Prioritizing What We Read

I read a post by Crossway’s Angie Cheatham on Tony Reinke’s book, Lit!:A Christian Guide to Reading Books. Angie’s post highlighted several ways to prioritize what we, as Christians, choose to read.

While all of the suggestions she mentions offer solid advice, I found one that was a bit confusing.

Reading to enjoy a good story: I read for leisure: non-Christian literature, novels, biographies, humor, and fantasy. Christians should not blush when they read for pleasure, for escape, or “just for fun.” Provided that this is not a form of escapism—and assuming the book does not glorify sin—the practice is enjoyable and honors God.

My comment to her post explains my confusion:

I loved the layout behind his reasoning for which books to read. I’m a little lost on the last one though. He says we shouldn’t be ashamed about reading books for leisure “…assuming the book does not glorify sin…”

One could easily make the argument that almost any non-Christian fiction is going to glorify sin of some sort.

Don’t get me wrong, there are non-Christian fiction books that I love, I’m just not sure how I would be able to read any if “glorifying sin” would mark it off the list. For example, I love Harry Potter (and I know, that starts wildfires within all that is Christendom), and some could easily say it glorifies witchcraft, a sin, and that I shouldn’t read it. But I’d say that I know witchcraft is a sin and it’s (the Harry Potter series) COMPLETELY fictional, all the way down to the location, so there’s not much chance that someone is going to really want to pursue the occult based on Harry Potter. In contrast to something like The Craft, where it may be fictional, it’s in a very real setting, etc.

See my confusion?

In response, Angie said that she’d like to get the author to respond more fully, but directed me to the video below in the meantime:

This leaves me with a question that I thought might be worth discussion: Where do we draw the line? Despite the redemptive themes (which I love), Harry Potter is still depicting sin fighting sin, only framing it as good vs. evil. While it may be innocuous enough in Harry Potter, aren’t there other books and movies that depict the sin fighting sin concept that we would outright say are unacceptable?

C Michael Patton offers some good, solid advice concerning this type of question.

I would definitely encourage you to read the rest of the priorities Angie mentions at the Crossway Blog.

What do you think?
How can Christians know where to draw the line when it comes to entertainment created and promoted by secular culture?


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