Romance and religion

Even MORE people are talking about it, yay!

Here’s Jane Lee Blair who set up a tumblr and made this her first post: why she, as a Reformed Christian, doesn’t read inspirational romance. She makes lots of good points: the cheesy portrayal of Christian life, the problem of the conversion narrative, that wisdom and insight into relationships aren’t limited to Christian writers.

Authors Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner are kicking off a series of posts on the subject with a discussion of why romances so rarely feature religion. Aside from the possible marketing concerns of publishers, Emma suggests that the conversion narrative is similar – and maybe too similar – to a romance narrative. I think this fits in with my suggestion that a conversion narrative provides another climax in a romance novel which can overshadow the romantic climax.

In the comments to that post, Laura Vivanco linked to this article in JPRS by Catherine Roach. The abstract for the article reads:

The story of romance is the most powerful narrative in Western art and culture, sharing roots with Christianity and functioning as a mythic story about the meaning and purpose of life, particularly in regards to the HEA ending of redemption and wholeness. Contemporary romance novels are popular because this religious nature of the romance narrative allows them to do deep work for the (mostly) women who read them, engaging readers in a reparation fantasy of healing in regards to male-female relations. Romance novels help women readers deal with a paradoxical relationship toward men within a culture still marked by patriarchy and threats of violence.

I’m really excited that these discussions are happening and I hope they will result in more books which feature people of faith.