Sunday, May 15, 2011

unPlanned: the dramatic true story of a former Planned Parenthood leader's eye-opening journey across the life line

by Abby Johnson, with Cindy Lambert
Tyndale House Publishers, 2010

Abby Johnson was a 19-year-old junior when she attended a volunteer fair at Texas A&M and was recruited by Planned Parenthood. Raised in a Christian home, you might think she'd be reluctant to partner with an organization known to provide abortions, but Abby believed in Planned Parenthood's stated mission of offering health care, contraceptives and counseling to women in order to reduce the number of abortions, and the talking points and semantics used by Planned Parenthood were convincing. Furthermore, she agreed that if women didn't have access to places where abortions could be performed safely, they would be forced to seek elsewhere with possibly devastating consequences.

From initial volunteer work as a part-time escort, Abby moved to part-time employment, then full-time work within the organization, eventually becoming director of a local clinic. Over a period of eight years, Abby counseled women on their choices, performed administrative duties, and supervised other employees. She married, divorced, remarried, and became a parent. Along the way, she made a number of pro-choice friends and encountered many positive pro-lifers, whose genuine care for the women Planned Parenthood served equaled or exceeded her own. Through the prayers of Coalition for Life members, church sermons and liturgy, and various experiences, God worked to reveal His heart to Abby, and to change her views on the hot topic of abortion.

This is Abby's powerful story - how she moved from a committed pro-choice perspective to working for both the rights of women and of the unborn. Well-written and captivating, I recommend it to anyone looking for a better understanding of Planned Parenthood and what they do, from someone who knows both sides and now stands with the Coalition for Life. Also for Christian readers who may not have a solid footing on the abortion debate and want to better understand the issues.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Grandfathers (DVD)

Ethnographic Media, 2007
Starring, Jesse Saint, Steve Saint, Mincaye Enquedi

Jesse's grandfather, Nate, was one of five missionaries killed by the Waorani people of Ecuador in 1956, a story that made headlines around the world. Two years after Nate's death, his sister, Rachel, and Elizabeth Elliot, the wife of one of the other slain missionaries, returned to the Waorani and continued the evangelical work. On Rachel's death in 1994, Steve Saint, Nate's son, went to Ecuador to settle his aunt's estate. The Waorani people encouraged him to come and live among them, and after some consideration, Nate moved his family there for a period of time. It is this period and beyond that is captured in The Grandfathers.

While Jesse had occasionally visited his great-aunt in Ecuador, it was something quite different to live with the people who had murdered his grandfather. Jesse hears first-hand the story behind the killing of the missionaries and what the Waorani were like prior to knowing Christ. Previously fierce warriors, they have become a people who love to laugh; now instead of killing each other, they show love and service. Jesse comes to "adopt" three of the senior men (Dewey, Mincaye, and Kimo) as his grandfathers, and enjoys a special relationship with them - a picture of the power of forgiveness and redemption. Through these relationships, Jesse finds a greater meaning and purpose for his life, and he and his own family continue to work for the Waorani to this day.

I really like the creative way the story is presented in this movie - you have to see it to understand what I mean. It's a complete story in and of itself, but also an excellent complement to Beyond Gates of Splendor and The End of the Spear.

Bless This Mouse

by Lois Lowry,
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2011

This story of a community of church mice who live at St. Bartholomew's under the authority of Mouse Mistress Hildegarde, is one of Lowry's sweetest children's novels.

Hildegarde is admired by church mouse Roderick, who does everything in his power to capture her heart, while rival Lucretia does everything she can to usurp Hildegarde's position. Add university-educated Ignatius, whiny young Harvey, and the threat of extermination to the mix, and you've got the makings of a captivating plot.

Will Hildegarde successfully save her subjects from the Great X? Will Roderick win her heart? Will Lucretia take the "throne"? Will the mice escape the dangers of cats at the Blessing of the Animals? Read this delightful story to find out.