Double Minded Readers? by James L. Rubrt

Are you little scitzo when it comes to your media consumption? What you’ll read or watch and what you won’t? Are some things okay in one form, but not in another?

Fret not, I’ll stop being so cryptic in after a few more sentences and explain what I’m talking about. And I’ll admit, maybe I’m missing something in the following scenario, so please help me if I’m blind but it surprised me a bit and seemed comically incongruent. Okay, here we go:

I was part of an e-mail loop for a while that promoted Christian Fiction. Anyone could join. And anyone could yak about and promote their novels, be they traditionally published or self-pubbed. But there understandable ground rules. No books with swearing. No books with sex. No books with gratuitous violence.

When a new person joined the group and wanted to promote their book, they were asked if any of the above happened in their novel. On more than one occasion a newly self-published novelist would say, “I think there’s one ‘damn’ in my book, maybe two.”

“Sorry.” the group responded. “We don’t want that here. That’s not Christian. Please take that lewdness other places.” (I guess that means The Chronicles of Narina would have been vetoed since Lewis used the word in those books, but I digress.)

Them taking that stance is fine with me. They set up the ground rules very clearly and they rejected numerous aspiring novelists with kindness and grace. And they were truly fun, warm, engaging people to interact with.

But … (yes, we’re FINALLY getting to my question) one day the group was talking about what TV shows and movies they liked. To speed up this post, let’s just say the language, sexual innuendos, and violence in those shows would not play well in most churches on Sunday morning.

Is that okay? Are these people saying, “Hey, give me one spot I know I can get clean entertainment” (the Christian fiction they read) and that’s fine? Or are they applying a double standard to what they choose to consume media wise?

Should I be surprised they were so vehement against an occasional swear word in the books authors wanted to promote on the loop when they allow a flood of those words along with powerful sexual and violent visuals in movies and on the TV shows they watch?

Is it okay for Christians to change their standards between media or not? Inquiring Jims would like to know.

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About James L. Rubart

Husband, Dad, Author, Speaker
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4 Responses to Double Minded Readers? by James L. Rubrt

  1. Maureen Lang says:

    Interesting post, Jim! Maybe those who oversee the Christian group are just protecting the group itself, since it promotes itself as strictly Christian fiction. If one format represents itself a certain way (as Christian fiction) they have to be careful about how it’s presented to the world. I see it more as protecting the integrity of their group, I guess. But personally? If a person thinks it’s wrong to expose themselves to things that don’t meet a certain standard in one venue, it should be consistent in others. Really hard to do in today’s social climate!

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  2. Erica says:

    Thanks for the post! I am an eclectic reader who really enjoys clean reading…but if a book is good and there are some swear words I’ll just have to make sure the storyline adds up…same with movies. If the story is profound and entertaining, then swearing(hopefully there is none or a minimum amount) I will consider it. Maybe that is schizo….oops.

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  3. I think a group that sets a standard for that particular loop has every right to set that standard. After all, every novelist who has been published knows those gatekeepers can keep our books out of a lot of bookstores if they complain about anything at all, and who we promote reflects on us. It all comes down to sales with the publishers. But those gatekeepers have no right to tell us what we, ourselves, can and cannot watch on television, or what we, ourselves, see as Biblical. For instance, many parts of the Bible would not be allowed in by the same gatekeepers who faint at the use of some socially unacceptable words or situations. Sometimes it irritates me that society trumps the Bible in what we should and should not do. However, who am I to tell these gatekeepers how to interpret THEIR Bibles?

    Um…did that make sense? I’m food deprived. 😉

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  4. Beth Goddard says:

    We’ve just been conditioned to watch what television offers, I think. Maybe if we were given great, clean choices like we have in Christian fiction, we could choose better. 🙂

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