Are Vasectomy Parties Wrong?

viThe 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.

Have Baptists Embraced China’s One-Child-Mindset?

China one child policyLast week, the people’s republic of China announced that it will end its “One-Child-Policy. The days of government agents forcible pulling babies out of the womb while are over. Very soon, Chinese couples can start having two kids!

A One-Child-Future

And though the news is welcome by demographers and many in China, the policy is probably too little too late.  The policy change will not resurrect the 336 million children that were aborted nor will it return fertility to the 196 million people that have been sterilized since 1971. The Chinese population bubble is still on track to burst within the next few years. By 2050, China’s million-man army will be a million-man nursing home. Roughly a quarter of its population will be over 65 and the nation’s average age will be 67. China’s days as an economic and political juggernaut are numbered.

To prevent this nightmare from coming true, China needs its families to start having more kids. To maintain its population, a nation needs to have a birth rate 2.1 kids per couple. China’s current birth rate sits at 1.7 kids per couple. To thrive as a nation, China needs its birth rate to climb by at least half a kid per couple. Hence, families are now permitted to have two babies.

But the fertility jump is stil not coming anytime soon. As one Chinese woman told the Wall Street Journal, “For a second child, my answer is no, no, no. Doesn’t matter what the policy is…I can’t imagine who would have the energy to raise another child.” When the China tested the Two-Child-Policy in the Jiangsu province, a majority of those women still preferred a one child home. Today, most women aren’t avoiding birth because of the government policy. They are avoiding birth because they don’t want to expend the social, physical, emotional, and financial capital to needed to raise children. Chen Feng told the New York times, “Before I had my first child, I was hoping for the relaxation of the one-child policy…I changed my mind after I gave birth to my daughter…It takes a lot of energy to take care of a child.” Simply put, Chinese women no longer want two kids.
This is the biggest news story of the day is that China has successfully transformed its culture. And Chinese women have bought into the anti-kid philosophy. The One-Child-Policy is gone, but its residue remains.  The way Chinese families think about kids has been radically altered.

One-Child-Baptists

Americans can relate. The average American couple has 1.8 kids. And the average Southern Baptist couple has around 1.9 kids per couple. Even though we never had a One-Child-Policy, Baptist families had their thinking transformed during the sexual revolution. And now, no one wants kids.

Americans, Chinese, and Baptist share similar birth rates because we all share a similar worldview. No, we are not all communists. twins-775495_640But we all have adopted an anti-kid worldview. We all have decided to live for the pleasure of now. We want nice cars, clothes, and houses. We want to be able to experience the best that life has to over via vacations, parties, and good health. Kids threaten all those things.

And there is no amount of financial incentives or government programs that can convince us otherwise. Both Japan and Singapore have been trying for years to increase their birth rates.  When the Singapore government offered women $18,000 to have two kids, the women said, “No, thanks.” Today, their nation’s birth rate sits at dismal 1.1 kids per couple. There is no monetary benefit that can truly compensate a woman for all the things she sacrifices for her children.

Kids drastically interrupt the life, especially the one lived for pleasure. This morning, my toddler woke up me up an hour early. Our morning routine ended with him trying to bite my big toe. I’m not alone.

Instead of designer clothes, parents spend thousands on miniature plastic tubes for ear aches. Instead of vacations, parents get sleepless nights. And instead of healthy bodies, parents become worn and tired. As one author rightfully said,

“Children won’t change your life. They will utterly and completely destroy it.”

This is hardly the life most couples envisioned on their honeymoon. And so, we pleasure seeking Baptists start avoiding kids. We tell our young couples to enjoy life. Avoid pain and sorrow. Above all don’t have kids.

And little by little our tiny, country churches evaporate away as their nurseries sit empty. We Baptists wonder were all the people went. But we never stop and ask, “where did all the babies go?”

If our Baptist churches are going to end their defacto One-Child-Policy, we have to return to a biblical view of pleasure. Happiness for the Christian is not defined by personal peace and affluence. The Christian’s pleasure comes from glorifying God through worship and obedience. As John Piper often says, “We are most satisfied when God is most glorified.” Happiness comes from focusing on Christ. Because joy is not defined by our stuff or our physical health, Christians can and should do the hard things God commands. We should love our neighbors, travel for far away countries and  have kids. We should stop living for earthly treasure and lay up treasure in heaven by having, raising, and evangelizing the next generation. The vitality of our churches depends in part on our birth rates. The vitality of our personal faith depends upon it.

Now having children doesn’t save us. We don’t have to abandon breast feeding to ensure our Baptist gals have the most babies humanly possible. But we do need to reattach procreation to sex. We need to realize that God has called us to live lives for heavenly pleasure instead of earthly gain. We need to re-embrace God’s first command to be fruitful and multiply. We need to see children as a blessing and start having some more.

It’s Time To Stop Planned Parenthood

In an abortion there is always a very serious risk to the health and often to the life of the patient. – Margret Sanger (Women and the New Race)

STOP PPWatching Plan Parenthood (PP) doctors calmly describe the killing and selling of dead babies over a glass of wine has sent chills down America’s spine. And we should be horrified by the content of David Daleiden videos. But, we should also be grateful that these stories have broken. They’ve awoken us to reality. These conversations have reminded America that abortion is the nothing less than the cruel, unadulterated murder of innocent children.

But, It’s Just a Tissue

End of lifeThe CEO of PP, Cecile Richards, spent most of the weekend calling the murdered babies fetuses – a unborn vertebrate. But by selling the organs to research facilities dedicated to helping humans, Richards has admitted that the tissue is actually is human. She and her staff can sell the organs precisely because researchers want to human organs for their experiments. The research firms are not contracting with zoos for monkey livers. 

Moreover, a baby’s organs (like an adult’s organs) are only valuable if they come from a living host. Let me explain. For adult organs to be useful, they must be extracted from a body that’s both dead and alive. Although adults are declared “brain dead” before their organs are harvested, their bodies still possess some vitality (often via medical equipment). True death (the cessation of breathing and heart function) comes after the organs are extracted. Babies are no different. For an infant’s organs to be useful, they must be extracted from a living host. (The one major difference between adult and these criminal donations is consent. No baby has an organ donation sticker on her driver’s license) By selling the organs, PP has declared the fetuses to be living, human beings. It’s not a fetus; it’s a baby. Planned Parenthood has all but indicted itself for murder.

It’s Not For Profit:

is it legalTechnically, Richards can truthfully say that her organization does not profit from the selling of human organs. The price extracted for the organs is not being sent to PP shareholders. After all PP is a nonprofit organisation. But the money from the organs is being used to run local PP branches. As you can see from the YOUTUBE videos, the babies’ organs are being sold to cover operational costs. So Richards is technically right, Planned Parenthood isn’t profiting from the selling of dead babies. Such sales just go to paying for things like the electric bill and potentially Richard’s salary (a modest $523,616). And incidentally, any organ sale that goes beyond covering the cost for the removal of the organ is prohibited by federal law. And PP is regularly breaking federal law according to its employees.

But Planned Parenthood Does So Much Good:

Or so goes the claim. According to PP, abortion only counts for 3% of their services (BPNews). While true, the number is misleading. PP only counts the actually abortion procedure as an abortion. The other services the patient receives such as a pap test, or STI while preparing for an abortion are counted separately. We don’t know exactly how many of PP’s services are tied to the abortion industry. 

Moreover, it was recently discovered that only 5 of 97 surveyed PP locations offered pregnancy care in addition to abortion services.  

baby-784609_1280But, we do know that women who receive abortions are more likely to suffer from depression, alcoholism, and substances abuse (AAPLOG). Some researchers have tried to defend abortion by pointing to the fact that women who have aborted their babies face emotional challenges very similar to those faced by women who lost a child to miscarriage or stillbirth. But little ground is gained with this claim. The studies still reveal that women who undergo an abortion always suffer emotional and sometimes even physical pain. Abortion does not improve a woman’s emotional or physical health.  by killing their babies. PP is knowingly afflicting women with pain and mental anguish. Even the famed founder of PP, Margaret Sanger, recognized the evils of abortion writing, “in an abortion there is always a very serious risk to the health…of the patient.” 

We do know that PP directly harms women by killing their babies. How many discussions about family planning does it take to justify all the harm that PP has caused?  

The Christian Response:

We need to speak for the unborn. Babies are not tissue or a societal burden. They are people designed by God with intrinsic value and worth. The tiniest, most malformed baby is just as valuable as you or me (and the staff of PP). We were all created in the image of God (Psalm 139:13-16, Jeremiah 1:5; Galatians 1:15; and Luke 1:15)!

For you formed my inward parts;/you knitted me together in my mother’s womb – Psalm 119:13

 The two videos released by Center for Medical Progress have reminded the world that babies are valuable. Catching the attention of Dr. Russell Moore, John Piper, and David Platt (to name a few) the center has reinvigorated the abortion debate in a great way (No shootings or bombings). Congress is now investigating PP and presidential candidates are lining up to add defunding PP to their political platform. The church has the attention of America. We have a chance to close PP’s doors. And perhaps, we could even put an end to abortion. If we can keep the atrocities of abortion in the public eye by posting and reposting videos, pictures, and articles, politicians will continue to respond and eventually they may even take action. Today, the church is gaining momentum and PP is retreating. Join my in keeping the dialogue going. And then join me in praying that truth will win. Let’s pray that abortion will finally be ended! May God be merciful to us.