Tag Archives: infertility

Book Note: “Why the Church Needs Bioethics”

Just received a copy of Why the Church Needs Bioethics: A Guide to Wise Engagement with Life’s Challenges (Edited by John F. Kilner; published 2011, Zondervan). Using 3 case studies, a wide variety of authors discuss “better birth” (fertility), “better life”, and “better death.”

Authors include Richard Averbeck (OT and Counseling), Kevin Vanhoozer (theology), DA Carson (NT), and Stephen Greggo and Miriam Stark Parent (Counseling). In addition, there are business, law, medical, education, pastoral care, bioethics, and intercultural ministry authors.

I got a little chance to play a part in this book as a “critiquer” (p. 9) Stephen Greggo authors chapter 3, “Wisdom from Counseling” as a counseling response to the case study of Betty and Tom, a couple who are considering using Betty’s sister’s eggs and Tom’s sperm and to implant embryos into Betty. I got a chance to read and react to this chapter some time ago all because of a little article my wife and I wrote in 2002 and published in 2005.

On page 71, Greggo and Parent say,

A recent search of the leading peer-reviewed journals that inform Christian MHPs [mental health providers] and pastoral counselors yielded only a single article to guide a Christian counselor who might be dialoging with  Betty and Tom.

Their footnotes reveal that they searched The Journal of Biblical Counseling, The Journal of Psychology and Christianity and the Journal of Psychology and Theology between the years 2000 and 2009.

I find it surprising that there are no other articles than ours (full text here) and gratifying to see our essay summarized in this volume. While there are a number of good full length books, there is a serious need for good Christian counseling articles dealing with infertility and assisted reproductive technology (ART) because this is where many counselors start their study on a given topic.


Filed under christian counseling, christian psychology, Christianity, ethics, monroe

Suffering and infertility

Some 18-19 years ago my wife and I were struggling with the secret pain of infertility. When everyone around seemed to be getting pregnant we couldn’t…and didn’t. Now, almost 2 decades later, the pain is a distant event in the past. I hesitate to say this because too often suffering people are patted on the back and given trite words of “encouragement”, but…I am thankful for the suffering because it has improved my sense of compassion for others and also my awareness of how God meets us in our pain.

But make no mistake, it wasn’t easy. And I don’t want to go through it again.

Some years ago we wrote about our experience and our spiritual struggles in an essay in the Journal of Biblical Counseling (CCEF’s journal). I mention all this because a friend of mine on staff at a church in NC wrote a short note about it (following a sermon on Zechariah and Elizabeth) and linked to the journal article. You can read my friend Brad’s intro here in their church blog.

Funny thing, this article seems to get more comments from readers than all of the other writings I’ve published put together. I guess it really touches a nerve. And not just with infertile couples. We’ve had comments from those who have had other kinds of losses as well.


Filed under "phil monroe", CCEF, christian counseling, Christianity, parenting, suffering

Dealing with unexpected losses

Some years ago, my wife and I wrote an article for CCEF’s Journal of Biblical Counseling entitled, “The Bible and the Pain of Infertility.” Of all my published writings, this article has garnered the most responses from readers. I don’t think it is because it is so well written as much as it touches many where they most hurt. Even though the article is about infertility, readers have commented that they found it related to their loss of a loved one, the unexpected loss of a career, a chronic disease.

Not that long ago I was asked to review a chapter manuscript on pastoral care of infertile couples. I was shocked to learn that he could find no serious work (than ours) attempting to think pastorally about infertility. Not sure he is right but it probably means we need more on the topic.

I say all this because CCEF has put the article up for free on the top of their homepage. Click here for their homepage. Click the image at the top of their page and it should take you to the full text article.

Enjoy. Pass it on to others you think might benefit, especially those who suffer in secret.


Filed under "phil monroe", biblical counseling, CCEF, christian counseling, christian psychology, Christianity, counseling, Doctrine/Theology