- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Blessing or burden?

“In 1995 (the last year data was compiled) the National Center of Health found that nearly 7 million women defined themselves as voluntarily childless — up from 2.4 million in 1982.

“And why not, when they hear sociologists proclaim that childless couples have happier marriages? …

“[M]ost Christians, and plenty of non-Christians, instinctively recognize that there is something perverse about this worldview. …

“Our culture tells us children are a burden, robbing us of our financial resources and our potential. Psalm 127:3 tells us ‘Children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward.’

“Our culture tells us women are made irrelevant by motherhood. 1 Tim. 2:15 tells us, ‘Women shall be preserved through the bearing of children.’

“Our culture tells us to wait until we have realized all our desires before having kids. Psalm 127:4 tells us, ‘Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth.’”

Megan Basham, writing on “Motherhood On Trial,” May 27 in Boundless at www.boundless.org

Political girl

“There’s a new Madonna on stage, and the transformation is the biggest shock of her big summer ‘Re-Invention’ tour. …

“A major motif of ‘Re-Invention’ is Madonna’s anti-war protest. It’s not often presented with what you’d call subtlety.

“In the creaky song ‘American Life,’ dancers sternly march around in military fatigues as images of bloodied and terrified Iraqi children flash on the video screens. …

“Later, Madonna performs what has become one of the most cliched anthems of unity — John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ — in front of images of wounded or angry kids.

“Even ‘Holiday’ features a video backdrop of flags from all over, eventually bringing together Palestinian and Israeli symbols.

“Do we really need Madonna to become Joan Baez? Why isn’t she content just to be Cher?”

Jim Farber, writing on “Madonna ‘Re-invents’ herself,” May 26 in the New York Daily News

Achieving war

“‘Troy’ was made for the spectacle that surrounds its stories.

“That spectacle is almost entirely about armies and navies and immense battles and magnificent duels and the nobility of warriors. What this emphasis implies, quite markedly, is that several years ago the makers of this film — a very expensive one — were convinced that the world was ready for a celebration of war: war not merely as a subject but as an achievement. Obviously this is a return to classic themes. Much of the world’s great drama and fiction celebrates these themes. … Nonetheless, the decision to make Troy was, I’d say, less an urge toward classicism than a conviction that war — war presented as the optimum occupation of mankind — would sell. …

“If we like, we can go to films simply to be stunned by the limitless. … But when a spectacular film rests on at least a minimal armature of character and cogent action, as ‘Troy’ does, we can just sink back and enjoy. What we enjoy is the sovereignty over time and place and the force of gravity that film has given to the world.”

Stanley Kauffmann, writing on “War Time,” in the June 7 issue of the New Republic

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