Last weekend I attended one of my favorite events of the year: The Ohio Renaissance Festival. No, I didn’t dress up. But as anyone who’s ever been to a Renaissance Festival knows, a lot of people do, and seeing the costumes they come up with is probably the best part. As I walked through the crowd it struck me how “into this” some people are and a strange thought occurred to me. I bet there are more people who get excited about dressing up for a Renaissance Festival than there are people who know about NFP.
After thinking about this further I realized there are some interesting similarities between those who enjoy a good Renaissance reenactment and those who practice NFP. For example, both groups of people are a sub-culture of a larger group. “RenFester’s” are a unique group of nerds amongst other nerds. You’ve got your Star Trek nerds, Lord of the Rings nerds, comic book nerds—the list goes on. Now, before you get offended, remember—I too was at the Renaissance Festival. In fact, I’ve gone seven out of the last ten years. I qualify [as a nerd].
Likewise, those who practice NFP represent a small minority of not only married couples, but of married Catholics. Mainstream, contracepting couples probably respond like Renaissance Festival nerds the first time they hear about NFP: “What is this witchcraft of which you speak(eth)?”
NFPer’s may not dress in elaborate period style costumes when showing up for parties, but their carriage may display a pro-life bumper sticker or two. NFPer’s may not speak in sonnets or Elizabethan English, but they do speak the language of the body. Needless to say, both groups are very passionate.
It’s evident that both RenFester’s and NFPer’s are motivated and inspired by the ideals of chivalry. I wonder if Renaissance enthusiasts know that chivalry is not simply a romantic idea of an age gone by, but rather is alive and well in modern times; lived out day to day in the marriages of NFP practicing couples. These husbands may not wear chainmail, but their wives view them as knights in shining armor when they are respectful and cooperative during Phase II fertility. NFP husbands and chaste, single men understand that their lady is worth waiting for.
What could be more romantic? If only the Renaissance Festival nerds knew about Theology of the Body and Natural Family Planning. We could convert the lot of them! They could help us rebuild our culture that has lost sight of the distinctive and complimentary gifts of masculinity and femininity.
Perhaps this will be my outreach project next year. Huzzah!