Archive for Thursday, January 15, 2004

Bits and Pieces

Women showing up in politics, literature

January 15, 2004

Women's issues seem to be popping up everywhere these days. Serious issues like the abuse of women in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the recent signing of a bill by the president that bans late term abortions have been in the news.
Then we have the speculative issue of women in the life of Christ proposed in a book making the rounds lately, "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown, as well as the frivolous issue of the love life of older women in the recent movie "Something's Gotta Give." Well, frivolous unless you're "older," I guess.
Now comes Anna Quindlen writing in this week's "Newsweek" about the empty nest syndrome in an article aptly entitled, "Flown Away, Left Behind" where she muses on the role of motherhood. She often writes for Newsweek -- you can find it on the very last page of the magazine -- and she always touches a nerve, at least in me.
Recent articles also included, "A New Kind of Poverty" which addresses homelessness in our country, which now includes a number of women and children.
From there she travels to the room where the president signed the recent bill concerning late-term abortions. No proponent of such abortions, she took issue with the fact that this legislation was signed with not a female in attendance in her article, "Not a Womb in the House."
The next issue was a plea for holiday shoppers to turn their pursuit of mostly-unwanted "stuff" in their gift-giving to contributions as gifts to relative and friend's favorite charities. You say, "Ah, a bleeding-heart liberal," and as we all know that is such a dirty word these days now that "compassionate conservative" has taken its place among the politically correct. Yes, a liberal through and through and not to be faulted for being compassionate, at least from my stance.
Whatever you make of Quindlen, her articles are always timely and thought-provoking. In this most recent article she touches on what all mothers feel as the kids leave home -- a subject I have also written about. With young adults going back to college and jobs now that the holidays are over, this theme I am sure resonates with lots of women throughout our country. (Along with Quindlen, I still turn around when someone says "Hey, Mom," in the supermarket.)
We all relate to this quote: "The empty nest is emptier than ever; after all, at its center was something so enormous that a good deal had to be sacrificed for it."
And for all mothers out there, I say a collective, "Amen."
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Before I become too preachy, let us return to the lighter side and move on to other reading I have been doing lately. Having received a number of great books for Christmas (at my request), and at last having time to read them during the January "blahs," which will not be relieved until Valentine's Day, I am having a great time catching up on late-night reading.
As I mentioned above, a really hot book making the rounds and into conversations wherever you go these days is the "DaVinci Code" by Dan Brown. The book was reviewed and commented upon in a recent "Newsweek" with front-page coverage, and it was also the subject of a special television production.
Reading it now I find that it conveys in an entertaining way many facts of history that have not always been available to us concerning the role of women in the life of Christ and in the early Christian community, particularly the role of Mary Magdalene.
My generation came to know her as a harlot as portrayed in scripture. It seems that Pope Gregory during his era in A.D. 591 conveyed that to the church at large. However, the church reversed this portrayal of her in 1969, but obviously most of us never heard of this reversal. This recent study of her role links her with Christ as his most beloved disciple and goes so far as to suggest that the disciple at Christ's right hand in the famous painting of the Last Supper is not John, but Mary Magdalene.
Interesting and very political, this is a good read, making what might have been only a scholarly book into a best-seller. Pick it up or borrow it from a friend. There is much to discuss here. In the meantime, take another look at the picture of the Last Supper hanging somewhere in your house or your grandmother's house and see what you think.

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