Now, how much is too much, why do I read such and such book if they say this word or why do I read anything besides the Bible? The Bible itself, some claim, is also full of these topics, and very graphic too. But this argument is clearly flawed. The Bible is not a book, it's His Word. And whenever the Bible speaks about sex, violence, and morally depraved actions, it's never to condone it in a postmodern (absent of right and wrong) sense, on the contrary, they are examples to admonish and teach, to encourage and inspire. The fact that life is like it is (full of immorality, violence, deprivation) simply reflects the effect of free willed men actions, it should never be the cause or reason to show it on TV, movies, or books, for that is simply eating what you've vomited wrapped up in a new and attractive package we call media and entertainment. That does not teach us. To abstain from participating in it is quite different than DENYING it as a reality, I simply reject it as a reality I should indulge in. I don't live in a bubble, I'm busy weaving a moral veil though, a spiritual fence for my soul's protection.
If you read Ideas Have Consequences you will realize that it's actually inhuman to show for example a person committing suicide in real life, it's against our human propriety (something we are absent of in this postmodern era, thus the spiritual and emotional alienation we suffer). It's different for those living it, or humane if they simply tell you about it because it's part of our life, true, but the actual visual presentation of those scenes crosses a moral line for many of us, let alone recreating or reconstructing it for the sake of it, without giving the spectator the comfort or safety of an objective morality that calls for a Supreme Being, because morality can't exist for an honest atheist. I don't expect you to agree with me, and I beg you to not take this as a personal criticism to whatever books, movies, or TV programs you read and watch.
I know some of you may feel inclined to help me and counsel me, or push me to give a formula for what I read besides the Scriptures. More than once we've had discussions of this sort at friend's blogs in the comment section, and some conclude I'm a radical conservative, extreme right, ultra religious... I may be. Still this poor 'whatever label' woman doesn't intend to judge, but believes there are some values hanging over all of our heads, even if I am so small I can't tell you how they spell for any given scenario.
Unfortunately I don't have a formula. I can't say that what is good for me may be bad for you, or what is bad for me maybe perfectly good for you, either, there are principles, I try to live by them, but I also fail. I know you all have your own believes and criteria, your own conscience trained on those believes, and on top of it, you have your own taste. Among ALL that won't suppose a conscience violation for me to read, some of it I don't personally like. But good news, there is still a loooooong list of what both my conscience and taste allow. And I hope that when I blog about any of those books, they may be inspirations for you, and vice verse, I get inspired by many books you write about. And to think that there were times when books were truly scarce!
I would like to make a public confession. These past months I have read an entire book I shouldn't have, and one I was strong enough to stop reading before I reached the middle. Now I rather not tell you the titles of them, though I know this will ignite curiosity. I'm not proud of that, I truly prefer not to have to tell you because to me that was sinful and I'm still working on it, but it happens. For the longest time I had not read anything that compromised my conscience and believes, lately I succumbed to temptation. I can give excuses, I have been through a lot of pressure lately, I was looking for some ways to relief my stress with some interesting modern literature, they are not titles you'll find in any horrid list, they are very much read by many, but they were not appropriate for me, I know that, so those will be simply excuses. I'm back on track with clean, invigorating and challenging readings. The books I read with the girls are such a great healing balm, as well as the Scriptures and a few other titles on my nightstand. I'm still praying for strength. At times old temptations come with a new strength.
The Education of our Girls, you are missing on something. Although it may not be as the book Jeanne recommends, Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything. I can't afford it now, but it's a definite candidate for these coming months.
What about you? Do you open anything that sparks your interest? Do you have limits you simply apply to yourself because you believe in them? Do you believe in adult reads? I have this rule, I can't simply read anything I can't tell anyone freely, other friends I esteem as strong christians, my own children... and it doesn't mean they could read it now, but any book that, at the right time of maturity, I won't be ashamed of telling them I've read, or that it won't bother me to know my girls or my husband are reading.