I just read (and enjoyed!) a book that I want other people I know to read: The Fault in our Stars. I came home from a youth conference (yesterday) rife with topics about living holy, sexual purity, and keeping a God-focus, and the first thing I did was to read a book in which the characters wrestle with existential questions and do NOT find that Jesus is the answer. It's a book where the teenagers [spoiler alert] have sex outside of marriage. It's a book with lots of values, and it's only a mixed bag of them that are the sort of values that I want imparted to my own three kids.
So what's with the recommendation? Why would I put such a book on my family reading list?
My daughter read it before I did. (And maybe one of my boys, too--I'm not sure.) Her friends read it before she did, friends that follow Christ and friends that don't. It has been made into a PG-13 movie that is receiving really high marks on the movie-ranking sites. This is a book that reflects culture and shapes culture. It's important to read.
I do recommend reading this and other books that similarly capture/reflect/shape the Zeitgeist (spirit of the age). On the other hand I also am reminded of the importance of choosing carefully what we meditate on. The Bible has wisdom about that. If I read one book where the teens ask existential questions and come up empty, angry, and godless, should I then read one book that reinforces a worldview based on Biblical understanding of existence? Two? Should it be a 3:1 ratio of books that reinforce Biblical truth compared to books that explore the prevalent truths of popular culture? What about the ratio of movies? Music?
I guess the question is: do I taste-sample of my culture's Zeitgeist worldview ... or soak in it? What books and media do I choose to soak in?
Rub your hands with vinegar and you'll be smelling wafts of vinegar afterwards. Soak in vinegar and you'll eventually become a pickle.