View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

You are what you read?

Back when I was in college, Ayn Rand was all the rage among those who wanted to seem intellectual.

I had been raised as a good Catholic boy (although I was trying desperately to deny it), so unlike some of my fellow intellectual-wannabes, I actually took her books off my shelf and read them.

I made it through The Fountainhead. It left me feeling empty.

I remember hitchhiking (this was a few years back, mind you), squatting by the side of the road just after reading it, feeling as if the hot wind blowing on me by the side of that road was whirling hot and dry inside me.

I did not care as as the cars passed me.

I did not care that I was hot and thirsty.

I did not care about anything except what I was feeling.

And I realized what I was feeling - and not feeling - was an aftertaste of the book.

Not long after, I began Atlas Shrugged. I had to do some laundry and tossed it in the bag with my dirty clothes, figuring I'd read it while my clothes washed. But I was forgot it was there, and being a typical young man, I dumped the entire bag into the washer.

When I later unloaded the washer, I found the paperback book scattered throughout my clothes.

I kept finding bits of Atlas shrugging in socks, pockets and underwear for weeks after.

I took that as a sign. (That Catholic boy upbringing.)

I did not read any more Ayn Rand. I knew I needed to be washed of her influence - even as I kept discovering snippets of her philosophy in my mind for long after.

I began reading Lewis, Merton and Chesterton - and rediscovered my faith.

I don't advocate indiscriminate censorship, but I think we need to be aware of what we - and our children - read.

Will it make us grow, or will it leave us hollow men and women?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno, it sounds like it was a learning expereince for you. Even tho' it ws uncomfortable, it helped you to define what you believed and didn't believe. I think it's someties good to read things out of our comfort zones for that reason. Faith that will not withstand a challenge is not faith at all, you know?


11:51 AM  

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