9.19.2006

Censoring my life

This morning began the MOPS program at my church. One of the things they had us do was to fill out a "get to know you" sheet about ourselves. It asked questions like what are your hobbies and what is your favorite snack, and then it asked the questions I hate. I have a love/hate relationship with "favorites" questions. I like doing them, but inevitably they ask what your favorite book is, and what your favorite movie is. I just can't answer those questions. There are too many variables. What genre? Is it rainy outside? Have I had a bad day or a good day? Do I feel like laughing or crying? Is it summer or winter? Some days my favorite movie is Gone With the Wind, other days it's Romy and Michele's Highschool Reunion. In general it's Singin' in the Rain or Bend it Like Beckham. And the question about the book? Don't even get me started. Who are these people who can list one book that is their favorite of all time, ever? I don't understand.

And then there's the part where I have to think about who's going to be looking at my answers. And I have to throw out some of my favorites. Today I wanted to put Love, Actually as one of my favorite movies. But it's got some really bad scenes that the people running MOPS would probably be horrified by. Same with Almost Famous. And for the books....I actually risked it and put The Time Traveler's Wife as one of mine, because probably none of them has ever read it, and they wouldn't bother to wade through it. Same story with Love in the Time of Cholera.

All of this brings me to another issue altogether. I've always struggled with what it's okay to read and what it's not. Barbara and I have dissected this topic before, and the only thing we've come up with is that it depends on the person and what they can handle and what makes them stumble. Christians, in my opinion, are notorious for throwing the baby out with the bath water, disregarding a whole book and its lessons because of a few bad things. Catcher in the Rye? Grapes of Wrath? Awesome books with important things to be learned, and yet at times they've been thrown out (they're both back in now, from what I hear). I also have huge problems with the Christian community's rejection of the Harry Potter series, because they don't reject the Narnia or Rings stories. Why? Because Lewis and Tolkien were Christians, and Rowling is not. And that's about the only difference. I tend to be open to reading just about anything, and haven't found much that's personally offensive to me (aside from the obvious trashy romances and so on). I've only ever refused to deal with two books: The Bluest Eye (too much gratuitous vulgarity) and The DaVinci Code (the whole idea just makes me uncomfortable). Other than that.... But does that make it okay? Admittedly, I read a lot that most Christians wouldn't approve of. But are they right? Or am I? Or is it really just a personal thing? Conversely, I think there are things that are wrong even though parts of the Christian community approve. The above Morrison book was assigned by a prof at Biola that I very much love and respect. I still think it's a useless book. But who's right? Was it just okay for him and not me? I try to base my judgment on whether the book has anything of value to teach. And that book definitely did, but, to my way of thinking, there was just too much trash to wade through to get to it.

What do you guys think? Is everything permissible? Or are there works of literature that are really wrong to read?

12 comments:

Barbara said...

So many thoughts, so much we've already discussed. =) I will say, though, that this is rather timely for me, as I was looking at a particular song in my music library last night with some of the same questions: "I like it, but...."

And on picking favorites, there's a quote from a book called The Song Reader that said something to the effect of "don't trust anyone who has a favorite song." I feel the same way about favorite book or favorite movie. There are too many categories.

whitetiger said...

Too much thinking going on here. Best book of all time is East of Eden. Best movie of all time is Field of Dreams. Ask me the other favorites questions and I'll you the right answers to those too.

Kristy said...

Okay, whitetiger. Favorite U2 song?

whitetiger said...

That's a little tougher, but the answer is Out of Control, as performed at Slane Castle

Anonymous said...

Read the Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. I thought they were great books but I also just downloaded a Snoop Dogg song and a Dr. Dre song so what do I know about right and wrong?
steve

Kristy said...

Ha ha! And if I recall correctly, you got me hooked on Sir Mixalot when I was about 8 as well. And the Beastie Boys. And then there were all those times you and Dave would go, "You're not gonna tell mom and dad, right?" Yeah. You guys have always been a great moral compass. :)

Graf Spee said...

:} All things are permissable, but all are beneficial.

In my mind, there are a few things that I have read that I would rather not read again, a number that I enjoyed, but don't think are beneficial at this point, a few that are worth rereading, and a lot that fit in the middle.

Sue said...

I think you should have read the DV Code, Kristy, if for no other reason than being able to give us your thoughts on it.

sue said...

And PS: I agree with Steve--Angels and Demons is a good read too.

Kristy said...

I know, I know. I've never liked people who decry things when they've not seen/read them. But still... What about seeing the film The Last Temptation of Christ? Is it the same thing, or is it different because visuals are added?

whitetiger said...

I think anyone who reads the Da Vinci code is treading on very thin theological ice. Our conservative Christian leadership has already made the decision for us and condemned it, so why read it and be forced to make a judgment with your own mind? STAY AWAY FROM THAT DANGEROUS KIND OF THINKING!!

Kristy said...

Alright, I can see that serious topics and actual questions don't go over well in this forum. Henceforth, I will post only drivel.