Faith Fringe discussion

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Have you been judged?

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message 1: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Bailey (jsbailey) | 49 comments Hi guys! [nods to Jason and Dustin]

Up until a few years ago, I had no idea that Christian fiction was a "thing." (I had heard of the Left Behind series, but that was about it.) Growing up I was heavily into science fiction and fantasy. And nobody had a problem with it.

Since I have discovered the world of "edgy" Christian fiction, my life has not been the same. I have met many wonderful, like-minded people who love to read the same books I do. However, I have seen a great deal of vitriol coming from certain Christians who don't think that Christians should read certain books because they have foul language/sex/violence/etc.

I am Catholic. I attended a Catholic grade school and have gone to Catholic churches for my entire life. The only time I ever remember anyone in my faith community criticizing a book is when the Harry Potter books first became popular and people were somewhat leery of the "witchcraft" contained therein.

But you know what? THEY READ THEM. Our school library had them in circulation. They decided that Harry Potter was okay because nothing about the books was really that objectionable.

This is why it shocks me that some Christians will bash books and sometimes not even take the time to read them. I come from a rather open-minded background so this has all been very new to me.

And now I ask you this: How have YOU been judged for the books that you read? I have not experienced this personally so I am very curious to hear your stories.


message 2: by Autumn (new)

Autumn (autumnmemory80) I totally agree with you! I explained this in my introduction, I Do Not like censorship. As a librarian I find that those who oppose books have never read them, and they do not know what they are arguing over. Growing up I knew of Christian fiction because I was always in the Christian bookstore. I remember when Ted Dekker first came on the scene. I have always wanted to read one of his books (Thr3e), but have not had the chance. Yes, I have been judged for what I read. I had a random stranger who saw my profile online say, “Do you not ever question what you read or watch?” I thought, “No.” As I said in my intro, I just know that is a work of fiction and it is not who I am and it does not define me as a person. I like gritty, grisly books, and yes, there is ugly language sometimes in them. I do not use that language or do the things I am reading, so I do not feel it is influencing me. My mom asked, “How can you read what you read?” I explained that it is just so far from my personality that I find it intriguing. Does that sound crazy?


message 3: by Allyson (new)

Allyson (statsnerd) | 8 comments Autumn, that does not sound crazy. I hear people always using the phrase "don't be of this world" to condone reading or watching things that are not strictly Christian, but I also think about how Jesus set the example of befriending others and learning about others. I think to be truly knowledgeable about all the facets of humanity and the grey that is life reading and watching and absorbing as much as we can is a huge part of that. I think it is important to read things that people find obscene in order to understand why so many people in society would read that. What is it they are searching for or needing? Why are we drawn to this. When I was in college I took a Women's Studies class entitled the history of prostitution and pornography because I thought the title was interesting. I will be honest and say going in to the class that I would have judged people who watch pornography. As part of the class the professor actually showed pornography in class. I have to say I was terrified, but I realized is that 90% of pornography looks like the stuff we see on regular tv nowadays, not just cable. This made a huge impact on me as I realized I was making judgement calls on things without really knowing what it was all about. I still have many issues with prostitution and pornography, but my views are much more based in the knowledge of the ethics and business practices rather than the images of what pornography is. It also opened up my eyes to the shift in tv in our culture. Anyway, that's a whole other topic. But that's why I think every Christian should read anything and everything, so they can better understand others and make better informed decisions. I also strongly believe God or at least a message from God can be found in anything you read if you are open to it.


message 4: by Allyson (new)

Allyson (statsnerd) | 8 comments Autumn that is so funny you wanted to be a psychiatrist until your junior year. Me too! I wasn't interested in that specific area, though, but I think that's super interesting if I am guessing correctly! I wanted to work with autism. I am also pro-choice and Christian as well, so I completely understand how those two can go together. I understand how for others that dichotomy can be challenging, but I would appreciate if they just accept it and move on. Anyway, I look forward to sharing book suggestions and further discussion with you.


message 5: by Autumn (new)

Autumn (autumnmemory80) I understand how you feel about your business standpoint on women's issues like pornography. I am a good ol' Southern Baptist, but I am pro-choice. I also wanted to be a psychiatrist until my junior year of college, and I wanted to work in a specific area in that field that would cause me to be talked about in my church circles. Yes, “Be in the world, but not of it,” but we also have to educate ourselves.

I somehow deleted this!


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

What a loaded question. Of course I have been judged as I think all of us have. I have been judged on all kinds of things from the books I read, movies I watch, my living arrangements, and everything else. Regarding books, I think it is somewhat comical (and sad) that some people are quick to make judgements regarding a person's character by looking at the books he or she reads. It is important for me to remember that a lot of the material I read is fiction. I loved the Harry Potter series, but that opened a can of worms with many of my friends. Just because I read it doesn't mean that I agree, condone, or even believe in witchcraft, sorcery, magic, etc. If someone wants to know what I believe in, why not just ask me? Thanks for starting this group. I look forward to reading all of your posts.


message 7: by Jason (new)

Jason (jokers_knight_out) | 55 comments Mod
In this tiny town (and narrow-minded area) I'm in, I feel like the only people that don't judge me on the books I read I read are my own family and just about all the people who aren't churchgoers. Especially if I have a Stephen King book in my hands. (kinda funny, aside from all the graphic language and vivid sex scenes I've read in his stuff, he presents a much more unabashed, shameless, and explicit version of the Gospel of the Bible than I've read in most Christian fiction that I've seen, what's that say?)
And Cindy, when the Harry Potter series became popular when I was in the 7th grade, I got interested in checking it out. My mom (being a traditionalist then) didn't ban me from checking it out, but tried using Biblical "reason" to say I shouldn't read it. If I had been familiar with the Lord of the Rings at that time, I would have told it wasn't right for Christians to hate the HP series and praise LotR when LotR has much more explicit fantasy elements in the first place.
That's who I see it, at least.
And then there's Dean Koontz. What a doozy- having unashamed views of the Gospel, on how to be an unashamed Gospel and still writing crazy horror stories! Maybe that's why I enjoy that genre- it has more room for creative ways of exploring spiritualities and less room for legalistic tendencies.
Know what I'm trying to say? (I get mixed up with my words at times)


message 8: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Bailey (jsbailey) | 49 comments Jason wrote: "In this tiny town (and narrow-minded area) I'm in, I feel like the only people that don't judge me on the books I read I read are my own family and just about all the people who aren't churchgoers...."

Hmm. It seems like you need a new town. ;) And Dean Koontz rocks. I know of a lot of atheists/agnostics who like his work, and I often wonder what they think about his Christianity.


message 9: by GeneralTHC (new)

GeneralTHC J.S. wrote: "I know of a lot of atheists/agnostics who like his work, and I often wonder what they think about his Christianity. "

Well, I can only speak for myself, obviously. I like Koontz a lot but his social commentary does get a bit tiring at times, though I like some of it--I love ODD THOMAS for instance. I think I'm more bothered by his political views than his religion. But it all bleeds through.


message 10: by Dustin (new)

Dustin J.S. wrote: "Hi guys! [nods to Jason and Dustin]

Up until a few years ago, I had no idea that Christian fiction was a "thing." (I had heard of the Left Behind series, but that was about it.) Growing up I was ..."


*nodding back in acknowledgment* Hey, J.S!

Thank you for starting this great, wonderful topic! It's one I'm quite passionate about, myself, and I will be re-visiting it more in the future.:) You rock, girl!


message 11: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Bailey (jsbailey) | 49 comments Dustin wrote: "J.S. wrote: "Hi guys! [nods to Jason and Dustin]

Up until a few years ago, I had no idea that Christian fiction was a "thing." (I had heard of the Left Behind series, but that was about it.) Grow..."


Aw, thanks. It's just that up until I joined Goodreads and started connecting with more people, I had no idea that so many people were being judged by their choice of reading material. Maybe I've just been living under a rock. :D


message 12: by Jason (new)

Jason (jokers_knight_out) | 55 comments Mod
I suppose if anyone asks why I read what I read, I'll just say I'm using my free will to my advantage.


message 13: by Dustin (new)

Dustin Jason wrote: "I suppose if anyone asks why I read what I read, I'll just say I'm using my free will to my advantage."

Nice answer, Jason!


message 14: by Dustin (new)

Dustin J.S. wrote: "Dustin wrote: "J.S. wrote: "Hi guys! [nods to Jason and Dustin]

Up until a few years ago, I had no idea that Christian fiction was a "thing." (I had heard of the Left Behind series, but that was ..."


You're most welcome.
I've never felt judged while at Goodreads (thank the Lord, I don't know what I'd do if that ever happened,) but since high school, I have felt as if those around me have looked down on me or judged me for reading Stephen King. No one's ever really said anything (except for my mother, who absolutely despises him, even though she's never read a single thing he's written; she's not a reader, really,) so I can't say for sure if I'm getting a bad vibe from people, or it's all in my head. Perhaps there's a part of me that's ashamed, because I know in my heart that God would rather I read something more Biblical in nature.. you know?


message 15: by Dustin (new)

Dustin Autumn wrote: "I totally agree with you! I explained this in my introduction, I Do Not like censorship. As a librarian I find that those who oppose books have never read them, and they do not know what they are a..."

Wow, very well said, Autumn!

It's amazing to me that you remember when Ted Dekker first came on the scene.:) Being a relative newbie to his work, I must admit that I'm somewhat envious. And if you haven't already, you simply MUST give Dekker a go, IMO. He's quickly become one of my favorite authors, I think what's he done and continues to do is brilliant!


message 16: by Dustin (new)

Dustin Cindy wrote: "What a loaded question. Of course I have been judged as I think all of us have. I have been judged on all kinds of things from the books I read, movies I watch, my living arrangements, and everythi..."

Wow, I love your post, Cindy, and agree with what you're saying.:)


message 17: by Dustin (last edited Jun 03, 2013 12:15PM) (new)

Dustin Jason wrote: "In this tiny town (and narrow-minded area) I'm in, I feel like the only people that don't judge me on the books I read I read are my own family and just about all the people who aren't churchgoers...."

Jason- I couldn't agree more about King's work being very religious, or spiritual in nature. Take The Stand or Desperation, for instance. There's really a lot to be said about those two alone. And that's merely scratching the surface, so to speak.

Re: Lord of The Rings: exactly! And C.S. Lewis was an incredibly religious man! Who says we can't read/write of the fantasy genre?

BTW, is Koontz really unashamed of the Gospel?


message 18: by Karen (new)

Karen Boyce (goodreadcomkarenkellyboycecom) | 4 comments Hi, I have experienced some prejudice. Recently, I sold my books at a fund raiser for a fellow author who was ill. It was in a Christian church. A book store owner picked up one of my children's books (A very generic Christian mystery about a group of madcap nuns who solve little mysteries) When she saw it was 'Catholic' she threw it back down and said, "If I ever put that in my store, I would be fired." This shocked me since I read everything, including Christian and never feared that my mind was so weak that I would change my faith. I have even read the Amish books and never feared that I would join the Amish community! So what is this fear? I love Koontz, S. King, Chesterton, and Lewis. I will read almost anything except erotica simply because it doesn't interest me. Down Right Good by Karen Kelly Boyce


message 19: by Dustin (new)

Dustin I am deeply sorry that you were treated so badly, Karen. But not to fear, you won't be judged here.:)


message 20: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Bailey (jsbailey) | 49 comments Karen wrote: "Hi, I have experienced some prejudice. Recently, I sold my books at a fund raiser for a fellow author who was ill. It was in a Christian church. A book store owner picked up one of my children's bo..."

I'm a closet Catholic in the writing world, Karen. (I guess not now though that I've been talking about it in this group.) It's probably obvious from what I write, but a large portion of my readers are non-Catholic Christians and none of them seem to have any problem with it.

And Karen, I especially loved Down Right Good. :)


message 21: by Karen (new)

Karen Boyce (goodreadcomkarenkellyboycecom) | 4 comments Thanks JS. I think of myself as a writer, not a 'Catholic' writer
, but who you are is a big part of your writing. Love your work also, as you know. Karen


message 22: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Bailey (jsbailey) | 49 comments Karen wrote: "Thanks JS. I think of myself as a writer, not a 'Catholic' writer
, but who you are is a big part of your writing. Love your work also, as you know. Karen"


I completely agree with that sentiment.


message 23: by Jason (new)

Jason (jokers_knight_out) | 55 comments Mod
Personally, when I call myself "Catholic", I'm referring to the Latin word for "universal", nothing more. But you're still welcome with us, regardless.


message 24: by Dustin (new)

Dustin Jason wrote: "Personally, when I call myself "Catholic", I'm referring to the Latin word for "universal", nothing more. But you're still welcome with us, regardless."

I love the Latin meaning of the word, as well, Jason!


message 25: by Clint (new)

Clint Smith (zephyran) | 1 comments I haven't been judged by anyone by myself (so far), though I'm sure quite a few of the things I've read are on the Vatican's "No-No" list. And things I've written, too. I'm lucky, though; my family, while very Catholic, has a diverse taste in fiction and enjoyed reading what I've written. Even the (fanfic) novel that's heavily steeped in Shinto myth.


message 26: by Dustin (new)

Dustin Wow, that's great to hear, Clint!


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