CM on Christian Literature

Dear Reader,

I have never been a big fan of Christian fiction, or a lot of Christian non-fiction for that matter. We do encourage the reading of some classics, like C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. But when it comes to the more recent stuff, I have yet to find much I like. Often it is the style or writing that turns me off. And also the way the morals are portrayed; it all seems so obvious. I would much rather read some Dostoevsky and explore themes about sin and salvation and fallen women.

As I read through Charlotte Mason’s fifth volume, Formation of Character, I find that she also has something to say about Christian literature:

“Let [young girls] feel the necessity of bracing up every power of mind they have to gain comprehension of the breadth and the depth of the truths they are called to believe. Let them not grow up with the notion that Christian literature consists of emotional appeals, but that intellect, mind, is on the other side.” (p.166)

I suspect that Charlotte would say the same of young men, but perhaps it is significant that this observation comes in her section on young women. Certainly a perusal of Christian book catalogs seems to show a lot of literature aimed at females, particularly Christian romances which seek to provide an alternative to the raciness of their secular counterparts. But what if we were to give young women, and young men, and even ourselves something much more meaty? What if we were to give them theology instead of nice stories? All too often I think we underestimate our young people when it comes to their ability to understand and to absorb the things of God.


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