The Crazy Alternative Lifestyle of Marriage and Children

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Elise Hilton (Acton PowerBlog).

I have five kids. I thought I was sane, but apparently, I’m living a crazy alternative lifestyle.

Freestyle halfpipe skier David Wise won gold at Sochi. NBC, rather than being impressed with his world-class athleticism, focused on his“alternative lifestyle.” You see, Wise is married to Alexandra, and they have a young son. Wise is also considering becoming a pastor.

San Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers has had his critics in terms of his play, but there are also critics of his “alternative lifestyle”: he and his wife, Tiffany, have six kids (they recently had a seventh child.) ESPN noted with this comment:

Six kids? Regardless of your profession, it’s impossible to be a good parent to six kids. Not enough hours in the day.


One headline even read: “Phillip Rivers Is An Intense Weirdo,” and blamed his “weirdness” on the fact that there were “eight people running around his house.”

Why is our society so afraid of families and children? Why is there a backlash against women being fertile and men raising their own children?Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist has some thoughts.

The media remind us regularly that the most important cultural value relative to family life is what’s euphemistically called “choice.” The choice of whether to have kids or not is held so sacrosanct that our laws permit the decision to be made many months after a new human life begins. Some even advocate extending the choice to a period of time after birth. So why the weird reaction to people receiving children as a blessing instead of fighting them tooth and nail with hormones, chemicals, surgery and scissors? Do we need some remedial courses in how babies are made? It’s entirely natural, of course, for babies to be conceived when men and women have sex. Treating the entirely expected procreation of children as something to be avoided at all costs — and an unspeakable atrocity if one has, say, three children already — would be weird even if our culture weren’t obsessed with sex at all times, in all places, in every context, at every moment.

Hemingway goes on to point out that the press seems to give a pass to scoundrels like former Denver Bronco Travis Henry, who has eleven children with ten different women or NBA player J. J. Reddick, who made sure he wasn’t going to be responsible for any children. She tells:

…a supremely weird and horrifying tale of a 2007 contract drawn up by lawyers representing NBA player J.J. Redick and his then-pregnant ex-girlfriend Vanessa Lopez. The document discusses how Lopez’s abortion of an unborn child should be handled, including that Redick was not admitting paternity.

Another guy living the crazy alternative lifestyle of marriage and children is comedian Jim Gaffigan. Let’s give him the last word on why he and his wife live this way:

Well, why not? I guess the reasons against having more children always seemed uninspiring and superficial. What exactly am I missing out on? Money? A few more hours of sleep? A more peaceful meal? More hair? These are nothing compared to what I get from these five monsters who rule my life … each one of them has been a pump of light into my shriveled black heart.

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Principles of Poverty-Alleviation”

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Writing at PovertyCure Ismael Hernandez offers five principles to alleviate poverty:

Simplicity.

Freedom is simple; slavery entangles your life in myriad of manacles. Comprehensive systems of care kill the light of freedom and incentivize permanence in the condition of poverty. They see the things we give or the services we render as the end of a program to meet the “unmet needs” of the poor. It is a trap. Simple programs focus on one aspect of individual or social life to show the way and see what the person receives as instrumental to the communication of a value and the offering of incentives toward action.

Practicality.

Yes, successful programs attempt to target a real need; practicality implies usefulness and usefulness attracts people. Some who defend freedom or want to insist on the truths of faith are often out there, afar from the realities of the poor. They do not dare to touch the poor themselves! They write these wonderful books that the already-convinced read, the books goes into a shelf and the ideas die right there. They often are detached from the lives of the poor so they cannot acquire the needed information to actually help people. Practicality is only correctly perceived in closeness and encounter.

Meaning.

The communication of a value or the creation of an incentive toward action must become the end of every effective poverty-alleviation project. Programs of great meaning avoid looking at the poor as helpless victims and passive recipients of magnanimity. The meaning of a program must be informed by your anthropology, that is, by what you think of the persons you aim to assist. Once you see a person as the protagonist of the story of his or her own life, instead of as scenery in the drama of your good intentions, you are going somewhere. Remember, the end of a program is the value it communicates.

Subsidiary Understanding.

The term has a similar root as the principle of subsidiarity but it means “of secondary importance.” A subsidiary furnishes aid or support but never becomes of the essence for the completion of a task; others control it and in this case it ought to be the poor themselves. Even better, every individual person controls it as it pertains to him or herself. The temptation to control, what theologian Michael Novak has called the totalistic impulse, is there every time your organization grows so much that you begin to take yourself too seriously. No one else but you can do the task so you need a chapter of your organization everywhere. Comprehensive systems thrive in bureaucratic ways that end up stifling initiative. There is no life there because the poor themselves become subsidiary to the system. Ironically, many programs are invested in poverty because poverty brings the money in; thus rendering the poor subsidiary to their efforts.

Replicability.

Because your program is simple, it is something that others can adapt to the realities of their local communities. As with scientific studies, if we cannot replicate a program and get similar results, then this suggests error, leading to potentially detrimental questions about the reliability of the program. However, some take it as a testament of their own importance, which leads to comprehensiveness and the temptation to create top-down approaches.

Read the rest here.

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Faith Rising in East, Setting in West?

Eric Metaxas has an interesting commentary of the resurgence of Christianity in Eastern Europe. He writes that

…the turn toward Christianity in Central and Eastern Europe is born of an acknowledgment that something vital is missing from people’s lives. People who were force-fed atheism have a hard-earned appreciation of how empty life can be when God is automatically excluded from the equation.

He’s mindful that there are political implications to all this, but dismisses, rightly I think, the idea that this is merely a political phenomenon. As he writes while

…Russia, “more monasteries and parishes are reopened, growing numbers of Russians profess belief in God, and more young Russians are choosing a religious vocation.” Vladimir Putin may be taking advantage of Russians’ hunger for God, but he didn’t create that hunger. Seventy-four years of state-sponsored atheism, and the wreck it left in its wake, did that all by itself.

Read the rest here Faith Rising in East, Setting in West?

To read the article about current events in the former communist countries of Eastern and Central Europe by Filip Mazurczak’s in First Things, go here.

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Spitting in Rome’s Eye: A Reflection on How Orthodoxy’s Sinfulness Prevents Reunion

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This from Fr Oliver Herbel…

My fellow Orthodox, let’s be honest here. With regard to Orthodox-Catholic relations the humility struggles are primarily on our side. They are evidenced in internet chatter, in parish dining halls, amongst our seminarians, publicly displayed in sermons by our clergy, and (indirectly, if nothing else) advertised for the world to see in official statements. We Orthodox sure like to talk about the virtues, the Desert Fathers, etc., but when it comes to ecumenical relations, humility too often goes out the window. I, for one, think it’s time to close that window. The sectarian draft has a real chill to it.

See more at: Red River Orthodox.

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Terrified of Risk, Enslaved to Our Own Ideas

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We often hear that a problem with young people today is that we are irresponsible. We don’t have a sense of duty. We don’t have a sense of order. We’re immature. I think that the problem is actually the opposite.

I think that we are pathologically terrified of risk and I think that we have this enslavement to our own ideas of respectability, our own ideas of our life plan, our commitments, our existing duties such that something as radically changing as a new life doesn’t fit in with those existing duties. To accept that life would be the irresponsible choice, and that’s the framework from which a lot of people are operating. They see themselves as accepting consequences, as responsible. They have a semblance of a moral framework and we can’t ignore that just because it’s completely the opposite of our own. And this isn’t just about whether or not you accept a child. I think that we are so enslaved to a plan, and a routine, and a vision of our lives, we can’t embrace the unsettledness, openness, flexibility, and folly it takes to have an actually pro-life culture in every instance.

Tristyn Bloom, “Beyond the Pro-Life Pep Rally: Where Do We Go From Here?” Read the rest here.

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What is Science?

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If “science” means “indubitable,” then there is no science in science. If it means “very persuasive,” then much clear and honest thinking is scientific.

Deirdre McCloskey (1985/1998), The Rhetoric of Economics, p. 72.

h/t: Cafe Hayek

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