What we’re doing and reading

Last night I had an audition for the Brooklyn Conservatory Chorale. I’ve been thinking for a while that I’d like to do some music again, but because we don’t have a piano and I decided not to bring my violin, it has to be singing which I thankfully enjoy doing very much! I got about halfway through my song when she stopped me. (Russian? accent): “Stop, stop, stop!” I thought, oh boy, was it that bad?! “Bootyfull voice – yoor een!” (phew) So from next week on, I join them for rehearsals in the evening once a week. It’s going to be fun to do some group music again, as well as getting a bit of time for myself! The only little hurdle is catching public transport and walking at night, but I did it last night and felt very safe because there are people everywhere! I might still invest in some pepper spray just in case. :-)

What else is new here? Not an awful lot, actually. We’re starting to settle in for real now and getting into the groove of living here. The things that provided most of the culture shock when we first arrived are now the things I’m starting to enjoy — the buzz of all the people everywhere, public transport, lots of dinky little shops everywhere, yummy food (did you know that we would have to walk no more than 3 blocks to enjoy Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Senegalese (and other African), MacDonald’s, Nigerian, or Southern cuisine? Not to mention a heap of other eateries!). I think it helps that we’re getting to know the area a bit, forming some good friendships, and that we’re getting settled and involved at church. And we’re certainly enjoying the fact that New York has a lot on offer. There’s always something else to see or do. I’ll share some photos from Little Italy and Chinatown soon. I’m not saying that I feel at home here — I miss family and friends from home dreadfully — but it’s slowly getting a bit easier.

While we haven’t been so very busy, we’ve had a bit of time for reading. Ben’s currently reading Steven Hawking’s latest book The Grand Design that a workmate lent him. He says he’s enjoying it and hasn’t disagreed with a book so much in a long time! Together we’re reading (very sporadically) Christian Modesty and the Public Undressing of America by Jeff Pollard. We haven’t quite read enough of that one to form any opinion other than that Mr Pollard has a bit of a dry and verbose writing style. I’ve recently finished a fun detective novel by Dorothy Sayers The Busman’s Honeymoon. I quite enjoyed how she splattered all sorts of quotes from great writers throughout the book.

On Sunday night I finished Killer Angel by George Grant, a short biography of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood (or as it would more aptly be named, Planned Barrenhood). While I thought the book had a lot of valuable things to say, I did not appreciate the tone Grant used — his hatred for her was very clear. When I read a biography I like to be given the facts and make up my own mind and I think if you’re a good writer you won’t need to call someone “permafrost” or “demonic” (even if that’s fair) to still bring across the fact that she was indeed an evil woman. She was a eugenicist (hence the development of birth control) who believed that women should be in control of their own lives. Her own life gives us an example of what that might mean: multiple sexual partners, broken and unhappy marriages, children left to be cared for by others for up to a year at a time while she furthered her own interests. In a word, incredibly selfish. No, nobody is their own master. Life becomes peaceful, contented and purposeful not when we’re our own masters, but when God is.

Margaret Sanger wanted nothing to do with God. She could speak well, and her lies sounded so good because they contained kernels of truth. Some of her ideologies are now so widespread they are accepted as the norm.

Birth control itself, often denounced as a violation of natural law, is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defectives. So, in compliance with nature’s working plan, we must permit womanhood its full development before we can expect of it efficient motherhood.

She assumed that a woman with more than 2 children lived a drudged and unfulfilled existence, and perhaps many do because they do not view motherhood with a Biblical perspective. If she hadn’t caused so much cultural havoc, I’d almost feel sorry for her.

The relentless efforts of reactionary authority to suppress the message of birth control and of voluntary motherhood are futile. The powers of reaction cannot now prevent the feminine spirit from breaking its bonds. When the last fetter falls the evils that have resulted from the suppression of woman’s will to freedom will pass. Child slavery, prostitution, feeblemindedness, physical deterioration, hunger, oppression and war will disappear from the earth.

In their subjection women have not been brave enough, strong enough, pure enough to bring forth great sons and daughters. Abused soil brings forth stunted growths. An abused motherhood has brought forth a low order of humanity. Great beings come forth at the call of high desire. Fearless motherhood goes out in love and passion for justice to all mankind. It brings forth fruits after its own kind. When the womb becomes fruitful through the desire of an aspiring love, another Newton will come forth to unlock further the secrets of the earth and the stars. There will come a Plato who will be understood, a Socrates who will drink no hemlock, and a Jesus who will not die upon the cross. These and the race that is to be in America await upon a motherhood that is to be sacred because it is free.

(You can read her whole book from which these quotes come, Woman and the New Race, here. I haven’t read it all, but I’ve read enough to know that it’s full of a lot of good-sounding hogwash.)

I hope that times never comes. As Christians we view marriage and motherhood as gifts from God, not as rights. They are gifts that give our lives a certain direction and blessing. We recognise that we are not the masters of our own lives — we are only free when we are slaves of Christ. A difficult paradox, but a blessed one.

On a similar topic, I’m also reading Jay Adam’s Christian Living in the Home which is full of Biblical truth and common sense (as opposed to Sanger’s writing!). I’m about halfway through and enjoying it.

Also on my book pile are books like Honey for a Child’s Heart, Books Children Love, The Book tree, and Leading Little Ones to God. Our pastor’s wife lent them to me to look at some age-appropriate books to acquire for our kids, and just for interest in general. We want to raise kids who love to read! On that note, we read an article recently in the The Wall Street Journal about raising boys who love to read which had a refreshing amount of common sense to it!

Wow, this turned out a lot longer than I had anticipated. I got a bit side-tracked by old Sanger.

2 thoughts on “What we’re doing and reading

  1. If you’re looking for more reading material, I just finished Defying Hitler by ? and[rereading] And There Was Light by Jacques Lusseyran. Both are different perspectives on WWII than I’ve read elsewhere, especially the second (which is, unfortunately, unfinished). The first book is written by a blind leader within the French Resistance. Highly recommend both.

  2. Franci,
    Good on you for getting in to the choir! Ja – bootiful voice you do hav!
    And it’s good to hear you’re enjoying lots of new things over there. But, don’t you be getting too used to NY aye?!!
    And yeah, email still to come (sorry it’s taking a little longer than I’d hoped). x Marci

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