Back when I was pregnant with Herr Meow and belonged to the Pregnancy Board That Shall Not Be Mentioned, I thought one of the members’ signatures had a typo. This was emphasized in my mind because she was a notorious spelling stickler, and kind of bitchy when she overcorrected other people (as opposed to self-effacing and bashful, as one ought).
I mean, "quiverfull"? Fsh. Shouldn’t it be "quiverful"?
Well, according to Psalm 127, it’s neither. It’s actually "quiver full."
The pertinent part of psalm 127 reads thusly,
3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies in the gate.
(Psalm 127: 3, 4, 5. NIV)
Part of the reason the bible is so popular is because it sure is beautifully poetic. Lovely imagery and allusions make it up, imbuing the reader with a sense of righteousness and justice.
But then I have to wonder several things about the possible interpretations of this passage, such as the obvious fact that not all men can have a quiver full of arrows; and that those arrows are sure hard to raise; and what about infertility? And what about the fact that if you have one damn good arrow in your quiver, isn’t that enough?
Also, sons…. what about them daughters? And are we talking about a family for real, or are we talking about extended family? Are we talking about a village here? And what’s up with the enemies at the gate? Who are those people? Are they enemies of the natural family, or just really annoying people how were not invited?
And seriously, who is putting all these little arrow/children to shame? I mean, jeez… you’d think people have better things to do than to criticize the large family right?
Well, for instance there is a Facebook application called "I Am Green".
And this little innocuous-looking application has one item that makes me think of the Quiverfull Mamas of the world, building their little armies to defeat the enemies at the gate:
Well… that sounds pretty final to me: no more than one or you’re a wasteful pig, right?
Granted, there is the bit about adopting additional children– a well-meaning afterthought that everyone can get behind; but empty still, if we consider that only about 2% of the US population actively completes an adoption.
But the Quiverfull movement is about having as many children as the Lord sees fit to give you, and to offer yourself up as a sacrifice to the Lord, so adoption seems like an also-ran in this particular scheme (though, again, a worthwhile also-ran, just in case the Lord has decided to throw you the curveball of having a "barren womb"– a fate that is made to sound worse than death itself in some circles– see item "If you want a big family, why don’t you adopt?" in the FAQ above).
Needless to say, and in light of the Papal visit, I am thinking of the Quiverful(l) mothers today.
I wonder if they are brave and selfless, or if the fruits of their womb are the carnal (definition 3!) equivalents of driving a Hummer around town every single day.
And I’m still peeved about that extra "L".