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Secular books approved for fundies


OnceUponATime
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I've been wondering about this for a while. Fundie Erika wrote a blog post about christian approved books written by Christians.

Can we find any secular authors who write books that could get fundie approved?

What rules do you think they would need to follow?

 

Rules I'm thinking of:

  • no sex
  • no swearing
  • no immoral relationships
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33 minutes ago, OnceUponATime said:

I've been wondering about this for a while. Fundie Erika wrote a blog post about christian approved books written by Christians.

Can we find any secular authors who write books that could get fundie approved?

What rules do you think they would need to follow?

 

Rules I'm thinking of:

  • no sex
  • no swearing
  • no immoral relationships

Sounds right -- though "immoral relationships" in the background as something to avoid might not be totally forbidden.   Atheist and/or anti-Christian ideas should also be excluded.

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This is hard!!! lol

Hmmmmmm...

I think the one I recently read fits? "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr

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I saw a photo of Victoria Botlin reading the Tintin comic The Castafiore Emerald to the grandkids, which surprised me.

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Many young adult classics  should be fine.  Aside from the fact that there are no designated "accountability partners," and that the Marches' quiver only has four daughters, what could they object to in Little Women?  Oh wait I forgot-- they dance and Amy is not homeschooled at first.  But surely, that was long ago and the March family couldn't be expected to have heard of Gothard. . . .

 

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In addition, the older March girls work for a living outside their family home. Their jobs (governess, companion) are in the feminine sphere, but we wouldn't want any stay-at-home-daughters to get ideas about earning a paycheck, would we?

Edited by WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?
Riffles
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What Katy Did? She starts off as an independent feisty young girl, suffers a hardship, follows the example of godly Aunt Helen, and by the end of the book is neat, tidy, pious and respectful ... Seems like a good analogy.

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7 hours ago, WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo? said:

In addition, the older March girls work for a living outside their family home. Their jobs (governess, companion) are in the feminine sphere, but we wouldn't want any stay-at-home-daughters to get ideas about earning a paycheck, would we?

Well, I don't know-- the March girls turn over their pay checks to the family.  As, presumably, the Fundie kids do. Some of them do babysitting and don't some of the Bates girls have paying jobs? We know that Tabitha Paine is teaching the Duggar kids. And the Duggar daughters who are not married, when they get paid for public appearances, what is that other than work outside the home?  I suspect that so long as it is female sphere work and the father gets to control the money, there is no big objection.

The March household is headed by a woman, though, but it is because the father is at the front. So maybe it would be okay for some fundies.

 

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@emcatlyn I have now read twice what you said about these March girls (don't know them at all. Still many unexplored rabbit holes at FJ for me).

That all STILL doesn't compute. lol

Turn over paychecks to parents??

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But would fundies in the know let their daughters read an author (LM Alcott) who had parents involved in the transcendental movement 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcendentalism

My inclination, based on my own childhood, is no. Because of fear.

Like how I had mentioned how CS Lewis was forbidden to me because of ONE paragraph in book 7 of the Narnia series.

ONE paragraph erects a wall of fear around the entire author.

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2 hours ago, THERetroGamerNY said:

@emcatlyn I have now read twice what you said about these March girls (don't know them at all. Still many unexplored rabbit holes at FJ for me).

That all STILL doesn't compute. lol

Turn over paychecks to parents??

The March girls are Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, the heroines of Louisa May Alcott's classic Little Women.  I suggested the book as Fundie-acceptable, and one of the objections was that the two eldest daughters worked.  Jo was companion to her old aunt and Meg is a nursery governess.  I countered that the fundies wouldn't have a problem because Meg and Jo turn their paychecks over to their parents.

The novel was first published in 1868. The sequel/second volume (originally published in 1869 as Good Wives) where Jo actually leaves home to work and Amy gets married without first getting her family's consent (though she marries the boy next door whom everyone approves of) might not work, but I think the first volume would work.  It is all very moralistic and they read their bibles and do good works etc.

22 minutes ago, THERetroGamerNY said:

My inclination, based on my own childhood, is no. Because of fear.

Like how I had mentioned how CS Lewis was forbidden to me because of ONE paragraph in book 7 of the Narnia series.

ONE paragraph erects a wall of fear around the entire author.

Well, but LM Alcott was not herself a transcendentalist.  She rather scorned the movement  (seeTranscendental Wild Oats) And the fist book of LW is very conventional in its religion and " family values."  Because Bronson Alcott was such a nut, he is not really portrayed in the father in the novel.  The family doesn't drink and they read the Bible.  What more can you ask?  :wink-kitty:

Seriously, I can see why some Fundie families might object, but others might not.  No mention of witches (except as characters in stories) or anything like that....

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@emcatlyn Thank you for the clarification. Wasn't aware I had just confused fictional characters for reality. lol

I am actually not well read in any sort of literature that has women as the primary readership. Strike that. Not read pretty much at all.

I'm far more of a.......

(Trying to be very thoughtful and careful lately in my posts)

More of a.... Well the proper word or description fails me, so moving on. There's a reason my gaming blog was last updated 4 months ago, good, proper writing doesn't come easily for me.

I read mostly history. Subscribe to a magazine aimed at war and history. My page-a-day calendar is of Golden Era airplanes.

I like tight writing. Most, um... Highly descriptive writing loses my attention. Or wordiness? I think wordiness is better. Steven King, for example, took 3 full pages to describe the opening of a door in The Shining. HATE that. Love the movie SO much more. Lord of the Rings is another example. Bored me by Return of the King. LOVE the 6 movies though!

"All the Light" was a nice exception: The lengthy descriptions were VERY vivid!

As such, I genuinely cannot think of any books a fundie would touch in the secular area!

Once that paranoid fundie wall of fear goes up around an author, it tends to be rapidly built. And widely built. Because of fear. The paranoia that the author is attempting to "work perversion via Satan" is never to be underestimated in the fundie world.

Basically, if it cannot be tied to their only ONE central book... Like how Erika Shupe recommend those "Warriors of the Bible" books. They basically just read ONE book. How depressingly sad! All the great literature of the world, and fear is stopping them.

And this reply has taken me 30 mins to create! LOL

I could never be an author. lol

Edited by THERetroGamerNY
Cleaned up a bit
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6 minutes ago, THERetroGamerNY said:

@emcatlyn Thank you for the clarification. Wasn't aware I had just confused fictional characters for reality. lol

I am actually not well read in any sort of literature that has women as the primary readership. Strike that. Not read pretty much at all.

I'm far more of a.......

(Trying to be very thoughtful and careful lately in my posts)

More of a.... Well the proper word or description fails me, so moving on. There's a reason my gaming blog was last updated 4 months ago, good, proper writing doesn't come easily for me.

I read mostly history. Subscribe to a magazine aimed at war and history. My page-a-day calendar is of Golden Era airplanes.

I like tight writing. Most, um... Highly descriptive writing loses my attention. Or wordiness? I think wordiness is better.

Steven King, for example, took 3 full pages to describe the opening of a door in The Shining. HATE that. Love the movie SO much more.

Lord of the Rings is another example. Bored me by Return of the King. LOVE the 6 movies though!

"All the Light" was a nice exception: The lengthy descriptions were VERY vivid!

As such, I genuinely cannot think of any books a fundie would touch in the secular area!

Once that paranoid fundie wall of fear goes up around an author, it tends to be rapidly built. And widely built.

Because of fear. The paranoia that the author is attempting to "work perversion via Satan" is never to be underestimated in the fundie world.

Basically, if it cannot be tied to their only ONE central book... Like how Erika Shupe recommend those "Warriors of the Bible" books.

They basically just read ONE book.

How depressingly sad! All the great literature of the world, and fear is stopping them.

And this reply has taken me 30 mins to create! LOL

I could never be an author. lol

You put it very well. Fear of having their beliefs challenged, fear of thinking outside their narrow little box seems to drive these people.  I am not sure that most of them would read any "secular" books, and I suspect that they are made nervous by the whole idea of fiction.

However, there might be some who are willing to read something other than the Bible.  If so, some of the  young-adult classics might appeal to them. 

 

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I was going to suggest A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter, but I'm not sure it would work.  Elnora, the central character is essentially a SAHD who lives with her mother and grandmother in genteel poverty. I read this book a long time ago, and most remember it for the detailed descriptions of the swamp, its inhabitants, etc.  However, when I googled it just now to double check the author's name, I realized that there are many themes that would be unacceptable - Elnora wants to go to college, she hides things from her mom, she travels by herself without an accountability partner, and she ends up engaged to someone who was previously engaged and thus had given away a piece of his heart.  Really, even within the realm of Christian fiction it must be virtually impossible to find acceptable reading material!

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12 hours ago, TShirtsLongSkirts said:

What Katy Did? She starts off as an independent feisty young girl, suffers a hardship, follows the example of godly Aunt Helen, and by the end of the book is neat, tidy, pious and respectful ... Seems like a good analogy.

Oh wow, I haven't thought of that book in years. It was one of my favorites as a kid. I think fundies might look upon Katie's swing accident as God 's punishment for not being respectful/ladylike/obedient, and her subsequent relearning how to walk after becoming all of these things as God 's reward. So I could see this one as being acceptable.

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33 minutes ago, ofDany said:

I was going to suggest A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter, but I'm not sure it would work.  Elnora, the central character is essentially a SAHD who lives with her mother and grandmother in genteel poverty. I read this book a long time ago, and most remember it for the detailed descriptions of the swamp, its inhabitants, etc.  However, when I googled it just now to double check the author's name, I realized that there are many themes that would be unacceptable - Elnora wants to go to college, she hides things from her mom, she travels by herself without an accountability partner, and she ends up engaged to someone who was previously engaged and thus had given away a piece of his heart.  Really, even within the realm of Christian fiction it must be virtually impossible to find acceptable reading material!

I loved her books when I was about 10 - the principal at my primary school lent them to me. I hear what you are saying about A Girl of the Limberlost, but would fundies approve of Freckles?The young man of the title  is humble, self effacing, loves nature, and has a totally pure courtship - he has to be persuaded by his love's parents, if I remember correctly, that he is a suitable husband for her. I absolutely adored it at age ten - which would probably make it appropriate for a late teenage graduate of the SOTDRT.:kitty-wink:

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The Babysitters' Club, not permitted because, crushes on boys. :pb_rollseyes:

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I honestly can't think of any secular books they would read.  Most secular books have an element that they would disapprove of in some way.  I've been musing over this idea since you posted, and I still have come up with nothing! 

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For whatever reason I was just thinking of this the other day. Would the Shoes books by Noel Streatfield be acceptable? God, I loved those as a kid. Though the Ballet Shoes girls are confirmed to have gone off and had careers. 

Off the top of my head: Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Caddie Woodlawn, Little House on the Prairie. Maybe the classic Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series? Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott, and Ballantyne for the boys. 

I think Dickens and Wilkie Collins would pass muster?

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35 minutes ago, THERetroGamerNY said:

Any secular book on crafting. :)

as long as they didn't contain any demonic patterns or reference to Halloween and other such heathen things ;)

Recipe books on the other hand should be good if they don't encourage men to cook. Some church groups publish recipe books. At the bottom of the pages there are bible verse or encouraging thoughts. Every now and then they had a page dedicated to being a godly housewife (which were just as nauseating as you could imagine).

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6 hours ago, nausicaa said:

For whatever reason I was just thinking of this the other day. Would the Shoes books by Noel Streatfield be acceptable? God, I loved those as a kid. Though the Ballet Shoes girls are confirmed to have gone off and had careers. 

Off the top of my head: Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Caddie Woodlawn, Little House on the Prairie. Maybe the classic Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series? Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott, and Ballantyne for the boys. 

I think Dickens and Wilkie Collins would pass muster?

Oh, I loved the Shoe books too.  But I am afraid most of those girls had careers and most did not come from two-parent families.

Maybe Family Shoes and its sequel, New Shoes would pass, since they were about a clergyman's family and I think only one girl is clearly planning to be an actress.  

I think the first three of the Little House books might pass.  Not sure about The Long Winter or These Happy Golden Years --- the latter, in particular has Laura and Almanzo riding unchaperoned in a buggy!  (Actually the Little House books are a great choice-- Rose Wilder, who influenced the structure and theme of her mother's books -greatly--if she didn't actually ghost write them--had a lot of views in common with some of our fundies.)

No way Nancy Drew would pass --sh's way too independent.  I don't think Anne of Green Gables would suit them either.

Some Robert Louis Stevenson and Dickens maybe, but they must be chosen very carefully. (There are unwed mothers, ghosts, children who don't go to church, etc in Dickens and RL Stevenson.) Same with Scott.  Not Wilkie Collins (too a-moral).  

Those poor fundies... They miss out on so much.

 

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In my observation fundie parents give the OK to most of the classic 19/20th century "girl books": all of Alcott's novels (Eight Cousins!), Streatfield, Wilder, and when the girls are a little older, ALL THE AUSTEN. They didn't worry about characters acting "independent" or being schoolteachers, either because they weren't really paying that much attention, or they assumed "my girls will know better than to emulate a character in a silly book."

I know the Duggars read Little House. Lady Lydia stans for Gaskell and Harriet Beecher Stowe (who is not an "early feminist" because she cleaned her house or whatever.) Alternately, the Botkins pooh-poohed Jane Austen in one of their imbecilic books, which Lady Bibliophile was deeply chuffed about. Chuffed! Gotta add a quote from her here:

Quote

Louisa May Alcott was a transcendentalist, Frances Hodgeson Burnett dabbled in Christian Science and Spritiualism, and when we read Little Women and A Little Princess, we need to know this. 

Spritiualism? In MY children's literature? NEVER!

 

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