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Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception [Paperback]

By Sam Torode (Author), Bethany Torode (Joint Author) & J. Budziszewski (Foreword by)
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Item description for Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception by Sam Torode, Bethany Torode & J. Budziszewski...

In a fresh vision of love, sex, and marriage, the Torodes challenge the widespread acceptance of contraception and offer a model of family planning that celebrates new life and respects our bodies' God-given design.

Publishers Description
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 to have children, how many are desirable, and how to prevent them, while still recognizing that the number of children each family can best support will vary. Open Embrace is far more than a case against contraception - it is a positive affirmation of fertility, childbearing, and prudent self-control. Couples who practice Natural Family Planning, as advocated in this book, cooperate with God's design for their bodies, making wise decisions about family size without losing respect for the mystery and meaning of sex. Whether one agrees or disagrees with its conclusions, Open Embrace is a rewarding read for all engaged and married couples seeking to sharpen their moral discernment.

Awards and Recognitions
Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception by Sam Torode, Bethany Torode & J. Budziszewski has received the following awards and recognitions -
  • Benjamin Franklin Award - 2003 Finalist - Cover Design-3+color SM category

Citations And Professional Reviews
Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception by Sam Torode, Bethany Torode & J. Budziszewski has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Christian Retailing - 05/06/2002 page 11
  • PW Notes and Reprints - 05/06/2002 page 55
  • CBA Retailers - 07/01/2002 page 153
  • Publishers Weekly - 05/06/2002

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pages   144
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.18" Width: 4.74" Height: 0.41"
Weight:   0.28 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 31, 2002
ISBN  0802839738  
ISBN13  9780802839732  

Availability  0 units.

More About Sam Torode, Bethany Torode & J. Budziszewski

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Torode is a freelance writer/graphic designer.

Sam Torode currently resides in the state of Wisconsin.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Relationships > Family Concerns

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Reviews - What do customers think about Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception?

This way lies madness.   Aug 23, 2006
For the novice, a couple things need to be definitively stated here: Firstly, the Bible says exactly *nothing* about Birth Control, neither pro nor con. Everyone's opinion on the subject, from the Pope on down to John Q. Believer of *any* sect of Christianity is voicing just that: opinion. That's fine, one is allowed to have their own opinion, but they shouldn't mask it as "God's Law," or attempt to apologize it in as "What God meant, but didn't actually say." (For that matter, there's no condemnation of masterbation in the bible either, and the Catholic obsession over the subject stems from a willful misreading of the story of Onan).
The basic concept of Protestantism was to free Christianity from the excesses, corruption, and stifling traditions of Catholicism, and on a functional level, the idea was to only "Speak on those subjects the Bible speaks on, and to be silent where the Bible is silent." The point is, quite simply, that a protestant is to behave in accordance with the things the Bible specifically says, and on subjects that the bible doesn't mention, it's up to your own discression, so long as it is not otherwise immoral. Illicit sex outside of marriage is condemned, so obviously that's bad, as is witchcraft and homosexuality: there's no getting around those if you're Protestant. However, there's no mention of flying in airplanes, voting libertarian, or living in North America, and so all of those things are, therefore, a matter of taste, and not a matter of Divine Command, no matter what the individual may say to the contrary.
My problem with this book is that it asks the reader to take upon him/herself more burden than God Himself requires of them, and it disingenuously presents it in an apologetic fashion, trying to dupe impressionable readers into thinking "This is what God really meant." I have a problem with any "Christian" book that misrepresents the bible, as should anyone who (like me) calls themselves a Christian. It implies that people who do more than is asked of them in this regard will have a more full, rewarding life than 'weaker' people who actually want to have sex with their spouses just because - hey, let's face it: sex is fun - and it implies that people who actually want to have sex are somehow inferior or less in love than those who hold out. This, despite the fact that the Bible clearly says husbands and wives are not to deny themselves to each other.
This book represents a maddening new kind of Fundamentalism in which the Bible itself has only talismanic value, to be quoted only when it confirms preconceived notions (Wether good or bad) that the individual has, and to be misrepresented when it says otherwise, or simply used to bludgeon someone over the head with, knowing that few people - even Christians - have a good working knowledge of the book anyway.
Speaking as a life-long Protestant, I find this book to be disturbing.
Closed Embrace: A Greek Orthodox Couple Rethinks Contraception - Again  Jul 3, 2006
Four years after writing this book, the Torodes have changed their mind on natural family planning. Why? It's apparently too difficult and causes too much guilt to the husband in a married relationship (...huh?). They no longer advocate NFP, and instead condone certain forms of contraception (google "Open Embrace" - one of the top hits is an essay that rejects the principles set forth in this book). This may or may not have any bearing, but they've also joined the Greek Orthodox church - as such, I'm not exactly sure if there's any part of the book's title that's actually true for the authors any more. Do some homework on the Torodes before you purchase this book to see if it's worthwhile to buy it; this doesn't mean that I'm necessarily condemning or endorsing it, but ask yourself whether you'd want to take the advice of a couple who have recanted their position a mere four years after publication.

From a slightly more cynical perspective, I can't help but wonder why the Torodes are still allowing the book to be sold if they no longer agree with what they've written in it. While they might be embarassed with the book's contents, I'm sure they're not embarassed about spending the royalties.
Never mind....  Apr 27, 2006
It's important for anyone considering this book to know that a mere five years later the authors now disagree with the main argument of the book (though I'm sure they'd love for you to buy one anyway). Now that they've laid a guilt trip on their readers, the Torodes have apparently changed their minds about NFP [...]. They now think that "NFP often lays an unfair burden of guilt on men" and "it's a theological attack on women to always require that abstinence during the time of the wife's peak sexual desire" (a less passive and more honest way of stating this would be to say that "Sam and Bethany Torode have laid an unfair burden of guilt..." and "Sam and Bethany Torode have launched a theological attack on women..."). One would hope that next time Eerdmans will be more cautious about giving a hearing to such inexperienced authors, and that the hastily offered opinions of the Torodes not be taken very seriously in whatever other books they write.
Tremendous book!  Mar 16, 2006
We will start giving this book out at our Catholic parish to the couples on their engaged weekend retreat.

Very informative and well written. Truly inspired.
Advice from the inexperienced.   Dec 26, 2005
If you think that a newly-married couple with virtually no experience dealing with family-planning issues is the best source for advice on family planning, you just might be willing to take a risk with this book. It's chock-full of abstract theorizing and starry-eyed notions about the "blessing" of pregnancy -- it's virtually bereft of factual realities, like the unreliability and burden of following "natural" family planning (if you call daily mucuous-membrane measurements and temperature-taking 'natural'), and the dread of finding out that, once again, you're pregnant but can barely make ends meet to support the children you already have.

In other words, it's one thing to talk about how great it is to 'trust God' when you only have one child -- it's quite another to try to pretend that failure to use reliable birth control is so wonderful when it results in 5 kids under the age of 8. I've seen far too many couples wax poetic about natural family planning when they first get married -- only to hear them say "What were we thinking?" five years later when they realize the consequences that come from taking such a passive role in their own family planning.

Upshot: you can take an active or passive role in planning your family. If you take the passive route, make sure you understand exactly what that means -- and talk to those who have a more experienced perspective than just a couple of years.

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