decisions have been made in the past relative to various medical treatments. I am comfortable with leaving that to the medical ethicists at this time.

  150. numo wrote:

    Please, a little more imagination, and a little more compassion – and a little more learning wouldn’t hurt, either.

    The question is not whether we should show compassion, it’s how best to do it. I would hope everyone could agree on that.

    You have painted a picture of a condition that appears to be a form of mental illness. That tortures people and leads them in some cases to commit suicide or attmept to. Real suffering of real people. This is not, however, the gender-politicised version you are actually like to encounter for example at work; there it is considered ‘normal’ and healthy, and anyone having a problem with it is the one who needs help, needs to be more tolerant.

    What is the most compassionate thing to do with such a condition? Affirm people in it, or try to point them away from it?

    From what I have read, which is not a lot but not nothing, even those who have had surgery later advise would-be candidates to think again: this is no solution to a real problem.

    I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said ‘you shall not covet. I would never have thought I was a woman trapped in a man’s body unless some activist or other hadn’t planted the idea in my head.

    I appreciate you are fed up with discussing this. I’m not unwilling to learn more about it, but my views currently are somewhat coloured by the bigotry and intolerance of those promotimg this as normal, coupled with direct observation of what the non-religious people I rub shoulders with everyday at work think of this subject.

  151. @ Ken:
    “I woul never have thought thst i was a woman trapped in a man’s body unless…” – please, go and learn more about gender dydphoria. Because this is a very ignorant statement, and belies what people who are at that one extreme of the gendrr dydphoria dpectrum actually ecperience.

    They *know,* from a very young age. Please do not try to politicize this, but rather, sedk out more info. as well as actual stories told by people eho have been there.

    You still do not get it, and neither, really, can i – it is hard. But we can all *try.*

    I have known some people who genuinely are trans. And that is why I’ve been so emphatic about this.

  152. @ Nancy:
    But it is no longer called a disorder. As with the autism spectrum, the definitions have changed. Whether all of those changes are for the good (am thinkingmof the elimination of Aspergers) is another thing entirely.

    I think there are trans people who are quite healthy, mentally an emotionally. To claim that gender dysphoria is an illness… i am not so sure that a blanket statement is either accurate or fair to the people who are on that spectrum.

  153. @ Ken:
    Why are you do convinced that ghe views of the people “promoting this” are entirely characterized by “bigotry and intolerance”? Perhaps many of thrm are simply wanting people to both acknowledge who they are and, convomitantly, to grant them equal rights alongside you.

  154. @ Ken:
    You are kinda doing the same thing here as you’ve done in your posts in people having/not having children, although I’m not certain that you can see it.

    After a certain point, things start to go in circles. Ken, you do serm like a decent sort of guy, and I’m not trying to make you feel bad. It is your assertions that I’m questioning, though certainly, you have as much right to your views as anyone. (Anyone here being, well, those of us who disgree.) But … dialogue gets stopped sometimes, and i would like to keep it open. Forget, if you can, the context you’re bringing to this, from work, etc., and just *hear* the voices of those who are trans, for a little while, at leadt.

  155. My final thought for now: i betcha Jesus would throw a lovely party for all the trans people in this world (along with all the rest of those who suffer due to the prejudices of others, regardless of skin color, ancestry, secual orientation, biological sex – the works).

  156. Alan wrote:

    @ Darlene:
    May I suggest, if you don’t agree with TVC doctrine perhaps you should look for another church.

    Speaking of The Village Church, I noticed a new comment over at Pastor Wade Burleson’s blog. A person said they have been banned from their small group through TVC because they questioned membership covenants and that others aren’t allowed to communicate with them. Sad and bad.

  157. Alan wrote:

    @ Darlene:
    May I suggest, if you don’t agree with TVC doctrine perhaps you should look for another church.

    May I suggest that The Village and its ELDERS bring The Village into line with something that looks like an assembly of people who are equally indwelt by the Holy Spirit and with leadership that looks at least something like Jesus? The Village would like everyone to conform to their particular patriarchal and authoritarian mindset. Conformity is the goal, not unity in the Spirit or being Christ-like leaders. A start toward looking like Jesus instead of a bunch of insecure little boys would be to start with some real repentance which we have yet to see from the ELDERS who must be obeyed or else.

    I would suggest that everyone at The Village leave The Village until such time as its leadership decides to lead like Jesus instead of Mark Driscoll II.

  158. Velour wrote:

    A person said they have been banned from their small group through TVC because they questioned membership covenants and that others aren’t allowed to communicate with them. Sad and bad.

    Yep. Been there, done that. Question the Leaders, in private, and get yourself booted out with stories spread about how divisive you are. SOP in Acts29 and like-minded churches.

  159. Gram3 wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    A person said they have been banned from their small group through TVC because they questioned membership covenants and that others aren’t allowed to communicate with them. Sad and bad.

    Yep. Been there, done that. Question the Leaders, in private, and get yourself booted out with stories spread about how divisive you are. SOP in Acts29 and like-minded churches.

    Gram3 wrote:

    Velour wrote:

    A person said they have been banned from their small group through TVC because they questioned membership covenants and that others aren’t allowed to communicate with them. Sad and bad.

    Yep. Been there, done that. Question the Leaders, in private, and get yourself booted out with stories spread about how divisive you are. SOP in Acts29 and like-minded churches.

    And what I don’t understand is the spineless cowards who think there is NOTHING wrong with it and will also bear these tales about Christian brothers and sisters.

  160. Velour wrote:

    And what I don’t understand is the spineless cowards who think there is NOTHING wrong with it and will also bear these tales about Christian brothers and sisters.

    They do not know that they are spineless cowards because their only points of reference look just like they look. This is their normal. It is right and good to do that when people, especially female people, question the only Right System and the Right Leaders. It is toxic and addictive group-think conducted in an echo chamber that is hermetically sealed from reality. And that is precisely the way they like it.

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