Wednesday, April 19, 2006

An opportunity

Vision Forum is having an essay contest, with the topic "Why is Elsie Dinsmore relevant to today's Christian girl?"

Doesn't someone out there want to enter with the thesis statement: "As a self-righteous, rebellious prig, Elsie Dinsmore is relevant to today's Christian girl as a bad example?"

Unfortunately it's only open to girls under 18.


mle's mom said...

Amen! I have six girls, none of whom have read that inane series. Whatever happened to teaching to honor one's parents?

the Joneses said...

Darren requested that I continue my blogfast in the case of VF, since he hasn't had to endure rants for quite a while.

Maybe I could submit "Elsie and the Randomizer"?

-- SJ

Zippy said...

I hated those books. Everyone was raving about them and my mom pushed me to read them . . . I didn't get through even one. =P Blech.

Carrie said...

OH WOW!!!!!! The "under 18" requirement isn't the least bit fair (in my opinion)! What a delicious oppertunity that would be!

Mrs. Vasche said...

Suggested starting sentence:

Elsie's blonde ringlets, perfect complexion, money, servants, incredible wardrobe, and nauseating UnBiblical-doormat-womanhood perfection taught me how to deal with jealousy.

I always wanted to do t-shirts that said, "Elsie Dinsmore doesn't live here." Maybe now I will.

Rose said...

Unbelievable. Not just that they are soliciting essays on this tripe, but at the establishment of such a tradition. I mean, this is the 2006 Elsie Dinsmore Essay Contest. What was the 2005 theme, 'The Evils of Chocolate'? And note that a good familiarity with Elsie's life beyond the first few novels is required. Ugh! Sounds like a clever way to sell more Elsie books. Oh, and note that the grand prize is not, as advertised, $500. It's a $500 VF gift certificate. With which, I suppose, one could buy more Elsie books, perhaps to give away. How irresistible.

Juliana M said...

OK. I'll come to poor Elsie's defense. I guess I'm just not as discerning as the rest of you.

I enjoyed the Elsie books and found them Spiritually encouraging. I disagree that Elsie didn't honor her parents. I thought she was sweet and very respectful. She faithfully read her Bible and tried to apply it to her everyday life. She prayed about problems and did what she felt God wanted her to do.

How many of us can honestly say that we do that all the time?

Elsie wasn't perfect and had some problems, but at least she generally faced them when they came to her attention and tried to change her ways.

The books also made me cry...something I enjoy in a book.

I also respect your right to not like them. I have heard that my grandma apparently didn't care for them either...and she's a very Godly woman.

However, I will confess that I am one of those people that tends to only get the good out of a book and totally forget the bad stuff. A characteristic which means I have to re-read a book before recommending it to someone else, knowing that I might have overlooked some "unacceptable" parts.

I have the same "problem" with people. (grin) It does makes me a very forgiving person though.

Dana said...

I love how the VF essay contests predetermine the conclusion... The other one I remember was "How was Stonewall Jackson an example of Biblical manhood?"

Jaclyn said...

My sister, 8, and I have been reading the first book in the Elsie series and love it. I agree with Juliana M and I am saddened by the other comments. Maybe I will feel differently after reading through the whole series, but right now I am a little surprised, I guess.

Queen of Carrots said...

Aside from aesthetic considerations, which are, to some extent, matters of taste, the main thing I remember being morally objectionable in the first book (I never read any of the others) is that Elsie deliberately defies her father and is held up as a good example for it. The issue on which she stakes her youthful conscience is . . . playing a secular song on Sunday. Is this really worth violating the Fifth Commandment?

Juliana M said...

So which commandment should a person break? The one not to break the Sabbeth or the one to obey our parents? That is the issue Elsie faced.

It seems to me that I have heard a lot of discussion on this particular issue. If it comes down to it, who do you obey? God or man?

Now we can argue ourselves black and blue about if Elsie's conviction regarding the Sabbeth was correct or not. We can agree, I think, that to HER it was a Biblical conviction that she felt very strongly about.

I personally have some convictions which I consider Biblical and this leads to some things I will or will not do that others may or may not agree with. It is the old "others may, I may not" situation. What to others may not be direct disobedience, would be for someone else.

One less dramatic example of "others may, I may not" Father has told me never to pick-up hitchhikers. That doesn't mean that it is a sin for others to pick-up one...but it would be for me!

I have always thought that Elsie demonstrated the importance of having convictions (which you believe are Biblical) and sticking with them no matter what. When her father told her to disobey God (from her viewpoint) she did not act rebellious, but rather meekly explained that she could not disobey God and tried to find a compromise (which he refused).

We could also discuss the right of a parent to order their child to disobey their conscience in a trivial matter. I think very few Elsie readers will argue that Elsie's father was (at least in the beginning) a model of a Christian father who cares for the spiritual well-being of their child.

Juliana M said...

P.S. Elsie's father eventually admits that he was wrong to try to get her to disobey her conscience and asks for her forgiveness. He eventually does become a true loving father who cares for both the Spiritual and physical needs of his little girl. There are very few times (I'm trying to remember if there was even a second time) when Elsie disobeys her father on purpose.

Queen of Carrots said...

Whether or not Elsie's father did the right thing is irrelevant, as the book does not ask the reader to sympathize with him. And even though Elsie does have a "conviction" in the area, it is clearly an extra-biblical one. Nowhere does the Bible say "Thou shalt not play secular songs on Sunday." Instead, the book encourages young children (who are, after all, the target audience) to come up with their own extra-biblical convictions on how Scripture should be applied, and then sit in judgment on their parents and elders. Children do this naturally enough without me wanting to encourage it. Surely in any matter of doubtful interpretation, a young child ought to be encouraged to submit to their proper authorities.

IIRC, although that is the only specific scene like that, that spirit runs through the whole book--Elsie is presented as the spiritual superior of all those around her. I don't think that's a wholesome example for a young girl. Children are already quick enough to judge harshly. I want them to be encouraged to learn even from their very imperfect parents.

Ben, Kyri & Rachelle said...

The Sabbath is Saturday and was a Jewish holy day signifying the rest that the Incarnation of Christ would bring about.... Sunday has never been nor will it ever be the Sabbath and it is not a day of rest, but a day foretold in Jewish lore as the 8th day, the day after when all things would be restored. The apostles instigated it as a day of worship to celebrate the Risen Christ and to gather together as a new Christian community. Elsie may have had convictions but she was wrong and her father should have taught her some church history and theology. -rlr