In a tiny little school district in California, the school board has responded to some criticisms of certain literary works and removed them from the curriculum while the use of these books are under review. Okay, maybe it’s not too tiny of a school district. Burbank after all is a pretty good size community.
These five books are ones that have been used in schools across America for decades. The school district banned Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, Theodore Taylor’s The Cay and Mildred D. Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. I read a few of these in school myself.
I understand the reasons … from both sides of the argument. But I question the process of and the end of the argument. Where does it end? Who decides? Is there a proper procedure in place? Does it need to be culturally sensitive and do we factor in the culture from the era in which it was written?
If we start to ponder literary works, will we regulate music, movies, entertainment? Will we remove any religious works, socio-economic based tomes, or gender issue publications?
These are great questions, and I am glad we are having the discussion. But I want it to be a discussion, not a one-sided, cancel culture, knee jerk response.
The Bible too has many issues that today’s culture have great issues with. I look at gender and marriage issues. I know the cultures of the Ancient Near East and how some of the practices seem unseemly to modern man. And we need to understand context.
There is also the principle of description or definition. Sometimes, the Scripture gives description, just describing what is taking place. Other times it is about definition, giving a definitive truth or principle. And to know the difference at times is not always so easy.
So you can understand why it is so important that we are to “rightly divide the word” and the importance of why one needs to go beyond a cursory reading or just using scripture to proof text a belief. One shouldn’t go to scripture to support one’s point of view, one should get their point of view from scripture.
Now, I may have lost you. I’ve moved from book banning to the importance of proper Biblical hermeneutics. So lost me bring it back.
I love to read. Read almost everything. And I think we do a disservice to all people when we ban books and shut down free speech.
Read, don’t read? Give parents input, yes … but let’s be very cautious as we go down this path.
As for me, I think I added 5 books to my list to read (or reread) in 2021.