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December 11, 2005

Martin Luther: Theologian and Cloth Diaper Advocate

Now observe that when that clever harlot, our natural reason... , takes a look at married life, she turns up her nose and says, "Alas, must I rock the baby, wash its diapers, make its bed, smell its stench, stay up nights with it, take care of it when it cries, heal its rashes and sores... ?

What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the Spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels. It says, O God, because I am certain that thou hast created me as a man and hast from my body begotten this child, I also know for a certainty that it meets with thy perfect pleasure. I confess to thee that I am not worthy to rock the little babe or wash its diapers, or to be entrusted with the care of the child and its mother. How is it that I, without any merit, have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? O how gladly will I do so, though the duties should be even more insignificant and despised. Neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labor, will distress or dissuade me, for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight...

God, with all his angels and creatures is smiling--not because the father is washing diapers, but because he is doing so in Christian faith.

--Martin Luther

Last week we read of John Calvin's breastfeeding advocacy. I'm beginning to wonder if this is going to turn into a series on Great Theologians and Attachment Parenting?

(Via Carol, via Cheryl.)


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Beautiful post. I am not worthy to rock the babe or wash its diapers. What a wonderful sentence of awe and wonder.

Posted by: ben at December 11, 2005 11:17 PM

LOL, too cool, so where do you find this stuff?

Posted by: Amie at December 12, 2005 07:05 AM

"LOL, too cool, so where do you find this stuff?"

Reading theology. *wink*

Posted by: TulipGirl at December 12, 2005 08:25 AM

Hi Tulip Girl,
Not sure if my trackback has come through - just letting you kow I mentioned this post at BlogWatch (at World).
And... thankyou for your email ages ago. I am sorry I haven't responded to you yet. I have a pile of "must respond to" mail and have wanted to let you know I got it (so long ago you may not remember it!).

Posted by: Catez at December 12, 2005 09:20 AM

Wow, what a wonderful quote.

Did you notice who is washing the diapers?

"God, with all his angels and creatures is smiling--not because the father is washing diapers, but because he is doing so in Christian faith."

Posted by: Kathy at December 12, 2005 09:42 AM

Well, here at Katie's Beer we are well aware of what a great father Luther was. I think that the Luther home must have been a wonderful place; highly educated, down-to-earth loving and engaged parents actively raising their children in a warm and open home. Not unlike the home of Tulip Girl and Discoshaman!

Posted by: TK at December 12, 2005 01:29 PM

Okay, that is an awesome passage.

Posted by: Jared at December 13, 2005 09:29 AM

WDWLU - What Diapers Would Luther Use?

Posted by: Terry at December 14, 2005 08:56 AM

WHOA. a lactivist and calvinist and attachment parenting...YEYEYEYEY! such women do exist???? I can't wait to read more!

Posted by: MEGAN at December 16, 2005 08:05 PM

I've read this quote before; alas, it was after our crew was out of diapers. While we did follow the truly Reformation practice of using cloth diapers (most of the time) we missed out on all of the spiritual blessings we could have received. Had I realized what I was depriving my husband of, I would have insisted that he take on the manly task of diaper washing.

In fact, I think it is time all of us women repent of our feminist thinking and quit usurping our husband's role of diaper launderer, night-time baby caretaker, stench smeller, etc.

Posted by: Rebecca at December 17, 2005 02:38 PM

As a harried father of a newborn, I needed to be reminded that it is a god-given privilege to change even diapers...Thanks! I have used this on my own blog.

Posted by: Scott at December 22, 2005 12:58 AM

Good quote, love it for it's overall message...

...but the cynic in me simply has to point out that it's not like you could run to CVS for Pampers or Luvs in Luther's day...what else would they use but cloth?

I know I know...throw things at me...I'll duck. ;)

Posted by: Jen at December 23, 2005 11:44 AM

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