It's Banned Books Week!

I was going to write a post about a banned book that has affected me or meant a lot to me, and there are plenty of them out there. But as I perused the lists of books that have been challenged over the years, I just kept getting so mad/annoyed/headdesky.

Looking at the top 100 books challenged in the 90's & 2000's, I've read a handful on each list, and some are books I truly love, some don't interest me, and many make me shake my head. And Tango Makes Three is a 7 year old book about the cute, true story of two male penguins who tried to hatch a rock and were given an egg to care for, which eventually hatched into their "daughter." You can go visit them all today, if you like.
It's not a mystery as to why some people would get their panties in a knot about this, but seriously, have you seen the kid's section of a library lately? Do you know how many picture books are there? It's not like there are 3 books the kids can choose from so someone always gets stuck with the gay penguins. I'm certain that there are people, likely without kids, who search library catalogs for books they don't like, then lodge complaints to fill their free time. Yep, the Lord's work, clearly.

Harry Potter and The Hunger Games are obviously challenged, because who wants kids to actually read and get sucked into engaging stories? I know, I know, Hogwarts is evil and the world is now beset with roaming gangs of Satan-worshipping youngsters who accio your soul and wallet with you being none the wiser. It's a battle we all must fight.

I'm joking around because it's all so ridiculous, but it's also sad. Many of the challenged/banned books aren't even children's or YA books; they're for adults. Though I don't agree, I can understand the "we must protect the children!" line of reasoning, but why would you not want other adults to be able to read what they want? Especially as some of the books are challenged for "religious viewpoint," I wonder what, exactly, people are afraid of. Is your faith so weak that you're worried that if someone even reads a book from a non-Christian point of view that the world will end?

I know: it's about their souls. You're worried for them. And I get it. Stories are powerful and they can change lives. Harry Potter has added value to my life and I'm certain it has inspired and changed many people who have read it. Reading, hearing, or watching a compelling story about something you may not have thought of before can completely open  your eyes to new things and can change the direction of your life. But isn't that one of the most amazing and beautiful things about human beings and our lives?

We are all stories and we're part of a million other stories. I believe that we're part of the story God is telling about his love for the world and how he wants to be with people. Some people may not believe that, and that's okay. My job is not to stop them from telling or reading their stories, but to live a life of love that invites others to both share and hear, and we'll both be changed.