Thursday, May 29, 2008

Barbara Pell: "Should Christians Read Dirty Books"

I was once told that some naturalistic scenes in a contemporary novel that particularly offended me were moderate compared to the scenes of human squalor and hopelessness witnessed by my friend, who was a public health nurse in a city slum. She implied that if I could get out of my ivory tower and my middle-class suburban community and experience the degradation and suffering of the majority of the world’s people, if only through the realism of a modern novel, maybe I could begin to understand what the nurses and social workers and street missions were trying to do in a society where one couldn’t run away from the consequences of human sin and need simply by closing the covers of a book.

Quoted by the Christian film critic Jeffrey Overstreet (62) who follows it up by stating "If we are shocked by something as common as a spoken obscenity, it may reveal more about our distance from people in need than it does about the person who blurted out such coarse language" (63).:

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