Starting in January Mark Driscoll is preaching a series based on questions suggested and voted for on the Mars Hill website. The administration of this has been impressive; the final stats were 893 questions asked, with 343,203 votes cast. All those questions were finally reduced to the nine that Driscoll is going to preach on. You can see the complete list here. The first in the series is a question about birth control. I am looking forward to seeing how Mark handles this. Whenever I teach on sexual ethics at various Newfrontiers training events I talk on this subject and it always produces strong opinions. It is also always interesting to discover how little most believers have thought about it.
The attitudes of our wider society to birth control are also very interesting. Among many of my peers there is a distinct ambivalence about children. Most of my childless friends would say they like children, its just that they don’t want to have any, or not have any yet. There is a feeling that kids are a burden and interruption to enjoying life, and an evident reluctance to grow up and take on the very adult responsibility of being a parent. In a recent article that attracted a great deal of comment, columnist Bryony Gordon wrote,
There are things that you are not allowed to say any more in public, or indeed in private. "You're a ******", "What a lovely fellow that Enoch Powell was" and finally, if you are under the age of 40, "I would like to have a baby".
Grace and I have become used to people staring at us when we are out as a family – with four beautiful, blond daughters we do make quite a sight, but it is amusing how so many people regard as somewhat freakish our having four children. It is odd that it is the most educated and prosperous who seem most reluctant to procreate. Thinking 30 or 40 years ahead I can imagine many of my contemporaries being extremely sad and lonely – a whole generation without children and grandchildren to fill out their lives, slowly slipping into infirmity and death without anyone there to hold their hand, tell them they are loved, and lament their passing.