The new parenting trend is not to parent. As the new slogan goes, “Cats, Not Brats.” Increasingly, husbands and wives are celebrating being ‘child-free.’ These couples are posting child-free announcement on social media, are hosting vasectomy parties, and are asking their friends to help them name their new boat. In short, couples have declared themselves free from the traditional family narrative. As their Pinterest boards make clear, they have left the narrow road of societal expectations and are seeking to celebrate a narrative that is indicative of their experiences. And now, it’s cool to employ ‘birth announcements’ to celebrate the arrival of our new car coming in at 3,460 lbs.
As Christians, we should be deeply troubled by this trend. Our God values and loves children. And he designed marriage to be a place where children could be created, loved, and discipled. As John Piper says,
Marriage is for making children. Yes. But not absolutely. Absolutely marriage is for making children followers of Jesus.
Couples can have good and healthy marriages without having biological kids. But no couple should want to be kid free. Even couples that do not have their own biological kids should be diligently seeking for ways to reach and care for the next generation by coaching, helping with nursery, or participating in foster care. As Christian couples, we must not flee from the presence of children. We must embrace them as Jesus did.
And such an embrace is actually quite natural. Our whole understanding of the empirical and spiritual world is built upon the ideas of marriage, birth, and family. Christ was born. And we are to called to embrace Christ through rebirth. To be human, we have to work within this frame. Kids are not something we can simply write out of the human experience.
And the conversation around vasectomy parties makes this fact abundantly clear. To celebrate their childlessness, couples have to employ child rearing terms on their Instagram feeds. They talk of birthing businesses, of taking family photos with their dog, and of vasectomy reveals. To have a meaningful discourse with their neighbors, these trendy couples have to work within the bounds of nature. Every person celebrating their sterilization was born and raised. And their friends and neighbors also share this experience. To be human is to be born and raised. For this reason, Jesus came into the world as a baby. He did not appear as an adult. No one enters the world fully grown. At the end of the day, birth is not a societal construction. It is a biological reality within which we all live, move, and share.
We cannot escape the world of babies. But at the same time, we must recognize that true life is not found in deliver rooms. Nicodemus could not reenter his mother’s womb (John 3:4-5). True life is found in Christ by being born of the Holy Spirit.
Couples that seek to escape the burdens of child rearing so that can celebrate sex, homes ‘filled with sharp furniture,’ and increased spending power will be unable to find true life in being child-free. Instead of building our narratives around our view of babies, we need to return to the narrative of the Scriptures. We need to realize that true meaning and joy are found in Jesus. And as we do, we will find the ability to value both birth and our adult lives without making either of them into our means of salvation.