Books are good by Miz Pink

My older sis was a true tomboy when we were growing up. She’s found her softer frillier side more and more in adulthood but she’s still more comfy in a T-shirt and jeans and drinking  a beer than she is in skirts and sipping a glass of white zinfindel. My sis was also a “nerd”. She wasn’t the play basketball or football with the guys kind of tomboy. So, she played Dungeons & Dragons with the other geeks, since she didn’t really share the interests of most of the girl geeks, and she read through fantasy and science fiction novels with the same totally focused attention my little brother has long given to TV episodes and DVD collections of Star Trek, BattleStar Galactica, Babylon Five, Smallville and whatever else.

Since my brother came along, my folks have spent less time worrying about the evils of fantasy and swords & sorcery stuff an all that…maybe because my sister goes to a nice conservative Baptist church, volunteers in the Sunday School and is married to a teatotalling accountant who, to the best of my recollection, I have never hear utter a single swear word. But my sister got it bad from mom and pop. Oh so many times I heard some gasp as mom went into my sister’s backpack and came out with a copy of Lord of the Rings or something like that. “These are the devil’s books!” was a typically result of such discoveries and if my sister didn’t hide her books well she ended up having to replace them. Frankly, how she found the time to play the Dungeons & Dragons kind of games with her friends (those things tooks hours upon hours upon endless hours…she made me sit through a couple of them) without our mother and father catching on is beyond me.

I remember during my childhood that a lot of parents were worried about their kids playing Dungeons & Dragons and turning into Satan-worshipping baby sacrificing sexually loose drug using miscreants. As it was, my older sis never touched drugs at all and didn’t touch booze until college. I on the other hand, played sports and read biographies and came home high more often than not for a while there. And now I keep seeing emails circulating about how kids who read Harry Potter books are putting their souls in peril and how parents shouldn’t let them anywehre near the stuff.

My son’s a Harry Potter fan and thank God for it. I never went for fiction much but I think reading is so important and I cringe when I visit someone’s house and don’t see any books on the bookshelves. To me, books are more important than almost anything else in the world aside from God & Jesus. But within certain limits I’m not going to choose the subject matter for my kids.

It’s up to us parental units to raise our kids right and to try to keep them away from the most nasty stuff. I certainly don’t want my kids doing drugs and I don’t want my boy hoarding copies of Hustler and Juggs or reading some tawrdy X-rated novel about Victorian bodice-ripping orgy lust…at least not until he’s actually got a firm handle on how women are supposed to be treated first so that he doesn’t get some skewed idea of them as mindless playthings. But my boy is not going to be trying to become a wizard becasue he reads Harry Potter. I know that pagan faiths are having a little resurgence these days and there are wiccans and stuff who go off somewhere and cast their spells and whatnot. But my boy, and so many other boys and girls who read fantasy, are pretty clear on something.

That it’s fantasy.

Not real. It’s an escape. The average kid being raised in a good Christian home with loving and supportive parents who show him why its important to embrace Jesus is no more likely to go to the “other side” than is any other kid. Probably waaaaaay less so. If we’re really worried that reading some fantasy books is going to taint our kids’ souls then that probably means we aren’t doing a very good job of lovingly teaching them about God and the Bible.

Dang, let’s be happy they are reading, first and foremost. If you want to counteract the Harry Potter factor a litte, get them the Left Behind series or make it a requirement that they have to read some young Christian educational/spiritual book in between every fantasy one.

Instead of stifling their brain development and imagination by taking books away, let just focus on making sure they haven’t brought home a “Spellcasting for Dummies” book or a Satanic bible or something.

4 thoughts on “Books are good by Miz Pink

  1. WNG

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!
    I am a huge Harry Potter fan, have always been (like your sister) a sci-fi/fantasy nerd and while my parents never had a problem with what I was reading I have had to defend my book and movie choices to church friends for years now. I really don’t understand how people can be so scared of a book.

  2. Deacon Blue

    Well, being in the camp of both Pink’s big sister and little brother (heavy sci-fi and fantasy both in my reading and viewing), I agree with WNG. When church folk visit the homestead I always wait for the long, lingering looks at my section of the bookshelves, what with the Jim Butcher, Stephen R. Donaldson, George R.R. Martin, Stephen King, Frank Herbert and all them lining the shelves. If they saw my video games and movies, too, they’d choke.

  3. WNG

    Here’s what I really don’t get and I’d like to open this to both of you. The sci fi/ fantasy world seems (to me at least) to be an extremely moral one. There is good and there is evil and you want to be on the side of good. Much like fairy tales, there are lessons and morals in them. Each Harry Potter book, for example, has pretty blatant lessons about friendship, sacrifice and the necessity of fighting for what is right even when it isn’t easy or popular. OK, so it’s wrapped in fantasy and magic, but aren’t these lessons things that we and Christians and just as PEOPLE should be supporting? That’s what always confuses me. People seem to get wrapped up in the trappings and miss the point.

  4. Deacon Blue

    I’ll tackle this, WNG, since I’m the sci-fi/fantasy fan and Miz Pink is a spectator. 😉

    I agree with you that many of the fantasy novels in particular are very moralistic. There are many exceptions, where the characters are more complex and more “real” for lack of a better terms, which often means they are more selfish, less giving, etc. I would cite Stephen R. Donaldson’s Chronicles of Thomas Convenant and George R.R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series as two examples of the grittier stuff…but even there, there are lessons about responsibility, morality, consequences of our decisions, etc.

    But some of the biggest series out there right now, like Harry Potter and the Dresden File series by Jim Butcher…and some of the classics like Lord of the Rings…those novels are very much about good and evil and about picking the side of good. There are indeed a lot of good lessons there.

    As to why many Christians can’t get through the trappings to appreciate the message, it has to do with the general aversion to sorcery/witchcraft. Though the Bible doesn’t go on about the practice of magic as much as it does about things like faith, obedience, sexual morality and the like, it does say that it’s a sin to practice sorcery, witchcraft, astrology and the like. What’s interesting to me is that while some Christian parents will keep their children (or try to) away from all things dark, including sex and violence in movies and TV shows, too, it always amazes me when I find a Christian parent who fears the Harry Potter books yet wouldn’t have a problem sitting down to a viewing of Die Hard or Lethal Weapon with the kids.

    Personally, to me, it’s all make-believe anyway, and I’m more concerned about exposure to sex, drugs and violence in media…things that my kids are going to be faced with in life, and far less worried about tales of magic, given that their chances of hooking up with a group of wiccans and “going to the dark side” 😛 is far, far slimmer.

    But it’s not the only area where people worry about the wrong things, miss the forest for the trees, and all that. What can ya do. Human nature. 😉


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