Thursday, August 14, 2008

Reading Wisely

We’re going to do this one more time. Folks, it’s been a week which God has called me to repentance in more ways than one, and I’m a bit tired tonight. And it is also a week in which it takes me much time to sift things through. Bear with me. So let’s get this straight finally.

Does it matter at all whether the New American is the voice of JBS as long as it publishes the facts correctly and without bias? As for the friend I mentioned who reads the New American, she did know it was from the JBS, contrary to what I presumed. But did it really matter whether the story came from a JBS source or the AP as long as the facts were reported correctly?

I don’t think so. In fact, while that’s important to this particular issue, it’s not so important in all issues. Another dear friend of mine cautioned me years ago, “Learn to argue their case as well as your own.” That simple Aristotelian logic. That can’t be accomplished without reading widely, and from the other person’s own perspective. But beware! It might get you called out as something you aren’t. Don’t take offence, though. It’s simply a misunderstanding on the other person’s part.

I have a whole section on my bookshelves dedicated to feminist literature. When my husband is looking for something to read he knows not to search there. He questions why I purchase “that stuff.” He knows it often makes me angry when I read it. Still, it constantly leads me back to the Gospel because the errors are so glaring. To read those femmies doesn’t make me one, even though folks coming into the house would certainly have cause to suspect it of me by looking at the bookshelves.

I have Gnostic literature, and I’ve read Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. I have another section of my library filled with Eastern Orthodox materials. I read the Ancient Fathers, preferring them over more recent offerings. Still, I’m not turning East (despite my icons!), nor am I an atheist.

I found agreement in my position on temporary restraining orders from a feminist author. She had a different presupposition, of course.

Why should we limit ourselves by what we read? Rather, should we not remain “un-parochial” in our minds by reading as wide a variety of materials as we can? I say this within certain limits, of course. I don’t mean to fill my mind with overtly pornographic or vile materials. But what I do mean to say is that just because a magazine is associated with a certain (politically objectionable) organization does not mean it should not be read. And reading the materials doesn’t mean one will necessarily be tainted with the philosophy of that organization. The ministerial use of one’s reason says that the Holy Spirit first informs what is received according to God’s Word. Therefore, what is read even from secular sources is filtered through the lens of Christ.

So I plan to read widely, and read wisely. And I’ll reference whomever I doggone well want to as long as they have something worthwhile to say, something ridiculous to comment on, or. . . well, you get the point.

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