I know this sounds pretty gloomy, but your life is ending. That’s one thing we all know for sure. Death is inescapable. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately… not necessarily death, but rather the time we have here on earth between conception and the day we breath our last breath. So I’ve been thinking about life actually and the limited time we spend living it. Time is precious, no doubt, and we never know when ours is going to end. We get one chance at life to do whatever we are going to do and with every passing moment we will never get that time back again. Unless you’re Dr. Strange or Superman, you can’t rewind time and have a do-over.
Knowing that my time is limited, I started thinking about how I’ve spent my 35 years on earth so far. I also asked myself, “If I die today, would I be able to look back at my life and be truly satisfied with how I spent my years here?” Right now the answer would be “no” and it may always be no, but that’s what will keep me striving for greatness.
I would love for everyone to be able to answer these questions for themselves:
If I die today, would I be able to look back at my life and be truly satisfied with how I spent my years here?
If the answer to the above question is “yes,” then WHY is it “yes?”
If the answer to the above question is “no,” then what can you do to live a life that you’d be satisfied with?
What kind of legacy to you want to leave?
Do you want to be remembered as a world-class spouse who became an example to other married couples, which strengthen the Sacrament of Marriage?
Do you want to be remembered as a world-class parent who sets the bar for other parents strive to hit?
Tell me if this doesn’t sober you up: Do you want your mark on this earth to be gravestone and some cloudy memories of you, which will die with the people you experienced those memories with?
“You can‘t leave footprints in the sands of time if you‘re sitting on your butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?”
The question is, what are you going to do with the time you’re given and with the rest of the sand in the hour glass. This is the BEST video that I have found which stresses this point. Take 5 minutes out of your day to watch it:
Over the last year there has been a major issue on my heart that I haven’t known quite how to share until now. Most of my friends know that I grew up in the Catholic Church, attended Catholic grade school, and even a Catholic college. Then, I fell away from the Church because even after all that Catholic schooling I didn’t know what I didn’t know. (*mainly because I have a very hard time paying attention for a time span longer than few minutes – thank God I found Spark)
I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
Over several years I took the time to challenge my faith – every bit of it. I challenged why the Church taught what it taught and asked as many “why” questions as I could. Throughout that process I heavily educated myself on not just the Catholic Church’s teachings, but also on the teachings and beliefs of other faiths including many Protestant ones. Through that process I’ve become much more in-tune with the teachings of the Catholic Church and am stronger in my faith than I’ve ever been. I thank my beautiful wife for constantly challenging me to be even stronger in it.
During my questioning phase I spoke with many Protestant friends and I heard on many occasions that they knew “Catholics” that weren’t living very holy lives and apparently had a poor reputation, which led my Protestant friends away from the Catholic Church. Needless to say, that was not a very comforting thing to hear. It especially wasn’t comforting because I knew exactly what they were talking about because I was at one time part of that problem.
I think everyone experiences the questions of “What church do you go to?” or “Are you a Christian?” at some point in their lives. I know I had been asked those questions numerous times. Now, I was not the model Catholic by any means and I wouldn’t even say a model man, but because I grew up Catholic and went to Catholic school I would always tell people I was Catholic. I claimed my Catholic faith like a badge of honor even when I wasn’t attending mass regularly, didn’t know what the Church taught, and when I was living a very unholy life. Ergo… my contribution to part of the problem I mentioned earlier.
This was the big issue with me and the big issue that I see a lot of today: I was turning people away from the Church because of the way I lived. I was a terrible witness and wish I had never told people I was Catholic on the many occasions that I had because I was a poor example of one. Well, just like when smokers quit smoking they begin to notice how terrible cigarettes smell and how unpleasant they are, when I re-dedicated myself to the Church I began to notice so many other people living the same way I was living. Now I see other “Catholics” claiming their Catholic upbringing like a badge of honor all the time and especially lately even with regard to the 5 non-negotiables (1. Abortion and subsets in that category including contraception, and in vitro fertilization/fertility treatments; 2. Euthanasia; 3. Same-sex “marriage,”; 4. Human cloning; and 5. Embryonic stem cell research). While there are MANY things you can disagree with in the Catholic Church, as a Catholic, those 5 things you cannot.
Here are a couple recent examples: First, I think everyone heard of the highly publicized Brittany Maynard physician-assisted suicide (euthanasia) case. If you didn’t then you most likely don’t have internet, a phone, television, etc. because it was everywhere. I posted a blog post about how euthanasia is intrinsically evil then posted it to Facebook and I had a ton of Catholic friends that argued with me saying that she should be happy and not have to suffer any pain.
The most recent example are all of my Catholic friends that have supported same-sex “marriage” by shouting victories in Facebook statuses claiming their support of it and even changing their Facebook profile pictures to depict a rainbow (which somehow now is a symbol for gay pride as opposed to a sign of a covenant from God). I believe this support was driven by compassion rather than a knowledge of and disregard of the Church’s teachings.
Some people believe that because Catholics don’t approve of same-sex “marriage” that they hate homosexuals. That is incorrect. This may surprise many people, but the Catholic Church actually teaches about same sex attraction. There is no hate in its teachings:
CCC 2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
That’s the kind of stuff I’m talking about. (Quick side note… God did not teach us to not judge. In fact, He taught us HOW to judge). Catholics can disagree with MANY of the Church’s teachings, but NOT one of the 5 non-negotiables. Those are not open to your opinion, argument, etc. Not only can you not participate in OR even support them, as Catholics you have an obligation to vote against them and the political candidates that approve of them.
It was very heartbreaking to see so many of my Catholic friends supporting same-sex “marriage” just because they want their homosexual friends to be “happy.” It’s heartbreaking mainly because that shows that many of my Catholic friends are not in-tune with their faith anymore or even worse never were – much like where I was. We as a society must realize that God did not tell us that we are here for our pleasure and to do whatever makes us happy. Nor did He put us here to show support for sin. We are created for much more.
So here is my request, if you are openly supporting any of the 5 non-negotiables, PLEASE do not be the type of Catholic I once was and send mixed messages about the Church. The bride of Christ, the Catholic Church, is unexplainably beautiful. When my wife and I discovered its true beauty we fell in a deeper love with Christ than ever before. I feel terrible for once associating my poor actions with the Church in the past and for turning people away from it. I only share this and make this request because I don’t want someone else to feel the shame I felt by doing so. I encourage everyone to grow deeper in their faith and be open to challenging it and to receive the challenging responses with an open mind.
As I sit here and contemplate the decision of the Supreme Court on “same-sex marriage,” I’m realizing that I’m not very surprised with the opinion. Considering previous posts and my conservative views, some may expect this post to be hurtful, hateful, offensive, etc. I assure you it’s none of those, at least it’s not intended to be. I love my brother’s and sisters whether they are heterosexual or homosexual. I truly do. So before reading this post, please watch this short video:
I am expressing my concerns with where this world is heading without fear of offending anyone because that’s not what I’m trying to do. It’s time that the intolerant “tolerance police” become tolerant of other people’s views themselves. It’s time that we can speak openly, disagree, and still love one another, still talk with one another, and still be friends. It is okay for people to have a differing opinion than you. It is okay to disagree. You don’t have to hate them, ridicule them, de-friend them, etc.
This is not some foolish or ignorant debate, because it has serious consequences for our future generations. (2 Timothy 23) I would be slow to call a discussion of such an important subject foolish or ignorant. So as I explain the issue with SCOTUS’s decision, I hope you would understand my purpose by reflecting on these verses: “A slave of the Lord should not quarrel, but should be gentle with everyone, able to teach, tolerant, correcting opponents with kindness. It may be that God will grant them repentance that leads to knowledge of the truth, and that they may return to their senses out of the devil’s snare, where they are entrapped by him, for his will.” (2 Timothy 24-26) That is my intention with this post:
On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) legalized what they call “same-sex marriage;” an act that many have declared has changed the “definition of marriage.” The claim that SCOTUS has changed the definition of marriage is in fact true… from a relativist point of view. What is relativism, besides “the most significant problem for faith and morals today?” Allow me to educate you by using a few examples:
Example 1: I tell you that “the world is round.” Then you tell me “that may be true for you, but I believe it is flat.”
Example 2: I tell you that “the sky is blue and that’s the color that we call blue.” You then tell me that may be true for me and many other people, but you are deciding that it is red and that’s what is true for you.
Example 3: I tell you that “marriage is a sacred sacramental union between a man, a woman, and God, which is more than just two people loving each other and a contractual piece of paper conferring governmental benefits on people.” You then tell me that you believe “God is love and because of that He would want everyone to marry whoever they love.”
With relativism you’re deciding what’s true to you, not what is actually true. In today’s society we are allowing people to make their own truths because we believe they should be free to believe what they want and are continually asked “who are we to judge them for believing what they believe?”
This is no more true in any other situation than in people’s beliefs on same-sex unions. So in fear of being seen as a bigot, a homophobe, a hate monger, among many other things, those that believe in what is called “Biblical marriage” are being suppressed from expressing the truth; however, as most of you may know, I’ve never been one to allow myself to feel suppressed. 😉
1.The government should never had involved itself in the “marriage business” in the first place (heterosexual or homosexual).
2. SCOTUS has changed the “legal definition” that the government will use for “marriage.” That does not change what the Sacrament of marriage actually is. From the beginning of time, God designed marriage to be a sacrament between a man, a woman, and Him. That’s what it always has been and that’s what it always will be. It matters not what the government decides to define it as because we are not the government. We are the people. The people of God. Marriage has not been changed today my friends, nor will it ever. SCOTUS’s decision today is a perfect example of relativism. SCOTUS can redefine marriage for the government viewpoint to be a man and a woman, two people of the same sex, a person and a dog, a person and a tree, a person and whatever or whoever they love, etc. That will never change what marriage actually is and it’ll never change this definition:
“The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring, has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptized.” Canon 1055 §1 of the Catholic Church.
He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” – Mathew 19:4-6
So for all of you that are stressing or worried about two people of the same sex getting “married,” please don’t feel that way because of the fact that some people are now receiving a paper document acknowledging that union and receiving financial benefits from it. Instead, take comfort in that fact that marriage has not changed. Marriage is defined now as it always has been defined by God. No man, government, or court can change that.
I think Glenn Beck sums up the tolerance point very well:
If you want to read a hilarious response to the court’s ruling, read this: “I’ve Decided to Marry Bacon.“
Another weekend… ANOTHER TRIP! This time we had the pleasure of hanging out with some incredible friends in my parents’ very own backyard in Orange Beach, AL! We stayed at the Caribe Resort and if you’ve never been there then I highly suggest you vacation there ASAP! It was amazing! The weather was beautiful the entire weekend as you can see in the pictures below. You’ll also be able to see God’s handy work and how beautiful his painting skills are.
We spent time at the pool, eating at some great restaurants, and even cooking in by having a shrimp boil on Saturday night to fellowship with some of our friends. AdvoCare has blessed us in so many ways. So on this trip we brought seven of our teammates with us to enjoy the fun in the sun!
The shot below is a panoramic view from “part” of our balcony. I stress the word “part” because if you look at the bottom left you’ll see that it wraps around the building!
Here I put it into perspective for you by having Mariah stand at one end of the balcony before it wraps around so that you can see how long one side of it is. For those of you that know her, you know how tall she is. She’s so far away that it makes her look short!
This is a shot from the portion of the balcony that wraps around. It’s of the bay right behind the condo. We were surrounded by water and as you can see, the weather was amazing!
This shot is from another portion of our balcony. You can see the miniature putt-putt course, the lazy river, and one of the many pools all on the second level of the condo! When i say this place is awesome… I MEAN IT!
This view is from one of the couches inside our 4 bedroom – 3 bath condo! VERY COMFORTABLE!
Mariah and I decided to take a picture the first night we were there from the balcony. The views of this place at night are almost as beautiful as they are in the daytime.
I snapped these pictures on our way back from dinner the first night. This is one of the many pools they had there. You should be able to see the slide on the right.
All of the trip hosts went to dinner on the first night we were down there at Cobalt. The Caribe is amazing enough, but add in this restaurant and then it’s beyond words! Cobalt has some of the BEST FOOD I’ve ever had!
The shot below is another shot from the balcony on day #2 of the trip! It’s a panoramic shot that exposes the full beauty of this side of the condo.
This shot is of the beach in front of the condo. As you can see, there’s nothing blocking our view of the beautiful beaches of Orange Beach, AL!
I posted up to read on the balcony the first morning as we waited for our friends to arrive. No doubt… one of the best reading spots I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
These next two shots are from one of our team’s other condos on the bay side. This view is just as beautiful!
The day before we left, we ate at The Gulf restaurant… ANOTHER amazing restaurant right by our condo. Quite possibly the coolest beach atmosphere I’ve ever eaten at in my life. I can’t believe I’ve never been there!
We ate there with some of our good friends and teammates Eddie and Sara Wilson! If or when you eat there… GET THE HUMMUS!
We were also joined by the newlyweds Justin and Michelle MacKay!
The food at Cobalt and The Gulf restaurants was amazing, but this might just have taken the cake! Our friends, the Butlers, and us co-hosted a Saturday night shrimp boil in our condo with my grandfather’s recipe! IT WAS AMAZIFABULOUSIFICENTLY AWESOME!
This may be the last you hear from me because I’m pretty sure that Mariah is going to kill me for releasing these statements. As most of you know, she’s absolutely HILARIOUS! I have been secretly writing down just a small bit of her funny comments for everyone to get a good laugh. If you all don’t hear from me for a few days, it’ll be because she didn’t take it to well and I’m in the dog house. Either way, I think once you read how funny these comments are that you’ll know it was worth the trouble I could get in and the punishment I may suffer. 😉
August 21, 2014
This morning Mariah told me:
“I had really crazy dreams last night again! I dreamt about Captain Planet and this key that I had to get to that was in the foot of a Care Bear.”
August 20, 2014
Mariah called me this morning and said, “I just want to let you know that I am a really good mood this morning. I don’t know if it was the meal replacement shake I just had or what, but I am so happy right now. If I had a theme song it would be a mash up between Pharrell’s “Happy” and The Muppets’s “Life’s A Happy Song.”
August 19, 2014
MARIAH: “I’m really freaked out right now.”
MARIAH: “I don’t know. I looked at my arm too long and started thinking about the skeletal system.”
August 18, 2014
Mariah and I were talking about an old funny story of mine from law school and she said:
“You were a bully. Here’s the thing. You’re not going to bully me.”
ME: There is no “thing.”
MARIAH: “Yeah, that’s the thing. You’re not gonna bully me because I’ll throat chop you. You better watch yourself mister.”
August 17, 2014
Pulling into church…
MARIAH: “Awe man! Don’t they have a reserved expecting mother spot!?”
Leaving the gun range…
“I’m telling you, I will learn how to shoot a crossbow. I want to be ready for the hunger games. This whole world is like the hunger games. The ones that aren’t prepared as victors are the ones that die. I’m going to teach myself to climb a tree… with my bare hands… with no branches.”
July 27, 2014
ME: “What is that smell!? Is that your feet?
ME: “It smells like vinegar! It is your feet!”
MARIAH: “Yeah, I clean my feet with vinegar.”
June 27, 2014
MARIAH: “When are you going to give me a million dollars?”
ME: “A million dollars?”
MARIAH: “Yeah. We’ve been married a month and a half. That’s my monthly rate. So I’m actually giving you a break.”
June 26, 2014
ME: “Did you eat chocolate?”
MARIAH: “No. That’s from the car (hour ago). I had that AdvoBar.”
ME: “I smell it.”
MARIAH: “Acid reflux for the win!”
June 22, 2014
MARIAH: “Sometimes I find the best defense is to go on the offense and let you kiss me.”
ME: “What? That’s not an offense.”
MARIAH: “I don’t know. I don’t know what either of those terms mean.”
JUNE 20, 2014
MARIAH: “If anyone tries to kidnap me I’m going to eat my own hair.”
MARIAH: “Yeah, so they’ll think I’m crazy.”
JUNE 19, 2014
MARIAH: “You’re a good man Charlie Brown.”
ME: “We’ve already been over this. It’s James.”
MARIAH: “Sorry. Short term memory problems. You’re a good man James Brown.”
JUNE 8, 2014
As Mariah gets ready to get out of bed, I wanted to show her something on my phone and said:
ME: “Wait, I want to show you something.”
MARIAH: “I want to show YOU something! You are wearing the shirt I went to bed in.”
ME: “You mean MY shirt?”
MARIAH: “COME AT ME BRO!”
I hope you all enjoyed Mariah’s hilarious comments! I’ll be keeping a list of the upcoming ones (and I’m sure they’ll be more) so that I can share them with you all. I’m certain now that I have the funniest wife known to man. Like i said, this is a list of just SOME of the funny things she has said since I began keeping track. Half of the time I’m laughing to hard to remember to write them down. Make sure you FOLLOW this blog by subscribing on the right so you’ll get her funny comment updates!
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DISCLAIMER: Before you read this post, I’m going to go ahead and clarify a few things for you. This blog post is about what my wife and I believe and the way we choose to live our lives. You don’t have to agree with us. Your beliefs are your beliefs. This post is not to condemn or persecute anyone. It is about our beliefs and the way we choose to live our lives. If you feel conflicted about this post, I would love to have a healthy discussion with you about it. When I mention “The Church” I am referencing to The One True Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The one Jesus started with Peter. I am not a theologian, nor am I an official spokesperson for the Catholic Church. (You’re thinking of this guy.) If you read anything on this blog that is contrary to Church teaching, please consider it my error (and let me know!). I’m not a doctor or an expert on anything in particular. I’m just one person with a desire to share my joy in marriage and my faith. (Thank you Kendra for additions to my disclaimer)
After my last post regarding birth control, I received both positive and negative comments, but mostly positive. I even received positive comments from dissenters about how well it was written and how the Facebook commenting was all handled. So even though some may have disagreed with our view on birth control, they still had positive things to say.
Well, after speaking with a friend of mine, I have decided to clarify a few things by mentioning the Church’s stance on this issue and clarify that when I was referring to “birth control” that I am talking about artificial/unnatural methods. I also have decided to clarify my comments regarding the non-denominational minister.
Topics that won’t be discussed here are as follows: In Vitro Fertilization, same-sex relations, barrenness, abortion, non-married chaste individuals (nuns & priests), welfare, the stance or lack thereof that some denominations take on this issue, etc. I do not like getting off topic and the topic is what form of child planning The Church does approve. For the same reasons, I also remove comments on Facebook and this blog for confusion of the issues. I do not like to have issues that are not originally discussed in my post interjected into the conversation.
BIRTH CONTROL (CONTRACEPTIVES) METHODS:
In my last post I mentioned “birth control.” I should’ve clarified what I meant each time I mentioned it instead of just once by writing birth control/contraceptives that I meant artificial forms of birth control. Artificial birth control encompasses many types. Here is the list…
- Abstinence Birth Control Implant (Implanon and Nexplanon)
- Birth Control Patch (Ortho Evra)
- Birth Control Pills
- Birth Control Shot (Depo-Provera) (CHECK OUT THESE WARNINGS)
- Birth Control Sponge (Today Sponge)
- Birth Control Vaginal Ring (NuvaRing)
- Cervical Cap (FemCap)
- Female Condom
- Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FAMs)
- IUD (BECAUSE THIS LOOKS NORMAL)
- Morning-After Pill (Emergency Contraception)
- Sterilization for Women (Tubal Sterilization)
- Withdrawal (Pull Out Method)
THE CHURCH’S STANCE ON BIRTH CONTROL/NFP:
The Church’s stance is that using artificial means to space out childbirths is wrong. Period. That’s as simple as it can be put. The list above contains all of the artificial methods that prevent childbirth. That being said, there were many questions regarding not having children because of financial or medical (life threatening) reasons that stemmed from my original post. I intend to touch on those topics below.
First, I would like to point out that The Church does not condemn spacing out births or the number of births you have, but it does take a stance as to how you should do it and when. Let us to take a look at what The Church has said on your motives for spacing out births:
If, then, there are serious motives (WHEN) to space out births, which derive from the physical or psychological conditions of husband and wife, or from external conditions, the Church teaches that it is then licit to take into account the natural rhythms (HOW) immanent in the generative functions… [Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae 16]
THE WHEN: In our opinion, “serious motives” do not entail some people’s motives not to have children such as not being able to travel, choosing to live life for a while without the responsibility of children, or being able to afford having materialistic things of this world instead of using our funds to raise and provide for children. If those seem “serious” to you then you may want to pray about your priorities in life and what you value most. I know we did before we came to this resolution. Those motives are out of selfishness, not responsibility, which will be discussed below.
THE HOW: Please take note that the terminology used is “natural” rhythms. As I stated earlier, the methods for birth control listed above are of artificial means. Well, what’s the definition of “artificial?”
Artificial: 1. not of natural or real : made, produced, or done to seem like something natural. 2. not happening or existing naturally created or caused by people 3. not sincere
Using deductive reasoning, hopefully this point can be made clear. The Church only approves of natural methods to space out childbirths. Artificial is not natural by its very definition. Therefore, The Church does not approve of artificial methods to space out childbirths.
We’ve covered “serious motives.” Here’s some more terminology from The Church… “just reasons” and “selfishness.”
For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality. [Catechism of the Catholic Church 2368]
THE WHEN: Here again we are discussing the “motives” and as stated above in our opinion, the term selfishness is included. Not only can you not have selfish motives, but they must also be fueled by motives of “responsible parenthood.” You must have just reasons and you have to do some serious prayer as to what fuels your motives. If it’s selfishness, then your motives are wrong. Again, we share the views of The Church. If they are not your views then we love you all the same. We just disagree with your motives and decisions.
The devil wants us to be selfish. He’s put it in our minds and we have become institutionalized to believe that using contraceptives is natural. He’s a plagiarist and has taken something that God created for our pleasure and purpose and has made it his own: unnatural, selfish and not giving fully of oneself to your spouse, and creating barriers to life and love.
Now, let’s look to the heart of NFP’s (Natural Family Planning) methods…
However, profoundly different from any contraceptive practice is the behavior of married couples, who, always remaining fundamentally open to the gift of life, live their intimacy only in the unfruitful periods, when they are led to this course by serious motives of responsible parenthood. This is true both from the anthropological and moral points of view, because it is rooted in a different conception of the person and of sexuality. The witness of couples who for years have lived in harmony with the plan of the Creator, and who, for proportionately serious reasons, licitly use the methods rightly called “natural,” confirms that it is possible for spouses to live the demands of chastity and of married life with common accord and full self-giving. [Pontifical Council for the Family, Vademecum for Confessors Concerning Some Aspects of the Morality of Conjugal Life, 2.6]
The Church goes on:
Serious motives, just reasons, proportionately serious reasons. The Church teaches the necessity of just or serious motives or reasons for couples to use the infertile periods of a woman’s cycle for the purpose of spacing births. In doing so she is trying to insure that the natural methods of spacing children are used in a virtuous and loving way, i.e., unselfishly. Serious reasons mean important, or non-trivial, reasons, deriving “from the physical or psychological conditions of husband and wife, or from external conditions” (HV 16). Just reasons are, likewise, reasons which correspond to the truth of marriage and the situation of the couple. It is the nature of justice to correspond to the truth. Both terms, serious and just, presumes there can be selfish, trivial or unjust reasons for using NFP, reasons not in keeping with the nature of marriage as a community of life and love.
The Church does approve NFP ONLY after serious prayer has been made and the motives are not out of selfishness, but are out of responsible parenthood and for serious reasons. Please note that still, The Church and Mariah and I hold that you should ONLY use NATURAL methods.
“Unfruitful Periods”: As summed up as much as I possibly can, I will explain what they mean by “unfruitful periods.” NFP involves having sex with your spouse (a husband and a wife – a male and a female) only during the “unfruitful periods” (when she’s not ovulating) and abstaining from sex when she is ovulating. That way, when you’re having sex, it is natural and not artificial. We hold strong in our belief that changing the natural chemical makeup of a woman, the way God intended her to be, by using artificial methods to make it to where she is never ovulating is wrong.
“Selfishness” and “Responsible Parenthood”: Here’s something else you should realize when discussing responsible parenthood and being able to financially provide for your children: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GET THEM THE LATEST GREATEST MOST TOYS IN THE WORLD! So many parents today think that they aren’t doing enough for their children if they don’t have the best and newest means of entertainment for their children or materialistic methods for their growth process. I had video games when I was young, but the majority of my childhood was spent outside in the woods literally swinging from trees, building pine straw forts, and making up games to play outside such as obstacle courses which involved running and jumping. Guess how much that cost my parents… NOTHING. You are not an irresponsible parent if you can’t provide more than the necessities for your child.
HOW WE LOVE:
Pope John Paul II’s Theology of The Body holds some very good points on how we should love:
The human body is the expression or manifestation of the human person. John Paul II speaks of the body as revealing the person and when we express God-like acts through the body, the body is actually a physical image of God. Pope John Paul II goes so far as to say that the human body speaks a language. (Theology of the Body series, as well as Familiaris Consortio.) Since we are created to act as God acts, and He LOVES, we are created to love as He does. Since we have bodies, and we express our acts in and through our bodies, God gave us a means of expressing love physically. Since true, authentic love is THE most God-like act possible for human beings (because it is the most God-like act), and since the body has the possibility of expressing this love, the study of those powers of the body through which we can express an intimate self-giving love will reveal more about the person and even about God than the study of other aspects of the human body.
THE INCEPTION OF ARTIFICIAL BIRTH CONTROL:
Some of you don’t even know how artificial means of birth control really became popular and I thank a friend of mine for reminding me about it by commenting on my last post. Birth control became popularized because of a woman by the name of Margaret Sanger who was also a huge proponent of negative eugenics. What is negative eugenics? It’s the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, especially by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits. As part of Sanger’s efforts to promote birth control, she found common cause with proponents of eugenics, believing that they both sought to “assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit.” (Wiki) She is quoted here in April 1932 Birth Control Review, pg. 108 as saying, “Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.” And when referring to “blacks, immigrants, and poor people” she is quoted referring to them as “human weeds,’ ‘reckless breeders,’ ‘spawning… human beings who never should have been born.” Margaret Sanger, Pivot of Civilization. In essence, she believed wholeheartedly in the effect and purpose of negative eugenics used by the Nazi regime. She just used different methods. How’s that pill taste now? We were blown away when we learned of this.
CLARIFICATION ON THE MINISTER CONVERSATION:
For clarification purposes, I will revisit my conversation with the minister. He is only one of hundreds of thousands of people that use what we and The Church believe are improper methods of birth control. He stated that he and his wife use an artificial use of birth control (a kind that stops fertilization before it can occur). It could be the pill, condoms, the shot, etc. To be honest, the artificial form does not matter to me. Our view? All artificial forms are wrong. For all of the reasons stated above, they’re wrong. It strips the very nature of giving one’s self to the other and the natural way God intended for us to show love to our spouse. I have no clue what financial struggles a third child would bring to their family and if by “struggle” he meant not being able to provide as a responsible parent or even if that’s something they prayed about. So I won’t pretend that I do. All I am saying is that his method is incorrect. I’m not taking anything away from how great of a father, husband, or man that he may be. I’m not saying that I dislike him or that he’s stupid, irrational or an idiot for believing what he believes or anything of the sort. I am simply saying that we believe he is wrong in his choice for artificial birth control.
For those of you that previously asked questions stemming from my original post such as “what about people that can’t have children because if they do they may die, have serious health issues with the mother or child, etc.?” The above post should have answered those for you. You use NFP. That’s the answer. It’s still intimately natural and there’s no risk of death or a serious health issue. You may also want to read this blog post in response to a very similar question: Catholic All Year: Mailbag: Do I Still Have to do NFP if My Life is at Risk?
I hope this helped to clear up anything that may have been cloudy or misconstrued in my last post. If you have comments, please feel free to post them by clicking “leave a comment.” You can also follow my blog to see later posts by clicking the “Follow” button on the right. Have a blessed day.
Before you read this post, I’m going to go ahead and clarify a few things for you. This blog post is about what my wife and I believe regarding birth control, the biblical support for our beliefs, and the way we choose to live our lives. I made these points of clarification because I posted this blog post on Facebook and had a number of off topic opinions posted as comments. This post is not to condemn or persecute anyone. It is about our beliefs and the way we choose to live our lives. If you feel conflicted about this post, I would love to have a healthy discussion with you about it.
Novels can and have been written on those topics and the controversy that man has created involving them. I fully intend to write in depth about Mariah and my beliefs on the two in later blog posts; however, the scope of this post will be constrained to our belief on the openness to bear children… not “bare” children or “bear children” as in bear cubs. Haha!
Think about how often have you heard these questions whether asked of you or someone else, “When do you two plan to start having kids?” or “How many kids do y’all plan to have?” followed then by the answers of “We are going to wait 2-3 years before we start” or “We are only going to have 3 at the most.” Well, we were asked those questions… and here are our views:
It all started with an audio cd titled “Green Sex” by Jason Evert and I’ll go ahead and say this now… BUY IT! It’s well worth listening to 100 times. We’ve listened to it at least 5 times so far and intend to continue to do so. It really opened our eyes to how terrible birth control really is. When I say “terrible,” I’m not just talking about the effects it has on your body and believe me, the facts that are given light to in Green Sex scare the heck out of us and I’m sure would do the same to you. I’m also talking about the effects it has on your marriage and your relationship and marital covenant with God.
Sadly, it’s now becoming more common for people to shun the words of The Bible if The Bible doesn’t support what they “think” is right for their lives and some people also have no clue what God wants for us when it comes to a marriage and bearing children.
In this post, I will:
1. Shed light on what The Bible holds for bearing children and
2. I also want to share a conversation I recently had with a newly “commissioned” non-denominational minister. You’ll want to read this!
TAKING A LOOK AT SCRIPTURE AND THEN SOME:
Let’s take a look at some scripture:
We all know the story of the Great Flood, but do you know what the FIRST command God gives to Noah after He dries the earth? The Lord tells him to be fruitful and multiply. In Genesis 8:15-17 God said to Noah: “Go out of the ark, together with your wife and your sons and your sons’ wives. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you—all creatures, be they birds or animals or crawling things that crawl on the earth—and let them abound on the earth, and be fertile and multiply on it.” There’s more… Genesis 9:1 – “God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them: Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth.”
In fact, it’s also the FIRST thing God commands Adam & Eve to do. In Genesis 1:28, it is written that after God created Adam and Eve, “God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.”
Many may see these as “commands” from God, but the “command” to bear children may be viewed as more than just a command as J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann stated in their “Luther’s works” writings in The Christian in Society II.
“For this word which God speaks, “Be fruitful and multiply,” is not a command. It is more than a command, namely, a divine ordinance which it is not our prerogative to hinder or ignore. Rather, it is just as necessary as the fact that I am a man, and more necessary than sleeping and waking, eating and drinking, and emptying the bowels and bladder. It is a nature and disposition just as innate as the organs involved in it. Therefore, just as God does not command anyone to be a man or a woman but creates them the way they have to be, so he does not command them to multiply but creates them so that they have to multiply. And wherever men try to resist this, it remains irresistible nonetheless and goes its way through fornication, adultery, and secret sins, for this is a matter of nature and not of choice.” (Luther, M. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 45 : The Christian in Society II. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann, Eds., Vol. 45, p. 18)
Or as Phillip Henry wrote in his Exposition of the First Eleven Chapters of Genesis:
“Be fruitful and multiply. This is not a command, of which they are transgressors that never marry, or that have no children; but a promise that they should be fruitful.” (Henry, P. (1839). Exposition of the First Eleven Chapters of Genesis (p. 240). London: J. Nisbet and Co.)
Let’s take this a little bit deeper. We’ve covered commands from God to bear children, but what are children exactly? What does God see them as?
Let’s say God is giving you the gift of wealth or your chosen soulmate or anything you desire for that matter. Would you tell God, “I don’t want Your gifts. Thanks, but no thanks God. I’m good?” Of course not. So when The Bible clearly states that children are a gift from God in Psalms 127:3 “Certainly sons are a gift from the LORD, the fruit of the womb, a reward,” would you decide then to tell Him you don’t want His gifts? I for one am not going to refuse a gift from God. That’s one of the many reasons I married my wife. There’s no doubt she is the greatest gift God gave me in my 33 years of being on this earth and I’m not blind to that.
MY CONVERSATION WITH THE MINISTER:
Now, let’s discuss my recent conversation I had with that non-denominational minister I stated earlier. We were in a hotel lobby. He was drinking his coffee and I my Spark. He opened his computer to take a theological test, but before turning his computer on, we began conversing. I asked him what made him want to go into ministering? He proceeded to tell me that his parents raised him Methodist and then he began attending a non-denominational service and liked it. From there he followed a passion to minister to people.
I’ll go ahead and throw this out there, I’m VERY strong in my faith and my intention for starting a discussion with him was not to make small talk. I wanted to know what he believed on certain topics and why he believed it. I began by asking him why he chose to minister in the Methodist church and that led to us discussing Protestant beliefs, which gave me an opportunity to share my Catholic faith.
I threw a couple topics out there to see which one he felt comfortable discussing by saying, “One of my issues with the Protestant church is that they don’t take a stand on a lot of controversial issues. For example, the early Protestant church not only disagreed with abortion and forms of birth control/contraception, but they harshly condemned it. Today, it seems like the only church that hasn’t changed their stance on those issues is the Catholic church. Instead of conforming society to the church, the Protestant church seems to be conforming to society and what’s “popular” today. For example, the Episcopal church, among others, now allows for same-sex marriage.” I gave him a multitude of topics to choose from including same-sex marriage, birth control/contraception, abortion, and any sub topics that could be derived from those.
The topic he chose… birth control. The discussion began…
He told me how he understands that “There are really two forms of birth control. One stops the growth of the child after fertilization begins and I believe that’s wrong. And then, then there’s the other one.”
It was like he didn’t even want to say it. He didn’t want to say that “the other one” prevents a child from even beginning the growth process by preventing fertilization in the first place and he certainly didn’t acknowledge that he believed “this one” was “wrong.” So, I had to finish his sentence for him by saying, “the other one, as in the one that doesn’t allow for fertilization to even occur, right?”
“Well… yes” he said. I told him that although he believes that the first form of birth control he mentioned is wrong, I believe that all forms are.
He began to tell me how he and his wife “have two kids and we use birth control because if we have another it would be tough financially.” That is the oh-so-common belief in society today. Let’s put our plans and our fears ahead of the gifts from God because we don’t want to have a tough time “providing” for our children or struggling financially. Then there’s also the mindset that some people have that they won’t be able to have this car, house, boat, worldly possessions, time to travel, etc. if they have kids because they’d “cost too much” or “get in the way.”
IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO THIS:
God made no exceptions to his commands. He made no exceptions to your receipt of his gift of a child. He didn’t say, “Go forth and bear much fruit unless it’s going to make your life tough” or “Go forth and bear children, but if you don’t think you’re ready or it’s not in your plans, then don’t worry about.” That’s not what He says at all. God clearly wants us to be open to having children, these gifts from God, and to be disciples of Jesus.
Are you sold out to God or are you sold out to society and the wants and desires of worldly possessions of this world? I encourage you to read this portion of an article about St. Josemaría Escrivá, Founder of Opus Dei:
“Later St Josemaría was driven west to Galway to meet a group of married men who were attending a formation course in Gort Ard, the Opus Dei centre in Galway. He encouraged them not to fear having large families, saying that each child brought its loaf of bread under its arm, and that no one should put barriers to life. He emphasized how important it was for them to love their wives very much – just as they did before they were married – and to express that love in many ways. When he heard that one of those present – Jack McGarry – had eight children he gave him a hug and said “May God bless you eighty times – and your wife and your children too.”
Standing on the altar of God, Mariah and I stated our wedding vows to each other and to God. When we were asked “Will you accept Children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?” we freely stated “Yes.” We made a promise to God to be open to children in our marriage. It’s not just a covenant with each other. It’s a covenant between the two of us made flesh and The Lord. A covenant we will not break.