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".
It’s ‘quiverful’, but that would mean to be quiver-like, and not to have a full quiver. Besides, it’s archaic, and the psalm doesn’t have the word ‘quiverful’ in it anyway, so what the heck, lady?! 😀
Oh, but I never noticed that thing in the FB Green thingie. Someone’s going to get an email.
On the subject of sons v. daughters. You have to take the text of the scripture in context with the social values of the time and place that they were written.
I don’t believe for a moment that boy children are somehow more beloved of God than girl children. Having said that, there are cultures still today where boy children are more valued than daughters. Personally, I think that is the province of Barbarians.
As for the number of children people have… well, some folks go overboard, having big families because “it’s fun!” is irresponsible, even if you have the means… but that’s just one gunfighter’s opinion. For some, large families are a religious responsibility… again, I think that it’s strange, but then, I think lots of things are strange that others consider normal.
More to follow.
Interesting post. I love the more poetic section of the Bible. I’m not sure I support imposing the whole one kid thing. But I agree that some people get way outta hand and have way too many. Happy Weekend!
Adoption is a wonderful thing – for families who can afford it! Having more than one child is fine in my book as long as they are taken care of right – and not brought into the world to make a welfare check bigger…
I love how you went from the Bible to Facebook.
That one child only thing is really quite something.
Have a wonderful weekend.
I have no idea of the stats for Canadian adoptions.
I do know that I and my brother were both adopted although we weren’t told about it until we were adults. So I grew up thinking my rather large family was normal (5 of us kids, Mom from a family of 6 kids, Dad from a family of 16 with one of his brothers having 18 kids).
My husband comes from a smaller family (4 boys, both parents from families of 5 and 6 respectively, no more than 3 cousins in any family group). No adoptees.
We, my husband and I, had discussed adoption when we first got together and before we knew I was adopted. We wanted two of our own and then wanted to adopt a couple of kids to help out some of the children who need help. Provided of course that we could afford it. Well, life took a few turns and we ended up with just the one fabulous daughter. She hasn’t had big families to interact with and I think that’s part of the reason she doesn’t want more than two kids when she finally settles down. She’s also very environmentally conscious so that probably plays a part as well.
Funny thing is, when we mentioned we were thinking about maybe adopting at some point to my in-laws, they were completely against the idea of adopting. So to this day they don’t know that I was adopted.
P.S. Anyone who says that boys are more valuable than girls in my presence get sideswiped by the clue-by-four that is my logic and attitude. And yes, I can even use the Bible against their logic. Even that particular psalm.
so being green is keeping your procreation to a minimum? seems a bit extreme to me.