Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How dare you radio personality Mark Elfstrand of Moody Radio on "The Morning Ride" program

Today, Tuesday, September 7, 2010, I was driving my Aunt's van because she so kindly let my husband and I borrow it to transport some dinning room chairs. Anyway her car's radio station was tuned into Moody Radio. I didn't want to mess up her station and I knew I would forget Moody's station number so I thought I would just listen to "The Morning Ride" program with Mark Elfstrand. (side note, Mark has had Andrew on his program before and well lets just say Mark does not agree with Andrew on just about every aspect of what he does)...

Anyway I was intrigued because this morning Mark was going to be interviewing a Moody Bible Institute Professor of Theology named, Dr. Bryan Litfin, (you can read the snippet of his show today here) on the passage in Genesis which speaks about "Be fruitful and multiply." Of course with my struggle with infertility I was curious what these two men were going to speak about with regards to this verse. They began their discussion talking about how many children one should have, birth control, choosing not to have children etc. All in all the Moody Professor, Dr. Litfin, interpreted the scripture within historical and biblical context stating that not only did this verse represent having children and populating the earth, but also our responsibility to everything within the earth and helping all creatures, plant life, etc. be fruitful and multiply. Additionally, the professor from Moody Bible Institute spoke about the historical context of needing to populate the earth at that present time with the corresponding passage where God directed Moses to do the same after the great flood. The Professor went on to speak about today's context as there is no real need to populate the world, but a need to be good stewards of this planet as well. This was the argument the professor and the host, Mark, were having with regards to people choosing not to have children. Whether or not Mark was truly implying the tone indicated that he (Mark) felt that those who chose not to have children may be going against God's commandment, the professor of course was quick to indicate that if the couple had felt in their hearts with God's guidance that children are not meant for them and are finding a different way to help this world be fruitful and multiply then they are more then likely in God's presence as well.

Okay all of that background to say that Mark Elfstrand made a comment, which I want to give respect that maybe he did not mean for it to be so calloused and cold, hurtful, distasteful and with out knowledge of the struggle. In one swooping comment, that neither man decided to really discuss except for one quick and awkward response from the professor, he brought up that scripture indicates being barren is an embarrassment to that woman who can't have children. Then there was a slight pause the Moody professor said well yes in that time period and then nothing...

I will admit that I may be over sensitive, but I thought here we go again. Moody radio by its reputation is quite conservative and Mark's reputation sits directly in line with the stereotypes of this radio. He may be a very pleasant man outside of his radio show and have a bit more tact in relating to very sensitive issues, but this is why I feel Christians have such a hard time discussing this issue which makes us uncomfortable because we allow people to make blanket statements. This issue of infertility which as we all know has come much further in medical advancements understand that an ability to have a child or not have a child is complex, painful, lonely, and nothing to do with an embarrassment of not being "woman" enough.

I guess my challenge is if you are going to say something about infertility which is affecting so many women in this world (both Christian and non-Christian) then you better have a better follow up discussion rather then saying well you know the old testament called it an embarrassment...how dare you Mark Elfstrand be so careless in the statement...


Jon Trouten said...

What a jerk. That assertion by the radio host encapsulates what I strongly dislike about talk radio.

Rachel said...

What a horrible thing for him to say and for you to hear when you're just minding your own business. Grr.

I was aware today that I continue to be insensitive too. I was in a training session for an assessment tool, and it involved watching videos of people and then coding them against criteria. One was a 3 year old, and an intense discussion followed about whether certain of his behaviours were age-appropriate. Two people compared the child to their own children, at which point I said, 'Yeah, I guess we're all sitting here comparing with our own kids.' I regretted it straight off, but never did say anything to backtrack.

I hope your awareness-raising Brenda continues to help others like me realise our clumsiness and damaging comments.

Turtle Woman said...

I don't think men really have any business talking about women and child bearing. For thousands of years, men have had sex with women, knowing full well that child birth itself could well kill the woman.

And we have women bearing the full burden of "fertility treatments" that have no medical effect on the male.

And then we have these idiots on the radio who I think don't have a clue about any of this.

It's why there is a gay and lesbian movement-- we are the balance in the over population equation. I reject all attempts to colonize my body in any way with the childbearing agenda.

I think that Moody talk show needs to get some women guests on, and shut the male bible babblers for a couple of weeks. I can't stand to listen to men talking on the radio anyway, the arrogance, the sexism, the bible babble makes me want to ----

There is this huge child bearing propaganda machine out there, making women feel less than just for not having children. I think this machine indoctrinates straight women so much, they aren't even aware it has taken hold of their psychology. I fear that lesbians are now being put into the child production brainwashing machine as well.

Now straight women are actually SHOCK asking me if I wanted children. Sheesh... can't women ask me any intelligent questions-- like the most influential books I've read, or what has lesbian nation achieved politically? I'd like to hear that on the Moody drive by hour :-)

Sarah@EmergingMummy said...

That's just unbelievable. you should write this in an email to them directly.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, we need more women discussing certain topics. I also get tired of male talk show hosts making a big deal of breastfeeding in public. They take some tiny news item & make a big discussion without understanding the nuances of it. Women in this country are very ignorant of this topic too, but men almost have no business talking about it.
Infertility is even more sensitive. It can't be put into a 'sound bite' like those guys were doing. I'm sure they meant no harm, but if enough women write in, the host may redeem himself with better discussion of the topic later.

James Case said...

In matters such as this, context is crucial. In Jewish culture, being barren was seen as an embarrassment. The religious snobs took "be fruitful and multiply" as a demand, and people not meeting it were thought to be either cursed, or out of line with God's expectations. That is probably what they were talking about. Believe me, I listen to Mark Elstrand every weekday-morning, and know him to be a man of character. For those of you who mindlessly went along and insulted the man, you should be ashamed of yourselves.
For the author of this post, I'm sorry that you and your wife are having difficulty in this area, but getting riled up and posting something for the whole world to see is just irresponsible. You just slandered Mark's name, a name by which he tries to further the Gospel. Shame on you!

Anonymous said...

It seems as though he was just relaying what is in the Old Testament.

Annette said...

I agree with James. I listen to Mark and the morning crew every morning. He is a man of integrity and is careful with his words. Some subjects are difficult and I applaud Moody Radio for not shying away from those. Maybe they didn't allow enough time to truly delve into the topic, but there is often follow up. If you'd written to Mark at Moody then I'm confident he would have addressed it again to clear up any confusion. Christians speaking ill of other Christians is more of a problem and when disagreeing, which we often do, should be done tactfully.

Anonymous said...

"Mark has had Andrew on his program before ... Mark does not agree with Andrew on just about every aspect of what he does."

Does Andrew, in turn, agree with Mark about just about every aspect of what he does?

With such disagreement, it is amazing either man graced the other with conversation. They both fully knew the reputation of the other, yet there they each were, broadcasting a conversation. Some might cynically say they were using each other's platform to get their message heard. Bob Seger's line in "Night Moves" reminds me of this, "I used her. She used me. Neither one cared. We were getting our share."

With that, you too knew you would disagree, almost by default, with Moody.

Given your husband's connection with Elfstrand, I am presuming you went to him directly to discuss this concern before ranting here (which, mind you, I agree with what you've posted). What did he say?

Dusclaimer: I'm not a Moody listener nor know anything more about Mark Elfstrand's show than what you've posted.

Anonymous said...

"Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author."

Here is an idea, maybe it's God's word, He read it, instead of being mad at Mark, be uspet with God and see how far that gets you.