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ss triple helix - Winter 2019,  Reviews

Reviews

Target Africa

Ideological Neocolonialism in the twenty-first century

Obianuju Ekeocha

  • Ignatius Press, 2018, £10.28, 219pp, ISBN: 9781621642152
  • Reviewed by Philippa Taylor, former CMF Head of Public Policy

Nigerian human rights activist, Obianuju Ekeocha, demonstrates in detail how Western governments (which most certainly includes our own), billionaires and NGOs are systematically imposing a secular 'morality' on Africa that is completely alien to its culture of life and family values. She calls this a new 'ideological colonialism' of Africa by a cultural elite in the West.

Ekeocha sets out in detail how this new 'colonialism' is built on aid. While some donors have good intentions, others deliberately seek to impose an ideology of sexual 'liberation', abortion rights, population control, radical feminism and anti-family policies, by tying aid to these ideologies. As well as conditioning various forms of aid, international legal situations are used to coerce countries into compliance. Ekeocha provides plenty of references throughout, but if more were needed on the export of Western values to Africa via 'aid', in April this year the UK Government pledged £42 million to the world's two largest abortion providers, Marie Stopes International (MSI) and The International Planned Parenthood Federation to carry out abortions in developing countries. This is on top of the £163 million the UK already gave to MSI over the last five years.

This book is a relatively easy - albeit disturbing - read. Ekeocha has a driving passion to expose the new colonialism, and her heart for Africa, perhaps most of all for its unborn children, shines through. For us Westerners, who believe our aid money is being put to good use in Africa, this is a must-read.

The Global Sexual Revolution

Destruction of freedom in the name of freedom

Gabriele Kuby

  • Lifesite/Angelico Press, 2012, £13.00, 302pp, ISBN: 9781621381549
  • Reviewed by Philippa Taylor, former CMF Head of Public Policy

The increasingly pervasive influence on our society of gender ideology, LGBT demands and now the transgender movement is generating unprecedented threats to our freedom. Add to this the devastating effects of pornography and sex education, combined with attacks on freedom of speech and religion and the advent of identity politics, and we have the central part of the culture wars we are facing today.

Gabriele Kuby contends that the core of the global cultural revolution is the deliberate confusion of, and assault on, sexual norms. In this excellent book, she sets out the background to all this and makes the case for why all those concerned about the deliberate sexualisation of our children, and about protecting conscience rights, free speech and liberty, must stand up to protect our freedoms in these areas.

It is not a light read, and not an easy topic, but Kuby's book is one of the most informative and eye-opening I have read on this issue and it is thoroughly referenced throughout. She ends on a more hopeful note, but not without challenges for the reader.

The power of belonging

Discovering the confidence to lead with vulnerability

Will van der Hart & Rob Waller

  • David C Cook, 2019, £9.99, 224pp, ISBN: 9780830775934
  • Reviewed by John Greenall, CMF Associate CEO and a paediatrician in Bedfordshire

Do I lead from a place of 'home'? I found this concept refreshing and life-giving as I pored over this readable book, co-authored by a CMF member and consultant psychiatrist. Through the story of Moses and penetrating insights into the inner lives of other leaders, the authors argue that many leaders are fundamentally lonely, and struggle with wondering what people will think of them if they really knew the real them.

This 'imposter syndrome' can lead to a deep sense of shame and isolation from others, in what becomes a vicious circle. Instead, the authors propose that we need to experience true belonging and know a deep sense of 'home'. We need to lead from a secure base, knowing we are loved, despite our wounds and insecurities.

Indeed, it's only when we are walking in a belonging-based relationship with God, working from our true 'home' in him that we can say 'I belong here!' Instead of success feeding security, (don't we often feel that as health professionals?) our security in God as a beloved child leads to true success. Only then can we be genuinely and appropriately vulnerable with those around us, experiencing their support, acceptance and compassion as we live and work for Jesus.

This paperback is an easy read, combining a blend of pastoral and biblical wisdom with a medical flavour, using the best of research into shame, vulnerability and belonging.

Saying goodbye

A personal story of baby loss and 90 days of support to walk you through grief

Zoe Clark-Coates

  • David C Cook, 2017, £11.95, 256pp, ISBN: 9781434712264
  • Reviewed by Tamie Downes, a GP in Oxford

This delightfully presented book sets out the author's story of her personal loss of five babies in the womb, then goes on to give a 90-day reading plan to help those going through similar grief.

Clark-Coates' premise is that babies lost before birth are often not acknowledged as having worth. She strongly puts forward the argument that every conception has value and every positive pregnancy test results in a woman forever recognising herself as a mother.

She also emphasises the point that surviving grief and moving forward involves facing it full on. 'Is there a secret to recovering? I believe there is, face the pain, face the grief, and as you do, the blackest grief does start to lift.'

There is much that could be helpful in this book for anyone going through loss and subsequent grief (of any cause) and her background as a trained counsellor gives her writing added depth of insight and wisdom.

Not everyone experiences baby loss in the same way. Although I lost a baby in the early stages of pregnancy many years ago, I don't think I felt the need for a book like this at that point. I also found that my Christian faith gave me a hope and purpose at that difficult time, which is something Clark-Coates doesn't refer to at all. I also found the medical details a bit unclear at times.

However, I know many people who would have benefitted from this step-by-step guide, to walk through the early days of grieving and from the empathy and practical wisdom it offers. I have recommended it to a friend.

Perhaps she didn't need to offer as much as 90 readings, as some themes are repeated. I also wonder whether a variety of quote sources may have enriched the book further. Nevertheless, I would certainly recommend this as a helpful resource for those amid the painful grief resulting from baby loss.

Transhumanism and the Image of God

Today's technology and the future of Christian discipleship

Jacob Shatzer

  • IVP Academic, 2019, £17.90, 192pp, ISBN: 9780830852505
  • Reviewed by Steve Fouch, CMF Head of Communications

Shatzer argues alienation from God, other people, our environment, from our own bodies and sense of self are not only fundamental aspects of the fall, but also sit behind posthumanism as a philosophy and transhumanism as a social and technological movement.

Post-humanists are thinkers and technologists who believe we can escape the limits of our bodies by transhumanism, the technological augmentation and replacement of our physical selves. The ultimate end of transhumanism is to leave the body behind altogether and escape into a post-human, post-physical and virtual existence. Virtual and augmented reality, social media, artificial intelligence and brain-machine interfaces are already with us. Posthumanists see these as the first steps along the transhuman road.

Exploring the movement's thinkers and the roots of their ideas and where they lead us, Shatzer contends for a physically connected, embodied, communal way of life with Christ as Lord and Saviour as an antidote and inoculation against this dangerous fantasy.

This book challenges many of the ways we live today. Whether we are conscious of transhumanism or not, it pervades our lives in many subtle ways.

An absorbing read and a valuable addition to Christian literature on the body, and worth reading alongside Nancy Pearcey's Love Thy Body.

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