Tuesday, June 23, 2020

God's Smuggler: A Warning for Parents

God's Smuggler
To skip my long story and read the warning, scroll down for the header.

Every year, one of my favorite things to do is to go to used book sales for homeschoolers.  Unfortunately, because of Covid-19, the biggest one of the year, sponsored by our local homeschool association (MHEA),  had to be canceled.  However, another favorite book sale which was begun by a mom five years ago was held today.  This one is great because it is held at a local park, there is no entry fee, and I always see people I know!

Somehow I slept through my alarm and woke up at 8:22 -- just  23 minutes before I'd planned to leave to go to the book sale.  It took several tries to get my daughter up, in between getting dressed, chugging down a protein drink, switching my wallet to my Kavu backpack, and locating a couple of bottled waters to take.  I learned my lesson last year, almost passing out from the extreme heat.  #BecauseMemphis 

We managed to get out the door, to the bank for a quick cash withdrawal, and to the park where about half of the sellers were already set up.  The moms (I never see dads -- probably because they're at work earning the money for us so we can buy All the Stuff) were opening up their car trunks and setting up tables full of all kinds of homeschool material.

My daughter enjoys this sale, too, because she can run around with her friends, make new friends, and, after I'm done, go to the playground to play.  I usually give her a little bit of money (if she doesn't have her own) so she can buy something that she is interested in (and to keep her out of my hair because I have a list and I need to think!).  We both saw several friends whom we had not seen in over 3 months which was great.  Unfortunately, the playground is closed because of Covid-19 restrictions, but Gracie still had a good time.

I mostly bought books for our read alouds and for Gracie to read independently.  I had hoped to find some of the curricula that I know I'll be using for 5th grade, but I was out of luck this time.

One lady has a good side business of selling books both online and at these sales.  She's awesome because she puts the books in plastic bins in alphabetical order and can look up her inventory on her phone.  I bought a good chunk of my reading list plus a few others I was interested in from her.  I could have bought more, but after perusing book lists and recognizing many book covers, I couldn't remember what I had and what I didn't.

While at the wonderful book tables, a friend of mine was also looking through the books to grab the ones she needs for her four girls.  She is switching to Sonlight for at least one of her daughters.  (I have never tried Sonlight, but I love that it is literature-based!)

While I was picking through and being nosey, I noticed that my friend had picked out the book God's Smuggler by Brother Andrew.  I read this book a long time ago when I was a teacher at my church's Christian school back in the early 2000s.  At the time, it was part of ACE's literature curriculum.  Their accompanying literature guide (composed of questions to answer) was not very well developed.  I preread all of the books before the students read them (it helps that I love to read) and typed up the questions divided by chapter just to make it a little easier for them.  When I read God's Smuggler, I was shocked at some of the content.  I don't remember what grade it was assigned to, perhaps 6th or 7th?  At any rate, the snippets that bothered me, I felt like were too mature for that age group.  And, honestly, some of it, I would've thought was too mature and wicked for even a high school student. (That's my opinion, take it or leave it.)

I told my friend, "You might want to preview that book.  It has some things that I personally would not want Gracie to know about until she's much older."  She said ok.  I didn't want to be interfering, but I did want her to be forewarned.

When I got home, I loaded my Kindle version of the book, found the highlights I had made several years ago (when I had told another friend about it), took a screenshot, and emailed it to the friend I saw at the book sale.  I wanted to save her the time of reading and finding what I'd been concerned about.  She emailed me back and thanked me for showing it to her.  I thought that other parents might also want to know about this.

God's Smuggler: A Warning for Parents

Troublesome snippets from the book 

1.  (Language)  From Chapter 2: The Yellow Straw Hat
"But I was going off to take back our colonies for the Queen, and perhaps gets a few of those dirty revolutionaries who everyone said were Communists and b*st*rds.  The two words automatically went together."

2.  (Sexual innuendo)  From Chapter 2:  The Yellow Straw Hat
"When I woke up from these org**s, I would wonder why I was doing these things..."

3.  (Homosexuality/Bestiality)  From Chapter 5: The Step of Yes
"The leader of the foul wisecracking, I discovered, was a girl named Greetje.  Her favorite subject was s*d*my: she speculated aloud on which animal would find a soul mate in me."

4.  (Sexual innuendo)  From Chapter 5:  The Step of Yes
"I can see," Greetje was booming, "how you might not be sure."  She caught sight of me and grinned maliciously.  "All men are alike in the dark, eh, Amy?" she shouted.

5.  (Sexual innuendo)  From Chapter 5:  The Step of Yes
"...let us know that she was coming only to find out what really went on after the lights went off."

Some of these might be rather tame to other parents, but keep in mind that my daughter is only 10.  Also, we are very conservative and limit her exposure to know about wickedness (although some things cannot be avoided).   The third snippet with reference to bestiality was the one that shocked me.  There's no way I would want my young daughter exposed to such a thought that that kind of wickedness exists at all, and I sure wouldn't want to explain what any of that meant at such a young age.

The Rest of the Story

When I was a teacher pre-reading the books, I was so horrified by what I read that I showed it to my pastor.  He, too, didn't approve of it at all.  ACE had just had a change in leadership and a man of whom we knew and had heard preach was serving as ACE's president.  I typed up a letter from my pastor and enclosed photocopies of the pages with the sentences highlighted.  The man wrote back thanking my pastor for bringing it to his attention and promptly removed the book from their literature package and stated that they did not have another book to replace it.

I was curious to find out if they had put the book back in.  I couldn't easily find out from the ACE website, so I went to ChristianBook.com which is very good about providing detailed information on the material that they sell.

I found out several things:
  1. They still use the same Basic Literature Study Guide that they did back in the early 2000s.  This should have been updated LONG ago.  The elementary grades are far better, in my opinion.
  2. It was for 7th grade, too young for mature content, in my opinion.
  3. They still have God's Smuggler included in the Basic Literature Study Guide; however, they do not include the book as part of the package.
  4. They included a disclaimer of sorts saying, "Please Note: The ACE Literature & Creative Writing Grade 7 Resource Book Kit (sold-separately) is required to use this curriculum. This pack does NOT include the book "God's Smuggler" due to a publisher decision."  In my opinion, they should've stated why it's not included or replaced it with something else.  It just feels like a passive acceptance.  Not to mention the need to update it after 16+ years!!
Aside from the opinions I stated (and a few others I didn't because they're irrelevant to this discussion), I have nothing against ACE/School of Tomorrow.  It served us well for the Christian school for which I taught.  As a matter of fact, I plan on using their Bible and Social Studies PACES for my daughter this year.
Pin It!


Post a Comment