Thursday, June 21, 2012

Be Careful Who You Read

Be Careful Who You Read...

I was reading the introduction to a book tonight online because I wanted to know what it was about.  I was trying to give the author another chance.  I'd read a book by him a few years ago and had a pretty severe reaction to it.  Well, actually, it was more than severe.  It made me very upset!  The book was one that several friends at the time agreed with and so I wanted to read it as well.  I remember reading the first page, literally, and the hairs on the back of my neck standing up on it!  There did happen to be a personal connection to the information on that page.

I had just completed a semester teaching at a homeschool high school.  It was the only job that I have ever sort of been fired from.  I wasn't actually fired.  I quit.  "I resigned" would be a kinder way of putting it, I suppose.  The principal of the school stated that she had no education training, or any education administration training.  She also stated that she had no intention of pursuing any or that she needed it.  That principal did not back me up as a teacher and I realized that there were significant challenges that she faced because she lacked such training.  She didn't have the skills to manage the conflicts between her parents and staff.  Well, on the first page of this book, the author said the same thing--that he had no formal training as a school administrator, didn't any, and wouldn't pursue any.  So, of course I reacted.  I still read the book, but it was difficult for me.  I've tried to forget that book.  I even tried to give it a second chance when I met other people that liked it.  But, I had the same reaction again and set it down.

Recently, a few friends have been reading other books by this author and his wife.  I was curious to see if his views had changed--if he had softened.  I wondered if maybe it was just that particular book and my experience that affected my view of it.  Unfortunately, I didn't find that.  The first paragraph of this book made me cringe.

The story told in the first paragraph reminded me of why it took me so long to find a book about submission that I felt comfortable recommending.  (I did finally find one--Dancing With the One You Love by Cindy Easley.)  The story the author told in the first paragraph was of speaking to a group of teachers at the church's school.  He told the teachers that the young girls in the school would be teachers in that school in a few years.  Then, he went on to say that the young boys would soon become lawyers, doctors, and airplane pilots.  He told the story with the intent of making an impact--causing the teachers to realize how important it was to help the boys grow into strong men.

I look at my girls and I do not know what God has for them.  I hope for them to go to college and pursue careers.  Parents fall in all sorts of camps on this issue of the roles and responsibilities of men and women (girls and boys).  It is a difficult and often controversial issue.  In my case, I fall somewhere in the middle towards the conservative side.  I do not want to belittle the differences between men and women or their roles.  I believe God did create us differently.  This doesn't mean that women are of less value than men, but simply that God created us differently than men.  But, I also don't believe that it is wise to pigeon hole women into this tiny box that the author talks of--that they must only be teachers or mothers.  What of women that never get married?  Does that make them less valuable in any way?  I don't believe so.  I have watched my single friends struggle with this issue.  I have one friend who is a career woman and would love to be married--but so far God hasn't had that for her.  She and I both trust the Lord's will for her life.  She is not a teacher.  She is good at what she does and ministers to the people she works with.  

I do also believe though that the world tells women a lie "a woman should be able to have it all--family, children, career, achievement".  No one can.  There is simply not enough time in the days or weeks of our lives.  

So, that's where I stand.  

But, back to the book.  After reading the introduction, I stepped back and began trying to figure out who the author was.  Where did he preach?  What does his church believe?  What does his denomination believe?  Often I have found this information to be very helpful.  It has helped me to know how his church interprets scripture and even their view of authority and men and women's roles, etc...

I know you might wonder who the author of these two books is, but that is where I struggle as a book reviewer.  It is easy to write positive reviews, but far more difficult to give negative ones.  So, rather than giving a detailed review of this book, I'd simply give a caution.  If someone recommends the book "future men" to you by Douglas Wilson, read the preview online first and then read several of the reviews.  Unfortunately, negative and positive reviews are not always written tactfully, but they will often tell you about what's in the book and any potential landmines you may come across.

Douglas Wilson seems to be a lot like the Pearls.  He's pretty extreme in his views.  Sift what you read and see what sits in your heart and with what your husband and you believe about how you should raise your children.  Take what you read back to the Word and pray.  That is what I try to do.

No comments: