Friday, March 27, 2009
Do you ever find yourself conflicted when reading books--does your faith ever stand in the way of you 'enjoying' other books--secular books? Do you try to read only Christian books? Do you read 'secular' books regularly? Have you ever enjoyed a book but hesitated to share it with your Christian friends? Do you think you should judge a book critically looking through the lens of faith...or do you think that fiction is fiction and that it's just a story? When does entertainment become dangerous?
To a point, yes, I have found some books that I just can't enjoy the way I used to. I absolutely love a mystery. but I've stopped reading a few of my favorites because of the language used in the books. As a child raised by a man whom dedicated twenty years to military service, I've heard more than my share of foul language. (and, trust me, said my share of the same words. This is still one area I struggle with when I'm angry, one I'm NOT proud of) So, I personally choose to avoid reading (and hearing in the media) as much of it as I can.
As far as story lines go, characters, etc., those do not bother me. I believe the Good Lord gave us all brains, and expects us to use them. I often find story lines and characters can lead to a great object lesson.
Do I read only Christian books? No, I don't. I admit my favorite author is a Christian, Brandilyn Collins. But, I also enjoy Lilian Jackson Braun (The Cat Who... Series), Nora Roberts, Sue Grafton, and John Grisham for examples. So, yes, I read secular books, and yes, regularly. I am usually reading two to three books in addition to my regular Bible readings. I keep one in my backpack I take to work to read during my lunch and one book on my coffee table for my down time. I'm also reading "Church History in Plain Language" by Bruce L Shelley.
Have I ever read a book I would hesitate to share with my Christian friends? Probably, but couldn't name one right now. If talking about a "secular" author, I would probably explain the plot or warn of any language or sexual nature ahead of time though. I personally believe we all have something that we struggle with and should steer clear of. For me, it's foul language. For others, it may be something else. I do not read a lot of romance novels because I think they can give a woman unrealistic expectations for a relationship. But, this is just my opinion. Others may not find it a problem.
Do you think you should judge a book critically looking through the lens of faith...or do you think that fiction is fiction and that it's just a story? When does entertainment become dangerous? Honestly, I think it's impossible to not react to certain situations as a Believer. My faith is a part of who I am, therefore, something will offend me or may cause me to stumble. That said, I'm sure there are others that are stronger than I that may not react the same way. I think "entertainment" can be dangerous, if a person loses site of the fact that it is just that, entertainment, not reality. And, the best way to stay grounded is to spend time in The Word each day and in prayer with our Heavenly Father.
Very good questions this week, and great conversations!
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