Yup. Um hmm. That's what I said.
This is your reminder that it's Banned Book Week.
In my own mind, it's hard to grasp that such a thing still exists, here, with our whole thing about freedom of speech and all, but anyway.
I know we aren't a nation anymore of slowing down, sitting down and soaking into an actual paper book in a moment of quiet. Everything is electronic and nothing is silent.
That doesn't mean we shouldn't read.
It's good for the soul. It's good for the mind. It's good for us, collectively as a people.
The Internet is cluttered with articles this week about Banned Books. Here's one over at Huff Post and here's a list of Banned Books. There are many lists out there.
To me, they are all shocking and yet in a way, they aren't.
I think in a way, it shows our apathy of thought. We would rather lie back and accept what someone tells us is bad or good for our brains and our souls.
God created me with a brain. A fantastic amazing brain. I believe He expects me to use it. I know well, your arguments about the Biblical admonition to only fill my heart, mind, eyes and so forth with things that are good, pleasing, holy and righteous. I know. I also know I am created to learn and grow and think. I know that beauty is not the same from person to person, nor is holy. We were each created unique. Have grace. Give grace.
Sometimes thinking means taking something that at the beginning is offensive or objectionable or shocking and taking a deep breath and a pause and thinking on it.
I looked over one of the Banned Book lists. It has 100 books on it. I know I have read at least 50 of them. There are another 25 or so that I'm uncertain if I've read or not (I read a lot of books). A lot of these books were life changers for me. Meaning, after reading these books, thinking about them, letting them settle into me in a way, I saw the world around me differently. I saw the people around me differently.
I would like to think I saw them better. That I could see them maybe even as better than they were, imagining their potentials. I would like to believe I saw them with more grace and understanding and maybe even forgiveness than I had before. I saw the world as both larger and smaller, something so much greater than my small self-centered being and smaller in that human common denominator equalizing us all way.
I remember, not all that long ago, when I was reading these books in high school and college. Reading these books made you literate, smart, well-rounded and respected. When did it shift? When did we as a people let someone decide it was no longer the mark of the well read to have challenged oneself with difficult books but instead it was a danger to the greater population and heaven forbid our children to read such things?
Go to that ancient place, the library, and walk past the glut of movies and recordings of TV shows into the back where they keep these archaic things called books. Pick one. Any book that looks even remotely interesting to you for any reason and check it out. Take it home. Sit down someplace and shut everything else off and try reading.
If you can't cope, if that's giving you a little panic attack, put something on your Nook or Kindle. Download and audio version of something.
Really take it in though, that's the thing. Take it in and then, think. Marvel that it came out of someone else's mind and now it's part of yours.
It's not too late. We as a people could learn to think again. It's never too late.