Safe Fiction – Part 6


I hadn’t intended to stay on this subject as long as I have, but I’m glad for it because the discussion has clarified my thinking, namely that I’m uncomfortable with the concept that safe fiction exists. And even more uncomfortable that a certain publisher or bookstore can be relied upon to produce or supply it.

I decided to copy here a comment to part 1 left yesterday by Cathy. I don’t want readers to miss it:

Honestly…It is hard to find “safe” books. (I am entrusted with raising 3 Awesome kids for God.) What parents need to be doing is: 1. Reading with their kids 2. Age appropriate literature 3. Mostly edifying or uplifting works which show good for good and evil for evil, and 4. Using their influence and love in discussing the actions, character traits, and the end results of those actions and decisions made by the literary characters in the books chosen. If we guide our charges in this manner, they should grow to be able to have wisdom in choosing their own reading matter over time. What we choose to ingest (read or otherwise take in) will in the end influence how we live for Christ. But “safe” books could have different meanings to different people. Kids need to see the real world and become adept at making appropriate choices with a Biblical world view in mind. However, they do not need the blatantly sinful and mostly unrepentant worldly type of literature even in small doses. I would sooner read a book with a mild expletive or two that had the good sense to include a sound moral, than some of todays “children’s literature” that is in your face rude to parents and authority figures in which the kids are made to seem heroes.

This goes for all types of media. We must be ever watchful of the tricks Satan uses to undermine our good intentions. Yes, there is grace, and yes, Jesus prayed for us. But God also gave us intellect and expects us to use it. Many “sheep” have entered movie houses and come out laughing about how funny the movie was, when the influence it had on their hearts and minds eventually had disastrous results in their personal lives or their walk with God. “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient” I Corinthians 6:12. We must still use good judgment when allowing ourselves to partake of…or even to write about…anything.

– emphases mine

Let me remark briefly on the salient points.

  • If we guide our charges in this manner, they should grow to be able to have wisdom in choosing their own reading matter over time.
  • Wisdom in choosing their own—our own—reading matter. That’s the key. No one can do an adequate job for us. It really boils down to us learning to choose. I personally believe a couple things are essential in this process of constructing personal parameters—prayer and dependence on God’s Spirit.

  • But “safe” books could have different meanings to different people.
  • I’ll be stronger than that. “Safe” books WILL have different meanings to different people. And no one should be forcing his definition on someone else (I don’t consider parents teaching values to their kids as “forcing” their definitions. They teach, then the child, when grown, will choose his own standard.)

  • I would sooner read a book with a mild expletive or two that had the good sense to include a sound moral, than some of todays “children’s literature” that is in your face rude to parents and authority figures in which the kids are made to seem heroes.
  • I wish every publisher could read that line. To me, this is the heart of my argument against the concept of safe fiction. Safety is too often measured in peripheral issues, but the true worldview issues that influence people for life are left unchallenged.

  • “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient” I Corinthians 6:12. We must still use good judgment when allowing ourselves to partake of…or even to write about…anything.
  • And there’s the central point. We must use good judgment, in our reading and in our writing (and in our TV viewing and in our choices of movies). There are no short cuts, no easy passes. So-and-so wrote it, so it must be right on, or such-and-such a publisher printed the book, so it must be OK, or this-or-that store carries it, so how could it be wrong?

    The truth is, we alone are responsible for our decisions, our choices. Sally Stuart touched on this very issue in her blog post yesterday. Certainly in making decisions, we shouldn’t ignore the facts—the author, publisher, store, recommendations, endorsements, reviews. But these things do not give us a pass to stop thinking about what we read.

    Published in: on June 12, 2008 at 10:46 am  Comments (2)  
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