Neutered Piety: The Socially Conservative Abortifacient

More truthful sex talk ahead. Today I am speaking specifically to those who style themselves as socially conservative or traditional Christians. As always, I write this as someone who has thought about, been subjected to, participated in, and subjected others to these evil acts, and worse. I’m telling you that you can leave that old pagan self behind, as I did, if you will accept the power of the Truth; which is Christ. If you do, you will find there is good food everywhere. It’s God’s world; world without end.

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The socially conservative position on the words (re: “women like dick”) that I have written in my last two posts is not just indicative of the problem of the lack of manliness, but in many ways it is a source. GKChesterton’s comment on “A Refresher on the Basics: There is no Ugly Truth” is a fitting example of a man caught between two worlds.

While I agree with the theme this curmudgeon isn’t happy about the style. It limits who I can point here.

I put him (and many others) between two worlds, and I used signs of the Truth to do it. That’s what the Truth does. It’s a two-edged sword that cleaves spirit and divides flesh. Rather: the light of truth divides the curtain of darkness over the fact that many Christians are living between two worlds. I know, because I came from out between those worlds. In a time of gross prosperity and medical wonder: I have merely four children, when I ought to be trading secrets with the Duggars.

God made sex and dicks and pussies. If my heart is True, then I can no more desecrate those things with my words any more than I can sanctify them by using technical jargon like coitus, penis, and vagina. God has already made them holy! If you find Christian agreement with the theme, then let the be your guide as to the content of my heart. If my  heart is good, then I have to ask: What is your problem?

You. You’re the problem.

At the beginning of my first post of my “new blog” (reborn with a new intention), I posted a warning:

“To some of you: some of the terms in this post will be as food that has been sacrificed to idols. Consider yourself warned, and partake according to the strength of your faith.”

I meant what I said there, but it was a bit of a test. The Scripture I’m referencing there is where St. Paul instructs the church on Corinth on how to handle each other concerning inexpensive food that was the by-product of sacrifices at various temples in Corinth.

Here’s a summary: There is only one God, and God made everything, and everything God made is good. Whatever food we find is therefore good food from God. You may eat it in a clean conscience, and remain clean. However; some weak Christians who lack faith and knowledge will not be able to fully let go of their pagan past, and so for their sakes, whenever they are around,  it would be better not to eat at all, than to lead them back towards their pagan past by accidentally invoking pagan wants in them.

As with all Scripture: I cannot but agree. Christians, though, in their weakness of faith and sheer stupidity, have taken this so far that St. Paul could not have written those words today. It is anathema to such “Christians” to even speak of sex except as food sacrificed to idols. This creates a real conundrum: This level of “sensitivity” that forbids us from talking clearly and in plain language about sex leads inexorably to the conclusion that St. Paul should not have written the very Scripture that we base our “sensitive” posture upon! The belief in Christ that should bear good fruit then gets perverted, and it’s growth aborted in fear of bad fruit; so that no fruit is allowed, ever. We don’t want marriage. We don’t want children.

We don’t want sex.

Spit-up is not nice. Crapped diapers are not nice. Colicky babies driving you to thoughts of infanticide are not nice. Premature babies infested with tubes and monitoring wires are not nice. Deformed babies are not nice. In a best-case scenario: Draining your time, energy, and bank account for the no-good, self-centered, unproductive, bad-mannered, lay-about assholes that children are…is not nice.

They are wonderfully good, and beautiful, and beautifying, though.[1]

Fornication and adultery and divorce are not the result of the birth control, or abortion. They are the logical results of Christians–Christ’s temple(s), the Church–abandoning sex and love and children in favor of niceness and convenience. Those Christian sisters of Catholicism and Protestantism have found what they sought, and having laid down with modernism,”science”, and all manner of Babylonian fineness and strength, now find it despicable in their sight.

Abortion is nice. Yes, it looks pretty gruesome seeing all those baby body parts sliced up and sucked out, but how bad is that compared to a lifetime of caring for a downs syndrome child until you die? Those parents may never get a vacation! It is much nicer to get an abortion and go to Tahiti. There we can get misty at a horizon, and then puke up: “Look at that sunset! Isn’t God good?”

Birth control is convenient. How else shall we finish college? We all accept that a good percentage of Protestants are on the fast-track to Hell; especially as regards sex. Catholics[2] will sniff their noses at their Prole-estant brothers, and say, “We’ve always said artificial birth control is bad.”

Ha.

Catholics not only partake of the convenience of birth control: They brought that filth in-house, and re-branded it. You just can’t stop a Christian committed to niceness! Forbid the pill, and they’ll invent Natural Family Planning. They turn themselves into the husbands of white-washed and barren tombs as surely as their pill-popping Protestant sisters. They’ll tell you with eunuch-like solemnity that NFP is about counting the cost before building the tower, as Scripture requires. That is a wicked logic. Marriage was the commitment. Sex is the foundational act. If you are married: Keep mixing that mortar as much as you can! It is ours to merely receive the bricks with which God blesses us, and build up His house. In my opinion, NFP is the most truly infernal of the birth controls. It is the “serial monogamy” of marital sex lives.

Vasectomies are convenient, and nice. It’s monstrously grotesque to me that I have to explain to anyone what the hell is wrong with idea of conveniently cutting off your balls. So, for now I won’t, but consider this: THE SELLING POINT OF VASECTOMIES IS THAT YOU DON’T NEED YOUR BALLS ANYMORE, AND THIS WAY YOU’LL BARELY NOTICE THEY ARE GONE! Also: women want dicks; particularly because they are linked to balls.

Divorce…well, their are plenty of testimonies to go around about how nice divorce is. You don’t  need me to tell you. Chances are: you can just call your mom, or sister.

It was Christendom that screwed sex up so badly that there may not be a Christendom in the future. Yes, pagans practice birth control, and abortion, and castration, but it took Christians Hell-bent on niceness and convenience to anesthetize everyone to the sexual and societal pains that would have led others to Christ, instead of away from Him.

It is Christians sacrificing sex and marriage to the idols of niceness, convenience, and education, and then forbid it to others on the basis of the fact it was sacrificed! We sell pleasures in our houses of faith, and then decry speech that might, maybe, smack of whoring.

Sex is not the end-all-be-all. Sex is a sign towards the way of Christ. The point of the sign of sex is to get on Christ’s path; to follow him. It’s not about screwing your way to Heaven. Collecting sexual experiences for sex’s sake no more makes you Christ-like (or pagan god-like) than collecting travel brochures will wing you to Tahiti. Like all signs, we want to follow them, and then pass them in pursuit of that thing in which the signs point. There are a lot of signs, and I will talk more about them in other posts.

[1]It’s also what we asked for when we decided that we wanted to know right and wrong for ourselves. The Fall can be summed up as: “You want to see what’s not good with yourself and the world? There you go: Get out, and go nuts. Let me know how it goes.”

[2] Not all Catholics (just like not all Protestants are going to Hell), but the vast host of them and their leadership. Catholics spend way more time yapping about chemical birth control and abortion–while selling NFP as a gospel–than they do actually raising children. Talk about your post-modern solutions for post-modern problems.

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40 thoughts on “Neutered Piety: The Socially Conservative Abortifacient

  1. You make a good point about NFP, even if it is a bit one-sided. Yes, it is a form of birth control, but it’s the only one that can be applied to *increase* the chances of conception. Wives become barren tombs because that is what they seek to be: inverses of Mary–neither virgins nor mothers. That comes from their hearts, not from a method.

  2. @unwobblingpivot
    In the same way, I could “double-side” the argument of the pill, and say that women can use it for controlling irregular menstrual flow, and that therefore there is nothing wrong with it.

    You’re seeing the point, but not fully grasping it. The change in heart away from virgins and motherhood precedes NFP. That’s not an accident. For thousands of years, there was no NFP, and for thousands of years, Catholics were famous for many children. Now they have NFP, and now they have two kids. A couple decades later, when the pill was invented, they gave up NFP and took on the pill. Church doctrine didn’t, but the body overwhelmingly did. The Catholic leadership still give them mass.

    You’re right that the heart that matters, but NFP was developed out of the longings of those hearts–specifically for the purpose of inhibiting procreation, but technically not “frustrating”. We can represent all the sides we want: The fact is God pushes towards sex and procreation, and the majority of Catholics (with silent permission from their leaders) pull away from procreation; just as the rest of the West has.

    Actually, until this comment, I’d never looked up the history of NFP; not even for this post. I’d picked up many bits and pieces from reading and talking to Catholics in and out of the Men’s Sphere. Because the heart is what matters: All I really had to know is that NFP is ALWAYS given as an exercise to frustrate sexual union. If it’s ever mentioned that NFP can be used for procreation, it’s always as an after-thought. I don’t give that any more credence than I do for the folks who use knowledge of in vitro fertilization to procreate, but reject surrogate pregnancy; which actually features prominently in the Bible.

    If the Wikipedia article is correct, then St. Augustine is on my side; as he is in the debate of Creationists vs. Evolutionists (sorry, Mark Shea). I’ll be researching this more, but as with so many things, there is plenty of blame to both the houses of Israel and Judah.

  3. I’m with unwobblingpivot here. NFP can be used with a contraceptive mentality, or it can act as an aid to conception, or as a diagnostic tool for health issues. Most of the families I know that use NFP actually have pretty big families.

    I will agree that it is pretty odd to have the most fertile and arousing period of the month be the one off limits. And I can see where that, done over a period of years, risks being as poisonous as hormonal or barrier contraception. But there are reasons to space children. Some medical conditions require a bit more recovery time between children, more than biological breastfeeding will allow.

    It’s actually a frequent topic of conversation among serious Catholic women who have big families. We’re almost embarrassed to admit that having a big family means NFP works. Not because you failed to use the method which is 99 point something percent effective. But because you got closer to ovulation and said why the heck are we waiting. The reason better be darn good. Only six months since the last c-section? Okay maybe we need a few months more. Would really like a vacation? Nope, not grave, serious, or however else you want to translate the Latin.

    The key of course is that it works in couples that love each other (in the sense of love as act of the will intending the other’s good) and are attracted to each other. NFP becomes as bad as everything else without that, and adds self-righteousness to boot.

  4. @The RingMistress

    “But there are reasons to space children.”

    “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”

    Is sexual desire the impetus for procreation, or is it not? If we believe that it is, then why do perfectly healthy and extravagantly rich people–including Catholics–have one, two, or three kids? NFP is a direct result of Catholics looking for a loophole to escape condemnation for frustrating procreation. It coincides with the rise of modernism, feminism, etc. That is important! Sometime in the mid-1800s, Catholics lost their minds just like the rest of the Christian West. By the 1930s, it was all over but the crying…but we had NFP to soothe us. On its face NFP is anti-procreation.

    And adding self-righteousness to boot, as you said. That’s why I called NFP the Serial Monogamy of marital sex. In the same way people want to equate monogamy with marriage; NFP proponents want to equate sex that appears to be open to life, with sex that actually is. It’s rebellion dressed up in emotional legalism, and it turns good sexual desire into mere lust…in the heart.

    If you could trade the teaching of NFP for thriving marriages, throngs of kids, and God’s glory: Would you do it? You don’t have to answer here, but that’s how you know if you have an idol.

    I really, really, do not want to go to Hell, but the moment I knew I fully trusted–and lost all doubt of Christ as my master–was when I told myself “I would rather God prove Himself to me by sending me to Hell, than never know He is there.” From that moment, everything changed. I saw clearly how many idols I had in my heart; how many times I’d told myself what I wanted God to say (as if my service to Him were as an advisor on how to handle me) pointing out to Him how my keen technical jiu-jitsu of spiritual and natural law proved my worth. That’s what NFP was intended to be: The wrenching of righteousness from God. It would be better to abstain altogether, and ask God for mercy.

    This is the key, though:

    “We’re almost embarrassed to admit that having a big family means NFP works. Not because you failed to use the method which is 99 point something percent effective. But because you got closer to ovulation and said why the heck are we waiting.”

    Why in the world is it embarrassing (You said almost, but that was in reference to others in your predicament. To those outside it must be flat-out embarrassing.) to have a large family; to have proof that you want sex with your husband?

    “Oh, isn’t that field a shame?”
    “Yes, it’s so fertile, and that farmer must really put in an
    awful lot of work.”
    “Indeed. It seems his hand is never far from the plow. Yuck! Too industrious; too fruitful!”

    Does that strike you as an exuberant proclamation of God’s blessing on the farmer?

  5. I will note that from a marketing perspective, NFP suffers from the problem of allowing the wider culture to set the frame.

    So instead of a Catholic couple receiving instruction prior to marriage and being told that they are to be open to life, to joyfully accept as many children as God gives them, as the main message, and later have NFP offered as a solution to problems (trouble conceiving, prudential spacing in response to fragile health as an alternative to total abstinence , diagnosis of medical issues) when they arise, working with their priest confessor and a Catholic doctor as needed, they get a pitch from a lay group (if anyone tells them at all) about how GREAT it is to have a Catholic alternative to contraception that’s Just As Effective.

    We got nothing from our marriage prep class about NFP. Crickets. And for the first year of marriage we backed it up with barrier contraception because we were both coming from a world where you had fun for the first few years of marriage before having kids. We learned a few things. Contraception didn’t help ease my crippling fear of conceiving children. We didn’t have any fun. And we didn’t trust each other. NFP on its own made us confront all of that because suddenly we were flying without a net. The reality of what sex actually is, in all its terror and glory, became a bit more apparent.

    But I think that it is, at best, a halfway house. It is for all of us raised in a toxic culture that loathes children. There is the opportunity to move from cautious avoidance of conception to laissez faire conception to actively hoping for the next child as you detox from a mindset where sex and children aren’t connected to one where they are inextricably linked. All of my friends who grew up in Latin Mass communities had babies in the first year of marriage. If they use NFP, it’s solely for predictive purposes. Or its the code used to find doctors who don’t push tubals after #3. They hardly need it because they’ve been raised in the right frame. They don’t need the training wheels. We did, coming from mainstream parishes during the Silly Season of the 80s.

  6. @RingMistress

    “But I think that it is, at best, a halfway house.”

    Now you’re feelin’ me.

    I’ll be here, chilling with St. Augustine. We’ll keep an eye out for you. Ha.

  7. @Cane,
    In a time of gross prosperity and medical wonder: I have merely four children, when I ought to be trading secrets with the Duggars.

    Ain’t that the truth. We are, and I speak pointing the fingers mostly at me, shockingly terrified of having children in the absolute safest time in history to have them. I live near a very large metropolitan area where playgrounds are…empty. The per a capita income is some of the highest in the world and people are “too poor” to have kids. It is downright _flabbergasting_.

    My wife was _terrified_ of having children. I mean that absolutely seriously. She was afraid of something going wrong. Afraid of being poor. Afraid she would hold them wrong. Afraid of everything. And I, raised without a sense of the _product_ of marriage and how it _really_ represented the Life of God, didn’t do much to keep that fear from taking root.

    To this day the happiest days of our marriage was when she was pregnant. Monthly mood swings are far worse than most women pregnant. If someone says, “you just want women barefoot and pregnant!” the answer is, “yes they are happier pregnant and pregnant women get big feet and take off their shoes…what do you want them to be, miserable?”

    I have two wonderful children who will one day be at my funeral. I have denied myself the fullness of one of the most important Christian rites by guaranteeing that the assembled community on that day will be small. Here is hoping for grand-kids to make up for the lack of children.

  8. Speaking wholly from my personal situation, I have had 4 c-sections so far. I still have a likely 10 years of fertility left. Possibly more. For the most part they have been spaced by breastfeeding, working according to God’s design. With each pregnancy, my risk of dying on the operating table goes up. But a minor thing, waiting to conceive until a bit more than a year postpartum, drives that risk down significantly. So we read the auguries, and I put my life in my husband’s hands. I let him know what the likelihood of conception is at any time, and we go from there.

    I’m not talking about trying to afford private school. I’m talking about taking things slow when mental or physical health is fragile. And slow, not stopped.

    The birth of my 4th child left me with PTSD. Only way to describe it. I was medically neglected in hospital for 3 days before they realized I was anemic and starving. That experience left me so afraid of another baby that it crippled our sex life and my husband suggested total abstinence as the only logical solution since I was not open to life at the time. Needless to say, that didn’t go over well. It did force me to seek, and receive, supernatural graces that overcame that fear and healed the memory of the event. We returned to regular use of NFP and as we approached ovulation I realized that I had no fear of conception. I was actually disappointed that we didn’t conceive that month. We did shortly thereafter.

    I’m a year post partum from that child. My husband wants to give me more time to heal physically before we actively seek conception. We’re not trying terribly hard to avoid, and with a baby not fully weaned the signals aren’t clear anyway. We’ve hit the nearly providential standpoint, with a dose of healthy respect for the time it takes for scar tissue to form. We would likely be totally providentialist has I not required so many surgeries. But God have us brains along with sex drive. We wait when waiting seems prudent, and that usually leaves us with kids spaced roughly two years apart.

    You asked about the embarrassment. Yes, but not because of sex. It’s because I was raised among modernist Catholics for whom it’s an embarrassment to do things the wrong way: stay home, have more than two kids, waste your education, etc. I’ve stopped telling my parents when we’re expecting because I only hear pity on the other end of the phone. I’m a coward who hates having to constantly defend my “countercultural life”.

    I’m really enjoying this series of posts. Keep challenging and clarifying.

    A serious question for you would be this. Sex is in fact a matter of life and death. We are instructed not to take undue risks to our life, just got the sake of thrills. But there are some things that do allow is to risk our lives. They are worth it. Babies are worth risking my life. But the question becomes, if others also depend on me, how much risk do we take? Is this not where prudential judgement comes in? Our sex drives are not meant to be blind forces after all. They are what remind us of our purpose, to be fruitful and multiply. But we don’t act on them without regard to our circumstances (are we married, are we in private,etc.) Is the circumstance of health one we should take into consideration so long as it is not frivolous or prolonged?

    On a completely different note, my favorite answer to those who would space or avoid wholly on financial concerns is the old saying “every baby comes with a loaf of bread under his arm.” Which our own life has proven again and again. We have 5 so far, plus one with God. Each has brought unexpected blessings and provisions.

  9. @GKC,

    No. I sometimes post under my Christian name, Laura C. when around Sunshine Mary’s place.

    I’m a cradle Roman Catholic, married to a cradle Roman. We’re hanging with Byzantine Catholics these days which is a very different experience. We’ve both had a journey from lukewarm (in my case) or apostasy, neo-paganism, and hedonistic atheism (in my husband’s) to traditional Catholicism. I’ve been a contra-feminist my whole life, and an anti-feminist as I get older and wiser.

    Oh, and I totally get your wife’s terror. Only the grace of God has begun the work of taking that from me. But it wrecked much havoc on our early marriage, compounded by health problems, mild insanity on both parts, bad habits of youth on both parts, and much miscommunication. I preserved my virginity until marriage, but partly because I feared the world, rather than because I feared the Lord. So habits that served me in my singleness were…unhelpful in marriage.

  10. @Cane,

    Sorry for the wall o’ text.

    Oddly, Augustine is my confirmation saint. Yep, life is all about choosing between the City of God and the City of Man.

  11. Have you noticed something else about the passage in Ezekiel 23? Have you noticed that God protrays Himself as a polygynist? Indeed if one looks into His Law – which He proclaims to be holy, just, righteous and *perfect* – it is obvious that polygyny is righteous. Now talk about a way to increase the birthrate! For more on this please refer to “Man and Woman in Biblical Law” by Tom Shipley. Here the link at amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Man-Woman-Biblical-Law-Shipley/dp/055752900X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370949722&sr=8-1&keywords=man+and+woman+in+biblical+law

  12. Cane, your reply to me is an illustration and expansion of what I meant when I said you had a good point. Bravo, my friend.
    That said, it’s hard to deny that Ringmistress has a valid perspective to offer, and my comment has validity in that light.
    Maybe we are dealing with that double edge you referenced in the original post.

  13. Always amazed at the button issues that replace the real issue(s). I like this post for the same reason I like other cane posts….I would have trouble writing a summary.
    But it is being written for us, and we would think the post is about FP, or specifically NFP. As a Protestant, I wonder what issue is our NFP. I can name several issues, but I cannot decide which one would be our NFP. I say that because of my experience in the sphere, not in life. Full disclosure, i was married and divorced very fast at 22-25, to a Jersey Catholic Italian girl, so for a few years I had a reasonable inner view. And I never heard such obsession with NFP as I do in the sphere. I don’t remember the Priest mentioning it in our Pre Kana (sp?) but he must have. In manosphere writing, Catholics find a way to put that into any subject, some for, some against, all passionate. Maybe its The Personal Jesus in Protestants that would be the uber-topic….don’t know.

    So, it must be something about the female Catholics in the sphere, i conclude, that raises NFP to prominence in many topics where it could barely be called tangential. CL was notorious for plopping NFP into any topic (as well as BDSM, a point for a different day) . Here it is the take away for most of the comments.

    We used no family planning. My wife and I would have been good Catholics. We truly winged it through the first three kids. It was very cool. First one born 9 mos 3 days after wedding date. The next two were surprise revelations, calls from home to me at work…honey, um, come home…there is news. Then I went for the surgery, yes….that one. THEN, I went for another surgery to repair the first surgery. Sick. But in the end we ended up with a forth and quite a story that one day maybe I will tell because it could profit someone.

    A serious question for you would be this. Sex is in fact a matter of life and death. We are instructed not to take undue risks to our life, just got the sake of thrills. But there are some things that do allow is to risk our lives. They are worth it. Babies are worth risking my life. But the question becomes, if others also depend on me, how much risk do we take? Is this not where prudential judgement comes in? Our sex drives are not meant to be blind forces after all. They are what remind us of our purpose, to be fruitful and multiply. But we don’t act on them without regard to our circumstances (are we married, are we in private,etc.) Is the circumstance of health one we should take into consideration so long as it is not frivolous or prolonged?

    That is an dilemma, and would require lots more specific info to weigh in on honestly. If I guess, I would guess the same fear that had you holding your virginity is manifest in the fear about children, and say therefore its not a good fear, and should be dealt with…eliminated. What makes me say this is when you write “so long as its not frivolous or prolonged”. I cannot envision any physical thing that would be legitimately causing fear, that is also temporary and occasional. I am correctable on this, Im not lecturing, nor asking for you to reveal things you do not wish to reveal. .

  14. Thank you sir, for calling out the truth on NFP. I have said this countless times myself. If it is used as birth control, then it’s birth control. Not to mention that it sets a couple up for potentially a whole month of abstinence when the cycle shows any sign of fluctuation.

    I have to make a confession here. While I really enjoyed your post There Are No Ugly Truths, I was flabbergasted that it was the post at the top of the page on the very day that I linked to you as a manosphere blogger that brings the capital T, capital G Gospel Truth.

    You know the usual TC crowd hardly blinked at your post. But a few of the readers who lurk from Breathing Grace? I shuddered to think of what they thought if they clinked the link that day. LOL.

  15. @RingMistress

    I appreciate the comments. Your wall o’ text is great.

    “Sex is in fact a matter of life and death. We are instructed not to take undue risks to our life, just got the sake of thrills. But there are some things that do allow is to risk our lives. They are worth it. Babies are worth risking my life. But the question becomes, if others also depend on me, how much risk do we take? Is this not where prudential judgement comes in? Our sex drives are not meant to be blind forces after all. They are what remind us of our purpose, to be fruitful and multiply. But we don’t act on them without regard to our circumstances (are we married, are we in private,etc.) Is the circumstance of health one we should take into consideration so long as it is not frivolous or prolonged?”

    I know this is a question, but I think it’s an answer, too. It’s up to you and your husband to ask God these things, and to earnestly seek His will; along with the support of your priest, and your church family.

    You know those families where the husband and the wife works; and every day they drop Johnny off at school?

    Dad is cruising through a dead-end job; trying to avoid work, more than work. He spends his day switching between surfing the web, thinking about how hot the one chick in the cubicle a couple row over is, and day-dreaming about retirement.This effort to avoid work in a meaningless job that his family doesn’t really need is mentally exhausting, so he comes home and can’t be bothered to be engaged in encouraging his family, but he knows Johnny is having trouble at school, so Dad yells at Johnny to buckle under. Having now satisfied one more task that people need from him, he retreats into ESPN for the remainder of the night, for some time to himself.

    Mom prides herself on being an efficient office administrator who does whatever task her boss asks of her; proof in her own mind of her keen abilities. She thinks the house is a wreck because her husband and Johnny are lazy. She comes home, and fixes something fast for dinner that her husband doesn’t appreciate. Later, she gets a glass of wine, and hops on Facebook for the rest of the night; playing Farmville, and chatting with a guy she knew in high school.

    Johnny just cannot give a flip. He tries to find that happy-medium of doing enough schoolwork to keep him off his teacher’s radar without actually having to work. The girls around him are constantly pulling his attention with their wardrobes, but won’t even look at him; much less talk to him. One of guys has made it a point to embarrass or bully Johnny whenever he’s around, and Johnny doesn’t know why except that the kid can. He comes home every day thoroughly depressed, and hides in his room; except for a crappy dinner, or to get a talkin’-to about his grades from Dad.

    Now, my advice to those people would be to verbally smack them up the head, and tell them that if they had any sense at all they’d be homeschooling. And they would reply:

    “Cane, who are you to say a woman shouldn’t work? It’s in the Proverbs 31!”
    “Cane, the real problem is that I’m not appreciated for the work I do.”
    “Cane, what’s wrong with men vacuuming once in awhile?”
    “Cane, the real problem is my wife isn’t attracted to me.”
    “Cane, they made the mess. Why should I have to clean it up?”
    “Cane, ESPN doesn’t have any bad language, or bad content.”
    “Cane, all I want to know is how to get them to stop bullying Johnny?”
    “Cane, but none of that matters because my husband doesn’t listen to me.”
    “Cane, what’s this got to do with my meaningless job?”
    “Cane, You don’t know what kind of real service teachers provide those kids!”
    “Cane, I don’t care what you say; there’s nothing wrong with retirement.”
    “Cane, you just don’t understand…”
    “Cane, you don’t know me!”

    I could answer all those questions specifically, and go through the nuance about how all those things have their place, and how none of those questions are really bad…which would have the effect of confirming them in their stupidity. Instead, I suggest homeschooling because it will solve many problems immediately, and those that are not will be brought out in a context that makes the questions clear.

    With that scenario in mind, I will try to answer your questions.

    Understand what I’m NOT saying:. Are there times for abstinence? Yes. Should we let our sex drives run wild just because we’re married? No. Is medical knowledge useful for help in determining the appropriateness of when to abstain, and when to enjoy sex? Yes.

    None of that has anything to do with NFP (or whatever term they want to give it now). Ultimately, NFP will never be profitable because it is bad fruit. Period. It is a set of works formed by hearts that were against procreation generally. It wasn’t derived from concerns about how to help mothers who’d suffered 4 c-sections. It was the result of people looking for a way to have sex without having kids for purely economic and lifestyle concerns.

    We Christians already have solutions for economic and lifestyle concerns. It’s called the Church. Catholics know this better than Protestants (which is one of the reasons I love them so), and so that NFP came from them is actually worse; in the same way the annulment mill of the RCC is worse: Because they ought to know better, and say they do. It’s simply the hardness of their hearts repackaged as law.

    Said another way: Because you’re asking these questions, I simply was not talking about you. 🙂

  16. @Yaakov

    Polygyny was righteous, yes. We also used to be butt-naked herbivores. You win some, you lose some.

    @Empath

    “As a Protestant, I wonder what issue is our NFP.”

    There are a lot of them because the issue is about the orientation of the heart, but off the top of my head: re-marriage. We get very few hard rules from Christ, and that is one. We’re not free to marry again unless one spouse is dead, or the wife commits adultery and the husband cannot accept her back.

    @UP

    See my long comment to RingMistress. The problem isn’t the use of medical knowledge to keep our wives healthy. You’re NAWALTing me, here because the RCC has put itself in a real pickle with its promotion of NFP. It was they who carved God’s good trees of knowledge into idols of anti-creation. Your beef isn’t with me, and my beef isn’t with trees of knowledge. It’s not as if I’m looking at a forest of growth and saying: “These NFP kids are everywhere!” No, I’m looking at a desert, and saying: “NFP did this.”

    Dollar to doughnuts: If the RCC had never invented NFP, 90%+ of Catholics would not be on artificial birth control today. The pill wasn’t invented yet. I’ll take it a step further: The RCC’s development of a form of “righteous” BC not only led Catholics to using artificial BC, but legitimized it in the eyes of the whole world. By trying to legally wrest control from God in a manner than seemed righteous to them, they encouraged the concept of birth control, in general.

    This same principle is why God instructed the Israelites to take nothing from the inhabitants of Canaan as they conquered the land. First of all, God knew it would be tempting to marry their daughters, and then allow them to keep their little trinket idols. Second, the trinket idols still had perceivable worth: They are art (what Chesterton calls the mark of man), and they were made of precious materials (much like knowledge) that God provided us. This tempts us to see them as good, and keep them for ourselves…you know: harmlessly. And not only was God giving these rules to the Israelites to keep them pure, but also to demonstrate God’s goodness to the Canaanites; that they might be won over, and become God’s people also.

    Before NFP, you would just cool it–sexually–for awhile; maybe even years, and pray. They walked together to find the right path for your entwined lives; bearing each other’s burdens as best you see fit, and can. Now, with church-endorsed NFP, you’re like, “Crap, are we doing it right? If I want to express my love to my wife tonight, and she dies in childbirth: I killed her!”

    That’s just not right, or good.

    It sounds to me like RingMistress and her husband are walking together, with God. The NFP, if it even factors in their decisions, is incidental.

    @Elspeth

    It was my pleasure. I hope I scared the pants of the BG crowd. Ha.

  17. @Cane,

    You for your thoughtful response. I recognize one of the very feminine things I tend to do is work from the personal rather than the general. It is one thing to argue the principle, another it’s application. So, from that standpoint I can see and acknowledge what you’re saying.

    It’s rather like being a monarchist. (I am, in fact. Also a creationist, but that’s getting off topic.) From a strictly theoretical standpoint, I can argue the superiority of a system of government in which power is distributed through subsidiarity but authority is reserved to a monarch. But whatever my arguments are for it in theory, it’s different from talking about how this affects my voting patterns or whether we ought to beg Elizabeth II to take us back, please.

    And my question was about whether my statement, there are valid reasons to space, was justified. But I can also see how it acts as the foot in the door for any and every excuse to give into selfishness and convenience. For every woman dealing with genuine difficulties (a course of chemo, major depressive disorder) there are tens or hundreds who are just plain selfish. One of my confessors is known for drawing the hard line in the pulpit, but being a lamb in the confessional. I’d guess this is the same sort of thing.

    On a final note, this series had brought to light an interesting exposure of what is genuinely selfish. Because we live in a culture that divorces sex and babies, it becomes easy to think that it is the desire for sex that is selfish, an obsession with personal satisfaction uber alles. But in fact, that desire is holy when in its proper context, and true selfishness is avoiding the babies that naturally come with sex. It exposes the lie that the problem is unbridled desire. We may need to regulate our passions. In fact we must. But we also need to understand that like hunger and thirst, sexual desire had a proper object that is good when used according to plan.

  18. @RingMistress

    “On a final note, this series had brought to light an interesting exposure of what is genuinely selfish. […] But we also need to understand that like hunger and thirst, sexual desire had a proper object that is good when used according to plan.

    This comment is St. Augustine approved.

    That is precisely of what I am accusing our culture; which is Satanic. They hate sex, but claim to be the society that loves it. We should know they actually hate sex (regardless of what they say) because they hate babies. The idea among Christians that sex is naughty, bad, dirty, etc., is very old (I mean: St. Augustine!) and we just have to expel it from our midst every once in awhile; just like the church in Corinth had to expel the dude sleeping with his father’s wife.

  19. Cane Caldo: You rock. I swear, sometimes I think my husband is secretly authoring your blog from some obscure location somewhere, locked away with his computer…but alas, you are just twain spirits (no wonder, considering you carry the same Holy Spirit within you!)

    Our beautiful boy, our only son together (I have a son from my marriage which failed when I was but twenty years old) was born on May 5, 2013 with a heart defect and a previously unknown diagnosis of Down Syndrome.
    Right now, we wait for him to be discharged from his second (and prayerfully, last) stay in the NICU. Would we have welcomed his life if we had the knowledge of what a challenge it would be for him, and for all of us?

    Unwaveringly, YES!

    While we are protestants, people find us extraordinarily strange that we do not use birth control. The first question asked after all our children were born (except Corwin, our son), was: Well, what do you plan on using for BIRTH CONTROL?” My husband laughs at medical personnel now when they ask, because it’s simply so funny to ask a person who just birthed a MIRACLE how they plan to prevent another one!!!

    Thank you. Thank you for what you write. You write the absolute Truth. Keep it up.

  20. @S211

    My pleasure.

    I’ve been through the NICU experience. Our second was 8 weeks premature, and had (has) a fused valve in her heart.

    NICU staff are something else; really great, positive, and loving people in my experience. This says something about the value of loving and caring for hard cases like deformity and Downs babies.

    When our second came home, it was madness. She had to wear a heart monitor that shrieked if it didn’t detect a heartbeat…which happened every time she sneezed, coughed, moved her head, raised her arm, or squirmed. That went on for a month, and we learned we could be very quiet for a long time. Ha.

  21. Oh Elspeth, RHB and his ridiculous machinations were things I had to encounter in the periphery of my extended family for years. Thanks for the trip backwards through that gauntlet.

  22. @Elspeth

    Team Pyro! Wow, blast from the past. I used to read them back in the days when read Internet Monk, Boar’s Head Tavern, and the other sites in that group.

    Many years ago, I visited a charismatic church. Mrs. Caldo and I walked in, and the earlier service had not quite finished yet. People were going up to the front to be prayed for. I knew of churches that did the “slaying in the spirit” hocus-pocus, but I didn’t know this church was one of them until that moment. Mrs. Caldo, recognizing the grimace on my face, suggested we leave, but I wanted to actually hear what was said.

    He laid hands on a woman who had the flu, and then he asked her if she was healed. She was the fifth or sixth person to have been subjected to “healing”, but this woman (and God bless women for this) was hard to convince.

    “Are you healed, sister?”

    “I…I think so…”

    “Sister, when the Lord heals, He heals! Everybody; repeat after me: ‘Nahum 1:9”

    “NAHUM 1:9!”, everyone shouted.

    “He will make a complete end.”

    “HE WILL MAKE A COMPLETE END!”

    “Trouble will not rise up a second time.”

    “TROUBLE WILL NOT RISE UP A SECOND TIME!”

    “So let me ask you again, sister: Are you healed.”

    “…Yes. Yes, I’m healed!”

    “Amen!”

    The minor prophets are not my strong-suit; so I flipped open my Bible. Turns out the preacher was referencing a passage where God is telling the People of Nineveh they will not rise up to trouble God a second time.

    We split that moment; in case God decided to prove His all-mighty mettle.

  23. Now, I have to argue with this: “There is only one God, and God made everything, and everything God made is good. Whatever food we find is therefore good food from God. You may eat it in a clean conscience, and remain clean.”

    Not everything God created that we have taken for food is good food. It’s quite obvious he never intended a lot of things for food. He goes out of His way to warn His people not to eat it, and yet most of Christianity still does. And don’t quote Peter’s vision about the sheet with the food in it to me until you read the chapter and can tell me what it was actually talking about, because he spells it out clear as day, and it wasn’t about the food.

    As for the rest of the post, just so I’m clear, are you talking about a quiver-full mentality (keep having kids until God stops you)?

    And I’m not sure I agree that NFP frustrates sexual union. I’ve never felt frustrated by it. We use NFP, but there are many other sexual pleasures besides PIV that can take place during the most fertile time (and frankly, generally wives are more willing to do those activities during that time).

  24. @Jay Dee

    “Now, I have to argue with this: “There is only one God, and God made everything, and everything God made is good. Whatever food we find is therefore good food from God. You may eat it in a clean conscience, and remain clean.”

    1) You don’t have to argue. You’re choosing to argue. Hey: I like argument, but write what you mean because that’s all I can read. This is important because I will take your words earnestly and plainly, and I hope you do likewise.

    2) It’s is bad form to tell your debate opponent from what points he can or cannot argue. If (being bent on bad form) you’d like to choose to preempt a line of argument, you must lay out that argument, and then lay our your rebuttal about why that argument doesn’t work. Also: It is almost totally irrelevant to gist of my post. Do you happen to be a particular eater, or do others consider you a bit of a health-nut; e.g., go out of your way to get organics, and such?

    “As for the rest of the post, just so I’m clear, are you talking about a quiver-full mentality (keep having kids until God stops you)?”

    I’m not a subscriber to that movement. Honestly, I really don’t know what their full ethos is, but I’m generally not fond of programs or movements.

    “And I’m not sure I agree that NFP frustrates sexual union. I’ve never felt frustrated by it. We use NFP, but there are many other sexual pleasures besides PIV that can take place during the most fertile time (and frankly, generally wives are more willing to do those activities during that time).”

    What do feelings have to do with it? That’s a serious question. Gay men don’t feel frustrated by the homosexual act; yet I hope we agree that we rightly disregard their feelings on the matter. It is not Godly behavior; end of story. In that same vein: What does what wives are more willing to do have to do with it? Did they write scripture?

    Keep in mind, too, that I write to what Lewis calls “Mere Christians”. I try to keep the content useful to Catholics and Protestants. Catholics are to abstain from any ejaculation outside the vagina. I myself put no bar on anyone, but I’m not sure they’re wrong.

    Finally, I am usually very particular in the words I choose. Sometimes I slip up, but it is unusual for me to write something I did not mean. I’m much more likely to just be wrong than to be mis-communicating. For example, I did not say everything edible is good for food; I said all food is good food. We still need to separate what is food from what is not food.

  25. Pingback: Lightning Round – 2013/05/12 | Free Northerner

  26. @Cane: Sure our first parents were “butt-naked herbivores” … 🙂 … but that misses the point. God gave us His Law which by His own testimony (and who are we to argue with His testimony, considering that from Him and through Him and to Him are all things) is *perfect* and holy, just and righteous … this was after the “butt-naked herbivore”-phase, too.

    Let us also not forget that description does not equal prescription. The exegesis that since God gave Adam only Eve, monogamy is His preferred form of marriage, is, therefore, fallacious.

    What was prescribed at creation was that the woman was made for the man and not the other way around. The prinicple of patriarchy is borne out by God’s Law when monogamy-only is not only not prescribed but polygyny is regulated and under some conditions (e.g. Levirate Marriage) necessary.

    Am I arguing for polygyny? No. I am arguing for obedience to God’s Word. That is the best of us – all of us – in any circumstance.

  27. Thomas Aquinas makes a strong argument in the Summa Theologica that while polygyny is not against God’s law the same way that polyandry (and the even wierder polyamory [hideous mutant latin-greek mashup of a word]) are, it is not appropriate to a Christian because the bride represents the Church, and the Bridegroom Christ within marriage. Head and Body.

    And while there are certainly plenty of examples of the patriarchs having multiple wives or concubines, the first biblical example of a polygynist is Lamech, a descendant of Cain and a murderer. Not a great precedent.

    Priests on the early church were chosen among the celibate and monogamous. While there are certainly practical reasons for this, as even one wife is a huge demand on a man’s time, and multiple would make service to the Lord in that role difficult, I think there was a growing sense that monogamy was an aspect of the perfected Law under Christ.

    I’ll allow the Angelic Doctor to make the argument. It’s actually a pretty good one as he has both good exegesis of Scripture and a fairly close observation of Natural Law. http://www.newadvent.org/summa/5065.htm
    As a hint, his writing is dense. If you want the short argument, skip to the sections that begin “I answer that…”

    The TL;DR though is that polygyny is not against the natural law insofar as the first end of marriage: the generation of children. As far as the second end of marriage, satisfaction of the marital debt, it is debatable because a man could not satisfy two wives at the same time if they asked. And of course multiple wives make a quarrelsome home. As to the third end, the sacramental representation of Christ and his Church, because Christ is One, the Church also is one, and thus polygyny is wholly at odds with this third end. So because it doesn’t frustrate the first end of marriage, God can create a dispensation for polygyny when it is necessary for the multiplication of the race, but not change that monogamy is the ideal.

  28. “More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than any other reason.”

    http://www.salvemariaregina.info/Message.html

    You notice in those messages along with the statements about the bad side of unlawful sexual behavior is the message about the importance of prayer.

    I think there should be more talk about prayer in marriage or whatever state of life you are in over sex. The best bonds in marriage are the spiritual ones.

  29. @Yaakov

    “@Cane: Sure our first parents were “butt-naked herbivores””

    My answer was meant as food-for-thought, rather than an answer. We stopped being butt-naked (post-Eden, but antediluvian) before we stopped being herbivores (postdiluvian). God changes how we interact with the world in accordance with the timeline of his revelation. When Christ comes, over and over He points back to the original example of one man and one woman, instead of giving rules.

    Here’s a better example: Brother-sister Incest used to be a good practice. Have you prepared an argument to re-instate this?

    @Earl

    “The best bonds in marriage are the spiritual ones.”

    Step closer: The only bonds in marriage are spiritual ones.

  30. You are entirely speaking my language in this post. I, too, have spoken against NFP and lament that so many Christians choose convenience and looking socially acceptable over receiving God’s blessings. We just wish we had understood this sooner, since five seems to be all we will get now. But we are grateful for those.

    @ songtwoeleven
    You and your new baby are in my prayers.

  31. Catholics not only partake of the convenience of birth control: They brought that filth in-house, and re-branded it. You just can’t stop a Christian committed to niceness! Forbid the pill, and they’ll invent Natural Family Planning. They turn themselves into the husbands of white-washed and barren tombs as surely as their pill-popping Protestant sisters. They’ll tell you with eunuch-like solemnity that NFP is about counting the cost before building the tower, as Scripture requires. That is a wicked logic. Marriage was the commitment. Sex is the foundational act. If you are married: Keep mixing that mortar as much as you can! It is ours to merely receive the bricks with which God blesses us, and build up His house. In my opinion, NFP is the most truly infernal of the birth controls. It is the “serial monogamy” of marital sex lives.

    I just ripped this off from you and used it as a comment on TC. Gave you credit.

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