Tuesday, January 29, 2008

How Chaste a Foundation

A book review of Emily's Hope by Ellen Gable
Full Quiver Publishing

by: James F. Volpe

The Couple to Couple League is updating all of its materials, as well as its method, in the first overhaul since inception. The Creighton System's NaPro Technology is having tremendous success and expanding all over the nation. The NFP movement has passed through its infancy and is in the growth spurts of puberty along with the daughters of the current generation of NFP users. All NFP using parents are concerned with how to pass on the beauty of the Church's teaching on sexuality to their daughters. Since many NFP users have discovered this beauty only after hard lessons in life, they wish to spare their daughters from these same growing pains.

In order to impart these lessons in sexuality, Ellen Gable has adopted my favorite pedagogy, teaching through novelization. In Emily's Hope, Mrs. Gable alternated between telling the story of Emily, living in the seventies and Emily's great-grandmother, living at the turn of the twentieth century. This proved to be a brilliant device which allowed for simultaneously explaining the separate time frames where contraception and abortion were legalized. The story of Emily covered many situations which those in the pro-life community experience: bigotry from doctors, confusion from friends, silence from family, witnessing to deaf ears, and sympathy from no one except a spouse. The story of Emily's grandmother covered the militancy and cold-heartedness of the birth control movement as well as the rationalizations often used by pro-abortion advocates. The book teetered on the edge of covering too much with these instructional vignettes, but, thankfully, the scenes did not become overwhelming and the story held together on its own merits.

As I witnessed Emily and her great-grandmother travel through their lives, I was reminded of another gloriously educational novel, How Firm a Foundation, by Marcus Grodi. That novel covered the tale of a Christian pastor as he followed the lonely road of Christ across the Tiber and into Roman Catholicism. Mr. Grodi wrote his novel to explain his journey to his parents, whom he loved very dearly but who could not understand his conversion to Catholicism. Mrs. Gable's novel covers the conversion of a young woman's heart. She wrote her novel to explain the beauty of the sexual powers to her goddaughters in case they could not understand the witness of her life. Both novels are works of love, explaining how deep love can be.

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