Archive for the ‘Young People’ Category

Those who variously enjoy mysteries, Arthurian legend, the works of the Inklings, and historical pieces will want to include Looking for the King. It is 1940, and the Second World War has just begun.  American Tom McCord, a 23-year-old aspiring doctoral candidate, is in England researching the historical evidence for the legendary King Arthur. There he meets Laura Hartman, a fellow American staying with her aunt in Oxford, and the two of them team up for an even more ambitious and dangerous quest.

Aided by the Inklings-that illustrious circle of scholars and writers made famous by its two most prolific members, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as the lesser-read Charles Williams-Tom and Laura begin to suspect that the fabled Spear of Destiny, the lance that pierced the side of Christ on the cross, is hidden somewhere in England.

Tom discovers that Laura has been having mysterious dreams, which seem to be related to the subject of his research, and, though doubtful of her visions, he hires her as an assistant. Heeding the insights and advice of the Inklings, while becoming aware of being shadowed by powerful and secretive foes who would claim the spear as their own, Tom and Laura end up on a thrilling treasure hunt that crisscrosses the English countryside and leads beyond a search for the elusive relics of Camelot into the depths of the human heart and soul. Weaving his fast-paced narrative with conversation based on the works of the Inklings, author David Downing offers a vivid portrait of Oxford and draws a welcome glimpse into the personalities and ideas of Lewis and Tolkien, while never losing sight of his action-packed adventure story and its two very appealing main characters.

You will feel that you actually have met Lewis, Tolkien and Williams and shared a story with them.  There are themes of chivalry and faith inter-woven into the tale, and the level of dialogue and narrative are well-above that of the mass market pot boiler.  You also won’t have to worry about offensive language, vivid sexual imagery or anyone wielding a chainsaw.  It is a good bet for the beach, poolside or an armchair in air-conditioned comfort.   A word of warning, though.  Once you start this book you won’t want to put it down until the finale!

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Not surprisingly, a religious background and a firm family structure are a strong deterrent for unwed pregnancies.

Please take a moment to read this important and telling article and to pray for unwed mothers and their children.

As well, you may wish to see the full piece with charts which can be found on the Family Research Council site here.

Lenten blessings,

Canon Nalls


Mapping America: “Ever Had an Unwed Pregnancy” by Current Religious Attendance and Structure of Family of Origin

by Patrick F. Fagan, Ph.D. and Scott Talkington, Ph.D.

The 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth shows that females who grew up in intact families who frequently attended religious services are least likely to have had an unwed pregnancy.

Description: Examining structure of family of origin, 19 percent of females who grew up in an intact married family have had an unwed pregnancy, followed by females from intact cohabiting families (26 percent), single divorced parent families (36 percent) and married stepfamilies (36 percent), cohabiting stepfamilies (37 percent), and always single parent families (54 percent).

Examining only current religious attendance, 16 percent of females who worship at least weekly have had unwed pregnancy, followed by those who attend religious services between one and three times a month (25 percent) and those who attend religious services less than once monthly (25 percent), and those who never attend religious services (27 percent).

Examining current religious attendance and structure of family of origin combined, 18 percent of females who worship weekly and grew up in intact families have had an unwed pregnancy. By contrast, 40 percent of females who never attend religious services and come from non-intact family backgrounds have at some point become pregnant out of wedlock. Between these two extremes are those who never worship and grew up in intact families (24 percent) and those who attend religious services weekly but grew up in non-intact families (33 percent).

Related Insight from Other Studies
Studies based on the 1995 General Social Survey show that family structure affects the unwed pregnancy rate. According to Valerie Martin of McGill University, when compared with peers from intact families, adolescent and young adult women who experienced parental divorce were significantly more likely to give birth out of wedlock.

Using this same survey, Jay Teachman of Western Washington University also found intact families to be protective in many ways: Compared with peers from other family structures, women who grew up in intact families were less likely to form high-risk marriages, to cohabit before marriage, or to have a premarital birth or conception.

Another study demonstrated the protective nature of the family’s religion: When compared with peers whose mothers had not attended religious services frequently, 18-year-olds whose mothers attended religious services often were more likely to have attitudes about premarital sex, cohabitation, abortion, and divorce.

The Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Survey also showed the impact of religion on urban mothers, finding that urban mothers who attend church frequently are at least 70 percent more likely to be married when they give birth or to get married within one year of a nonmarital birth than are urban mothers who do not attend church frequently.

Dr. Fagan is senior fellow and director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) at Family Research Council.

Scott Talkington has been Research Director for the National Association of Scholars and Senior Research Fellow at George Mason University School of Public Policy since 1998.

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