Pacifists fight back

All Curled Up

There has come to my hands, as too often happens, a church bulletin. I understand that men in the active pastorate like to get these things from each other just for the sake of ideas, but they do nothing for me.

This particular bulletin, which came out in December, is an extended one that includes a newsletter and a list of recommended books. Wouldn’t you know it, the list of books has the usual covey of Christmas cuties, the kinds of books publishing houses get out for the seasonal trade with the misguided assumption that around Christmas and Easter, when people are rushed to death, they will be wanting to read special little books of religious poetry, religious art, somebody’s self-conscious prayers (for publication), and the customs surrounding holidays in “other lands.”

But after the usual fare, this particular minister suggested, to show that he is “in,” that his parishioners read Camus, Bonhoeffer, Salinger, Faulkner, and Hemingway (but not quite Henry Miller). It is no feather in my cap to recall that I have already read the books listed; but this does not prevent me from wondering why authors like this get into book lists in church bulletins.

More to the point, such authors are always included on the book lists sent out by colleges for the freshmen to read as a kind of orientation before they start their studies. Who is trying to kid whom, and just what do the compilers of these lists have in mind? I have no particular objection to these authors’ being read; what hurts me is that this kind of stuff is being read when a lot of other stuff is not.

It is one of the strange quirks of our education today that we want everybody to think about calculus before they have learned arithmetic. Unless ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.