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Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception Paperback – March, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
For such a short book, Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception packs some serious punches. Authors Sam and Bethany Torode argue that all married Christians, not just Roman Catholics, need to seriously examine the widespread usage of contraception, which they feel is against God's plan for creation. (Pregnancy is not a disease, they assert. Why vaccinate against it?) While supporting Natural Family Planning, which they define as informed abstinence, they also make a particularly uncompromising case for stay-at-home moms, which will probably irritate many readers. More controversially, they argue that a culture that worships sex without procreation will sacrifice its children through abortion, claiming that America's increasing permissiveness about legalizing contraception in the 1960s led inexorably to Roe v. Wade in the 1970s. While it's good to see some ecumenical diversity in the contraception debate, some of the basic arguments of this book are problematic.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Sweetly written and solidly argued, this is a head-clearing, heart-warming read. -- J. I. Packer, author of Knowing God
The Torodes combine gentleness of spirit and wisdom beyond their years with the urgency of a fresh "95 Theses." -- Allan Carlson, President of the Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society
This clear and well-written book presents a winsome case for the integrity and sweetness of sex 'au naturel.' -- Frederica Mathewes-Green, author of The Illumined Heart
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Top Customer Reviews
The Natural Family Planning (NFP) method isn't frequently heard of in Protestant circles, but boy does it ever make sense! The Torodes make an excellent case by simply presenting factual information interspersed with their own story. They have a wisdom that exceeds their years--even my mom was impressed, and she's tough! This would be an excellent discussion for a Christian book group and should be required reading in premarital counseling. Involving the husband in the fertility process more and making every child's conception a desired event are good ideas if you ask me...
The Torodes discuss all of the widely available birth control options that are widely available today (except for some really new ones that administer the same drugs with the same effect, i.e. nuva ring or patch versus the pill). Their reasons for not chosing one method or another are given briefly. I think that to make a decision that was as fully informed as possible, one might want to look further into what she says. Not that it's wrong at all, but because it's not too in-depth. This book isn't a manual, though. It is an excellent starting place.
Though the book does not claim to offer any practical or technical information about Natural Family Planning, there is one statement that is incorrect. They say that only 3-7 days of abstinence are required per menstrual cycle if a couple is using NFP to postpone or avoid pregnancy. 7-10 days is the minimum abstinence requirement for the NFP-using couples we know, ourselves included. But as for the philosophy and reasons behind NFP use in marriage, this book is among the best.
Since they are a young couple, I think with just one baby so far, they haven't had to address the issue of the inevitable eventual result of forgoing contraception and seeing children as a gift: a house full of kids! Trusting God in this area of your marriage looks somewhat different when you've already got 4 kids and that's about all your budget and home can presently handle than it does when you are newlyweds and your whole life together is still a blank book. Not that they try to evade this issue, they just haven't had to face it yet and so of course the book doesn't touch on it. I would be very interested to read, in 6 years and 2 or 3 more kids or so, what their journey of faith in this matter will have been like as their family grows.
Sam and Bethany Torode share the exploration which led them to enter into a marriage without artificial contraception. They have honed in on the central arguments, and they present them with startling, succinct clarity. Each chapter covers a single aspect of the topic in just a few pages - going straight to the heart of the matter. The resulting book allows one to cover the topic in a short evening.
But the real beauty of OPEN EMBRACE, which I will carry with me for a long while, is the profound faith of this young couple. Their love for God and each other shines through every single line. This is no academic exercise, but rather a deeply-felt walk with God. I feel blessed to have been allowed to share in it, and I am grateful to them for allowing me to see the spiritual beauty of a marriage that is genuinely open to life. I am a better Christian for having spent a few hours with this remarkable couple.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very informative and well written. Truly inspired.Read more