Gilmore Girls, Choice and Wantedness

Gilmore Girls is probably my favourite show. It premiered in 2000 and went off the air in 2007. On average I re-watch all seven seasons once a year. Apparently it is honesty hour on this here blog. Carrying on.

That is a weird way to start a post I realise, but just go with me.

If you have never seen the show, it is about a mother, Lorelai, and her daughter, Rory, who are making their way in the small eccentric community of Stars Hollow, Connecticut. Lorelai had Rory when she was 16. And even though it was 1985 and even though it is a full 12 years or so after the American Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, Lorelai chose to keep her baby. She chose to keep the baby even with enormous pressure and she chose to keep the baby and raise it on her own, without the help of her wealthy parents.

And she and Rory thrived.

Christopher’s parents, Rory’s paternal grandparents, were unsupportive. They blamed Lorelai for getting pregnant and they suggested the best option would be an abortion. Not once did they express disappointment with Christopher impregnating Lorelai. Not once did they encourage him to own up to his responsibility. The blamed Lorelai and the encouraged her to abort.

In a flashback scene, Emily (Lorelai’s mother) and Straub (Christopher’s father) go toe to toe on the subject.

“EMILY: Christopher is just as much to blame as Lorelai is.
STRAUB: Like hell he is.
EMILY: They are in this together.
STRAUB: I don’t see why. Why should Christopher sacrifice everything we’ve planned for him just because –
EMILY: Choose your words extremely carefully, Straub.
FRANCINE: Emily, you know we love Lorelai, you know that. But Christopher’s so young, he’s a baby.
EMILY: Well, Lorelai’s not exactly collecting social security.
STRAUB: Why doesn’t she get rid of it?
EMILY: What?
FRANCINE: Straub.
STRAUB: It’s an option.
EMILY: It certainly is not an option.
STRAUB: Why not?
EMILY: Because I say so.” – Gilmore Girls, Season 3 Episode 13 “Dear Emily and Richard”.

And, although Lorelai, isn’t directly part of this conversation, her opinion is no different.

From the same episode:
“LORELAI: I know we’re all upset here folks, but maybe we should ask the kids what they think. Lorelai, Christopher, anything to add here?
CHRISTOPHER: Quiet, they’ll hear you.
LORELAI: Not likely. I don’t know how much longer I can just sit here like this.
CHRISTOPHER: It’s okay, let them talk.
LORELAI: They’re talking about us.
CHRISTOPHER: They’re trying to figure out what to do.
LORELAI: What to do with our lives – our lives! Yours and mine and…its.”. [Emphasis mine]

Both Lorelai and Emily recognized the inherent personhood of Lorelai’s unborn child. Rory, although unplanned and inconvenient was still a person worthy of life in both their eyes.

In a different episode, Season 1 Episode 15 “Christopher Returns” when we first meet Christopher and his parents, Straub and Francine, the following exchange takes place:

“STRAUB: If you had attended a university as your parents had planned and as we planned in vain for Christopher, you might have aspired to something more than a blue collar position. [In reference to Lorelai stating she runs an in and that she is happy in how her life turned out]
CHRISTOPHER: Don’t do this.
STRAUB: And I wouldn’t give a damn about you derailing your life if you hadn’t swept my son along with you.
LORELAI: [to Rory] Honey go into the next room. Go, go.
GRANDPA: I’m going to have to echo Christopher’s call for civility here. A mutual mistake was make many years ago by these two, but they have come a long way since.
STRAUB: A mutual mistake Richard? This whole evening is ridiculous. We’re supposed to sit here like one big happy family and pretend that the damage that was done is over, gone? I don’t care about how good a student you say that girl is….
LORELAI: Hey!
STRAUB: Our son was bound for Princeton. Every Hayden male attended Princeton including myself, but it all stopped with Christopher. It’s a humiliation we’ve had to live with every day, all because you seduced him into ruining his life. She had that baby and ended his future.”

Again we are seeing Christopher’s parents who, even 16 year later, are still blaming Lorelai and Rory for how Christopher’s life turned out. They view Rory as unwanted and don’t acknowledge that Christopher, as it is alluded to over the course of the show, was hardly in Rory’s life. Christopher’s parents are looking to blame someone and don’t hold their own son accountable for his actions even though he wasn’t had in Rory’s life so Rory did not prevent him from going to Princeton.

But I have strayed off the point. In the “Christopher Returns” episode, we see Rory’s existence reaffirmed by bother mother and grandmother. They confirm her wantedness:

“GRANDMA: None of this means anything Rory.
RORY: Oh I know.
GRANDMA: … Rory, I know you heard a lot of talk about various disappointments this evening and I know you’ve heard a lot of talk about it in the past. But I want to make this very clear – you, young lady, your person and your existence have never ever been – not even for a second – included in that list. Do you understand me?”

“RORY: They don’t even want to know me do they?
LORELAI: That is not true. They are just so full of anger and stupid pride that stands in the way of them realizing how much they want to know you.
RORY: Yeah.
LORELAI: Their loss and it’s a pretty big one.
RORY: I’m going to bed now.
LORELAI: Hey. No regrets – from me or your dad.”

Lorelai chose life for Rory because she was wanted. Lorelai acknowledged her personhood from the beginning and even though it was inconvenient and the pressure from Christopher’s parents was loud and even though her own parents were disappointed, she wanted Rory so she kept her.

But does that really define a fetus? Is an unborn child only a person if they are wanted?
Why does a wanted child have more rights than an unwanted unborn child. Even Abby Johnson in her book Unplanned reflected on the difference. While working at Planned Parenthood she referred to unborn children as fetuses and medical waste, but while she herself was pregnant, Abby referred to her fetus as a baby.

But, fetuses are all the same. A fetus is always an unborn child. From the moment of conception the only potential that fetus has is whether or not it becomes a female child or a male child. But it always is and always will be a human.

Whether or not a child is wanted doesn’t affect its inherent dignity and its indisputable personhood.

That is why abortion is such a travesty. It kills innocent children. That is all it does. Abortion kills.

Any one who looks can find a person who would turn an unwanted child to a wanted child through adoption. Adoption is a hard choice, but there are far less complications and risks with adoption that with abortion. And Adoption always brings joy to the people who choose it.

The real “war on choice” come from people who dismiss adoption as a viable option.

The real “war on choice” comes from people who dismiss science, evidence and growing public opinion that life begins at conception. Who arbitrarily decide that a person is only a person if it is wanted, or only if it was conceived in ideal circumstances.

Adoption is a real choice. It is a loving selfless choice, it is everything abortion isn’t. It creates wanted children because every child IS a wanted child.But sometimes a family is not made by blood but by choice.

Choosing life creates families, choosing abortion kills them.

**********************************************************************************************
Script for “Christopher Returns”: http://www.crazy-internet-people.com/site/gilmoregirls/pages/s1/s1s/15.html

Script for “Dear Emily and Richard”: http://www.crazy-internet-people.com/site/gilmoregirls/pages/s3/s3s/56.html

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At least it was better than Twilight, or, a Divergent review

Today I finished the book, Divergent by Veronica Roth. And, I have to say it wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t great. And it was certainly not nearly a good as I had been lead to believe by, well, pretty much everyone.

If I had a 1-10 scale of Young Adult Literature it would look something like this:

1) New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
2) Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer
3) Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
4) Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
5) The Giver by Lois Lowry
6) The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
7) Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson
8) Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
9) Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
10) Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Sooo….on a scale of New Moon to Speak it was…a 4.

It was on par with the least irritating book from the Twilight saga. I’m not sure if that is something to celebrate or not, (just thought about it. Definitely not worth celebrating).

As a whole, Divergent doesn’t have a bad story. I generally like dystopian YA literature. The Giver is an all-time favourite, and I really really like The Hunger Games too. But Divergent was a decent story, poorly executed.

It was set in a near future Chicago, but, there was little background given as to why or how society turned out that way. It was alluded to, but never elaborated. So it was hard for me to care about the characters or their plight.

It also had waaay too many characters. So many turned out to not actually matter, and that one’s that do matter I couldn’t keep straight.

For example [SPOILER] by the time it was discovered the Marcus was Tobias’ father…I couldn’t remember who Marcus was. There was also some development of relationships between characters from the Abnegation factor at the beginning…but then those characters were never mentioned again. So, what was the point?

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. I should maybe give a plot rundown.

From Amazon.ca:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

So Tris, as she is known, was Abnegation and then switched to Dauntless. But, she is actually a Divergent. And this fact is beaten into the reader. It felt like every other page Tris would once again had the realisation that she is different because she is Divergent.

It is the first time I have read a book and thought, “man, you could turn this into a drinking game!” Take a shot every time she realises she is Divergent.

So, to be nice, the writing quality was… still better written than 50 Shades of Grey! (I made it through 27 pages of that book before the poor spelling/grammar/syntax made it impossible to go further). But, I digress. The writing quality was immature. A lot of the descriptions were repetitive and the character development was pretty non-existent in most cases. That is my biggest issue, not the story, but the characters and descriptions. If those were more thought out the story would be infinitely better.

NOW, that being said…. the book had some good points.

God was mentioned, a few times. When Tris [SPOILER] faced death at one point, she remembered back to when she prayed with her family and said she was happy that her family taught her about God.

The idea that selflessness and bravery are often the same thing was also a good aspect and that the idea of being a virtuous person was to share in all of the qualities of all of the factions.

[SPOILER] Tris’ mother was the perfect example of bravery, kindness, love and courage. She paid the ultimate sacrifice to save her child and her family. She was the most complete character, and was hardly ever in the book. All characters should’ve been given that much development. It would’ve been nice. She was only mentioned on a total of about 10 pages or so, but easily my favourite character and the one I cared about the most when she died.

So ultimately, Divergent was just…meh. A good story ruined by immature writing and too many characters.

Only time will tell if I will read the other 2 books. But seeing as I read ALL 4 Twilight books (more than once, I’m ashamed to say), the answer is…I’ll probably read them. Glutton for punishment by way of mediocre books.

The Annunciation of Our Lord, or My Reflections on Mother Mary.

So tomorrow, March 25th, is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of Our Lord. The moment when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, the Mother of God to deliver a message that she was with Child.

Mary, Mother of God. This might be one of the biggest problems between Catholics and Protestants.  How do you properly venerate and love Mary, especially when so many see that venerating her, as she deserves, is unbiblical and how it removes emphasis from Jesus.

I am not a Marian scholar, nor do I pretend to be. And I don’t have the same affinity for Mary as some of my fellow Catholics. It was a sticking point for me, people seem to put a huge value on Mary. Praying the rosary endlessly. Talking about Mary more than Jesus. And it always seemed so weird to me.

But then, I did some research. And I prayed. I even started praying the rosary. I used this: http://youtu.be/gsY9yaBsgls it let me follow along and focus on the words. The meditations, the contemplation, the peace that it brings.

And I grew to love her.

I know that you can get to Jesus through Mary.  The Wedding at Cana signifies this. The miracle of turning the water into wine occurred after Jesus’ mother advised him they were out of wine. (John 2:1-12 Douay-Rheims)

In the same way, Catholics ask Mary to intercede on our behalf. She is our example, our mediator.  She is our mother.
Mary is the ideal woman. She is the woman that all women on the planet should aspire to be.  She is the ultimate example of humility, modesty and chastity.

“…I simply wish to note that the figure of Mary of Nazareth sheds light on womanhood as such by the very fact that God, in the sublime event of the Incarnation of his Son, entrusted himself to the ministry, the free and active ministry of a woman. It can thus be said that women, by looking to Mary, find in her the secret of living their femininity with dignity and of achieving their own true advancement. In the light of Mary, the Church sees in the face of women the reflection of a beauty which mirrors the loftiest sentiments of which the human heart is capable: the self-offering totality of love; the strength that is capable of bearing the greatest sorrows; limitless fidelity and tireless devotion to work; the ability to combine penetrating intuition with words of support and encouragement…” – Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater

Those who argue that venerating Mary does a disservice to Jesus are doing a disservice to themselves.

Mary is necessary for our salvation. Mary was chosen and conceived without sin. God gave Mary the choice to bear his Son.
And she said yes. Through her own free will, as an unmarried woman, she said yes. And without her “yes” the salvation of the world would not have happened.

This is why we venerate Mary. We understand her pivotal role in our very salvation.

We understand that Mary was made perfect by God in order to play her part in our salvation.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

And, in honour of the Annunciation of Our Lord:

Hail Mary, Full of Grace,  the Lord is with you. Blessed are you, among women. (Luke 1:28, Douay-Rheims)
Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. (Luke 1:42)

Holy Mary, Mother of God. (Luke 1:43)
Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. (James 5:16) .

Nope. There is nothing biblical about celebrating Mary at all…

Campaign for True Womanhood

I found a new group on Facebook the other day. It is called Fight the New Drug. It is an anti-pornography group. I support the movement. Pornography and everything that goes with it is causes so much strife.

More and more people are starting to speak out against pornography and masturbation and how it breaks and destroys true love. And this is good.

But it misses the point. Porn and all that go with it is just one way we are violating the dignity of the human person. But it is an offshoot of a more insidious problem.

We live in a porn culture because we live in a culture that divorces human sexuality from love and human sexuality for procreation. We live in a culture that willingly accepts contraception as normal and then we are scandalized when depraved sexuality becomes the norm.

Contraception makes it easy for men to objectify women because women are letting them. When women take birth control they make it easy to divorce sex from love. They turn love into lust. They take bodies designed with a purpose and poison them so that they can be willfully objectified.

And then we become outraged by pornography. How on Earth does that make sense?

If we truly want to fight the objectification of women:

> We wouldn’t be fighting against pornography,

> We wouldn’t be fighting against the impossible standards set by magazines.

> We wouldn’t support causes like Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty.

> We would fight the objectification at the source. We would fight contraception.

> We would fight willfully breaking a women’s body.

> We would fight the increased risk of stroke, cancer and blood clots.

We would fight for women to raise their standards and learn their dignity.

We would hold men accountable and raise expectations.

We would fight to celebrate the true beauty of being a woman.

“Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

Pope John Paul II

“Thank you, every woman, for the simple fact of being a woman! Through the insight which is so much a part of your womanhood you enrich the world’s understanding and help to make human relations more honest and authentic.”

Pope John Paul II

Thankful, or, NET retreat rundown

I have work I should be doing. For my actual job. But I can’t, because I’m distracted.

I am still in the place that I found at the retreat yesterday. And I don’t want to leave it.

I was a leader, the retreat wasn’t even for me but I was still moved almost to tears. I’m still so new to this being Catholic thing and I forgot what it was like just being in a place, surrounded by people who have such a vibrant love for Jesus.

I had so many conversations with them and I can’t even begin to explain it, the joy that just exudes from all of them is awesome. Having a conversation with an 18 year old who says, “Jesus will make it work out if it is meant to be” and means it. Or another Netter who gets giddy and excited about talking about the giant Monstrance that held the Body of Christ at World Youth Day Rio.

I was hosting them and helping them set up for the retreat for the youth group kids at my Church, so I got to really get to know them.

They invited me/I asked to crash their team prayer session. I knew from my roommate (a former Netter) that team prayer can take so many different forms, but yesterday they did a praise and worship session. I had never heard the songs before, but I was still able to sing along, and I just felt so much joy. I was opening myself up to Christ and so many times I just wanted to cry from sheer joy.

Because no matter what I’ve done, how far I’ve fallen and how much I still stumble. I’m never alone. I’m never abandoned. And even though I still struggle to find my place and my purpose I know that I can always find the guidance I need. And that is important.

The Netters have these questions they ask, and they kept asking me about how I grew my faith and how I ended up where I am in my faith and I told my story. I realised that I would never be where I am had I not met the young priest (Father) in my diocese, I am so thankful he is in my life. I sent him a text this morning (he was at the retreat last night) telling him I was thankful for him and for him helping me rejoin the faith, and then his response almost made me cry. At work. I was seriously not impressed by that.

I realised I am so blessed for my best friend for inviting me to go to Church with her after 7 looooong years away. I admire her so much and sometimes I don’t think she knows how thankful I am for her. I definitely know that I don’t tell her nearly as much as I should.

After the team prayer, I was caught off guard because they all started to hug each other (and me!) and said “Peace be with you”. And I think that may have been my favourite part. The sincerity in all of these people, who I had never met before, who wanted you to be a peace and with God and with yourself. After the bleakness of being away from the Church it was a really good feeling.

When the kids arrived, they started the retreat with the song Lay Me Down by Chris Tomlin and I have to say that I fell in love with the song.

I lay me down I’m not my own
I belong to you alone
Lay me down, lay me down
Hand on my heart this much is true
There’s no life apart from you
Lay me down, lay me down

That’s the chorus. You can listen to the full song here: http://youtu.be/0pkWrvCZDHA

After that it was general skits and things and I had to go off and do leader stuff, and by that I mean I got to catch up with Father (he arrived late).

I helped one of the Netters set up the prayer altar by untangling rosaries. Which is the worst, because they get super intertwined and borderline impossible to undo. But, you know, Catholic problems.

During the prayer session, I was sitting to the side. I wasn’t really praying, I was just reflecting when a Netter hops over and asks to pray with me. And asks to put her hand on my shoulder to show she is praying for me. The intimacy of that exchange is so indescribable and I was again, almost in tears. I have never been a crier, so being that close to tears twice in one day was extremely uncomfortable. But discomfort is a sign that God is working.

After the retreat we had dinner in the rectory, and we were discussing being Christ for others. Father went on his always entertaining (to me, anyway) almost-rant about how much he hates the quote, inaccurately attributed to St. Francis, “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words”.

It is something the Netters understood. They preach the Gospel with each other and at their retreats, but they never let their actions speak for themselves. They use their words.

The whole conversation was something I realised was something I needed to hear. I don’t witness enough. I’m intensely introverted, so it terrifies me to be uncomfortable or judged or be condemned for standing for Truth. I make excuses for why I do things, instead of saying I am called to do it. Because as a Catholic I am called to stand for truth and what is right.

But I realised I wanted to be that. It was a long journey back to the Church and it makes no sense for me to be scared to live it. Otherwise what was the point?

And I hope I can figure it out, because above everything else, I want to please God. I want to be able to fully surrender my will to his. To learn to love him with the fullness of who I am. And patiently wait for guidance.

And to never stop praying and singing his praises. Because if that is lost, life is meaningless.

God Bless,
Rebecca

PS.

I love this song. Father played it for me back in October, and I’ve been obsessed ever since.

What happens when you jump off your detox for a day?

Nothing good.

I’m too much of lady to go in to details, but I felt pretty miserable. And oh man, I didn’t sleep a wink last night.

It is official…sugar and gluten do some freaky-deaky things to my sleep cycle and general awesomeness. I can’t wait to get back on track today.

The worst, is that I totally made a lunch and distinctly remember putting it in my bag of stuff to bring to the retreat but apparently I was hallucinating. So I got home feeling miserable and there was my perfectly packed food sitting their mocking me.

The NET team was amazing. I loved being around them. The joy and happiness they have was completely lovely. I wanted to hang out with them forever. Totally creepy, I know.

And my favourite friend/priest was at the retreat and he was so influential to my reversion to Catholicism and it is just always so great hanging out with him.

Blargh. Anyway. I’m off to work…hoping this stomach ache passes..

God Bless,
Rebecca