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February 24, 2009

Daily roundup

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From the article on Quiverfull: "Quiverfull adherents are planning to win this war by sheer numbers, giving birth to and raising "arrows," their term for children." This seems to be as selfish a purpose for having children as any I have seen in our culture yet. I try not to presume too much about what God meant when he spoke, but I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that he wasn't intending to raise an army.


The Quiverfull piece reminds me of another image of children as arrows...

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Although it does not toe the biblical line, it is quite beautiful, and a worthy prompt for further introspection about the matter of children.


Really? The LORD God of the war hosts of heaven? Our Lord Jesus Who will return leading an army from heaven?

Has it occurred to you that those who are open to life, and to God's soveriegnty in their marraiges and families are using a *metaphor* just as we fight not with the weapons of this world, but bring down bad arguments and delusions which blind people to the truth? That we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with the powers and principalities?

What is selfish about being open to God's sovereignty and desiring the expansion of God's kingdom? If they were selfish, they'd use birth control and have at most two children, so they'd have more money to spend on toys.

As to your poet, God says differently at a number of points, including that we are in fact to teach them God's Word throughout the day, to disciple them in following Christ. To abandon them to pickup whatever is 'in the air' would be sin, and a serious lack of love for those children, who are God's, and a gift from God. We must beware of seeming beauty which is not also good and true, for even the Devil can appear as an angel of light.

Jason Taylor

Actually David, that would not qualify as "selfish" as it is not thinking about self. If you wish to press the point you might call it "tribalist". But even taking your interpretation literally, it would not be "selfish".


God said "be fruitful and multiply" before the Fall. Neither he nor man had any reason, or even any way, to think or speak in warlike terms. It is only after Adam and Eve placed themselves in opposition to God that such terminology had meaning.

I agree that God speaks differently than the poet on a number of points. I warned as much. And I do not dispute your warning. That said, there is still truth and beauty to be found in many places.

Jason Taylor

Before the fall man had little reason to have food production metaphors, yet presumably you do not object to "fishers of men" and "take my yoke upon you."


I do not object to the use of metaphors. My entire life is unfolding after the fall, so they work for me. My original point, relative to the "Quiverfull" article, which spoke of "winning this war", was that God wasn't asking mankind to win anything when he suggested/directed they be fruitful and multiply. I thought I understood the purpose of existence was to reflect/express the glory of God and love him. If that is so, then the purpose of having children is the same - to express the glory of God through the act of procreation, and, as a natural result, create more beings to love him. Again - there is no "winning of wars" involved.

Gina Dalfonzo

But David, you then pointed out (approvingly, I take it) Gabrin's use of the same metaphor. So I'm stumped: Do you like it when he uses it and not when someone else uses it?


I saw the arrow metaphor in Gibran's prose as referring to a person (the child) as having a purpose. The archer(God)will guide the child along the path that he (God) intends. I did not connect it in any way to anything warlike.

Going back to my original reaction to the Quiverfull concept, I say again - I hope that God does not intend that our children be "weapons" or "tools" in his hands or anyone else's. Does anyone think God wants us to have children in order to "win a war" of any sort?

Gina Dalfonzo

Thank you for clearing that up, David. It had me a little confused.

As far as war metaphors go -- as has been mentioned, it's not surprising that Christians would use them when the Bible is full of them. (C. S. Lewis described his wife as a sword, and he meant it as a compliment!) Of course we're here to glorify God -- but part of glorifying God is fighting against evil. And fights aren't won without weapons.


I was thinking of Lewis myself as this exchange unfolded. He used metaphors and allegories a lot - and he warned his readers (I paraphrase) "if it doesn't work for you, just ignore it". Our words are just an effort to get closer to the truth, sure to fall short, but still a worthy undertaking!

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