Monday, December 20, 2010

On Creating

Listening to the radio this morning I heard a discussion about how demographics are changing in the world, particularly Europe. The population numbers show that fewer ‘traditional’ Europeans are procreating while others are multiplying themselves at great rates. Some are blaming the lack of ‘white babies’ on feminism and all that comes along with it (gay rights, babies out of wedlock, lack of fertility due to women having children later in life due to careers). Basically, there are too many secular, decadent, feminist women in the West who are too self-absorbed to breed (a sarcastic quote from one of the interviewees, the author of Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement, Kathryn Joyce).

As someone who is writing a blog about what it is like to be a career woman, while parenting and trying to be self-sufficient, I felt it was impossible not to comment on this. Also because I am now relying on my husband’s income and making an earnest foray into Christianity with the Anglican church I feel I need to stand up for the kind of folks out there like me who aren’t subservient doormats to their husbands and are not in the category of the ‘spiritually abused’.

First of all, Wow! I’ve never heard so many bombs going off in such a short time on the radio. It seems to me that even speaking about such population shifts opens the doors for racists, classists, subscribers to patriarchy, religious bigots and homophobic people to have themselves a field day! But maybe I’m reading too much into this. Maybe they are just numbers.

The origin of the Quiverfull movement and how feminism is being blamed for taking women from their godly roles in the home as bearers of children began in 1985 with Mary Pride’s book The Way Home: Beyond Feminism, Back to Reality.

This from Wikipedia:

In her book, Pride chronicled her journey away from what she labeled feminist and anti-natal ideas of happiness, within which she had lived as an activist before her conversion to conservative evangelical Christianity in 1977, toward her discovery of happiness surrounding what she said was the biblically mandated role of wives and mothers as bearers of children and workers in the home under the authority of a husband.

In addition, there is on organization called the World Congress of Families that "is a worldwide conservative-religious coalition that purports to stand up for the position of the traditional family, in a time of eroding family life and declining appreciation for families in general".

So just about everything I have written in this blog is in line with the idea that the physical and emotional well being of the family unit should be prioritized. I also speak of the importance of linking into a community that for us includes going to church. I knew when I was getting into these writings that I was going to bury myself so deep in the idea that “a woman’s place is in the home” that I might never get out.

Here is where I’m going to try to get out.

Firstly, in our particular household my husband became the chosen one for earning an income because his job held a lot more flexibility than mine did and was more compatible with the farm work. His off-farm work ramps up in the winter and winds down in the summer so that he can focus on vegetable production. My work demanded travel and hours that were not compatible with the tasks on the farm or spending adequate time with my children because of the commute. My husband and I never, ever for a second believed that he should earn the money because I was the one biologically suited to raising children. We happen to have this ‘natural’ family arrangement but it isn’t because I think it is the only way to make a family.

Secondly, I have friends of every colour, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, tax bracket, marital status and age group. When I say ‘friend’, I mean they are people that I spend time with regularly, respect, admire, learn from and/or share ideas with. I don’t rank any of us as better or worse. I don’t think it’s important to ensure that any of us would outlast the other.

Thirdly, last I checked the growing population issue in the world was associated with environmental concerns. There are an increasing number of people and soon there will not be enough resources to go around (especially the way us westerners like to use stuff). So now we are trying to make sure there are enough of our own kind to secure a place on this planet with insufficient resources? Oh dear. We’ve seen this kind of thing play out before and we all know this doesn’t end well.

My mind tends to wander far more towards wanting to produce and create for the folks around me in every way I can. This means making intelligent choices so that we can be sure there will be enough to go around for a good, long time to come. It also means making sure we’re not stealing from others in the world to make this work.

So far, in the short time that I have called myself a Christian, I have learned that the practice of this faith is associated with sharing your time, energy and spirit to help those in need and to build a stronger community.

I’ll dig in a whole lot deeper with creating more opportunities, skills, resources, art, music and food in hopes of making the world a better place…. but you won’t catch me having more babies anytime soon.

1 comment:

  1. I must have listened to the same stuff about Quiverful and the World Family Congress (CBC documentary?) and had a similar troubled reaction.  As a new Christian myself I am continually  flabbergasted as to why some Christians seem to chronically use their faith to justify ostracizing or denigrating others.  That is not what I understand from the second Great Commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself.  Christianity does not give anyone the right to persecute feminists.  Nor does it justify an "obligation" to procreate indiscriminately at tremendous cost to future generations.  And anyone can find a biblical verse or two to help them ignore their conscience.  My naive understanding is that feminism is the quest to rectify entrenched practices of power imbalance between sexes, a quest for equality and justice for all.  Doesn't sound too unChristian to me.  Have a read of "The Sins of Scripture" by John Shelby Spong which discusses the paradox of Christian teachings on procreation versus global overpopulation.  He agrees with you.  My one piece of advice to offer is to pray for those Christians who criticize you for following your Christian principles. 


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