Conceiving and carrying a baby to term is difficult for some of us—but not all. So, what does it mean to be singled-out for suffering? The church is oddly silent when it comes to addressing this question. Not just my church. All churches. They are all failing to provide insight… compassionate support… even just overt grace to those struggling to build a family. Instead, they offer silence.
In her review of Pregnant with Hope, E.W. Carter of the Regional Council of Churches writes, “Clergy don’t even know how to talk about infertility in the 21st century, [so] many of our faith communities are silent when confronted with the unfulfilled longing for a child.” Essentially, she’s saying the church is silent because the clergy are clueless.
Harsh? No offense intended, but she says it quite clearly, “They don’t even know how to talk about infertility….” Why would that be? There are few, if any, other topics on which the church—and those who speak for God through it—have nothing to say. What’s the problem?
Old habits die hard.
That’s part of the problem. For centuries, the church has been run by men. And, for just as long, infertility has been considered a woman’s failure. Only recently has medical research discovered that infertility is just as often caused by an issue with the prospective father’s health as with the prospective mother’s.
Now, women are in the pulpit and infertile men are in the pews. But the church hasn’t metabolized this new reality. No one’s teaching “How to Talk About Infertility” in divinity school. What’s stopping that change from coming?
Supply meets demand.
That’s the other part of the problem. No noise. No clamor for change. Until the silent give voice to their suffering, inertia will maintain the status quo. So, if we want messages of hope for those struggling with infertility to make their way to the pulpit, and from the pulpit into the hearts and minds of all those who don’t yet understand the good news of God’s faithfulness—even in the midst of infertility—we’ve got to speak up.
Are you with me?
Find more resources and cause for hope at PregnantWithHope.com