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Friday, August 3, 2007


Alright, first I would like to give a hat tip to the two people that inspired the title of this blog post, Mac and Katherine from The Catholic in a Small Town podcast. They have a very funny and real podcast and a very unique way of saying scandalous. I would reccoment you checking them out, failing to do so would be SCANDALOUS. Now, on to the blog.

Okay, one of the things my wife and I struggle with is not presenting scandal to our fellow man. This is not to say that we are doing anything scandalous but more a question of putting the best foot forward or being realistic when dealing with our embracing of Church teaching in our life.

For example, we have discovered that using NFP to avoid pregnancy, extended ecological breastfeeding, homeschooling and having a large family can all be a challenge. We both realize that the Christian walk isn't something that is supposed to be a cakewalk, we are told in the Bible to take up our cross and carry it, but we also live in a society of ease and pleasure.

We have not experienced dirctly any of the following but when we are int the company of a newly married DINC and my wife is in her normal state of breastfeeding should we be worried about someone thinking or saying, "I am never going to do that ecological breastfeeding, she spent over 1/2 the evening with that kid attatched to her breast." Another related thought we be if my wife is talking to young engaged or expectant married womwn about breastfeeding ecologically and she mentions the positives of delayed return of fertility and the health benefits but also mentions the negative effect of decreased libido and someone thinkd, "Well, thats not worthwhile if I can have sex all I want after the baby is born but I won't want to."

The list of possibilities goes on and on with homeschooling and having a bad day, should you appear anything less than having the perfectly ordered life when at times you would rather sit and spend twenty minutes venting about how you feel like today was more challenging than it would be to land a 747 with one wing, no landing gear and one engine.

Natural Family Planning can be another challenge if their is a need to avoid pregnancy. It can be a significant challenge to avoid pregnancy when the time to avoid relations and the time of greatest desire happen to typically coincide.

Do we present the best foot forward always for those who don't understand them or do we work to be really honest about the struggles? My wife and I talked about this for awhile the other night and something a friend of mine always says about struggles comes to the top of my mind. He always tells anyone that is struggling to 'play the tape to the end.' Push fast forward and look at what you are trying to achieve, what is the goal (eternally speaking, that is) you are seeking?

I think that when we share the struggles it needs to be in the context of rembering what we are doing. "Today was a hard day getting half of what I needed to get done and I am just frazzled but it will be worthwhile in the long run as the kids are getting the best I can provide them."

I think that it is important that we are realistic and don't sell a false bill of goods that dissillusion people, like with NFP, if we tell people that NFP builds stronger marriages and will help prevent divorce it would be easy for someone to become disillusioned if they have any struggles in their marriage.

However, I do think that we should reach out to couples in modern ways but should be real about who and what we are. If they reject, let us say, ecological breastfeeding because it keeps the mother from doing whatever she wants because the baby is so dependent on her that is their prerogative. We don’t get to decide which value systems people use to make decisions, we just have to be confident in our decisions when people who don’t understand them are around. We have to be real but trusting in God. This is something that is counter-cultural and the rest of society will think we are crazy but they aren’t thinking about the eternal perspectives or the health benefits and how 2 years is really a short period of time in the grand scheme of things.

We have to remember that we live in a society that is built around self-gratification and pride. We are more worried about our career, what kind of car we drive, where we live, and how fast our motorboat can go than where we will spend eternity. We live in a society of practical atheists, people who may profess God but act as if he doesn’t exist. I don’t know about you but I prefer an air conditioned and joyful eternity for me and my family with some suffering now than being self-indulgent for a few years and spending eternity in a constant state of feeling my flesh being melted off my skin.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S.


JimmyV said...

Interesting write-up, I have never thought about our practice of NFP and breastfeeding in terms of scandal. I will have to dwell on it some more.

Anonymous said...

I think of it like this. It's hard work to get a PhD or to be an Olympian. Everyone knows that. But the struggles and sacrifices people make to achieve these things is seen as valid because the achievements are valid.

Because I believe that marriage and parenthood are even more important, I often make necessary sacrifices. Or at least, I should.

The problem is that the World does not think marriage and family life is worth the sacrifice any more. So, articulating our goals to others can possibly help them understand our perspective. If not, there's not much we can do about it. I doubt it's good to pretend everything's easy, when in fact much of it is a struggle.