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Did you ever study anything controversial in school?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on December 5, 2005

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Photo of Manda Barker

“I took Dennis Dailey’s human sexuality class. There was a lot of controversy about it, but I found it interesting and very educational.”

Photo of Andre Krueger

“I went to a suburban school, and they didn’t want anything controversial there. … An English teacher did let me do an alternative assignment about the Patriot Act.”

Photo of Pam Mahoney

“No. I went to school back around 1977. They weren’t as into banning books as they are now.”

Photo of Raqeebat Abaniwonda

“I’m from Nigeria, so anything that had to do with politics was controversial, and we studied a pro-democracy magazine while we were under a dictatorship.”

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pierced_daisy 12 years, 6 months ago

First!!! (haha ku law)

we studied homsexualism. Very interesting from a heterosexual point of view. Loved the class.

italianprincess 12 years, 6 months ago

Not that I can remember other then Family and Marriage. It wasn't controversial though, it was basically a class about life.

Part of health class and taught by Mr. Parks. The class involved everything from sex, birth control, STDs, and marriage. It was a class that everyone took, but back in the early 80's I guess most parents weren't freaking out about it.

Boy is it late.........Night everyone.

ku_law 12 years, 6 months ago

What's sad, pierced_daisy, is you probably waited by your computer for the very moment a new OTS question was up so you could be first post for the sole purpose of saying haha....very very sad. I hope that your life gets more exciting.

And I think it is 'homosexuality'...not homosexualism...or even "homsexualism" as you put it.

DuQuesne 12 years, 6 months ago

I suppose it depends on what you mean by 'controversial.' In English Lit we read and discussed a series of books that some parents were upset about but it was too late because by the time they got wound up, we were done. We did "The Grapes of Wrath," "Brave New World," "The Stranger," "To Kill A Mockingbird," and "Canterbury Tales." Canterbury Tales was the most fun for almost everybody because the instructor had us read it in Middle English. Or Old English. Or maybe we drank Olde English in the parking lot after class. Hard to remember that far back. -Schuyler DuQuesne

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 6 months ago

And the winner is.... Raqeebat Abaniwonda for "studying Democracy under the rule of a Dictator". Sort of makes the Suburban Susie and her "I once read 'The Scarlet Letter' even though our P.T.A. thought it was racy" comments pale in comparison.

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 6 months ago

Wow, KULaw... I hope YOUR life gets more exciting if all you can do is cut down someone who beat you to the first comment of the day! Ouch.

The material wasn't as controversial as I would have liked. We did get to have Friday Forums in government where we spent the whole hour discussing euthanasia, abortion, racism, genetics, and, the big hairy gorilla of KSBOE fame, intelligent design.

Since I was the only openly gay fellow in my entire rural high school of around 600, I guess you could say I was also a walking controversy.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 6 months ago

I wonder if these parents that want these books banned also allow their children to listen to '50 Cent', 'Ying-Yang Twins', and play the latest shoot-em up game on XBOX. Of course, those aren't as bad of an influence as "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"...

By the way, that bridge I own is still for sale!

Jclarkson 12 years, 6 months ago

When I was living in Canada, we discussed the 1995 Quebec referendum in my French Class. I think the teacher was genuinely worried the referendum could affect his job.

lucky for him, the election went the way it should've.

My diversity and the media class I took at KU in the Fall 2002 class had some controversy. The professor was against the convergence the J-School was going towards, so we discussed a lot of issues of race and equality in the news. That was more of an eye opener than controversy.

Aileen Dingus 12 years, 6 months ago

HKP- exactly. "Oh no- we can't have our babies read anything RACY, but here's $100, go buy yourself something cute at "Sluts-R-Us" honey. I'm busy right now talking on my cell phone to my manicurist- this is a VERY important call."

Richard Heckler 12 years, 6 months ago

I read all of the books mentioned however no one knew we were being controversial. Had we known it might have provided some real excitement to the class.

Is it time for the Lawrence school district to secede from the the state? Surely there is a majority of very fine republicans who simply will not support this irresponsible behavior.

If this group is seriously concerned about pornography perhaps they should direct their efforts at the White House and move to Washington D.C. or better yet move to Saudi Arabia.

sweatpeagj 12 years, 6 months ago

I agree with you Dazie. I swear the kids dress more inappropriate than anything they would read. I had a 13 year old girl in my home for a few her father yuck..but that is a different topic anyway I read one of her texts when I took the phone and let me tell you it made me blush. I think most school literature is a valuable teaching tool. I know that by the time I was in the sixth grade at my little rural school, because of all the literature we read I tested out at a college level. Let's seriously search and consider even money's comment. That is more profound than the arguments effecting Kansas today. lol

neopolss 12 years, 6 months ago

Sex Ed. Apparantly that's controversial now. People seek to ban so much. I cannot understand banning something in order to protect. Isn't that harming them? Since when has knowledge been a bad thing?

trinity 12 years, 6 months ago

qod-yup i've studied "controversial" issues, and really really benefitted from it in many ways. from high school to college. and i took several of dr. dailey's course offerings-and they ROCKED. as a non-traditional student with 3 kids already i though i knew it all; hah! did his classes ever denounce that&teach me so much more!

i've always been very open with my now-adults daughters about all types of books, etc...cannot imagine censoring them from reading classic literature, pop literature, watching certain movies&tv, etc. each of 'em has always had an astounding depth and insight about 'em that exceeded their years.

i can't in my wildest figure out why all of a sudden (seems like anyway) kansas seems to be getting so righteous, prude, etc...and i LOVED dazie's post; gotta love all the parents who holler about lit in schools-but yet junior/juniorette is likely becoming really sneaky about their activities. sheesh. i'm so twisted over this whole thing i can't even put thoughts together properly!

Fangorn 12 years, 6 months ago

e_m & OMB: LOL!!

I remember reading several of the books mentioned in the discussion, but I don't remember them being controversial at the time. Maybe I just didn't pay enough attention.

I believe a community's standards should set the tone for what happens in schools. Now I realize that the values and sensitivities of some communities (Lawrence comes to mind) may not line up very well with my own values. But local control is a good principle for education. And I will support it even if I dislike the results.

GreenEyedBlues: A question you don't have to answer if you don't care to: You comment that you were the only openly gay person at your high school. Did you know (or at least suspect) that there were others who were not open?

justathought 12 years, 6 months ago

YES I am # 20!!! HAHA TO YOU!!

anyway...yes we also had sex ed...your parents had to sign a letter saying you could take the class...of course it was given by the nasty gym teacher YUK!!

Liberty 12 years, 6 months ago

The standards for school are set by the Old and New Testament. It sets the basis for all learning of wisdom and knowledge and morality. These books used to be required reading when schools were still 'good' in this country and not trying to "push the envelope toward evil and dumbing down". The farther away we get from this standard, the farther this country falls.

mom_of_three 12 years, 6 months ago

Did you see the books on the list (posted as a sound off question)? I read Maya Angelou while I was in junior high. I thought it was great.

badger 12 years, 6 months ago


7th grade (Texas) - I read The Scarlet Letter for a gifted class project; one of the English teachers came to my teacher and remonstrated with her in heated terms about the fact that I now knew what adultery was, and that was unfit knowledge for me to have. My gifted teacher looked her in the eye and said, "Are you suggesting that you don't believe a child of twelve should have read Exodus and learned the Commandments?"

Also, that year my Life Sciences teacher taught a hotly debated section of her class about sexuality, sexually transmissible infections, and pregnancy. She was the first person I ever heard say, "They'll tell you AIDS is for gay people, but it's not a gay disease (this was in the eighties when a lot of people still believed you couldn't catch the HIV virus if you weren't gay)." She had a question box outside her classroom all year long, and she gave honest answers to any question put in it. She was almost fired over it. The 'Family Living' class I took the next year following a move to the East Coast (everything from puberty to managing a budget to birth control to balancing a checkbook in nine weeks) was tame by comparison.

In high school, I read Whitman, Huck Finn (we had a great discussion on how the perceived racism of language changes), Catcher in the Rye (for a book report of sorts), and scads of 'controversial' literature. My junior and senior year AP English teachers both started off the year by handing out long lists of historically banned books and reasons they'd been banned. One read us the Stephen King quote that says that any time a book is banned in a school, we must run, not walk, to our nearest library and read that book as soon as we could.

I think a lot of people ban books because they haven't read them, or don't understand them. The number of people who want to ban the Narnia books every year because they glorify witchcraft, and good little Christian children shouldn't be exposed to them, still collapses me with hysterical laughter. Those people obviously know nothing about the books, or about CS Lewis.

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 6 months ago

Fangorn: Yes, there were muchos homos at my high school, but I opted not to out themselves. Thus, I had to import my prom date from the nearest "big" city, which, sadly, was Topeka.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 6 months ago

I've read many books that I've now seen on proposed banned lists. I think I will type up a list of controversial books and have that as required reading for my daughter who will be 12 next summer. I could no more ban a book than hit the dreaded "suggest removal" button.

My sophmore year in HS I gave a speech: "Birth Control...Facts and Misconceptions". What great fun that was! I remember when I got to the "pull and pray" method and quoted that it was 0% effective how a few boys in class gasped. (I paid attention to those individuals and marked them in my little black book for future reference:):):)) No, I don't think anything was off limits to us.

P.S. Speech got an "A"

neopolss 12 years, 6 months ago

Now the Christian coalition is saying how wonderful the Narnia series is, and how it represents Jesus. This same group denounced Harry Potter as evil withcraft. Man, I wish they could get their fantasy-works-from-the-devil sorted out!

badger 12 years, 6 months ago

Actually, neopolss, the reason they're now 'sorted out' on Narnia is that it is a Christian work, and Aslan does represent Jesus. Someone must have explained it to them, finally. Perhaps now they'll stop trying to ban "The Screwtape Letters" as well.

CS Lewis, noted theologian (and sometime atheist, which is where the fundies get a little confused about him, I think), wrote the entire series of books as an exercise in showing that the stories have relevance, and that morality tales and Biblical retellings can be as exciting, vibrant, and appealing to people of all ages.

bankboy119 12 years, 6 months ago


He was an atheist who did convert to Christianity...I just wanted to make sure to clarify about how he was an atheist that converted. He then went on and is considered the number one influential writer on Christianity. If you wanted to learn about spirituality and about Christianity from some one who isn't a 'fundie', read CS Lewis.

neopolss 12 years, 6 months ago

That's the only fallacy of Religion. Typically what is preached is accepted as fact, despite whether it is actually true or not. It is much easier to make accusations than to disprove them. Notice that this is a common occurence in politics as well. Quite frankly, religion and politics work on the same principle - that the majority is too lazy to verify something for themselves.

Charla Welch 12 years, 6 months ago

I watched "Apocolypse Now" my senior year of high school in a world literature class when we were studying existentialism. We had to get signed permission from our parents. I read Lord of the Flies, Brave New World, Scarlett Letter, The Adventures of Huck Finn, and some other books that I now know are considered "controversial." I thought nothing of it. My parents completely supported all the books I read. My mother had read all of them herself either in school or on her own. I also took a class on human sexuality in college. The professor did not like that we called it "sex class". Again, I don't remember any controversy at the time, yet some people seemed shocked that I would be able to take a class on human sexuality in a small, private, catholic college.

badger 12 years, 6 months ago

Actually, bankboy, he was a Christian who lost his faith, spent some years as an atheist, and then returned to Christianity. It's important to understand that just as his end-of-life Christianity was a choice based in knowledge, so was his atheism. One of the reasons he was so effective a theological communicator is that he could say, "I wondered, as you are wondering, these same things, and I questioned my faith right out of existence and then, because I kept questioning, I questioned it right back into existence again."

He had some trouble because he did support the notion that you should always, always be looking critically at your faith, evaluating it on the basis of the effect it had on your life, examining your implementation of it, and that there was no value in questioning or examining your faith and spirituality unless you were willing to leave that faith if you couldn't get answers that satisfied you. If it was all a rhetorical exercise with the foregone conclusion that "My question hasn't been answered, but it's all un-knowable anyway, so I'll just say it's God's will and He's perfect and I'm not," then you might as well not even bother thinking, and should go ahead and believe what was easiest - because you were going to do that anyway.

CS Lewis is much better for learning about spirituality and faith than he is about pure Christianity. His writings, especially Screwtape and "The Great Divorce," are excellent examples of how people live or don't live daily lives of faith, and how the principles of religion can be used more easily to serve the purposes of evil than the principles of faith can. They're less about the specific doctrine of salvation than they are advisory tales about life.

feeble 12 years, 6 months ago


Numbers 31:7-18

They fought against Midian, as the LORD commanded Moses, and killed every man. Among their victims were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba - the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword. The Israelites captured the Midianite women and children and took all the Midianite herds, flocks and goods as plunder. They burned all the towns where the Midianites had settled, as well as all their camps. They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals, and brought the captives, spoils and plunder to Moses and Eleazar the priest and the Israelite assembly at their camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho.

Moses, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. Moses was angry with the officers of the army - the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds - who returned from the battle.

"Have you allowed all the women to live?" he asked them. "They were the ones who followed Balaam's advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the LORD in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the LORD's people. Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man."

staff04 12 years, 6 months ago

I studied political science in school and then made a career out of it, so I guess you could say that I am always studying something controversial...up this week: tax cuts for the wealthiest in our nation and massive cuts to social programs...

feeble 12 years, 6 months ago

To clarify my above post, if the Old testment is the source of all morality, then genocide and rape are moral acts.

wandy 12 years, 6 months ago

I studied the Clausius and Kelvin statements of the second law of thermodynamics. I am sure that we would all agree that their implications as to the ability of the one true God to effect heat flow from cold to hot components is controversial. Why would Kelvin and Clausius try to limit the abilities of God? They were as bad as that radical Copernicus.

canyon_wren 12 years, 6 months ago

I'm a great C.S. Lewis fan and have many of his books, most, though not all, of which are Christian apologetics. It wasn't my understanding, from the two autobiographical books I have of his, that he ever really was a Christian before he became an atheist (and ultimately a Christian). He dabbled in a lot of metaphysical stuff, but didn't grow up in a Christian atmosphere nor did he refer to believing as a young person.

When he converted from atheism to theism (on the top of one of those red two-decker buses in England), he said the leap was natural from Theism to Christianity.

"Mere Christianity" and "Beyond Personality" (usually combined in one book) really do deal with pure Christianity (not denominationalism!) in a wonderful way. My favorite book of his is "Christian Reflections" and in that, he deals with evolution (which he believed in) in a fine way (he obviously felt that evolution and faith were not incompatible and presents those views so well). Anyone who thinks Christians are just a bunch of ignorant fools needs to read him for "enlightenment."

ms_canada 12 years, 6 months ago

I read a great many books in a year and always have been a reader. The only book I remember as being controversial from my school days was J.D. Salinger's Catcher In The Rye. But it was not required reading. There are some books that I now read that I have a difficult time understanding the reason d'etre of some of the passages. I wrote to one author and he wrote back and called me a prude. I looked up this word and discovered that it derived from the french prudfemme or intelligent woman and I wrote back and told him that I most certainly was a prudfemme. :o) I got a good laugh out of that exchange.

Fangorn 12 years, 6 months ago

GEB: "muchos homos". What a great line! There were one or two people I wondered about at my high school. I wasn't sure if they were actually gay or whether I was letting myself fall for the stereotypes we often subscribe to gays, or just to males who don't act "macho" enough. This was back in the mid-80s, so coming out wasn't done as often (or at all, really).

SunflowerSue: "Facts and Misconceptions". I'd have given you an "A" based on the title alone.

Why is it that the term "fundies" as a perjorative for fundamentalist Christians has become so acceptable? A plethora of other terms for Negros, Mexicans, Italians, homosexuals, Asians, Arabs, etc. are deemed too offensive for use among polite company. Even words that are homophonous with such terms draw irate censure. But somehow Christians who take their faith seriously remain a legitimate target.

canyon_wren 12 years, 6 months ago

In answer to the question, I suppose the only quasi-controversial class I took was Mr. B's class on Marriage and Family at KU in about 1958. He would have liked to have it seem controversial, but it wasn't, to any great degree.
What tickles me about "controversial classes" is not their content, but the need the teachers usually have for having it considered as such! There's nothing like the corresponding need of college freshmen, etc. to feel like they are taking an "exciting" class to feed the ego of professors like that!

canyon_wren 12 years, 6 months ago

I don't mean to give the impression that I am in favor of banning books. I agree that banning books makes them all the more popular--and sometimes that popularity is undeserved. I just disapprove of the holier-than-thou attitude of BOTH the would-be book banners AND the folks who are so contemptuous of the banners. Both should "get a life."

I believe students should have a chance to consider all sorts of ideas; unfortunately, as I said earlier, those promoting some of the ideas don't really have altruistic goals in mind!

craigers 12 years, 6 months ago

Badger, I do agree with you on the fact that too many "Christians" just take what somebody feeds them and never questions it. I like what my pastor tells us to do. He instructs us to listen to the sermon, go back and read the scriptures and judge for ourselves if it is biblical or not and how it applies. God isn't going to just stuff information in our heads, we have to be accountable for our faith and search it out on our own. We are responsible for our own growth and those that tell people what the bible ways without even reading it are hypocritical. I have spoke to so many "church going confessing Christians" that have gone to church their whole life and even a religious school and never really read the bible at all. I don't see how you can confess to being a Christian without understanding or even reading the bible. I have heard many mentioned, but I haven't dove into CS Lewis yet, but I plan on buying one of his books this week. I am thinking "Mere Christianity", but what is "The Great Divorce" all about?

Linda Aikins 12 years, 6 months ago

In a small school in Southwest Kansas in the 60s and 70s? No way! What about you TOB?

bankboy119 12 years, 6 months ago

Badger, I also agree with your post about how we always need to question what we hear. If we do not question what someone tells us then all we have to back up our arguments is, "because so-and-so told me so." If we do not take the time to understand what we read then we come to the conclusion that wendt and feeble have that the Old Testament says "genocide and rape are moral acts." Wendt also tried to say that the Bible says giving your daughter over to rape is acceptable. Unfortunately, many people do not take the time to understand the true reasons so all people can come back with is "No it doesn't!" Those Christians are no more effective in their debate than those who bring the arguments against them.

acg 12 years, 6 months ago

I read every book and watched every movie that was considered "controversial" when I was younger. I graduated HS from Oskie so anything was considered controversial there. They took books like Lord of the Flies and Slaughterhouse Five out of the school library when that school was going thru a similar "save the children" campaign. The thing was, with me, if the establishment said it was too controversial or inappropriate, I ran right out and read/watched it, even if it had nothing to do with a class I was taking. It was always my experience that the adults were making too much out of nothing in every single case. Yes A Clockwork Orange was strange and twisted, did it screw me up for life? I doubt it. What gets me is how the few think they should dictate what the many should be exposed to. Just because some utlra religious person doesn't want their precious offspring being exposed to something they deem inappropriate doesn't matter to me, personally. I want my kids open to all sorts of thoughts and ideas, even the not-so-popular ones. Books like Slaughterhouse Five and I Know Why a Caged Bird Sings are about real stuff, and real stuff isn't always pretty, as a matter of fact, it seldom is. Why should we hide our kids from our history, good and bad?

avhjmlk 12 years, 6 months ago

Fangorn--(re: fundies) the same way that liberals and feminists have become derrogatory terms when used by conservatives.

avhjmlk 12 years, 6 months ago

sorry: "liberals" and "feminists"

Also, loved the Chemistry extra credit question! I've seen that before, but it gets me every time!

Also, blue73harley, right on!

ms_canada 12 years, 6 months ago

Thank you blue73harley - what a great story, I just hope it was a true one. Money is certainly not the standard for honor IMHO. And big money even less so. I have a true tale of a man of honor. An owner of several apartment buildings, (a CEO?) dropped in on one of his tenants. The elderly lady was complaining of cold feet. Seems they were so swollen from her congestive heart problem that she could not even get her slippers on, let alone her shoes. That CEO went to the nearest store and bought her two pairs of large men's work socks. I was never so proud of my hubby as on that day.

avhjmlk 12 years, 6 months ago

ms_c, obviously you snagged a good one! I think I did, too.

enochville 12 years, 6 months ago

prospector: That essay on Hell is so far off the mark.

feeble: To believers, whatsoever God commands is right. For His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, his ways are higher than our ways. We humans don't know enough about the eternities to question God with any credibility. Man's so called "morality" born out of the philosophies of our time, although often noble and many times in sync with the will of God, often overlook the highest principle that trumps all other virtues, obedience to God.

I am convinced that at some future day when all that has ever transpired upon the earth is laid before our eyes, we will all gain the perspective that we need to confess that God has dealt justly and mercifully with all of us.

neopolss 12 years, 6 months ago

To assign emotion and petty opinion to a being of supreme power always seemed silly to me. I find it hard to believe that God would be arguing gay marriage and Intelligent Design at all. His thinking would be so beyond what our intelligence is capable of - to assign emotion and opinion of today's society kind of trivializes God a bit.

staff04 12 years, 6 months ago

I know I'm off topic here, but we are constantly being asked, by politicians and Christian fundamentalists alike, to approve of things that are not quite what the bible teaches us. The Savior of the World has another title-- "The Prince of Peace." Somehow, in our rush to vengeance, Americans seemed to set aside what their bibles and many of their preachers were saying and jump on the bandwagon for revenge.

That is why you are being "persecuted" by those who may not disagree with you. You lack credibility.

That's my "hatred" for the day.

badger 12 years, 6 months ago

bankboy and craigers:

I'm not just talking about questioning what you're told. I'm talking about questioning what you believe. Why do you believe it? Is it a reasonable, rational, realistic belief? You just saw a five-year-old get run over. How do you fit that into a world where you can keep your faith? After years of excruciating treatment, a wonderful teacher/minister/artist who inspired thousands or millions of people dies pennilees and alone, of cancer, while a child molester miraculously goes into remission, makes a mint on the stock market, and lives another thirty years. How does that affect you spiritually?

If things like injustice, suffering, pain, and hatred don't make you question what you believe, at least a little bit, you're not paying attention. You can't just write it off to, "Because the Devil did it," and then profess a faith in an omnibenevolent, omnipotent God. It's imperative to dig down and really figure out how you can work an omnibenevolent, omnipotent God into this world and not have it just be accepting that there is one, and He works in mysterious ways. That's intellectually and spiritually lazy.

Are you living your faith? If you are living it, every day, how are you challenging yourself spiritually? Are you setting new goals that will require you to extend yourself, spiritually? If you're not living it, why not? Should you change your beliefs or change your behaviour? I'm not asking you these questions myself. They're none of my business; I'm saying that people should be asking these things of themselves.

A lot of people do things they know are 'wrong' and feel guilty about it, but don't stop doing what they think is wrong. They'll do it for years, and bemoan the fact that they're immoral, but they never change their actions to fit the beliefs they proclaim. They never even try. They just keep right on not changing, because it's part of their belief system that they're given a moral code they're allowed to break so long as they're really really sorry and ask Jesus to forgive them. Then they do it again, and they're really really sorry and ask Jesus to forgive them. The next time the opportunity comes up, do they remember how bad they felt about doing it? No, they remember how even if they don't stick to what they believe when it gets hard, Jesus will forgive them, so they do what they want, and justify it by abusing the doctrine of forgiveness that's meant to offer hope to those involved in the daily struggle to be better people. Yeah, if you sin all your life without remorse, and accept Jesus on your deathbed, according to doctrine you still get to go to Heaven. But you're going on a technicality, and you broke the heck out of the spirit of the thing.

That's one of the biggest things Lewis attacked, the idea that you could play by 'the rules' of faith and religion, but still miss the boat entirely when it came to getting it and being a spiritually useful person.

badger 12 years, 6 months ago

Essentially, the point I was making is that a lot of the hard-line Christian Right is missing that boat, trying not only to play by the rules of Christianity, but to make it easier on themselves to play by those rules by forcing those rules to be everybody's rules. And they are utterly missing the spirit of their faith, the ideas of love, and tolerance, and brotherhood, and of trying to understand someone who's different from you so that you can love him, not so that you can judge him. They're also missing the idea that being a moral, upright, and ethical person means that sometimes you have to stand among the heathens and make hard choices about sticking to your beliefs, and understand that they don't particularly care what you define as right or wrong, because they have their own definitions that are just as worthy and valid to them as yours are to you.

I imagine that in a society where everything that they considered sinful was illegal and unobtainable, they would have an easier time avoiding their own temptations. I'm not saying that this insanity of insisting that the legal code should be in accordance with their brand of Christianity is entirely self-serving, but frankly I imagine it would be easier for a lot of them if the only sins they had to guard against were the ones in their own hearts.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 6 months ago

prospector, I thought the essay on He!! was a hoot. And I'm with you, I think God does have a sense of humor or he would not have given us one.

Ms_C, Gotta love those honorable men...I just love men, but especially the honorable ones;) You chose well!

DuQuesne 12 years, 6 months ago

Just look at who thinks they have the responsibility of explaining God to the rest of us proof that She has a sense of humor. -Schuyler DuQuesne

craigers 12 years, 6 months ago

That was very insightful Badger. To those that are not thinking about their spiritual lives, I would have to ask them not just what good are they doing for society but what good are they doing for their spiritual brotherhood. Bottom line is, we have a lazy society and we have a lazy church. People, instead of taking it seriously, take their spirtuality as a ritual that they go through on Sundays every week and that is it. They never crack a book open on various subjects and question what they believe in. The examples you give are moving about suffering. There are many verses in the bible that show God accepts the role of inflicting suffering on this world. We must now that He is the one that creates peace and calamity, He creates those of us that can hear, some that are deaf, some can talk and others are mute. He is the source of it all. If we try to look at the example of Job and offer the world the whole devil did it scenario then we are masking the true God of the bible. I agree with enochville when he says that God's ways are higher than ours but we must know that God sent Jesus to not only be our Saviour but our friend. We must challenge our friends and tell them how we honestly felt. If I said that I never questioned God's reasoning then I would be lying. I don't know why children die, get kidnapped, parents die at an early age, etc. However, every time that I speak to God, I feel Him always reassure me that He is with me no matter what happens. Other things that I have seen, witnessed, and been a part of compells me to believe in Him and no other. You must forgive me for trusting that His will is being done and He is in control, but my evidence pushes me in that direction. He is sovereign and I don't know why things happen but I know He is behind it. Even though some don't find comfort in knowing that He is behind everything or that nothing happens without Him permitting it, I feel better knowing a loving Father wants what is best for His children. If that means He takes one home early, then so be it.

I constantly reflect on what I believe and why I believe it. That is what strengthens me enough to stand up in the middle of heathens like you have said above and not back down. I have received wierd looks, but that doesn't matter to me.

Anyway, have you read the "Great Divorce"? If you have can you tell me what it is about, or was that what you were explaining early?

Thanks badger.

save_the_pit_bulls 12 years, 6 months ago

There isn't much time left on the clock, my friends.

Are you prepared?

ladysilk 12 years, 6 months ago

I went to a DOD school overseas. We read all of the classics that are now considered bad books. We had sex education, evolution, and everything in between. It is hard for a teacher to be monitored when they are not on US soil. I want my kids to read those books. If they do not get to read them at school I will let them read them at home.

badger 12 years, 6 months ago

craigers said:

"Anyway, have you read the "Great Divorce"? If you have can you tell me what it is about, or was that what you were explaining early?"

Yes I've read it, and that's only sort of what I was explaining. It's essentially a 'dream story' in which the author encounters a number of people who think they should be or are in Heaven but don't really understand the process very well. There's a lot of it that comes down to people simply refusing to recognize the opportunities for joy, and love, and happiness in their lives, and instead clinging to their 'religion' or their 'beliefs' or their 'principles' in the face of greater truths about the world. Also, it's interesting to note that several of the people in the story claim that the very thing they're being offered is their personal greatest desire, but when it's shown to them and they are expected to let go of their assumptions, preceptions, preconceived notions, and personalities, they react irrationally, with fear and anger.

It goes through how most of the things considered virtues, like philosophical inquiry, or good parenting, or romantic love, or intellectual development, or even practice of Christianity, are harmful when done for reasons of self-indulgence or when done for their own sake only as opposed when they are done as part of understanding, loving, and connecting with others.

I came away from it considering whether there might be principles and ideas I was venerating not because of my faith in their inherent rightness, but because it was important to me to define a part of myself based on being 'a person who believes in X'. It's also interesting to note that occasionally people who don't believe the 'right' things got into the 'good place' before the people' who do believe the 'right' things because they were willing to set aside their egos and be brought in by the love of someone else.

I may have been reading it wrong, but for me it was really about living life for the sake of being joyful, and happy, and sharing love and trust with others whenever the opportunity came as a celebration of the greater love offered to humanity. Lewis has always made me feel that a spiritual life was less about strict adherence to the letter of the doctrine and more about the fact that a truly spiritual life will by default be a truly joyful one, and that the Divine loves us and wants us to be happy - and that to merit that happiness we have to set aside some degree of ego and self and control, and trust that if we love, we will be loved.

It may be that because I'm non-Christian and come to it having discarded a lot of concepts like guilt, and sin, that I'm seeing it differently than a lot of others might have. It's also a little hard to explain, because a lot of the things that came to me while reading it were more like the completions of half-formed thoughts that had been swimming below the surface than actual epiphanies or new concepts.

craigers 12 years, 6 months ago

Thanks. That sounds like an interesting read and I will have to pick that one up sometime.

enochville 12 years, 6 months ago

badger: I have visited and revisited why I believe what I believe. If you are curious, visit my new thread:

C S Lewis gave his take on how to make sense of an unfair and painful world in the presense of benevolent and all-powerful God in his book, "The Problem of Pain". My own answer has a few more elements than his does.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 6 months ago

So how did the subject of controversial reading become a religious debate AGAIN?????

Ceallach 12 years, 6 months ago

We seem to be comparing apples and oranges with posts today. The article is about a ban on books required for K-12 grades, not college/university classes. Several of the books on "the list" were required reading for advanced literature classes available only to juniors and seniors at my high school. Others on the list I read after 12th grade. Whether or not I was adversely affected would probably depend on who you asked :)

btw, the Song of Solomon is also pretty steamy reading :)

Yes, I know I copied and pasted from the posts for the article, but my comments haven't changed so why not?

Nachtwolf 12 years, 6 months ago

Well, what makes something controversial is a matter of personal opinion. For example: some might consider starting a farm on which fetuses are raised for human consumption to be a contorversial issue, and some might not. Personally, I don't think it is. Not only that, but I think it's an excellent idea-- we have the ability to make our own food, so why don't we use it? Imagine the possibilities . . . We could end world hunger! Wouldn't that be great? After all, it's not like the fetuses will be aware of what's going on, as by the time that we harvest them they won't have a fully developed brain. What's consuming the flesh of the unborn compared to saving the dying flesh of the living?

bthom37 12 years, 6 months ago

I see Nachtwolf has been reading Swift.

MyName 12 years, 6 months ago

Right, now I totally have a crush on the Bookstore clerk. Actually, I had one on her before today, but whatever.

And if this is supposed to be a free-for-all, where's the obligatory broad-band man comment?

Oh and I'm totally, not drunk...

Maybe this is turning into a FFA!

oldfashiongirl 12 years, 6 months ago

First, what difference does it make if you are the first post of the day? It seems trivial and much like four year olds to constantly bicker about it. Also why do you find it necessary to correct others' spelling and word use? I think we are looking for ideas, thoughts and solutions, not perfect grammar and punctuation.

Controversial subject it was not, but in my 10th grade class we had a "History of Bible", which was most interesting and was just simply a study of the men and women in the Bible, in a sort of time progression of events. Anyway, we had to give an oral report on any subject listed by the teacher and I chose "The journeys of Paul the Apostle." I must have done rather well, for the teacher had me repeat the report when the school principal visited the class. I got an "A." Another time I chose the subject of Ruth and Naomi and remember well her saying "Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people and thy God my God." Is not that a real show of love between a mother-in law and a daughter-in-law? The class had to be held in a separate building, that had a little steeple on it. There was not any talk about separation of "church and state" in 1942. We were not out to save the world, but merely to learn about it in that time frame.

I started Sunday School when I was 3 so that makes 77 years and I learned a lot and loved it.

May God bless our ministers, teachers and others who strive daily to teach us and our children of the wonderful love of our God.

jonas 12 years, 6 months ago

Sigh. . . .

Is it not sad when some yahoos decide to defend Christian principles by, for example, beating the crap out of someone who insulted fundies?

jonas 12 years, 6 months ago

Actually, forgot quotations. . . . "fundies."

I took Dailey's class, as well, and loved it. I found it quite upsetting (I would say amusing, but it's not) that such a good class got tarnished on hearsay based on the opinions of one person who was either afraid of sexual expression of any type or just out to cause trouble. I argued with her and her fiance for most of the day on the old LJW Forum and that was actually all there was to it.

Ceallach 12 years, 6 months ago

e_m, I didn't know that the related articles aren't always published in the wee hours. I always have good intentions that I will get up early and check in, particularly since my job has actually required all of my time during the day (that's just not right!!) lately so I often times do not even have time to read the OTS posts. When it comes time to actually get up early, well, the lack of Ceallach early posts tells the tale :) The spirit's willing but the flesh is weak :) Thought since so many are quoting scripture I would join them I'm shocked to hear that they even deleted YOU!!

beatrice 12 years, 6 months ago

I hate when I'm too busy during the day to take part in the fun. I missed some good exchanges.

For instance, my bestest buddy bankboy wrote: "[C.S. Lewis] then went on and is considered the number one influential writer on Christianity." Coming from a Christian, I would have thought his number one influential writer on Christianity would have been God. Oh well, what do I know. (If you are reading this late bb, I'm just poking some fun. Don't take me too seriously.)

I didn't know it at the time, but reading "Black Like Me," and "Go Ask Alice" was considered controversial in the early 70s. I know that some didn't like the drugs and sex discussed in "Go Ask Alice," but when I read it as a 7th grader it scared the heck out of me and was an influence on my decision to never try any serious drugs. I didn't want to end up like "Alice."

I'm all for controversial classes and books, but I just hope the teachers are up to the task.

Grundoon Luna 12 years, 6 months ago

I took Dailey's class and it was great!! I couldn't believe that woman took the class and then got upset because sex - lots of and different ways to do it - were discussed. That's like ordering sweet and sour pork and getting hacked off because it isn't Kosher!! What a ditz!!! What did she think was going to be discussed? I know! She got real sex and not public school sex. In fifth grade in Chicago we had a "Sex" Education class. To call these types of public education classes "Sex" Education is misleading. Sex is really not discussed, it's strictly reproduction and any talk about sex is a brief mention of the parts involved. We had to take it again in 7th grade. Maybe if the class would have had an element of reality my classmate Spoonette wouldn't have had her 1 year old at home with her mamma. and this was at a time when she could have gotten an abortion on the governemtn dime - something that went away in 1975. the news made a big deal out of that too. WLS-TV was showing "the last patient to receive an abortion through medicaid," a 14 year old girl from one of the many ghettos of Chicagoland.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 6 months ago

Ceallach, where is "the list" everyone keeps talking about? I can't find it. I know of many books on past "lists" and I read most of them in high school. Some even in middle school.

Walt Whitman...we did a vast amount of reading his stuff in 9th grade. 11th grade was a whole year of Hemmingway! (Ugh!) Read all the standards: "To Kill..., Lord of the..., Catcher in the..., Huck Finn, blah, blah, blah"

Did ya'll read that Mirecki got beat up?

Sorry. Gotta go. Hot tub is calling my name. (If I can survive the trip between here and feet may freeze to the deck on the way back. If you read about it in tomorrows LJW, you'll know it's me:))

l_eustacy 12 years, 6 months ago

Wonder how Fred Phelps would answer this question?

Grundoon Luna 12 years, 6 months ago

Wear your shoes out there, sun_sue. I wear a pair of sandals out to mine. We had an after-the-company-holiday-party party at my place the other night. It was pretty cold so I lent a pair of sandals to my friend to wear out to the HT (and a suit, of course. We keep spares around for guests) and when she got out there was only one. the dog has an intermittent fetish I suppose. You're a brave woman! It's fairly windy out there. I hope you have a block.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 6 months ago

Ahhhhhhhhhh! Stars galore! 3 shooting stars...or for the less romasntic...3 meteors burning up upon entering the earth's atmosphere.
Azure, forgot my sandals but all is well. (My hair got a bit frozen, though.) BTW, don't you know that swim suits are bad for the hot tub?

Night All!

Ceallach 12 years, 6 months ago

sun_sue: This is the list I saw in the posts for the article cited as reference for today's question. I had very little time today to keep up with the banter generated on the article's comment section so I'm not sure if this is the same list :)

Posted by Mari (anonymous) on December 5, 2005 at 12:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Here are some more books of which this group disapproves:

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan A Separate Peace by John Fowles Lord of the Flies by William Golding Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad Native Son by Richard Wright Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Ceallach 12 years, 6 months ago

And a good night to all.

Manana (just not too early :)

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