What If?

I used to love the Marvel "What If?" comics as a kid.

Uatu the Watcher, an alien with super intellect and power, observed the lives of the various heroes and villains in the Marvel Universe and would ponder questions such as; "What if Spiderman had not been bitten by a radioactive spider?" Or "What if Wolverine did not join the X-Men?"

If you were a comic geek like I was, this stuff made for some good reading.

So let's play "What if?"

"What if the learned men and women who put together Christ in Your Family, Thoughts on Christian Marriage and Contraception didn't accept the concept of gray areas?"

Back in Lutheran high school, during Christian Family class, the teacher told us that barrier methods were permissible, but the pill was not, because it does not prevent sperm and egg from coming together and when they come together that is life. Whether or not the fertilized egg implants is God's will.

No grey area there. The teacher had a basic premise and he stuck it out to a conclusion. I am not saying it is the correct conclusion, but he at least had the sanctity of life in the womb in mind. I remember more than one of the females in the class being very unhappy.

For better or worse, let us say that what I was taught in the 80's is more or less the default Lutheran position. In short - keep sperm and egg from meeting and you are in an ethically sound position, add artificial chemicals to change the way sperm and egg are processed where they normally meet and you are into an unethical situation.

So, let's say the learned men and women who put this document together were in my Christian Family class back in 1989 and what we were taught stuck and they came out and said - package says breakthrough ovulation can occur, it doesn't explicitly state that some sort of super mucus is generated that will keep sperm and egg from joining so that you don't have to worry about an intentional willful thinning of the uterine wall that prevents the implantation of a fertilized egg - we cannot in good Christian conscience recommend this product.

I don't need to write a comic book on the result of such a statement. Millions of women in the USA are on the Pill. That translates to hundreds of thousand of Lutherans. Boom. Bang. Crash. You have just seriously offended lots of women and you are going to lose money.

Programmatic and business reasons, right?

So they settled on the 'grey area' position - in real life.

I must ask the question, what do we need learned men and women for, if they are going to just leave something as important as life in its sacred and wondrous beginnings in a grey area?

The Church has a primary duty and that is the administration of the Gospel. It also has a duty to to be salt and light. One way to be salt and light is to create informed Christian consciences. This cannot be accomplished by seeing grey when the truth is inconvenient.

I am afraid that those from whom we expect heroic statements are not to be found amongst the learned men and women who publish statements under the auspices of synodically sanctioned bodies.

It is up to those of us who do not have an advanced degree in theology to do it.

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