Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Sermon Must Come First!

Tomorrow I have a whole full day to work on the sermon for Sunday, the one which was going to be delivered on April 26, with an Earth Day slant. Not a problem then, except that life intervened and laid me low for two weeks of wonky eyeball stuff. Easy to make a sermon on overpopulation jibe with Earth Day.

Now I'm challenged with making a sermon on overpopulation jibe with Mother's Day and I have not had a moment to think about it all week because of competing agenda items, like six days worth of company and a memorial service. Tomorrow I was scheduled to have two meetings but luckily they have both been postponed and I have an entire day to get caught up, not just on the sermon but on the laundry.

So no provocative blog posts for a few days, folks, unless you want to give me some ideas about how to weave Mother's Day and overpopulation into a sermon. You'd think it would be a snap but I don't want to go the route of "cut it out, you mothers". Just me, I guess.

13 comments:

The Eclectic Cleric said...

I think one angle you might easily explore is the way that societies which allow women to control their own fertility, as well as offering them meaningful opportunities for education and economic improvement, often do enjoy declining birthrates (as well as declining infant morality rates), increased prosperity and per capita incomes, and real opportunities for authentic "motherhood" (rather than mere "childbearing"). Just a thought!

Kari said...

And there could be a nice dose of Julia Ward Howe, too!

So glad to hear you are feeling well.

Joel said...

As tactfully as I know how, I don't see any way of preaching on "overpopulation" that doesn't create the value judgment that some people deserve to exist and some don't. It always boils down to "Just enough of me, way too much of you." Of course, any mother who hears you will automatically assume that you think their children are among the deserving. Including the ones whose little darlings egged your house on Halloween. :)

(I put "overpopulation" in quotes because I don't believe there is any such thing. I'm with Mother Teresa: saying there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers. But then, my attitude on the subject is pretty obvious from our family photos.)

ms. kitty said...

My focus in this sermon is intended to be the effects of too many people on the resources available, not on who should survive, because there is no ethical way to control population other than education. And even that is subject to individual human rights. There is no child who is expendable, I agree, Joel. But there are huge ethical questions about how much we consume of the earth's resources, how well we care for the children we do have, and how we can ethically encourage people to limit their family size, in view of the awful consequences of too few resources, such as water and food, for the billions of people who will be added to the earth's population in the next decades.

Anonymous said...

I don't usually comment anonymously, but this is more personal than I'd like to be with my name attached.

I'm 38 and gay. My partner and I are pretty sure we don't want to have children. We have other goals we want to pursue, and having children would make the pursuit of these goals more difficult.

We're also very serious about the overpopulation issue--particularly the environmental angle.

Nevertheless, sometimes we feel propelled toward parenthood. When we think about getting old without children to care for us. On Mothers' Day. Etc.

I would love to read a sermon that talks to these issues.

ms. kitty said...

It's interesting, Anon, that the Favorite Son called just before I read your comment and suggested that I consider dealing with the emotional issue, the biological desire to have children and give them love and nurture. I will see what I can do!

Joel said...

I can see your point as far as the resources. However, I think Anonymous brings up an excellent alternate angle to pursue. It also occurs to me that motherhood isn't always biological, or even official (as with adoption). Sometimes it's just fulfilling a need that a child (or anyone younger) has for an elder to relate to.

I remember when I was a teenager, there was a woman whose home was sort of a haven for wayward kids. I wasn't all that wayward, but the love and happiness in her home was enough that I took to calling her "Mom," and she certainly treated us kids who stayed there like we were her own. It wasn't a reflection on my own mother. I've seen some of my own teenagers latch onto a friend's mother and think of her as a second mom, even though they had a perfectly serviceable one at home. :)

Anonymous may not have children full-time, but there's no reason she (I'm guessing "she" because of Mother's Day) and her partner can't be the motherly influence that some other young person needs. Mother's Day would seem like a good time to honor the women who do that, too.

Joel said...

Also...

Just so we're clear, I do know that you don't consider anybody's kids unworthy to live or anything like that. I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. I was thinking of how a sermon on the subject would come across if I heard it, and I couldn't think of any way to avoid that implication.

Mile High Pixie said...

A few things come to mind when I think of overpopulation and Mother's Day. One thing is how one doesn't necessarily have to biologically have a child to be a mom. Many people adopt or foster children, and I benefitted from the influence, mentorship, and parenting by some women who had no kids but who still cared enough about the future to care for me and about me. Mothering is about more than the biological act--it's a whole set and series of acts and behaviors and intentions and goals that protect human beings and their (and society's) future.

kim said...

Overpopulation is a viciously self-limiting phenomenon. When we overheat the planet to the point where millions die because we can't feed them with the crops and bees dying of the change and the seaside cities are drowned and diseases and insects are spreading that used to be controlled by winter freezing -- when the population drops low enough to stop emitting enough to cause global warming, then, well, then we go into an ice age.
I disagree with Joel. I think we are vastly overpopulated now. There should be less than half as many people on this planet as there are. but if we don't want to control it ourselves, it will be taken care of for us....
but, who will survive? Not me. What about you?

Anonymous said...

This is a challenging issue for me... as someone whose education is in environmental science, and as a mother of 3 children. Whenever I'm wearing my environmentalist hat, I wonder if folks are wondering what the hell I think I'm doing since I not only reproduced but had *3* kids.

But... the 3ness of my brood has a lot to do with my family background. My developmentally disabled brother (whom I fully expected to care for as my parents became unable to) died in adulthood, leaving me as an only child. My mother also lost a brother, as did my grandmother. So part of my 3 has to do with how much I dislike being an only (in adulthood) and doing something to ensure against that for my kids. Part of my 3 also has to do with the fact that my own family is dwindling down to nothing... it's siblings dying and people not reproducing (in *our* particular family). My reasons are macabre, but as I said, they're complicated.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks for all your comments. The sermon is taking a different tack than I originally thought it might. Your thoughts have helped me look at it in some new ways. I'll post it Sunday. See what you think. I'm having some trouble concentrating on it because my vision is still a little wonky and looking at the screen gives me a bit of a headache, but I'm persisting.

Joel said...

Whenever I'm wearing my environmentalist hat, I wonder if folks are wondering what the hell I think I'm doing since I not only reproduced but had *3* kids.I wouldn't even know which direction to put on an environmentalist hat, but I've got eight kids. Five sired, three acquired.

I know folks wonder what the hell I'm doing. I'm supplying the tax base that'll pay for this generation's old age, is what I'm doing. Their taxes will probably also go toward any number of environmental causes over the forty-odd years of their productive life. So who's doing more for the environment, us or the people who cluck disapprovingly at more-than-replacement-sized families?