Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Real Choice About Life

Lots of talk has been swirling about the news on contraception and abortion. I've been researching the history of contraception and recently responded to a fine young man's sincere questions about the topic.

First I need to say I believe everyone is free to make choices, some are good and others are harmful to themselves and others. That's the reality and at times the curse of the free will God gifts us with. I don’t presume to label anyone a sinner. Except for God’s grace I’m among the greatest of them all.

Now allow me to toss around some threads of truth I’m discovering. Interestingly there is an alternative method to contraception rarely discussed. Natural Family Planning has a 95-98% effective rate and it’s completely cost free control of conception. (This shouldn't be confused with the ineffective rhythm method of the 1970’s.) Incidentally not even contraceptives are 100% successful.

When I looked up the history of contraceptive teaching in the church I learned they mean no, never, for whatever reason. Now why might that be?

Maybe, if you’re cynical as I am at times, you’d ask if it’s because they want more Catholics born to fill the ranks. Certainly that’s true of Muslim faiths. Then again, why wouldn’t God want more people? He loves and delights in each one of us.

But is there something deeper? In my family counseling practice of many years, I found that God’s principles are ultimately good for the individual. Children are called a blessing in Scripture and our own experience with our two daughters and two sons certainly bears this out.

Sadly we now have countries with populations moving to extinction.

Then on the other hand why is contraception deemed to be so desirable in our current culture? Is it because of men and women’s selfish nature that they’ll want to avoid the responsibility of caring for another human being. Or they want the freedom to be promiscuous without apparent consequences.

By the way I was amazed to learn that until the 1930’s all Christian churches opposed contraception.

I’m not in favor of a “government papa.” And I don’t want people telling me I have to do what I don’t believe is right. I'm opposed to paying through my taxes for someone to practice birth control or use abortifacients. The government argument seems to be, from what I can tell, it’s cheaper to provide birth control than to pay for the care of the kids later. Whoah! The govt. shouldn’t have to do either. We have churches and religious institutions and neighborhoods and front-line family members to help with child care and housing.

Jesus clearly said, “You will always have the poor among you.” AND he told us to go and feed them, care for the poor. And pay for their health care OURSELVES like the good Samaritan did, which the church has already been doing for decades at our Catholic/Christian hospitals where poor patients who can’t pay aren’t turned away.

God calls on us, not a structure of government. Us, personally and corporately, but always a form of direct involvement [and we’re also supposed to take care of our parents when they’re old not expect government to handle this in the rare case they can't provide for themselves. See my mystery novel Directive 99.]

Besides this argument that women can’t make it without government hand-outs demeans women. A woman may get pregnant but isn’t incapable of providing for her baby, and she has God and/or his human hands and feet on earth to do it. Government daddy needn’t take over, but does and he says just remember to vote for your government daddy at election time. The $30-50 a month, $600 per year per woman, for contraception by having the government pay is a free handout. I know this is tempting, if somebody’s passing out free stuff, why pay? It’s human nature. But is it right?

Or how about this reason for contraception? My wife and I could afford another child, but I might have to give up some of my Saturday fun time to help out more and I’m not willing to do that just to participate in the sacred role of shaping of another human being. Or other self-centered reasons for denying life to a child like preferring a new boat.

One reason I can’t fathom for not having kids is worry about money. I know when my husband Wayne and I left Schaumburg, IL for WI it was to serve God through our camp for kids. We gave up corporate retirement plans, all job security, etc. And He’s taking care of us exceedingly well in retirement. God can make a man rich or poor overnight. He did that for us. In the last two or three years before we sold our home, it multiplied to many times its original value. I know abandonment to the will of God an absolutely amazing way to live.

Next week, I’m the guest lecturer in a high school psych class and I’m going to say, "Think, my brighties, think of the motives and consequences of your actions." Many young people are a wonderful example of this. It’s awesome that they get involved with their opinions and are willing to share them.

I find all the people God made fascinating in some way. I love the uniqueness and passion God gives us all. Only the Holy Spirit can impel our choices if we let him. He’s the only one who can change somebody’s thinking through His Holy Spirit.

But it’s the same story as Day One in the garden, people have got to choose if they want to submit to God being in charge or keep themselves at the controls. I’ve experienced God so amazingly when I’ve ventured out in trust that I’ve made my decision and I’m riding it to eternity.

To the young among us and to the old: keep talking, keep thinking, and most important of all, keep your fire God-focused.