Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Christian Books on Birth Control

Carrie commented on this post and asked if I wouldn't mind sharing the list of books my husband and I are planning to read on the subject of birth control. Of course I don't mind, Carrie:o)

As I said in my post, our list is short. I simply did a bit of research on the internet to see what was available and selected some that look as if they might be helpful. Since I have not read any of these, I cannot yet recommend them. That's why I was seeking some input from those of you who might know:o)

Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception and Aflame:Ancient Wisdom on Marriage are both books by Sam and Bethany Torode. I have been reading articles by Bethany on Boundless Webzine since I was in college, so I know a little bit about where she's coming from. She and her husband do not believe in using any chemical or barrier forms of birth control, although they do advocate Natural Family Planning (NFP). Open Embrace is supposedly very well researched, trying to address the use of birth control biblically and historically. I'm not sure if Aflame discusses birth control or not, but I think it looks interesting. It pulls from many historical writings on the subject of marriage.

(In my mind, there are questions about using NFP because of 1 Corinthians 7:5: "Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." Also, it just seems a bit complicated and not-so-much-fun:op I'm interested to see how the Torodes address this.)

I am also interested in reading Be Fruitful and Multiply by Nancy Campbell, the book Mrs. B mentioned. It appears to hold the perspective that all methods of contraception are to be discouraged and that couples should not take measures to control family size. Again, I'm interested to see biblical support for this position, not just peoples' opinions!

I'm not sure if there are any sources that purport to make a biblical case FOR the use of birth control. To be honest, I would be rather skeptical about the validity of such a book, because the Bible consistently makes a strong case for the nurture of life and families. However, questions remain about whether or not the use of contraception is an area in which Christians may have freedom. I would love to read some thoughtful analysis on both sides.


Blogger Mrs.B. said...

That's why I bought the book. I tend to be on the side that there is no clear cut command about family size but I am open to being wrong in this matter.

5:46 PM, February 13, 2006  
Blogger Rachel said...

I'll be interested to hear what you both think on these books. Haven't read them. DH & I practiced FAM (a modified version of NFP) for 2 and a bit years before we conceived our little-in-utero-jitter-bug. We both had serious issues with the abstinence side of NFP as well and took the "risk" of using condoms during fertile times. We both are truly truly happy and content about the choice we made to avoid the Pill (for the same reasons you mentioned and also just coz I was a "normal" homronally charge woman not affected by the added ones on the Pill) and we also found the method not that hard or complicated to use. After just a few months I really felt in-tune with my body. Anyway, this is not a NFP/FAM plug so much as a we're definitely with you on the fact that you can't really use the Bible to prove that birth control is definitely a-ok but neither can we see a clear cut case against it. It is however extremely clear that children are a blessing from God and that life is precious and must be cared for and nutured. May God grant you guidance and wisdom as you think through this issue.

8:46 PM, February 13, 2006  
Blogger Carrie said...

Thanks for sharing your list, Erin! :) Those books sound interesting. I'd love to hear from both you and Mrs. B., your reviews of "Be Fruitful and Multiply" after you've read it, also. I would be interested in reading it, too--I'm just not sure if I want to spend the money on it . . .

Like you, I've felt that NFP does sound a bit complicated. The fertility awareness method seems to be about the same, although there isn't really abstinence involved, from what I understand. People using FAM seem to usually just use barrier methods during a fertile time. The thing that does fascinate me about FAM or NFP, though, is just learning exactly what's going on in my body during each cycle. It sounds really interesting, whether or not we decide to use that as a contraceptive method. That's basically why I got the book I did; I hoped she would go into detail about FAM, but it doesn't really seem to--so eventually I'd like to get a different book that explains it better.

I agree that it would be nice to see some really good Biblical support given to this subject! Humanly speaking, I just don't feel open to having an unlimited number of children--however, I know God can change my and my husband's hearts/minds on this if that is what He wants for us.

8:55 PM, February 13, 2006  
Blogger Carrie said...

Oops, Rachel--your comment wasn't showing up when I made mine, but you did a better job than I in talking about NFP/FAM--thanks! It's nice to hear from someone who has actually used this method.

9:03 PM, February 13, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

I've really been enjoying the posts and comments on this subject. I did an intense research paper on the birth control issue, my senior year of college...I was engaged (so it was useful to know about) but I found it interesting too. After finding out the side-effects of almost all B.C., my husband and I decided to use NFP/FAM when we got married last May (we used it with something called an Ovu-Tech...I'm not sure how well it worked though! :-P) We used it along with the barrier method when needed. However, we realized that it doesn't always work 100% of the time, and we left that in God's hands. Then on around our six-month anniversery, we found out that I was pregnant.
By the way...I have an extra copy of "Love and Family" ( if anyone wants it to look at/use/keep. I was given the book with the charts and video on how to use it. However, I had a copy already and I found out a few weeks later that I was pregnant. :-) The woman that wrote the book uses what she calls "the ovulation method", to teach NFP overseas in countries like India and South America. The book is very basic, and has charts for keeping track of things. (I don't work for this company or anything...I just have seen that a several of you are looking for books to read on the subject, and if anyone is interested, they are welcome to it. My email is: m.e.leichliter AT

I'm sorry this was long and choppy.

8:01 AM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Mrs B- me too:o)

Rachel and Erin- thanks for sharing on your experiences! I've heard others, too, say that those methods aren't always fully effective, but I like your perspective, Erin, that God knows what He's doing! Apparently, He wanted you to have a little one and I think that's wonderful! (In fact, I'm a tad jealous;o)

Carrie- I'm planning for sure to buy "Open Embrace" and "Be Fruitful and Multiply" pretty soon. Anyway, I'd be glad to let you borrow them when I finish if you are interested!

12:36 PM, February 14, 2006  

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