This is not my next official Harry Potter post, but more of a side comment that snuck up on me as I’m reading through Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (which I’m about halfway through). And I’m not entirely certain how much I want to say here for fear of my becoming incredibly irritated and upset.
In Order of the Phoenix, Harry spends an even greater amount of time with the Weasleys, the family of Harry’s closest friend, Ron, than he does in all the books leading up to this one. The family, to me at least, appears distinctly British, not to mention ginger, but also a little dysfunctional at times. There is a subplot about how the Weasleys’ second eldest is at odds with the family and not on speaking terms; he was essentially led astray by propaganda and blind hero-worship of his employers – a common enough story.
The parts in the Harry Potter series about the Weasleys are some of my favorite parts. Everyone loves Fred and George from the films, but the whole family would be enjoyable to spend time with. And I think part of the reason for this is because they are a large family, but at the same time, are incredibly diverse, which is something you don’t find in many large families, as often the majority of the children become soulless carbon copies of their parents…and they don’t have the excuse of being gingers to fall back on.
I really do think most of the appeal of the Weasleys to readers of the Harry Potter books is because the Weasleys are a large family. I’m certain Mr. Weasley makes a somewhat decent living, but the family is relatively poor because of how far the money must be spread around. This is a point of distress to Ron and the rest of the children at times, but they are still the happiest bunch in the books. They are blessed with a large family, and the parents surely don’t regret having that many kids in the least (most of the time).
As a Christian, I’ve been exposed to more than my fair share of extremist propaganda about how having large families is a blessing from the Lord (conveniently separating God the Blesser from God the Creator who created reproduction systems that can function perfectly well without divine intervention). I’ve seen this viewpoint been taken to cultish levels, where those with large families look down upon those with small families (both of whom point to God as deciding the size of their respective families), and where those without children are weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth that God hasn’t seen fit to bless them with large families. Ridiculous and insulting to God.
Now, I like big families. I think it’s an impressive achievement when families boast 8, 9, 10+ people in them. But I’ve also known some incredibly Godly and blessed families with only 3, 4, or 5 people in them. Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, mentioned in one of his sermons in recent years that this idea of ‘having a large quiver’ is one of the weapons women wield against each other. It’s creating an idol out of a good thing. It’s exalting something above what God intended. It’s making a major issue out of a minor issue. It’s ok-legalism.
I don’t fully support but I feel sympathy for those who are now standing against the so-called “Quiverfull Movement”, as large families can and do occasionally cause undue stress, grief, sin, and physical and emotional damage to parents and children. There is nothing “more godly” about having more children. Period. And in many cases, those parents that do have lots of children, are some of the most ungodly people out there. The more kids you have, the less time you can spend on each, the more likely you are to be a terrible parent, thus ignoring whole chunks of Scripture in favor of one or two instances where God is blessing a specific person or couple with many kids.
Because, remember, if God gave a blessing to one specific context and time sensitive person in the Bible, you too can claim that blessing for yourself!
Each side can argue themselves around each other, always with a smug expression on their face, not truly listening to what the other side is saying, answering only part of a question, and still managing to recognize and destroy those straw men they see in the other’s arguments while still erecting their own straw men, just now gilded and in the shape of a cow.
Frankly, I’m sick of it. It’s vanity. Vanity of vanities. Listening to them is the equivalent of coprophagia. But, to use the more common vernacular…
It really is. Kids, don’t believe everything you read on the Internet, in a book, or believe everything you hear from a pulpit, podcast, or sermon. You’ll be better off. Parents, grow up, read the Bible, and quit buying the lies forced on you by your “clergy”.
Disclaimer – I like big families. I want to have a relatively large family myself. I don’t ever want to create a law out of this issue for anyone. I like the Weasleys primarily because they are a big family, they have been blessed, and the arguments of “but we want to have fun!/we aren’t financially prepared/we want to take a few years off” just don’t fly for me as a way of saying you don’t want to have a lot of kids; just say you don’t want to have a lot of kids, be honest, because God judges the heart. These reasons might work for you, but I don’t buy the rhetoric, yet I’m not going to sit here and tear down what you say in favor of what I have accepted is my own personal conviction before God. On this matter, as with many others, we are each accountable to God and to our own spouses, and for the sake of unity, stop trying to shove your agenda on others. Love them instead.