Saturday, September 16, 2006

Fruitfulness

Becky is discussing one of my favorite topics over on her site :). Make sure to read this discussion on fruitfulness.

29 comments:

Sherrin said...

Thanks for posting this link Susan. I was disturbed the other day when I got a comment on my site from a new person, visited her site, and discovered whe was describing herself as "childfree". She is a Christian who calls herself a lover of Jesus. Now I am not doubting her love for Christ, but I did find it very sad! I noted that under "Key posts" she had "My childfree choice". I didn't read it though, because I know how much it would be bound to upset me!

I find this topic a very emotive one, and actually feel quite upset when Christians express what I blieve are unbiblical attitudes to children. I feel even more upset when they know what the pill does, but they prefer that to having a child when you don't quite want one yet. The only cure for this type of thinking is to realise that fruitfulness really is a blessing, even though it also requires work!

I loved Lydrock's comment in the link you provided, that the marriage bed has two important reasons . . . in our time I think one is placed far above the other, and in the past perhaps it was the reverse. Some balance would be nice!

zan said...

Susan,

I loved your comment. You really have it together!

Susan said...

Oh, wow. The last thing I want is for people to think I have it together. But I appreciate the encouragement, Zan (and Sherrin). It sure is hard to strike a balance between legalism and license on this issue. May God give us all guidance!

zan said...

"The last thing I want is for people to think I have it together."

Fine. Susan is so messed up in her beliefs and theology that Jonathan Edwards, himself, wouldn't be able to figure out her reasoning. ; )

Happy now?

*mumbles to self* "last time I give Susan a compliment..."

Susan said...

Hehe. Okay, fine.

Thank you, Zan, for rightly pointing out that I am as near to perfected as one can be on this fallen earth. You correctly noted that my orthodoxy and orthopraxis are stellar. I'm glad someone has noticed. Perhaps more people will soon come to this realization.

;-)

Happy now?

zan said...

Yes, I am happy. When I compliment someone I MEAN it. : )

Seriously, though, I read Malachi last night and came across that verse about Godly offspring. (I read the NRSV). I had never seen that verse before. Thankyou for pointing it out. It is as plain as day that God wants believers to procreate. How has the mainstream protestant church messed this up so much? It is vey distressing that a lot of couples are putting mission trips before having children. Aaaaagh! What is their interpretation of this verse in Malachi?

Susan said...

I find this conversation extremely timely. Adrian and I are discussing the proper way to accept praise over on a P&P post.

Here are the two ways he suggests responding to praise:

1. Smile and say, "Thank you." 2. Very gently redirect the praise to God. "Praise God who gave me that talent (or whatever it is that's being praised).

I almost always choose the former because the latter rarely comes outside gracefully and with the sound of sincerity. I wish I could gracefully answer with the latter. It should be easier over Blogger, methinks :). I failed again. *sigh* Ah well.

I'm glad you enjoyed the Malachi reference. It is such an inspiring and important verse! I think for most people, they don't interpret this verse at all, for the simple reason that they are unaware of its existence. Most American Christians are "NT readers", and are barely familiar with the OT - or they think it doesn't apply. Different dispensation and all that.

Becky Miller said...

I often get frustrated by the modern Protestant mindset that the Old Testament doesn't apply to us any more at all, ever. There are portions that have been fulfilled, certainly - we don't have to sacrifice animals any more because Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice - but most of it is still vitally important as God's word to us. This issue often comes up when talking about children...many Christians tend to disregard OT principles about fruitfulness in marriage just because they are in the OT.

Susan said...

Careful, Becky. You sound more and more reformed everyday. You're going to be Reformed Presbyterian before you know it ;). . . or maybe Reformed Baptist.

zan said...

Reformed Presbyterian...hmmm, can you be a presbyterian and NOT be reformed. I know you can be a "wicked liberal presbyterian," but just wondered if there were "slightly Arminian" presbyterians.

Rebecca said...

Hello--just stopping by to say thank you for contributing your thoughts to our "debate" on Becky's blog! :) I also just want to say I am in no way offended by your responses to my posts so please don't worry about that. I understand that you only meant to provoke thought and contribute to the conversation, and not to offend, so thanks! That is also my motive so I hope nothing I say upsets anyone either. I don't really have much to add at this time but thank you for giving me more to think about!

Becky Miller said...

Ha ha! It's so true. I do find my theology leaning that direction more every day. : ) (Last year at my job, my boss AND our art director were/are both Reformed...I had some great conversations with them that helped me understand the Reformed position much better. Growing up as an "evangelical," for lack of a better word, I had only been exposed to extreme Calvinism as the opposite of evengelicalism, and it had never made sense to me.

Thanks for your excellent thoughts in the discussion over at my place. I really appreciated your thoroughness and well-reasoned approach. I actually didn't think that such a small post - two paragraphs long! - would generate so much good discussion.

Susan said...

Zan,
My dad has said the same thing, that reformed Presbyterian is redundant :), essentially. I consider it an emphasis on the reformed before the presbyterian, though. When people ask me, for example, what "flavor" of Christian I am, I usually respond that I am a Christian of the reformed, Presbyterian variety, because I am a Christian first, reformed second, and presbyterian third. All that being said, there are about a zillion denominations that label themselves reformed presbyterian. I don't know if that is for emphasis, but that is my guess. Slightly Arminian presbyterians? That's funny :).

Thank you for stopping by, Becca. I'm glad we can discuss things without flame throwing. It should be the norm for fellow Christians, but sadly it often is not :(. I've appreciated your perspective as well.

Becky,
I know exactly what you mean about first only being exposed to warped Calvinism. The majority of people have a very distorted view of Calvinism. Were every Christian to read R.C. Sproul's Chosen by God, for example, a whole lot would be cleared up on that score :).

zan said...

But Billy Sunday was a Presbyterian. He was the guy who got the crowd worked up and had them "hitting the sawdust trail". I wonder how "presbyterian" he was.

There are also some wicked liberal presbyterians, so I wonder how reformed they are.

Susan said...

Billy Sunday was Presbyterian? I had no idea. You are right that many presbyterians are liberal; in fact, the largest presbyterian denomination in the US is the PCUSA, which is theologically liberal. I think that may be why many of the theologically conservative denominations add "reformed" to their name. Extra clarification :).

Ashley said...

I had a friend actually who thought that all Presbyterians were liberal, because he had only been exposed to the PCUSA.

Zan, I'm enjoying your "wicked liberal presbyterians". :-) My hubby is from New England and he always groans when people use the word "wicked" in that way. ;-)

zan said...

Why does he groan? Is he ashamed of his heritage??? ; )

I actually was brought up saying "wicked" to describe something extreme. It wasn't until a few years ago that I understood that the word used this way is unique to New England. However, I have noticed that it is going mainstream. Now it is just used as "Whoa, dude that was wicked!" Not very New England way to use it.

Growing up we would say that food was wicked good or it is wicked cold outside!

My inlaws are from Jersey and they think the term is so bizarre.

zan said...

Yes, Susan. Billy Sunday was licensed by the Presbyterian Church to preach. I don't know that much about him, but I do remember thinking that he was a very unusual type of Presbyterian. he spent a lot of time preaching against alcohol.

Susan said...

I'm amused by the conversation about "wicked." In other parts of the US, if something is good, or really good, it's "bad." Oh, nice purse. It's bad.

That's sort of twisted, if you think about it. So is "wicked" or "bad" then good? *thinks to self*

Actually, Presbyterians against alcohol is not such an isolated notion. I don't agree with the alcohol-is-wrong position, but I know that many Presbyterians do favor that position, and I used to hold that sort of position (to an extent) myself. I'm certainly not opposed to someone choosing to abstain from alcohol! - that would be me, in fact ;). I very much enjoyed my pastor's sermon on the subject this past week. For anyone interested, go here and click on sermons, and it's the last one, titled "Wine."

And for anyone wondering at this point how a post providing a link about "fruitfulness" came full circle to Billy Sunday and alcohol, I merely point out that wine is often referred in the Bible as the "fruit of the vine," and then we've come full circle :-D.

Ashley said...

Yeah he doesn't like New England much. I like to tease him by saying his name with a New England accent, or asking him if he wants some "soder"... hehe

I had never heard of the term "wicked" as anything other than its obvious meaning before I went to college and met people from New England for the first time. What a diverse country we live in!

zan said...

Susan,

I think the "bad" that you hear is very different than the "wicked" that we say.

My grandfather says "wicked." "Bad" is rather new. I only hear young adults saying it.

BTW, I have no problem with abstaining. I just think Billy Sunday preached on abstaining too much and demonized any alcohol. This was during prohibition, too.

I have never met a Presbyterian who abstained. All the ultra conservative Presbyterians I have met are the wine-only-for communion types.

Yes we do live in a diverse world (even the small Presbyterian world).

Ashley,

Even though N.E. is very liberal and has long winters, I could not imagine living anywhere else. It is so pretty and I love the changing seasons (though I would prefer that summer be a little longer). ; D

zan said...

Susan,

I listened to 2/3 of the sermon you recommended and I thought it was really good. I would've listened to the entire thing, but the phone rang and there was no pause!!!

Oh, well. I will try to listen to it again later.

Thanks!

Adrian C. Keister said...

*sigh* More abstainers, eh? We'll just have to work on that.

The fact is, the Bible has lots to say, negatively, about getting drunk. It has precisely nothing to say against a moderate use of alcohol. Wine and such are clearly not sinful to enjoy. Otherwise, Jesus would not have turned the water into wine at Cana, and Paul would not have recommended wine to Timothy for his stomach. While I am no connoisseur, I like wine a good deal. I just know what tastes good, and that initial "buzz" you get from the first glass (usually that's as far as I go) is very pleasant. But for me, the real attraction of wine is the after-taste. I've never had anything that has such a vivid after-taste as a really dry wine like Merlot or Chardonnay. You smell it first, then slosh it around in your mouth for a while (no doubt the purists have some technical, fancy term for this such as "experiencing the bouquet"), and after you've downed it, you get this incredible sensation.

"Wine maketh glad the heart of man."

In Christ.

Susan said...

Okay, this will have to be the last comment for tonight. I need sleep! You're becoming hard to keep up with - and you've complained about me in the past. *hmmph* Not that I mind, mind you. I appreciate the amusing and stimulating conversation.

So we're a project? Thanks *rolls eyes* But in all serious, I can give you my two, simple reasons that I currently abstain from alcohol:

(1) None of my closest friends or family drinks alcohol, so I've never had occasion to, really.

(2) I don't like juice, so I probably wouldn't like wine. I drink water by the liter, but rarely drink any other beverage. I'm happy with water!

I seriously have no problem with those who do drink wine, etc., but I just don't currently. It's not at all a matter of conscience, just circumstance. I appreciate your concern, though ;).

Incidentally, we had two missionaries staying with us for a few days last month. They asked about bringing home some wine to share with the evening meal and were surprised to find Presbyterians who don't drink wine ;). They were additionally perplexed that our family had no coffee, caffeinated tea, or a TV in the main rooms (we have one upstairs and one in my parents' room). They accused us of being Mormon :). Then the next day my dad was spooning supper leftovers into a tupperware to take to school for lunch the next day, and one of the men asked him if he always takes his lunch to school, to which Father Dear replied that he almost always did. "It's great around here, with so many cooks. It's almost like having three wives." ;-) The Mormon joke was sort of continual during their stay :-D.

Adrian C. Keister said...

Oh, that's a relief. You've convinced me that you're not a project, at least. Now please understand, this is a matter of Christian freedom, so I'm not going to coerce you into drinking wine. As if I could anyway. I have this gut feeling that you're a little too strong for that sort of thing.

No, no. I'm going to try to gently cajole you into trying some wine. So, in answer to your "objections," for lack of a better term (they're really too weak for that), here goes.

1. Start like a trend. You could be, like, the most, like, hip tween [sic] on the, like, block, like! (Please don't lose your dinner over the excessive teen language.) You dig?

Seriously, why not regard your Sabbath meal together as a family as a special occasion to try some wine? Helps with the wedding (true) versus funeral (false) aspect of the Sabbath.

2. Wine doesn't taste like juice. Wine is its own thing, completely. Well, I should say the dry wines don't taste like juice. There are fruitier wines like white zinfandel (should've been named pink zinfandel). I liked those at first, but then I started to like the drier ones more on account of the after-taste.

Here's a bare-bones guide to choosing wine: heavier meat (beef, pork, etc.) goes with red wine like merlot, lighter meat (chicken, fish) goes with white wine like chardonnay. That's it.

As you can see, I'm terribly snooty about all this shtuff.

In Christ.

Adrian C. Keister said...

O, and your missionary story was hilarious. Thanks for sharing it!

In Christ

Susan said...

Those weren't objections, those were reasons. Big difference :). Call my reasons weak if you will. I don't even really like soda. I drink water, and occasionally tea or lemonade. That's about it. Why would I go out of my way to try a new beverage when I have no peer pressure to do so? Or is there, now that you're trying to "gently cajole" me into trying some? *raises eyebrows*

Actualy, some of my acquaintances wouldn't appreciate my attempt at trendsetting, methinks :). I know a lot of dear Baptists and Evangelicals. . . :). I was reading that paragraph of yours, and was very perplexed after that first misplaced "like." It just didn't flow well :).

How about this. I won't promise or even insinuate that I'll try wine in the near future. I'm rather ambivalent to it all right now. But, I'll honestly say that I'm not closed-minded about eventually trying some, and maybe I'll break out the champagne for the first grandchild or something ;).

Adrian C. Keister said...

No, I don't want you to think of my attempts to gently cajole you as "peer pressure."

Oh, it didn't flow well. How about that? Why didn't someone tell me that before? I always used to think that the word "like" was substitutable for every word in the English language. It's not? Hmm.

Your last paragraph is totally fine, though honestly I wouldn't recommend champaigne. I can't stand the stuff! I think it tastes awful. Almost as bad as beer. I don't know why anyone would want to take the perfectly good taste of wine and carbonate it, or the equivalent thereof. Just try, if the time comes, a standard wine like Chardonnay or Merlot. Or if you really want to start easy, White Zinfandel. That's what I'd recommend.

In Christ.

Susan said...

Well, it looks like we've come to a mutual understanding :). Is it all right to TIOC?