Books

The accusation often goes out that fundamentalists are the kinds of people who would burn books given half a chance. I disagree. I think that the act of burning a book would be superfluous to the even more egregious act of simply ignoring their existence. After all, why burn what is irrelevant?

This isn’t to say that fundies don’t like books. Quite the opposite, I’ve never been in a fundamentalist pastor’s office that wasn’t crammed with books from top to bottom. Many fundamentalist houses have hundreds if not thousands of books from ceiling to floor as their primary source of entertainment. With so many volumes scattered around — from the great leather bound editions (of Louis L’amour) to cheap paperback books (also Louis L’amour) — it would seem ludicrous to imagine that fundamentalist were opposed to the idea of gathering insight and understanding through the printed word. But they are.

For when a fundamentalist reads he places his Spectacles of Moralism and Simplicity upon his nose and simply ignores anything that doesn’t fit his own prescribed view of the world. And it’s not just non-fiction. If the fundy happens to stumble upon some literary work, whether it’s Hester’s plight in the Scarlet Letter or the plotted revenge of the Count of Monte Cristo, the fundamentalist will only see what he considers to be moral or immoral actions and never consider what’s being said about the humanity or the larger social implications behind them.

For every fundamentalist plot can be boiled down to these elements: Someone is right. Someone is wrong. And Someone is bound to be damned if they keep it up. That’s all that matters. Insight into things like life, love, pain, greed, sacrifice, hate, bravery, desire, and the common human condition are just so much window dressing. Hardly worth noticing, really.

So I put the question to you: is it worse to burn a book or to have a library full of them that you will not allow to expand your mind or touch your soul? Perhaps it might be kinder simply to set them ablaze and have done with the façade.

110 thoughts on “Books”

    1. Whoo! Got it!

      Anyway, I absolutely agree with you on this one. I’ve had to re-read the Bible even to break away from that mentality. It’s amazing how much more “real” people in the Bible become when you stop evaluating them strictly on “right vs. wrong”. Suddenly, characters are human again, even Moses’ law is meant to be compassionate/protective, not judgmental. I’ve noticed now more than ever that Fundies are much more like the Pharisees than I’ve realized. You weigh everyone’s actions or intentions and find your proof text to back up your evaluation, rather than seeing people the way God sees them. Thankfully, God isn’t a judge and only a judge!

      1. Pharisee-ism is in our DNA. Any one of us could turn legalistic during the reading of the sermon’s proof text if we move in that direction.

        And yet…Hebrews 11 has a whole list of imperfect human beings who pleased God because of their faith.

      1. This exactly. No TV but a house full of great classics of literature (mom was an English major). I was encouraged to read anything in the house. By the time I was 10 I figured out that fundyism was insane.

  1. Better to have something sitting around that you haven’t read but may pick up in a rare moment of lucidity than destroy it and never have the chance to pick it up. It’s like they say about carrying a concealed firearm: better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. 😉

    1. This is what I was thinking. There’s always the chance, when the heart is open or when circumstances have beaten you down enough, that you’ll read a book and begin to question the status quo.

      So while the facade is annoying to those of us who know better, at least the books are there, lying in wait, ready for when the owner is ready.

  2. I have often wondered about this very thing. Every fundy office or home that I go into is stacked with books. Generally they are heavy on Fundy theology, Grace Livingstone Hill and Louis L’Amour. It is strange that people who advocate reading so much have been affected so little by it.

    That said, I am thankful that my family kept lots of books of different kinds around. Both my parents graduated from real colleges before they went off to Fundy U to get their Masters. I spent hours reading their old college textbooks and literature books. My parents encouraged me to read widely, so I did. I think the result of that is that I am no longer a fundy! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  3. Reading leads to thinking and questioning. If you start to think for yourself you will probably not stay in fundamentalism very long so anyone who reads, thinks, or ask questions is a threat.

    1. I read a lot when I was a kid. That is all I really had to do for entertainment since I lived in a rented farmhouse out in the country. Mostly mysteries like the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew.

      I do agree that I think that my reading helped open my mind and paved the way for my exit from fundyland.

  4. I burned a book once. Mostly because we needed kindling for a fire and the book was about boiler mainenance or something like that (and from the 70s).

    We also used it while camping. One night we were sitting there dropping a page at a time onto the embers and watching as the page would suddenly erupt completely with a ‘whoosh’. Maybe I’m just easily entertained.

    I like what I’ve read of Louis L’Amour, especially the Chick Bowdrie short stories. I also have the movie versions of ‘Sacketts’ and ‘Shadow Riders’.

    1. And as far as novels, go, I would put “The Haunted Mesa” and “Last of the Breed” up against just about anything.

      Its really a shame L’Amour didn’t live long enough to write a sequel. I wonder who has the movie rights?

      1. Captain–I was pondering a similar post, but I will just hit the “Like” button on yours.

        I was introduced to L’Amour in the 70’s by a friend and have passed him on to my kids. I never realized he was typical Fundy reading. Now I’m so upset I’ll have to dig out a novel with cussin’, shooting, and “ladies”. Maybe a Sackett or two.

  5. After leaving fundamentalism and seeing the complete indifference to books among even some academics, I have more than once thought to myself that fundies’ willingness to burn books at least shows that they take books (and the threat that they pose) seriously.

    I do take issue, however, with the description of fundies houses being stuffed with books. I believe this is largely not the case; unfortunately, they’re not very different from the vast majority of Americans in this regard.

      1. You’re probably right. Our church really didn’t, and I remember staying in the house of an Christian high school English teacher who attends my sibling’s very similar church and being shocked that there wasn’t a single book (other than a couple Bibles and one or two devotionals) in the entire house.

        I do agree that, to the extent fundies have books, they are almost entirely limited to those that meet some test of orthodoxy.

      2. My parents had TONS of books – lots and lots of theology books, books on Christian living, and biographies of missionaries and other heroes of the faith. (They think fiction is a waste of time so didn’t invest in those.)

        Since we didn’t have a TV, I was encouraged to read, and read I did! I’m glad they let me read fiction, even though they liked to disparage my spending time on it. My parents were very strict about what kinds of books were allowed (Narnia was out – witches – as was “To Kill a Mockingbird” – it was just “bad” according to my mom), but there are still LOTS of books out there that I totally enjoyed and that DID give me a wider perspective.

        I was shocked when I heard of some circles of IFBx that think libraries are dangerous and am VERY thankful I was never part of those groups!!!

  6. Hey now, no dissing the supreme king of western romance. 😛

    Can I just say that as a huge literature fan, the idea of actually burning a book is… sickening to me? I just love books so much, I can’t bear to see one burned, even if I hate it.

  7. Just for fun: My copy of The Prince by Machiavelli is wedged between a copy of Simple Tent Camping and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

    I’m sure there is a joke in there somewhere. Somebody find it….go. :mrgreen:

  8. I used to purchase books. Then, one day I realized that once read, I rarely (if ever) picked that book back up again. So since I live in a fairly metropolitan area with lots of really good libraries, I now read books obtained from the libraries. Sometimes, I must wait for a book that is really in high demand, but I’ve really reduced the clutter.

    1. I have this problem too! I used to reread books all the time as a kid. But now that I’m an adult, I rarely reread books. So I’m developing quite a collection of books I’ve read only once and never looked at again. I’m not sure what happened. 🙁 In any case, I try to hit up the library a lot more now to do a trial read. If I feel like rereading the book, then I’ll purchase it. Chances are that’s a book I’ll actually want to reread again later.

        1. I use the library for untried books too, but now when I find a book I know I will read more than twice I use Paperbackswap.com to get it. It’s a great way to pass on books you own but don’t actually read and to acquire gently used books you really want.

        2. Thanks for the tip about paperbackswap.com I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately about the Hardy Boys Casefiles and Tom Swift. Going off this site, I might start picking them up again.

  9. “when a fundamentalist reads he places his Spectacles of Moralism and Simplicity upon his nose and simply ignores anything that doesn’t fit his own prescribed view of the world.”

    Yeah…especially the Bible.
    I have a library! Let’s see…the complete works of John Calvin. The complete (English) works of Karl Barth, Keil and Delitzch OT Commentary set, John Frame’s Theology of Lordship quadrilogy, Herman Bavink’s Reformed Dogmatics quadrilogy…hmmm, no Louis L’Amour. Oh, but I do have a copy of Neil Stephenson’s “Cryptonomicon”. I think you would like that one, Darrell!

  10. I love to read Christian fiction, most of which is not IFB. I do like Grace Livingston Hill but one thing I noticed when I read her books is that she paints everyone either good or bad, there’s no middle ground, no layers. They either exhibited all of the good moral qualities or all of the even immoral ones, there was no in between.

    I still have some books written by fundies, but I can’t really bear to read them, especially those by the KING himself Jack Hyles. In every illustration with him, he paints himself as such a know it all. He’s always right. He never made a mistake and had to learn from it. No, it’s as if he has always known everything and done everything correctly. The rest of us have to learn from our mistakes but not him! My first fundy pastor took after him and it got to be so sickening to hear him say, “I do this” or “I do that” but never “I did this wrong, and had to learn from it and go back and apologize…” Nope, it’s as if they are born knowing it all, and so now they are teachers of others, the rest of us peons who don’t have the benefit of being perfect!

    I have gotten in trouble with fundies because I do look at the Biblical people as being human and not perfect, but learning from their mistakes, and sometimes I’ve defended their actions. Take Mrs. Job for instance. I have never heard a fundy sermon, from either a fundy pastor or in a ladies meeting that did not deride Mrs. Job to the skies for her discouragement of her husband in a bad time they BOTH were going through. Didn’t she also lose her 10 kids? Didn’t she lose their wealth as well as Job? She didn’t get the sickness that came upon him but she had to care for him didn’t she? She had to endure all of this suffering so in a weak moment (especially since it all came on them so suddenly, losing everything!) she told him to curse God and die. Have any of us been where they were? No, I don’t think so. When I’ve had time of suffering I may not have said curse God but I did question things, I did have an upset time with the Lord over it. Who hasn’t? So why do they rag all over Mrs. Job for having a weak moment and saying this? But when I’ve said this to people they look at me like I’m a jerk or something. Of course to the IFB it was all about Job, as if Mrs. Job was somehow not involved in the situation, so how dare she discourage her husband for the bad time HE was going through? It just irks me no end with the IFB anymore. You’re right, everything is black or white with them, no shades of gray.

    And that’s why I’m on my way out. I haven’t left yet because my husband isn’t quite ready but it won’t be long. We are seeing the light, slowly but surely. 😀

    1. In college, I went through a discipleship series with a fellow college student. We agreed to read through the book of Job. One thing we noticed was that in church, the lessons from the book of Job were presented as so clear and obvious. Yet when we actually read it, it was very confusing and not at all clear who was right and who was wrong, who was to blame and who wasn’t. I think at the time we just concluded that the Bible is tough to read and that’s why it’s so important to study it.

    2. Mrs Job? I like that. The biblical account thought of her so badly that they did not even give her a name. Even some of the prostitutes had names. But not poor old Mrs. Job!

    3. I love it that my pastor apologizes from the pulpit for mistakes he’s made and to see that his sin grieves him (even things that we don’t think is a big deal). I wouldn’t want to go to a church where the pastor sets the example for everyone in the church to act like a bunch of hypocrites.

      1. My parents started attending the church I grew up in because the first Sunday they went the pastor admitted to loosing his temper and yelling at his wife. They had never been to a church where the pastor was so open and honest. He was as screwed up as the rest of us 😆

    4. I heard a sermon once discussing not only that Job’s wife had lost as much as he had, but more. She also watched her husband suffer very badly physically.
      He said not to treat her badly, that maybe she thought that if he died, at least he would no longer be in pain and would be with his children.

      I’m not one for adding to scripture, but it is an interesting thought.

  11. Reading, enjoying, and judging a work of fiction for its aesthetic merit.

    I can’t say I get along with Fundies/Christians/humans who don’t subscribe to that. I could care less if an author occasionally dips into moralizing (see: Hawthorne, Nathaniel and Letter, The Scarlet), but if an author’s work has little to no aesthetic merit (see: Dekker, Ted and Authors, [Most] Christian Fiction), then it’s better off burning.

    Needless to say, I had an interesting go-around with the English courses at Fundy U.

  12. I remember in my old discipleship class that the pastor’s wife told us that instead of wasting time watching filth on TV, we should be reading and that books are great ways to expand our minds and intellect. Then she quickly added that we should be reading good Christian biographies and Christian books. (read: fundamentalist literature) The irony is that I’ve read far more books about Christianity and fundamentalism in the process of leaving than I ever did in there. Granted, I’m reading real scholarship and memoirs instead of approved-lit like The Trail of Blood or Striving Together publications, so none of that counts as “good” Christian books. 🙄

    I can’t think of a specific example off the top of my head, but some of the more well-read fundies loved using examples from literature in their messages. But their conclusions tended to gloss over the point of the book they were describing so as to prove their fundy point.

  13. I think my fundy pastor’s favourite books in his study were his numerous crappy sermon outline books! Oh, and a ridiculously basic, self-published commentary set by another local pastor.

  14. Shortly after my graduation 300 years ago (more or less) I gave a huge box of fundy books away. When I saw that they skipped the same verses that I didn’t understand I realized how worthless they were.

  15. *sigh* and the books that are really never read are those that present a critical study of how the Word of God came to be in its present form.

    Who wrote what, who decided what was to be in and what was to be out, why are there discrepancies etc.

    *sigh*

  16. “For every fundamentalist, plot can be boiled down to these elements: Someone is right. Someone is wrong. And Someone is bound to be damned if they keep it up. That’s all that matters. Insight into things like life, love, pain, greed, sacrifice, hate, bravery, desire, and the common human condition are just so much window dressing.”

    I take issue with this statement, Darrell, though not for the reasons that you may think.

    I am an English major (having just received my Masters last year) and an aspiring author (I’m working through my first novel even as we speak), and I completely agree with your main premise: Fundamentalists do not get out of books what they’re supposed to get out of books (an enlightenment and enlargement of the mind and soul) because they came at every book with a narrowly constructed box that they try to jam everything kicking and screaming into it. The world is larger than they suppose, and God larger still. This, we agree on.

    However, I disagree that that box is simply “someone’s right and someone’s wrong and the latter will be damned if they don’t turn around.” Rather, I think the box is more “someone’s right IN MY SPECIFIC WAY and someone’s wrong IN MY SPECIFIC WAY and the latter will be damned if they don’t turn around IN MY SPECIFIC WAY.” Fundamentalists have their man-made preconceived notions about what is “holy” and what is “damnable,” and that is their error: their moral compass has been tinkered with by human hands, and only an act of God can blast the thing apart and rebuild it correctly. In short, their moral compass is skewed and cramped; that is their flaw. I know that you (and everyone here) would soundly agree with that.

    Your actual statement, however, seems to imply that the fundamentalist’s flaw is not that their moral compass is skewed but that they have a moral compass AT ALL. Though I am sure that that was not your overt meaning, I still feel the need to caution against such implications.

    Shades of grey do serve a dramatic purpose (in both novels and real life), but our world is not simply shades of grey anymore than it is simply black and white. In fact, if there were no “black and white,” then the very concept of “shades of grey” would lose all meaning.

    Simply put, “Someone is right [and] Someone is wrong [a]nd Someone is bound to be damned if they keep it up” may be simplistic, but it is still true, at least in this regard: “Except you repent, you will all perish” (Luke 13:3). The truth is that there IS someone who is “right” and someone who is “wrong”: God is right, and we are wrong; and unless we repent, we will perish. It is either-or. There is no middle ground about it.

    I write this knowing full well that ninety-nine percent of everyone here will agree in some degree with what I am saying, but I still see this as a necessary caution. In correctly pointing out the suffocating claustrophobia that passes for fundy moralism, we must not turn and commit the opposite yet equal error of jettisoning black and white morality in its entirety. Shades of grey do exist, and thus we must treat others with compassion and understanding; but black and white exist too, and thus our compassion must be tempered with the Jesus’ warning: without repentance towards God, there is only damnation.

    Whew…ok. I’m done. Time for my nap. 😎

    1. P.S. Despite my multiple run-throughs to make my comment picture perfect for everyone, I am well aware that George is a crafty critter. Thus, I apologize early for any and all errors (both grammatical and mechanical) that I have most likely missed. 😳

    2. P.S.S. In the last paragraph of my initial comment (that illustrious behemoth), I said that our compassion should be “tempered” with Jesus’ warning. Upon further consideration, I believe that “tempered” is the wrong word. It should actual say, “Our compassion should include Jesus’ warning….”

      After all, the call to repentance is itself an act of compassion, yes?

      Also, if anyone cares at all, I posted a slightly edited version of my comment over at my blog. Feel free to take a look:

      http://halcyon4eyes.blogspot.com/2011/08/legalists-and-shades-of-grey-why.html

      Here’s to being a link troll. 😀

  17. My husband and I each have a Koran that we got off the internet for free before we were married. Does that fit in this topic?

    Don’t worry, we only have them so we can speak intelligently on the subject… which then makes me wonder how many preachers DO that?!?

    1. I think they get this from the book of Acts which describes new believers burning their books of magic.

      I think had I been involved in the occult and then come to Christ, I would probably burn my old books too, if they were how-to manuals about doing “magic” or worshipping false gods. This is not the sort of situation most fundamentalists today are in when they’re reacting to works of fiction that have topics they dislike.

      1. What’s interesting about that account in the Book of Acts is that those Christians burned their old books of magic after hearing the gospel proclaimed.

        Those sermons they were hearing were centered on Christ. The Apostles weren’t preaching against books of magic, they were preaching for Christ.

        After hearing the gospel, these new believers burned their books. They didn’t burn them because they heard a sermon that told them to.

        Perhaps today’s morality focused, gospel-less preaching could be described as putting the cart before the horse?

  18. My parent’s fundy church has a “jail ministry” in which part of their minstering is to trade inmates good ol’ kjb’s for their niv’s and nlt’s that other church ministries give out during their services. My cousin heads up this “ministry” and he keeps a box in the trunk for the “perversions” and burns them when the box gets full. I asked him (after I’d left fundystan) if he’d ever read one of the other versions and he replied no. I asked him how he knew all of those pamphlets and chick books about “perversions” were true. He didn’t have an answer. I guess I said all that to say this, what a bunch of morons.

    1. That’s so sad. The KJV is difficult to read. The inmates need to hear God’s Word in a language they can understand. Taking away NLTs and NIVs from people who many times didn’t finish high school is so WRONG!

  19. Don’t think I’ve ever burned a book, but an old girlfriend, my mother and my brother all conspired and got my copy of the Satanic Bible and burned it, I’m glad they did, my dabbling in the occult in the 70’s was a low point in my life but I learned alot.

    Just this week my wife and I have been cleaning out the basement and I ended up throwing out a slew of fundy books and assorted fundy propaganda, still kept some Riplinger, Rice, Comfort, Green, Lacey and Ruckman….mostly so that I properly quote them as I refute them.

    1. OK, confession time. While cleaning the garage, my wife and I came across our KJV Scofields, signed by Jack, his son Dave, Dr Evans, and others. We debated what to do – sell them at the garage sale? Give them away? Donate to Good Will? Oh but horrors! We threw them away. The damage that Mr Scofield had done to us, we did not want to pass on to someone else. I don’t know, Darrell, was that as bad as burning the …BIBLE? 😯

      1. ALL of our signed Schofields and KJV’s and other fundy books (and tapes) burned up in a housefire several years ago. I couldn’t have brought myself to throw them away (It would have felt disrespectful) I am so glad it was taken care of for me. We had been toting that stuff around for too long.

  20. The horrific “Left Behind” series so jarringly illustrates your point, along with the preponderance of Amish-themed Christian fiction these days-gag. (The Amish all dress modestly and never raise their voices, so they must be safe to write about.)

    The thing about fundamentalism and fiction is this: there is an absolute refusal to view evil as it actually is. When one’s antagonists all speak like Annie Wilkes (of Stephen King’s “Misery” fame) then the whole story becomes two-dimensional.

    Perhaps if we weren’t so petrified of the fundamentals: “All have sinned…” (+1 for Romans Road reference… Score!) and so unwilling to look people in the eye and treat them with the same respect Christ showed the nameless woman caught in adultery, we might be able to see the world more like Christ does.

    Sidebar: On my bookshelf, completely ignoring the six-inch-rule, are the following: Atlas Shrugged, The Stand, Lonesome Dove, the KJV (‘cuz I’m a legit fundie), Candide, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Scarlett Letter. This probably explains why I have had to take a step back and seriously look at fundamentalism. Sigh…

  21. It’s just as bad among a lot of evangelicals, as well as a lot of evangelical churches. I don’t know how many church libraries I’ve visited that consist largely of Grace Livingston Hill and Jeanette Oke novels, Helen Steiner Rice’s poetry, the Left Behind series, Jan Karon’s and Frank Peretti’s books, and a bunch of Bible and theology books, none of which offer anything by way of thinking outside the box.

    My own horizons began broadening when I started reading C.S. Lewis, subsequently going on to Charles Williams, Frederick Buechner, William Barclay, William Blake, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and on and on . . . what a treasure trove of stuff that is never read by most evangelical or fundie Christians! I recently recommended Barclay’s [excellent] Daily Study Bible to someone, and she brushed it aside, saying, “Oh, I read he’s a universalist.”

    Sigh.

    1. Amen. Especially on the Hopkins. And Herbert. And Edwin Muir. Ignorance of the vast treasure of good English poetry with profoundly Christian themes among conservative Christians is a travesty.

  22. The fundy high school I went to would have two book burnings a year as a teen night. They encouraged you to bring in as many pop culture and fiction books as possible.
    Too bad they saved all the useless PACE’s that they allegedly taught us from.
    It wasn’t until I was in my mid twenties that I started reading on a regular basis thanks to them.

  23. My mother is a very black-and-white thinker. If anything does not fall into that paradigm, she gets upset.

    Her expectation for fiction (and for movies) is that the hero must be perfect, the villain must be villainous, and never the twain shall meet. Oh, and the villain must meet a bad end. She hates any story that has any gray areas/characters in it. She actually gets frustrated if, for example, the villain isn’t punished the way she thinks he/she should be, or if the hero does anything wrong.

  24. Darrell

    What would you consider fundy books, be it theology or any form of literature?

    (I’m not trying to ask this in any way other than curiosity. I don’t know if reading what I’m saying in text would come across as mean-spirited or something).

  25. As a fourth grader, I was greatly confused as to why I couldn’t read the Baby Sitters Club books at school. Now it makes sense..actually it still doesn’t.

  26. I just finished up an online English class with Fundy U about Literature. According to B- er, Fundy U a work is literature if it is artistically and culturally significant. It must be both. I think their intentions were to keep me from reading secular “garbage” but instead it taught me that the show “Glee” is not only artistically significant but also culturally significant. So I have now analyzed something (that basically glorifies everything Fundy U is against) and confirmed its status as a piece of literature worth studying.

  27. I’ve just been reading through the Old Testament am in Leviticus now, and I don’t think the stories in there would pass muster with the “standards” they set on what we should be reading. Incest, lying, rape murder, having children by women who are not officially your wife, many, many, things and they are not called sin many times, just told matter of fact, this is what so and so did, etc. I am an avid reader, right now on my shelf are about 7 old-school feminist classics, though I don’t agree with everything they say, it would raise quite a few eyebrows if my fundy brother’s and sisters saw them on my shelf. Btw, some of you seem to be acting fundy by assuming only fundy’s don’t watch tv or homeschool etc, when I homeschooled my oldest we were the ONLY homeschool family in the huge IFB church we were at and the pastor got up and preached against homeschooling and many fundy’s at my church watch a ton of tv I am sure, let’s not become like them in reverse! 😛

  28. IFB preachers are notorious for preaching against books they have never read. Often heard this line by more than one preacher, “if the book is popular and being passed around it must be bad.” Or some variation of that.

    Fundy churches have book stores or tables with books they sell. I always called it the propaganda table. It was always ALL propaganda!

    at Fundy U, bawdy Shakespeare (edited of course) was perfectly fine, but the Left Behind Series not so much…

    i went to a church that burned CDs one youth service…but i think they would have called for books too at some point. They will be the ones that eventually burn the so called heretics and apostates.

    1. Don’t feel bad I have just about everything he wrote as Louis L’amour. Of course I also have Dashiell Hammett , Agatha Christie, Tom Clancey, and even some Earl Stanley Gardner. Of course I also have a copy of Clarance Larkin’s Dispensational Truths floating around here somewhere. I’m bound and determined that I will finish “Moby Dick” before I die. (It on my bucket list, actually that’s all that is on my bucket list… guess I ‘ d b e t t e r r e a d s l o w l y)

      1. Don,
        I’ve tried to read Moby Dick about four times now. Find a replacement worth reading, like Robinson Crusoe. The only reason Mellville remained popular is there were so few options when he wrote.
        Of course, with that on your list, you may never get through it…………

      2. I read “Moby Dick” not long ago, and it was great. I remember picking it up many years ago and not getting very far into it. Maybe it makes more sense when you’re older.

      3. I’ve tried three times to get through it, and I just can’t. There are lots of great books out there; if your eyes glaze over partway into one of them, go on to something else.

  29. I built a library in my IFB church…

    I hung a sign which quoted the couplet from Bill Grady’s “Final Authority”: “’tis sad but true, the more you read, the less you do.” To this I added, …”don’t let this be true of you!”

    …but it wasn’t considered a ministry because I couldn’t figure out how to produce conversions by means of it…

    …the pastor so frequently preached against reading too much Christian literature apart from the Bible…

    …but cautioned that if you’re going to read Christian books by new evangelicals you better ignore whatever they say which contradicts or corrects the KJV. I think his vision was for it to only be stocked with the works of Hyles and Ruckman…

    …after a couple of years of this, it became so pointless to have a library in that church, I quit the library. When they changed locations, they packed up the books and put them in storage.

    My most faithful patrons were two teenage girls who kept checking out the Janette Oke books…over and over and over…we didn’t carry Louis L’Amour, and I don’t think we even had any Al Lacy. Rather progressive, don’t you think?

    Oops! I did it again
    ➡ ( http://capthk.wordpress.com/2011/07/30/a-case-study-in-sin/ )

  30. Not only does my ex-fundy husband have a gajillion books from his fundy days, his late father,who was a pastor, left him 20+ more boxes full of fundy approved books that are 50 years old. We need to get rid of all of them, but where??? I cringe to think of actually throwing away or destroying books. But I certainly don’t know anyone who wants them!

  31. I grew up in an IFB home that allowed some TV watching (news, educational shows, and the like) but – for whatever reason – they allowed me free reign of any book I could get my hands on. As a result, I have close to 2,000 books ranging from Harry Potter to Discworld to Vonnegut and Lewis and beyond. I try to always find time to read every day, so they don’t go to waste. I’m against burning books on principle. Even when one becomes damaged beyond repair, I hate to have to get rid of it.

  32. I picked up a book once written by Jack Trieber of North Valley Baptist Church in San Jose, CA entitled “Counsel.” It is a “collection of the philosophies and ideas” preached by Dr. Trieber. The back cover says, “Some of these principles are derived directly from the Bible” and others are just stuff that he made up.

    In it, he stated that no one should every read anything not written by a Fundamental Independent Baptist.

  33. Sad but true, fundy book burning has even influenced national Christians in mainland China.

    A Chinese Christian recently told me that he heard a fundy missionary in China preaching against Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life.” One of his proofs that the book should not be read is that it is sold in the Chinese government’s approved Christian bookstores. Anything sold in those stores, he said, cannot be of God. Last time I checked though, they also sell copies of the Bible and books by J. Hudson Taylor.

    Sadly, the Chinese Christian bought the line and is vehemently opposed to Rick Warren’s rather innocuous book on Christian living.

    1. Burning plastic creates a lot of toxic fumes. It’s a small act of ecocide. So, if you’ve got to destroy CDs, please shred them instead.

      I love your name, Hazel Motes. 😎

  34. Profoundly true post.

    One of the most eye-opening things about recovering from fundamentalism was finding out just how much humanity and study of the world at large that i had been taught to ignore, that i simply and sadly was missing out on, and did not appreciate…

    There’s a wonderful world of knowledge, laughter, and even pain out there to grapple with!

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