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Paperback Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception Book

ISBN: 0802839738

ISBN13: 9780802839732

Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception

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Book Overview

In this bold critique of modern ideas about sex, marriage, and contraception, Sam and Bethany Torode set forth a vision that is fresh for our times yet rooted in centuries of Christian tradition. Weaving together a sound theology of spousal love with honest information and personal insight, Open Embrace offers a compelling alternative to the unquestioned use of contraception. The Torodes challenge modern lifestyles and popular wisdom about how soon...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Provoking and unusual sentiment for Protestants

I am in my junior year in college, and my friends are starting to get married. Birth control has become a frequently discussed topic, and when I stumbled across this little book things changed. Several of us have decided that, when the time comes, NFP is the best choice for us. 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.

A Must-Read Book about Marriage & Family

My husband and I are newlyweds, like the Torodes, and we greatly appreciated the timeless wisdom and fresh insights this couple brings to the discussion about Christian marriage. Though we had already embraced the historical Christian teaching against contraception and are using Natural Family Planning as our means of spacing our children, we were challenged by this book to reconsider how long to wait before having children. For all Christians concerned about birth control issues, particularly regarding the Pill, this book is an absolute must-read. 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.

Walking with God

I am a convert to Catholicism, and I was drawn to OPEN EMBRACE because I was interested in exploring Christian thinking about contraception more deeply. Frankly, I didn't expect much from this slim volume, which is written by a young Protestant couple. I thought it would be a bit lightweight. I could not have been more wrong.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.

Natural Family Planning for Protestants

In the book's introduction, University of Texas at Austin philosophy professor J. Budziszewski addresses the three goods of marriage: procreative, unitive, and sacramental. The error of our time, Budziszewski writes, has been trying to tear the three apart. "By saying `yes' to union but `no' to procreation, we still get a kind of union, but it goes bad; it ferments, turns sour, and begins to stink," writes Budziszewski.With the problem thus stated, the purpose of the book then is to put the 3 back together. The authors do so both successfully and efficiently. Open Embrace, although small, is filled with great wisdom.Catholics practicing Natural Family Planning will find nothing new here, but then that is not the book's intended audience. Rather, the Torodes have written a book for other couples like themselves - Protestant couples that were never taught to oppose contraception.Like Kimberly Hahn, and others who have traveled the same road before them, Sam explains that he originally, incorrectly assumed that the Catholic Church's prohibition on contraception was a superstition, leftover from the Middle Ages. After a friend explained that the Church actually had reasons for its teaching, he decided to research the subject himself. The book is the result.Beginning with what it means to be created in the image of God, the Torodes reason that our sexuality reflects God's likeness. It is from this "theology of the body" then, that the Torodes logically embrace a vision of married love and the one-flesh union which cannot be diminished or compromised through the action of contraception. Their logic is clear, simple, and easy to follow. Desiring to conform their desires and actions to the natural rhythms of the woman's body, they lead the reader to Natural Family Planning. There, they encounter a profound, biblical perspective on the meaning of sex - namely, that love cannot be contained in just two bodies. Marital union reflects the Trinity.A minor weakness of the book is that it makes no attempt to examine contraception from a moral standpoint. Rather than suggesting that contraception is evil or sinful, the Torodes are content to say that it is not "ideal." Again, one must remember their audience.At one point, the authors quote Toni Weschler, who does not discourage couples from using condoms during their fertile time. Any Natural Family Planning instructor, however, can explain that in addition to the high failure rate of condoms, the use of condoms will negatively impact a couple's ability to recognize signs of fertility. While they do not address the moral theology, the authors do present a convincing argument against the many defenses of contraception by Christian authors (Dobson, LaHaye, etc.) that say that contraception can be used for good or ill depending upon one's intention.The book stands as a challenging critique to a culture where the contraceptive mentality treats fertility as a sickness and children as inconveniences. The Torodes lay

must-read!

Sam and Bethany have done a beautiful job with Open Embrace! Humble, practical, inspiring, down-to-earth, well-written, and easy-to-read, it is a book that every couple should read. Singles will appreciate its message as well. Rarely have I read a book which said so clearly what I thought and believed on a subject. Bethany writes so sweetly of the blessing of motherhood, sharing from her heart. And Sam does a great yet humble job of laying forth their findings about birth control and natural family planning. They don't force an opinion on you, but leave the reader to draw their own conclusion, encouraging you to pray and study about it for yourselves. This couple has stood up as a voice for their generation. May they be an inspiration to young and old alike to follow God's design for love and family!
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