Sunday, June 26, 2011

In defense of a sub-genre lots of people hate

So I was reading this article in defense of Christian romance novels today, and it got me thinking about the usual fiction and faith-related topics.  I would love to hear your thoughts.  Below are some highlights to entice you to read the whole thing (and at least skim the comments). 
  1. '"It’s nice to enter a world where broken people get their pieces put back together."'
  2. '"I think she’s dead-on. Any of us who enjoy reading fiction — of any stripe — do so in part for the entertaining escape. Whether it's romance or mystery, literary novels or action-packed adventures, we love reading because we love getting lost into other people’s lives, worlds, interests, and desires. We can enjoy all the good of their world or cringe at the hardship, all the while understanding that it is made up."'
  3. "Christian romance novels may indeed hold some danger for some. If your relationships suffer because of them, of course don’t read them. And if — as is often the case with those who view porn — you read romance novels to fulfill your own unmet longings and needs, be warned: you won’t.
  4. 'But unlike porn, which offers empty depravity, Christian romance stories offer something beautiful and hopeful and God-honoring: stories of people overcoming hurts and heartache and finding love.'
  5. 'In fact, this is why Pleiter says she writes Christian romance. “I welcome the chance,” she says, “to pull readers out of their daily lives for a few hours and show them a lovely world where people forgive one another and where love conquers all.”'
  6. 'Pushing back on Moore’s comment, Pleiter says this isn’t about creating an illusion but holding up an ideal.'
  7. 'While we may not agree on all the “ideals” romance novels convey, Pleiter raises a good point. It is the ideal of being forgiven and love conquering all that appealed to me. And while my brain knows this isn’t always true, my heart wishes it were. The good news is that my soul knows it will. Not in a book. Not in this life. But one day.'
  8. 'So, far from wrecking marriages, the occasional Christian romance should strengthen our hope."'
  9. '"My point? All fictional genres are based on unreality and unreal presentations of the world, whether it be romance, military suspense, mystery, or science fiction. There is always a danger of being sucked into unreality and making unreasonable expections of life, whether that be in terms of a spouse, a job, or any other life experience. I fully understand that certain situations may be a danger to the reader/viewer. I myself have certain reading/viewing standards. To ban an entire genre, though, and one which a number of godly women use as a means of coping with the demands of a life devoted to God, church, and family, seems a bit like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. No doubt there are people who have been harmed by fiction. To claim it is all bad, though, requires more than sweeping generalization and anecdote. For the Christian, I'd say there needs to be Scriptural evidence and consistency, for the verse "Guard your heart" is a phrase that can refer to a number of idols we put up in our hearts, including "godly" activities like serving the Church or even reading the Bible (as I recall, there are a number of hunks and scandals in there, too)."'
  10. '"I can see many who have a problem with these are many who have a problem with fiction in general. We lack metaphorical intelligence for poetic truth."'
Feel free to comment on one or all (they're numbered for your convenience).  What is your experience with these books?  If you have none, why not?  I'd really like to hear people's thoughts about this controversial subgenre. 

Also, I think the article's author earns class points for not using the term "Bonnet Ripper," but I'm not sure if those points are positive or negative.

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