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Wednesday, 6 February 2008


A little while ago I came across this website: It got me thinking about our books and whether they are all suitable books to be read. I wouldn't advocate only ever reading specifically Christian books but we need to be discerning in what we read as they will influence pur heart and mind:

And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
Mark 7:18-23

So; my husband and I have agreed that we will sort through all our books and decide which ones are appropriate to keep and which are not. I will be doing most of the reading/sorting but once I have studied each book I will discuss the book with him so that he can make the final decision. We decided to start with the fiction books as they are more like to contain immorality whereas non-fiction would tend to present non-Christian world views such as evolutionism which we would consider to be incorrect rather than immoral.

I decided to start with our "classic" books as I think they are the ones most likely to be questionable. The website I linked to above used the following criteria to judge books: "Does the book have literary value? Does the book re-emphasize a Biblical worldview or the Judeo-Christian heritage in some way? Does the book teach, through whatever means, what is moral or just or true? Does the book encourage to love and good works? Does the book exemplify warmth, tenderness, courage, humor, and other values and characteristics that we desire our children to be exposed to? Does the book nourish the intellect and fire the imagination? Does the book cross age barriers to be enjoyed by all?" I am trying to use similar criteria and am thinking about whether I would be happy for Baby Girl to read a given book when she is older and what my reasons are for objecting or not. It is quite hard as obviously it is not reasonable to eliminate a book on the basis of a character's wrongdoing so I am having to consider what sort of transgression it is and how it is presented both in terms of narrative and moral stance. By this I mean: Does the author give unecessary/gratuitous detail about things which should/need not be described in so much detail? Is the overall impression given by the book that any sins committed were okay?

I decided straight away to eliminate Tess of the D'Urbervilles and to keep Little Women and Good Wives. I'm now studying The Mill on the Floss to decide whether we shoudl keep it or not. I'll hopefully put a list of the books I'm sorting through on my sidebar soon and I will keep blogging about my progress.


Anonymous said...

Hey girl. I wanted to let you know I saw your comment (will be answering all the comments I'm behind on later today) ... and I went to my wishlist and made sure that ALL public wishlists have the 'ship to' addy going right here to our apartment. I'm excited to see what this surprise is ... and thank you, ahead of time.

Andrew Clarke said...

Could I suggest a book for your consideration, for ages 12 and upward? "Outcasts of Skagaray" is Christian fantasy, and emphasises a Biblical world view. Excerpts can be seen on Your opinion would be valued.

Buffy said...

That sounds like an interesting exercise. Sometimes I find with books or films that they are very good at emphasising some important things but less good in other areas. So I suppose you have to use discernment (and of course discuss these things with your children if you are watching or reading something together).
Sometimes I think it is not showing people doing things wrong that is the problem but neglecting to show the true consequences of wrong doing. For example, showing the heartbreak that comes from (for example) an act of violence is different from glorifying violence and implying that there are no consequences.

Anonymous said...

Buffy: I agree.

Andrew Clarke: Thanks, I will consider that book but I think I need to sort the books I have first.

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