3.31.2006

First Things, Hobbits & Children

I was recently filing some old articles I had read in past years when I came across an incredible little piece on The Lord of the Rings that I had forgotten about. It is quite pertinent to our discussion and cuts to the heart of my concern over the Christian Church's near whole-hearted buy-in to the contraceptive age. Here is an excerpt from it:

The virtues of mortality are most obvious in the great paradox of the book: that the very mortal Hobbits are the only ones who can resist the Ring’s seduction and destroy it. Seemingly the most insignificant and lowliest race of all, they spend their (relatively) short lives in small pursuits. They have little use for lofty “elvish” ideas. As most characters in The Lord of the Rings remark, they are unlikely saviors of the world. In fact, their lowly mortality may be their greatest asset.

The Hobbits are firmly enfleshed. They love gardening, visiting, eating and drinking—“six meals a day (when they could get them… Also, unlike the other lands we see, the Shire is full of children, for Tolkien tells us that Hobbits have very large families, Frodo and Bilbo being “as bachelors very exceptional.” This is true of no other people in Middle Earth. The immortal Elves, of course, need few children… The Dwarves, though mortal, are very long-lived, and they have children so seldom that many believe they are not born, but grow from stones… The Ents seem to live more or less forever, but even they are dying out.

It is not only the older and the lesser races that have ceased to bear children. Barrenness also characterizes Gondor. Once great, the city has declined. Pippin sees there many houses that have fallen empty, so that “it lacked half the men that could have dwelt at ease there.” Beregond the guard tells him, “There were always too few children in the city…”

Click here to read the full piece written by Anna Mathie entitled ‘Tolkien and the Gift of Mortality’ (2003 First Things 137 – November 2003)

3.02.2006

LCMS Contracepting itself out of business

In the March 2006 issue of The Reporter, the official periodical of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, asks "Where Are All the Children". What follows are some states dug up by a friend of mine, the Rev. Sem. Scott Adle, at CHI and the letter I sent to the Reporter's editor.

2004:
Members--2,463,747
Baptised Children--32,851
Juniors Confirmed--25,325
Adults Confirmed--19,153

1961:
Members2,464,436
Baptised Children--82,248
Juniors Confirmed--52,445
Adults Confirmed and Baptised--32,000

Dear Editor,

In your March issue Dr. Judith Christian asks where all the children are. A brief look at statistics available at CHI can tell you: they were never born.

In 2004 the LCMS had 2.46 million baptized members. Likewise in 1961 the LCMS had 2.46 million members. But in 1961 our people were reproducing above the replacement fertility rate: we had 82,248 infant baptisms that year. In 2004, with the same number of overall membership we had declined 60% to just 32,851 infant baptisms.

In short, our church body has been complicit in its own demise by not emphasizing God's plan for procreation in marriage. We're contracepting ourselves out of business. All the evangelism programs in the world can't make up for that: ask the Shakers if you don't believe me.

In Christ,

Pr. H. R. Curtis
Trinity Lutheran Church, Worden, IL
Zion Lutheran Church, Carpenter, IL