As I scrolled down my Facebook feed one morning, I did a double take.
There was a Christian author friend, posing next to a cover model for romance novels. She was dressed in a modest dress. He was shirtless, six-pack rippling, pants on the edge of too low, with his arm around my friend. My author friend had just come from a secular romance writer’s conference and had posted this photo.
It was the same day her Christian devotional posted on her blog to which I subscribe.
Is there something wrong with this picture?
I checked out the conference she had attended. The featured authors ran the gamut from Christian to VERY edgy. When I checked out the books of one of the authors in attendance, I discovered numerous titles with such words as “devil,” “temptation,” “sin” and “virgin.” I’ll give you this much: Even secular writers know the correct terminology. In this PC world where many want to deny the evil one and the existence of sin, at least it was good to know the secular writers know they are real.
This issue of Christian romance authors side-by-side with the pornographic romance writers has bothered me for some time. And many times it is not the authors themselves who put themselves in such company. Their publishers do.
A wonderful Christian author with a beautiful historical novel was recently a finalist in a contest frequented by secular romance writers. This Christian author knew nothing about how her book was even entered.
This same romance organization that sponsors the contest has a publication that prints book reviews. As a newbie historical romance writer a few years ago, I subscribed to this magazine. To my surprise, it arrived in a dark cellophane wrapper. Only after opening the magazine did I realize why: The abundance of sexually suggestive covers displayed were enough to cause even this romance writer to blush.
I looked for the “Inspirational Romance” section for reviews. It was a few short pages, surrounded by page after page of book covers with scantily dressed lovers in various poses. The activity of the paramours was obvious. After reading the reviews in subsequent issues, I soon realized I was not going to be able to read them without the visual assault of one book cover after another tempting my libido at every turn of the page. I started dropping the unopened magazine into the trashcan upon arrival. Needless to say, I no longer subscribe.
There has been a growing trend among women supposedly trying to revitalize their sex lives by reading a recent series of books about “Forty-Nine Plus One Derivations of A Dull Shade of Black.” I refuse to name the title due to internet search engines. 🙂
What is shocking is that a recent survey revealed many of the readers of the aforementioned series are Christian women. What is even more troublesome is that there has also been a dramatic increase in women delving into pornography.
A recent book, “Pulling Back The Shades” by Dr. Juli Slattery and Dannah Gresh, addresses the concern. In an article in Christianpost.com, Dr. Slattery (who read the trilogy of books) describes not only the kinky nature of the explicit sex in the popular series, but the frequent Satanic symbolism. The latter agenda in these books shocked Dr. Slattery, a Christian psychologist. To read the full article in Christianpost.com, including details about the survey, check it out here.
So here is my question: As Christian authors do we have an obligation to distance ourselves from the organizations that promote lustful images? Or should we hang out with the sinners, hoping our offerings of less-explicit romance novels will influence the buying public to reform their reading habits?
I don’t have clear-cut answers. But I will say one thing: if you ever see me posing with a shirtless man other than my husband, send me a virtual slap.