We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog series as much as we have! In case you missed our earlier posts, check out the book recommendations from some of Canada’s Pro-Life leaders in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3!
Now, in our final installment, we have one more recommendation + a number of ‘honourable mentions’.
Faye Sonier, Executive Director & General Legal Counsel of Canadian Physicians for Life
“My pick is a work of fiction: Fatherless by Brian J. Gail. The entire Fatherless trilogy is well worth your time. I’m not Catholic, but I deeply appreciate what Gail did in this pro-life and Catholic series – he educates and he entertains, and he does both with excellence. Over the course of the series, readers follow Gail’s characters as they experience their faith and convictions being met by an increasingly hostile culture. Some grow from the e xperience, others fall. Following t heir journey provides plenty of opportunity for reflection. Readers also learn much more than they’d ever expect about birth control, abortion, reproductive and genetic technologies, and ethics.”
The ‘Honourable Mentions’
We asked each of the leaders to share with us two recommendations, in case someone else had also listed the same book. The ‘runner-up’ book recommendations were so great that we decided we needed to share them too. So, without further ado, here are the runner-up book recommendations from Canada’s pro-life leaders!
Mike Schouten, Director of WeNeedALaw.ca
Common Ground Without Compromise, by Stephen Wagner (Stand to Reason, 2008).
“A short book that explores twenty-five questions on creating an effective dialogue on abortion with pro-choice advocates. A must read for anyone wishing to engage in the public discourse. Wagner explores various methods of focusing conversation on what we already have in common rather than on what sets us apart.”
Anastasia Pearse, NCLN Western Campus Coordinator, incoming Executive Director
“This beautiful kids story shows the timeless love and care we need to have for our family members at all stages of life.”
Maaike Rosendal, Campus Outreach Director of CCBR
Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets from the World’s Top Minds by Carmine Gallo
“As pro-life ambassadors we must be able to persuasively explain and defend our position. This can be difficult and overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be! Learn from those who have given some of the best TED talks, not because they were born as great communicators, but (as the author explains) because they learned and used the same simple, powerful techniques. “Talk like TED” is incredibly useful as it gives you the tools to engage in an effective manner, whether on stage or not. This is crucial when we speak on behalf of the pre-born; the more skilled we become, fewer babies die!”
Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Do You Call This A Life? by Gerbert van Loenen
“This is not a “pro-life” book but van Loenen effectively writes about the history and the development of euthanasia in the Netherlands and he focusses on the abuses and expansion of the Netherlands law.”
Jonathon Van Maren, Communications Director for CCBR
Amazing Grace, by Eric Metaxas
“For those who need hope for the pro-life movement, this biography of William Wilberforce is a must-read. Metaxas highlights two things beautifully: Why abolishing the slave trade was next to impossible, and how they did it.”
Rebecca Richmond, Outgoing Executive Director for NCLN
The Making of Pro-Life Activists: How Social Movement Mobilization Works, by Ziad Munson
“Munson’s research on the Pro-Life Movement in the U.S. sheds light on how social mobilization works. Other researchers have explained the Pro-Life Movement by saying that pro-lifers tend to be religious, conservative, of a particular class, etc., but Munson wants to explain why some people of that background become activists and why others – even if they share the same pro-life beliefs – never become activists.
A lot of the information is also contained in a paper he wrote specifically on mobilizing on campus, which you can access through his website . “
Andre Schutten, General Legal Counsel & Ontario Director for ARPA Canada
Pro-Life 101: A Step-by-Step Guide to Making Your Case Persuasively, by Scott Klusendorf.
“This 70 page booklet shaped my basic pro-life apologetic. In an age of 30-second sound bites and arguments made with 140 characters or less, this book helps you cut through the distractions and get to the heart of the issue quickly and effectively. Logical, easily memorized, and extremely helpful.”
We hope you enjoyed this series! When you read one of these books, let us know! We’d love to hear what you think.
Time for part 3 of our series, featuring the top book recommendations from Canada’s Pro-Life Leaders!
We’ve already heard from: Jonathon Van Maren (CCBR), Anastasia Pearse (NCLN), Alex Scadenberg (EPC), Andrea Mrozek (IMFC), and André Schutten (ARPA) (Part 1), as well as Mike Schouten (WNAL), Stephanie Gray (International Speaker), Clarissa Canaria (NCLN), and Maaike Rosendal (CCBR) (Part 2).
Stay tuned next week for the ‘honourable mentions’ – books that were in second place in the minds of these Canadian leaders, but are definitely still worth reading!
Jojo Ruba, Executive Director of Faith Beyond Belief
Politically Correct Death by Francis Beckwith
“Pro-life philosopher Francis Beckwith insightfully lays out the arguments around the abortion debate. By organizing sections into definitions, quotes and stats etc., Beckwith provides an easy to flip- through book that will help you find quick references for the pro-life position.”
Natalie Sonnen, Executive Director of LifeCanada
“It is an excellent read in terms of understanding the terribly self-destructive climate on our college campuses that has led to a brutal and unforgiving hook-up culture in which young women are most often the victims. Abortion is discussed, but also the reality that our beautiful gift of fertility that we take so much for granted is in fact very fragile and will not withstand this totally abnormal culture. Sexually transmitted diseases (many undetected for lack of symptoms), abortion, hormonal contraceptives and the putting off of childbirth are contributing to an epidemic of infertility, a devastating condition. This condition, and its modern remedies of IVF, have life-long implications that are rarely considered until it is too late. A must read for university students AND their parents.”
Rebecca Richmond, outgoing Executive Director of National Campus Life Network
“This was one of the first books I read when I started working for NCLN and it has shaped my view of leadership – and subsequently shaped our organizational culture as well (because I’ve made everyone else read it too). Havard challenges the idea that leadership is temperament, experience, or something we’re born with. His vision of leadership is that leadership is character, and the content of character is virtue. As such, leadership is not an exclusive or exclusionary position – all of us are called to be leaders. Havard’s vision of leadership is about more than building a successful company or achieving a social goal; it’s about making the world a better place by exercising true, virtuous leadership.”
Kathleen Dunn, Director of Digital Media & Promotions of National Campus Life Network
A Case for Life, by Scott Klusendorf
“This book needs to be on the shelf of every pro-lifer, both new and experienced! Covering the foundational arguments and etiquette for pro-life dialogue, Klusendorf’s words are both powerful and practical. After reading “A Case for Life,” I felt I had a well-rounded grasp on the facts of the discussion, and much more confident in taking the message to real people on the street.”
Stay tuned for part 4!
Welcome to part 2 of our series on the top book recommendations from Canada’s Pro-Life Leaders! In part 1, we heard from Jonathon Van Maren (CCBR), Anastasia Pearse (NCLN), Alex Schadenberg (EPC), Andrea Mrozek (IMFC), and André Schutten (ARPA). Click here to read part 1 (and stay tuned for part 3 next week!).
Politics For The Greatest Good, by Clarke D. Forsythe (InterVarsity Press, 2009).
“The author is a leading policy strategist in bioethical issues and senior counsel for Americans United for Life. His book is a must read for grasping an understanding of what it means to be prudent in the public square. Forsythe explains how advances made against injustices of both past and present only occur when there is a willingness work incrementally. He proves that incrementalism is moral, uncompromising, and ultimately the only effective strategy as we seek to overturn the injustice of abortion.”
The Soul of the Apostolate by Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard
“This book calls those active in doing apostolic, or ministry-based, activity to a life of deep prayer from which their action springs. It highlights the necessity of prayer being the “soul” of their work, so that they run on Divine inspiration, not human, and it highlights the dangers of doing otherwise.”
How to Win the Culture War, by Peter Kreeft
“Although not focused on abortion, this gem serves as a great reminder of all that we need to do as active pro-lifers to defeat the lies of the culture. By knowing what we’re up against and understanding that overcoming it is in our desire to be saints, you’ll be motivated and activated to do even the littlest things that will go a long way in this battle!”
Maaike Rosendal, Campus Outreach Director of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform
Tactics, by Greg Koukl.
“It is one thing to know the science and philosophy that the pro-life position is based on, but it’s something else to be able to explain that to others and also change their mind! That’s where Tactics comes in. It’s an easy read that provides you with practical tools which allow you (as Greg Koukl would say) to stay in the driver’s seat during everyday conversations. In fact, this book has shaped the apologetics we teach and use at CCBR, equipping all of us to become better ambassadors for the pre-born. And which pro-lifer wouldn’t want that?”
Stay tuned for part 3 next week! And if you missed part 1, click here.
When I joined NCLN’s staff team in 2010, a few pro-life leaders gave me a list of book recommendations, books that became allies as I learned more about the issues, social movement strategies, leadership and how-to-run a national not-for-profit. Many more books found their way to my office bookshelf in the years since. And so, during this transition, I began to note the various books that staff would find helpful – and maybe book that students would find helpful too. That led to a thought, “I wonder what other Canadian pro-life leaders’ top book recommendations would be?” And so I asked. The result is a series of posts on their top book recommendations (because otherwise this would be a really long post!.
For the next few weeks, we’ll be posting their top recommendations on the must-read books for budding pro-life leaders. We hope you enjoy!
The Marketing of Evil by David Kupelian
“This book lays out in detail how our culture got to where it is with abortion, hook-up culture, pornography, and so much more. Many people often ask, “How did things get this bad?” David Kupelian answers that question decisively and brilliantly.”
Western Campus Coordinator of National Campus Life Network and soon-to-be Executive Director
The Unaborted Socrates by Peter Kreeft
“This apologetics book is written as a dialogue; its unique way of explaining the pro-life position provides a practical perspective on how we can share the truth of our position in our discussions with others.”
Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Exposing Vulnerable People to Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide by Alex Schadenberg
“This book is based on the data from recent studies from jurisdictions where it has become legal.”
The Hand of God by Dr. Bernard Nathanson
“I remember being really affected by Bernard Nathanson’s The Hand of God.” N.B. Bernard Nathanson was a former abortionist and co-founder of NARAL in the U.S. After an ultrasound-guided abortion, he became pro-life.
General Legal Counsel & Ontario Director of the Association for Reformed Political Action
The Island (film, 2005)
“This movie, quite possibly unintentionally, is one of the best arguments against embryonic stem cell research. *Spoiler alert!* The movie powerfully depicts the moral wrong in creating human life for the express purpose of medical experimentation or as a mere means to enhancing the life of other humans. The principles at play in the movie, as they apply to clones, apply equally and exactly to human embryos.”
Stay tuned for Part 2!
Written by Meagan Nijenhuis, 2014 Summer Intern
I was pumped. I’d made the long trek into Toronto: boarded the train in Guelph, was delayed 27 minutes by construction along the tracks, survived the crush of people arriving at Union, found the Northbound subway to Eglinton (Note: sometimes the flow of traffic isn’t going to the same place that you need to go), wove my way from the subway up to the light of day, headed through more construction down the road to the office, marched up the stairs (who does elevators?) and finally arrived at the office to the lovely, smiling ladies of NCLN. Woot! Made it!
We started going over what I’d be doing for the next six weeks and Rebecca handed me some additional reading: “Virtuous Leadership” by Alexandre Havard. “It’s a bit dry,” she said, “but a good read.” It looked dry. I figured I would get it over and done with so I started reading it on the train home. What an eye-opening treasure it was! A literary work of art, it unpacked the virtues that are necessary for effective leadership.
And oh did I need to hear it. I’ll be taking up the position of president for the Life Choice club at Guelph this fall. That’s just a tad intimidating. When you have a pro-life club to lead this often means dealing with chanting pro-choicers and challenging student unions, learning about all your club members so you know how best to delegate tasks, and holding meetings and activism several times a month. Havard had a few lessons to teach me about leadership.
True leadership is inextricably tied to a virtuous character. When we have virtue, we have the ability to turn our dream into reality. People will want to join us in bringing our dream to our campus and we’ll be able to empower them to that end. As Havard puts it, “the more deeply we live the virtues,… the more likely it is that we will change the culture.” The campus culture currently reeks of individualism, immorality and death. Only with virtue can we change the hearts and minds of the students around us.
As leaders we must live the virtues. Havard explains that with magnanimity we devote ourselves so generously to a cause that we give our very selves. We hold nothing back from our work and our zeal becomes contagious. The people on campus are more likely to pay attention when they see our hearts in it. Practicing humility, we seek to empower those around us by delegating tasks and training members so that we are not irreplaceable. Prudence critically analyzes what is the best way to make the biggest impact on campus. To carry forward these actions, we need courage, not just boldness and daring, but endurance in the the daily grind. Self- control is choosing to do what is necessary (like club accreditation *gag*) when we’d much prefer a trip to William’s with our club members. We need to be students of human nature to bring justice with love. We have this duty to everyone around us. Character ingrained with these virtues will make us the leaders our campus needs.
At Guelph, we have between 15 and 20 committed members who try to make it out to our weekly meetings. What Havard helped me to see in the virtues of humility and justice was that between the past president and myself, we were trying to lead the club alone. All our club members had to do was come and learn. We actually owe them so much more; our duty is to empower them as leaders. If I start delegating tasks, they will have so much more room to grow. We can be an unstoppable force on campus, reaching so many more people!
Our campus also needs us to be individuals, appreciating the unique qualities of each individual club member and of every person we bring the message to on campus. Justice requires it. If we are individualistic, however, we are ruined. We need to be unique while remaining interconnected. Please excuse the science major in me but I’d like to demonstrate with an analogy. We are like the zooids of a pyrosome (Say whaaaaaat?). This deep sea colony (the pyrosome) is essentially made up of thousands of tiny interconnected organisms (the zooids). The physical connection as well as the light sensitivity of each zooid creates bioluminescence so that the whole colony is aglow. We need similar relationships in order to help each other emit the light of the pro-life message in the dark waters of our campus.
Leadership is more than being able to stand up and talk to a crowd of people. It takes serious effort to develop ourselves into virtuous and excellent leaders but it’s so worth it. We will be able see the leaders growing around us, the hearts being changed, and the message of life blowing away the stench of the death culture on campus. Together, by becoming virtuous leaders, we will be able to make our dream a reality and end abortion in our lifetime.Havard, Alexandre. Virtuous Leadership: An Agenda for Personal Excellence. New York: Scepter, 2007. Print.
It’s almost the end of August.
And with those words, students everywhere are gasping in horror. WHERE HAS THE SUMMER GONE?!!! If it’s nearly the end of August then… SEPTEMBER IS NEXT!
If this realization feels as if a locker full of textbooks, course packs, and pro-life club brochures just crushed your soul, don’t panic. Take 2 deep breaths and read on:
Although there is a lot that goes into a school semester filled with pro-life campus activism…and actual schoolwork, you can relax by doing 5 simple things THIS week to take the pressure off.
1. Get the ball rolling by organizing your WEEKLY exec meetings now.
Ask your club secretary to take the lead on this by setting up a Doodle to figure out the best meeting day/time. Your club secretary should also follow-up with members until they give their availability and then report back on the best options.
In many cases, your exec members will already have their schedules and you can get this task out of the way early; if they don’t yet have their schedules, find out when they will have them and create a reminder in your phone/calendar so that you can start the process in a couple weeks or so.
2. Remind your club members about applying for the NCLN Symposium.
The earlier your members apply, the more time they’ll have to secure funding to offset the costs. Have you sent out a general email about this to your membership? Have you personally encouraged members to attend? Should YOU attend? Click here for details!
3. Get set for Clubs Days/Orientation Days/Frosh Week
by booking a table and organizing people to prepare the needed materials. It’s a simple task but important. Need help with your table? Check out NCLN’s Tabling Guide!
4. Do you need to re-register your club to maintain club status?
Look up the dates now to make sure you don’t miss any deadlines. (If you are interested in starting a club, contact your Campus Coordinator today to get their help as you begin the process!)
5. Talk to an NCLN staff member!
Our Campus Coordinators are here to help you stay on top of tasks like these. Just give us a shout and we’d be thrilled to talk to you and/or your entire club by email/phone/Skype/text or in-person and help you prepare for the upcoming semester. Our staff also comes on campus to offer training and assistance – contact us to schedule a Campus Visit!
Spend a few minutes on these tasks and you can get your fall semester off to a great start. And don’t forget that we’re here to help!
This summer, do yourself a favour: on a sunny day, go find a quiet place in a park or by a lake or ocean, take a notebook with you, and spend 30 min reflecting on this. I can guarantee the time you put into it now will benefit you ten times more in the long run!
The following excerpts are taken from the article Become the Kind of Person Others Want to Follow. This article provides great insights into how we can grow as the leaders we are called to be. Reflect on the quotes and the questions to see where you can improve yourself so you can better lead others in sharing the pro-life message on your campus.
Leadership is an expression of your heart and soul. To become a leader, you need to know your higher purpose and believe in it passionately.
• What would you say your higher purpose is? Do you live a consistent life where your actions are in line with this purpose?
• Does your role in the pro-life club help you achieve this purpose?
Leaders need to feel comfortable in their own skin. It begins with the ability to explore and share one’s life story by helping people understand how we all mesh together for a meaningful journey. You intentionally begin to discover your authentic self by connecting with who you really are. Authentic leaders are not power driven but meaning driven people.
• What brings meaning to your life? How would you articulate this to others?
• How does your role in the pro-life club bring more meaning to your life?
As a leader you need to be fully committed to nurturing the well-being and commanding the trust of the people around you. Only in the context of a meaningful relationship can people feel empowered and inspired to demonstrate their greatest potential.
• Identify 2 students who you will meet up with for coffee this summer, taking the time to get to know them more so you can better work together in the pro-life club this upcoming year.
• What potential do you see in these students? Help them see how they can develop this by participating in the club.
The vision and direction of a team [is] about the ability of the leader to capture the big WHY in the hearts and minds of others. People rally behind a strong vision when they know WHY they doing what they doing.
• Why do you do what you do with the pro-life club? How do you articulate this to others?
• Do you truly believe in the vision of your club? “If you don’t get goose bumps telling others where our life is heading, your vision isn’t compelling enough to shape your behaviour.”* Is your vision compelling enough to inspire others to action?
As you start to look at the upcoming school year, keep these reflection points in mind. Are you approaching your leadership position in the pro-life club with the right heart? Are you the kind of person others want to follow?
Be sure to talk to your Campus Coordinator about your leadership goals and plans! We’d love to work with you to help you achieve them!