Little ones

Who are those concerned? It is strange how, in many of the arguments about sexual ethics, the children have been the least considered. Liberals, concentrating on relationships between adults and the excellence of sexuality, have over-ridden the interests of children: a serious indictment against followers of Christ. The strong argument, which many people have found out the hard way, against the hope that a more relaxed family law will make unhappy people happier is the miserable effect which unstable relationships really do have upon children of all ages. When loving parents, stuck in their own troubles, are unable, not unwilling, to give their children the security everyone knows they need, and when pastors and legislators are preoccupied with helping the course of true love to run smooth, who is to speak for the whole family? The belated appreciation of this priority is an encouraging factor in recent discussion (English Law Commission 1993; Burgoyne et al. 1987). As the children of more and more broken homes grow up and begin to shape their own lives, complex ethical ramifications are developing: instability and lack of good role models no doubt, and many teeth set on edge; but also, much truly moral determination to learn from the mistakes and hypocrisies of previous generations. What will happen to marriage in this combination of pressure and promise is not predetermined for good or for ill.

It might be expected that renewed emphasis on children would vindicate traditionalists, who surely, with their emphasis on procreation, could be expected to get family life right; but sometimes they have seemed to pay more attention to unborn and even unconceived children than to actual families. While theologians have stressed the duty of married couples to have children, the duty to cherish existing children, within and outside wedlock, has become a characteristic emphasis of secular writers (e.g. Fletcher 1973; Burgoyne et al. 1987).

It is not too late for Christian moralists to be constructive and convincing about family life. They can affirm that the one-flesh union of a man and a woman is characterized, but not defined, by fertility (Oppenheimer 1990:89). In other words, human love in the image of divine love is not self-enclosed but creative. Procreation is by no means the only kind of creation, but it is an ordinary and excellent example of it. In the purpose of God, new people originate in love, are nourished in love, and grow up to love and be loved. At whatever stage love is lacking or inadequate, the Christian faith is that God's purpose is not eventually defeated; but the cost may be heavy in the short, middle and even long run.

How To Become The Girl Men Adore

How To Become The Girl Men Adore

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