Welcome back, friends and fellow bibliophile, to part two of the Elsie Dinsmore controversies.
It seems to me a very sad thing that people who dislike Elsie Dinsmore say that no parent should be so cruel as to let their child read them. Instead, they say, girls should be given Louisa May Alcott.
I enjoy Little Women and Rose in Bloom very much indeed. But Louisa May Alcott was both a feminist and a panentheist, two attitudes which no girl should take part in. Martha Finley is much safer in worldview.
Of all the conflicts that ever conflicted, this is the conflictingist of them all. :) Is it wrong to listen to music on Sundays that never mentions God? I would hope not, because all those Celtic pieces are really very relaxing.
The point Finley tries to illustrate is that Sunday should be a day of rest--a day set apart for the worship of God. I try to do this, by taking a break from my work during the week: writing, blogging, preparing Bible study lessons, etc. In fact, most Sundays after a time spent in worship, I pretty much try to knock out a book the rest of the day. (And I don't limit myself to Pilgrim's Progress and the Bible. Last Sunday was a conglomeration, but the one before that was A Tale of Two Cities.) That, to me, is rest.
Certainly a portion of Sunday should be spent fellow-shipping with the church, reading God's Word, singing songs of praise, and hearing good teaching. But the rest of the time may safely be spent in a day of rest, which varies by your occupation and pursuits. Certain pleasures may indeed be more suited for weekdays, but there are many that I find far from questionable to participate in on Sundays that do not specifically mention God, and here's why: The spiritual and the secular (note that I do not mean "worldly") cannot be completely divorced. What we believe in our spiritual lives will affect everything we do in our physical lives. And if our Christian beliefs do not affect every secular thing we do, then we don't have a strong Christianity.
Therefore, Elsie could have read more than Pilgrim's Progress on Sundays. And when her father asked her to play a song on the piano, she could have played it and still honored God.
That is such a big elephant that we're going to put in in a conflict of its own.
Conflict #4 Elsie's Disobedience
It has been said that a book is a grey area for a child to disobey their parents in. Elsie's eight years old, her father is in his mid-twenties. Surely he's much older and wiser and better able to judge such matters. However, Elsie's father is also not a Christian, which throws another monkey wrench into the affair. We've met an impasse.
Unless Martha Finley really meant something else.
The rest matters not for the purposes of the story.
And if we feel that Elsie did wrong in this situation, then we must also hold to the view that Fanny Price had no business refusing to act in the play in Mansfield Park. After all, her cousins and aunt were older there as well. Yet no one looks down on Fanny Price for acting against the commands of her aunt and benefactors. The situation in Elsie Dinsmore is the very much the same.
Today's Review: The Elsie Audiobooks
Vision Forum produced three audiobooks narrated by Bill Potter, their well-known historian-in- residence. While they must have axed the project, he has a good voice for the books. They're not professional--Potter keeps changing his mind on a couple of name pronunciations--nor did they spend a great deal of time on editing, giving a laughable effect in a couple of areas, but I still enjoy them for all that.
Laurie Mantufel picked up the project and recorded books one through seven. Her narration is excellent as well, and better in quality, though of the two I thought Potter's voice the best. To purchase either, go to the Vision Forum website.