Pr. Todd Wilken interviews Dr. Allan Carlson then has open lines on the subject. Click here for the MP3. The interview and beginning of the open lines segment go quite well. But then near the end of open lines the question of "how many is enough" is brought up by a caller and then Pr. Wilken makes a weak analogy regarding crop management. Then, thankfully, producer Jeff Schwarz (father of four) jumps into redeem the program, injecting the issue of trusting God into the conversation. The open lines continues for the first half of the next hour. Overall, it was a great conversation - better than previous coverage of the issue by Issues, Etc. on the subject. Pr. Wilken handled the callers' questions pretty well. I did not get a chance to call in, however. By the time I did, the program was over. I did get to say hi to Jeff, though. :-)
Dr. Carlson had an excellent article in the most recent issue of Touchstone magazine, which is what spurred this interview. Interestingly, in the article Carlson implies that the LCMS clergy began artificially limiting their family sizes between 1890 and 1920, citing a change in average family size from 6.5 to 3.7. I wonder about this implication, from which he further implies that since they thus ceased to be models of a fruitful home this contributed to the change in attitude for their congregations and the broader culture, precipitating the acceptance of contraception by the culture at large.
I'm going to contact Dr. Carlson to find out 1) the source of these figures he gave in the article, and 2) if he considered the possibility of factors other than contraception which may have contributed to this change in average family size among LCMS clergy. I would consider it possible (even probable) that during this period of substantial growth in the LCMS (especially post WWI) when so many young men were entering the ministry that the figures are more a reflection of an increased percentage of young pastors in the LCMS who had not yet fathered all their children.
If this factor is already controlled for somehow in the figures Dr. Carlson provided, then these figures represent a VERY interesting finding that I have not personally encountered thus far in my studies about this subject. In the interview (above), Dr. Carlson even broadens his comments in this regard to include the clergy of other denominations as having smaller families on average even before the official change in church teaching began to occur in 1930.