Guest Post by Brynn Stewart
This is a serious question. Here at Inspy Romance, the blog is all about Christian romance, so this seems like the perfect place to discuss this topic.
I recently read a post online where someone was complaining because the Christian romance they were reading described the heroine as beautiful from the hero’s point of view. The reader objected to the fact that books seem to only portray characters as beautiful, slender, attractive people.
At first, I sort of chuckled. Because, let’s face it, we read romance to escape. No one who’s just finished working out to remove that annoying flab from *insert-your-problem-area(s)*, wants to sit down and read about a woman going through the same struggles. (Of course I don’t mean that about me—I never work out. 😉)
I mean, right? We want to imagine we are the beautiful woman with the hunky guy bringing us boxes of chocolate that we don’t have to even worry about because we have a metabolism that burns calories like a Camaro burns fuel. We can munch happily on chocolate-dipped caramels and stare—dreamily of course—into the hero’s gorgeous baby blues. He’s going to love us. Protect us. Maybe even be called on to give up his life for us. . . (Hmmm, does that remind you of the One who loves us more than we can ever comprehend?)
Then we reach the end of the book and must return to the land of realism where it’s time to make dinner, do the laundry, and, maybe, scrub the bathtub that’s threatening to develop into a science experiment. (Nah. The tub can wait. Science experiments are fun!)
These were my initial thoughts. But then I pondered a little more because I didn’t want to dismiss her concerns too swiftly. Spoiler alert: I never came around to agreeing with her complaint.
King David, in Psalm 101, set an example for us not to set anything worthless before our eyes. We are also instructed in Hebrews 13:5 to “be content with what you have.”
Let’s look at both verses very quickly.
Is Christian romance worthless?
What is the worth of a fiction novel? It is the lessons of truth that we take away from it. Even Jesus told a lot of stories. Why? Because people can relate to story and when we relate to something, we more easily learn from it. I think that Christian fiction can have a strong impact for the good on the lives of those who read it because of the messages of truth contained in each story.
Does Christian romance cause us to be discontent?
The only person who can answer that, is each individual person for themselves. There is nothing wrong with relaxing with a good book. BUT. . . If reading romance novels is making you discontent with the husband/family/situation that God blessed you with, then it needs to be pitched from your life right quick.
Maybe the woman from the opening paragraph was feeling a little of this. Maybe the book she read made her feel discontented with her own looks. Maybe she just isn’t reading the right Christian romance books, because I know a lot of books that are about flawed less-than-perfectly-beautiful characters.
Some might argue that every Christian book that doesn’t portray the characters with all their flaws is not representing the truth.
That assertion leads me to this. I know I’m not the most beautiful person. I’m
a little bit chubby. I don’t like to wear makeup. I most often lounge around in jeans and a t-shirt. But my hubby still thinks I’m beautiful. Why? Because he loves me. And, in books, most of the descriptions of the heroes and heroines are shown from the love interest’s point of view, so of course they are going to find them attractive.
Last thought. The Bible often describes God’s love for us as that of a husband for a wife. Isaiah 54:5 says, “For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.” And Isaiah 62:5, reads in part, “. . .as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”
When God looks at a repentant person, He doesn’t disdain them for their sins any more than my husband disdains me for being
slightly chubby! Instead, God sees the truly pure, truly cleansing blood of His son Jesus, who lived the perfect life none of us could manage. So then, when stories portray a hero viewing a heroine with rose-colored-glasses, and vice versa, they give the world a picture of how God loves us.
Okay, that’s enough from chubby me. (There I finally got it out without a softening modifier.)
What are your thoughts on this question?
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