Dreher’s chapter on the Sexual Revolution neglects both John Paul II and contraception. That struck me as odd.
St. John Paul wrote volumes, literally, on the human sexuality. Michael Waldstein, the editor of the second edition of Male and Female He Created Them: A Theology of the Body, goes so far as to say that this work is JPII’s response to Cartesian mind-body dualism. I agree with him.
Dreher liberally quotes Wendell Berry, who speaks eloquently on gender complementarity, but who can’t figure out the problem with genderless marriage. But no mention of JPII. That is just: odd.
Along with neglecting the person of JPII, Dreher neglects the issue of contraception. The government and the major cultural elites have engaged in near-constant promotion of the contraceptive ideology: everyone is entitled to unlimited, child-free, care-free, costless sex. Without this ideology, the distortions of sexualty Dreher rightly decries would not be even remotely plausible. Perhaps these two omissions are related. He quotes Michael Hanby, in the chapter on technology. I know for a fact that Hanby understands the connection between technology, contraception and modernity. How could Dreher overlook this point?
So here is my friendly amendment to the Benedict Option. Dreher includes many suggestions for Benedict Option communities. Here are a few additional suggestions for a counter-cultural Christian sexual lifestyle. First, for young people of child-bearing age:
- Throw away your condoms, your diaphrams and your pills. (But don’t flush them down the toilet: its probably not good for the environment.)
- Go to your doctor and ask him or her to remove your IUD or the implants from your arms.
- Ladies, begin charting your cycle. It is completely harmless, and you will know your body very well before you get married.
- Young married couples, go take a good Natural Family Planning class. Learn to cooperate with God, and with your body. I don’t care which method: Billings, the Sympto-Thermal Method, or any other fertility awarenss method. The right method for you, is the one that you will use regularly and comfortably.
For old people like me who are past child-bearing age, you can help the young families in your community:
- Support them in getting married at a reasonable age, in their mid-twenties, rather than insisting they wait until they have a Masters degree and their student loans paid off. That may mean:
- Help them avoid college debt in the first place.
- Help them with babysitting, transportation, and other necessary chores, if they have kids while they are still in school or in the early stages of their careers.
- Help them with low-cost housing.
- Be pro-active in seeing what things would improve the quality of
their family lives. We got recruited this past weekend, to do yard clean-up for a family expecting their 7th child. By “we” I mean me, my husband and our 28 year-old son. We were recruited by a couple in their 30’s, who observed the situation, and moved into action. We try to say “yes” as often as possible to these requests.
- Above all, tell them how much you enjoyed your parenting years, and how the kids will be grown before you know it, and how you wish you could have had more kids.
I can honestly say that a lot of us Baby Boomers wish we had more kids. We were full participants in the Sexual Revolution. We didn’t figure out that we were being bamboozled until it was too late.
(If you’d like to share your story, consider contributing to our Tell Ruth the Truth blog. We’re always on the look-out for honest, heart-felt tales that will encourage the young to stay the course, and to discourage them from buying the lies of our toxic sexual culture.)
Christian sexual morality is good news for everyone, male or female, gay or straight, young or old. And, Dreher correctly observes, getting sex right is the key to rebuilding a truly Christian civilization.