September 19, 2018 at 4:49 pm #48273
Is it a good idea? In a culture where romances tend to be bogged down by either impurity, unfaithfulness, or the other extreme of thinking romantic love is the Great Healer, metaphorically speaking, is it wise to attempt to write out a romantic story while also trying to remain steadfastly Christian? Also, how do you clear away the world’s concepts of romance and make room for how God intended it to be? How do you portray God’s will for romantic love through writing? Is it possible to convey what we believe to be God’s true intentions for love and still keep the story interesting? Should we try to paint a picture of how it should be, without flaws or mistakes, or is it a better idea to include some of the broken aspects yet also the redeeming arc? What are some of your opinions on romantic love? Seeing as this is one huge thing that has become painfully broken down and decayed from its original splendor, how do you keep the wrong elements from filtering into your work when there are so many places, stories, songs, and whatnot that are just reinforcing all the wrong ideas?
- This topic was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by Grace.
- This topic was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by Grace.
- This topic was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by Grace.
Secretly Hedgehog Jones. Don’t tell anyone.September 19, 2018 at 5:12 pm #48278
I’m going to stalk this page. 😛 Yes, I do think the romance genre is legitimate, but I don’t have much expertise in it so I don’t have a whole lot to add.
I think I have thoughts, but they’re all so foggy. Eh.
👖 🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢September 19, 2018 at 5:48 pm #48285Princess Foo@princess-foo
@h-jones You might find this video helpful. As @daeus-lamb said, I’m pretty sure I have thoughts on this, but at the moment I can’t find them.
The cake is a lie. acaylor.comSeptember 19, 2018 at 6:26 pm #48295Buddy J.@wordsmith
Ah! An interesting question indeed.
Published author, reader of many books, Student in writing, and Lumenite!September 19, 2018 at 6:40 pm #48299
@princess-foo Oh my word, that video made me laugh out loud. 😂😂😂 But it offered som amazing advice! Thank you for sharing!!
Secretly Hedgehog Jones. Don’t tell anyone.September 19, 2018 at 6:42 pm #48300E. Grace@emgc
Okay, so I’m not an expert on this subject, but here’s a few thoughts:
I think, overall, it’s okay to include romance in novels. However, we need to be really careful about what romantic things we’re including, and what sort of ideas we’re giving our readers. I don’t think we should be inducing our readers to dwell on romantic things- God wants us to keep our hearts and minds pure, and it can be hard to do that when we’re focusing on the wrong things. I think the only reason romance should be in Christian novels is to show what a godly relationship should look like- whether that’s by showing an outright wonderful, healthy relationship, or a more realistic picture of two people learning together what a healthy relationship should look like. We need to inspire our writers to live lives devoted to God, and encourage them in their faith- not present a potential stumbling block.
As for some of my personal convictions, I believe that a man and a woman should not kiss outside of marriage. I believe that God wants us to keep our bodies completely pure for our spouses. And above all, God wants us to keep our bodies pure for Him.
And as for clearing away any traces of worldly romance, I think you need to first pray about it and seek God’s will through His Word. Obvious, I know, right? Then, every time you sit down to write, you need to ask yourself: Is this scene honoring to God? Will He be pleased with what I’m about to write? Is it beneficial to the body of Christ? Or is it a potential stumbling block to others? It is very important that we make a definite distinction between a Christian romance, and a flawed worldly romance.
Do you understand what I’m saying?
Of course, you’ve got to act on your own convictions- and these are really just my own opinions. I hope they were helpful, though.
God bless you!
"True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less." - C. S. LewisSeptember 19, 2018 at 6:46 pm #48301September 19, 2018 at 6:50 pm #48303
@emgc I love this! It’s amazing advice, in my opinion, and I thank you for it. I do indeed understand what you’re saying. 😉 Yes, I was particularly wondering about stumbling blocks vs a good picture of a romantic relationship, or what picture should be painted of romance. Definitely taking all you have into consideration.
Secretly Hedgehog Jones. Don’t tell anyone.September 19, 2018 at 6:56 pm #48304Buddy J.@wordsmith
Thanks! I mostly have my ideas sorted out on this, but want to see what others have to say. 🙂
Published author, reader of many books, Student in writing, and Lumenite!September 19, 2018 at 9:58 pm #48351Princess Foo@princess-foo
@h-jones This isn’t Christian per say, but something that I slightly disagreed with about the video is the physical appearance thing. It’s probably just a reaction against romance being based on physical attraction in books, but I’m not fond of a pretty heroine. As far as I know, I’m not a ravaging beauty, and honestly I don’t care that much (I’d rather be thinking about books than looks. The half-an-hour in the morning I could be caring about my appearance is a half-an-hour I’d rather spend sleeping. Or reading. Or eating.) but hearing about her tangle-less glossy hair and flawless skin makes me roll my eyes.
I do, however, like the idea that as you grow attracted to someone, they become physically attractive in your eyes. Our perceptions of the attractiveness of people depends on our perception of their personality. As you get to know them, the stunning but shallow boy/girl becomes less good looking, and the average looking but kind boy/girl becomes more attractive. I think the kind of beauty you don’t see at first glance is way cooler and more romantic.
The cake is a lie. acaylor.comSeptember 20, 2018 at 10:26 am #48393Cassandra Hamm@cassandraia
@emgc Yes, I do believe we should show godly relationships as long as those relationships aren’t unrealistic. No relationship will be perfect because no one is perfect. There needs to be realistic conflict. 😉
But I also think books are a good place to show bad relationships in a dark light. For example, I have a character in an abusive relationship. I want to show the warning signs of that kind of relationship and how she got into the relationship and how difficult it is to get out. Some people just think you can just leave, but it’s so much more complex than that. And even when two Christians get together, you can have some really toxic relationships, even though you both love God. Showing a relationship that doesn’t turn out so well can be enlightening for the readers, saying that relationships are difficult, and there has to be a lot of commitment and a willingness to work through the inevitable issues for it to work.
I, personally, would rather a relationship be realistic than be perfect. I don’t think the job of a book is to show us the absolute perfect way to date someone. I think it is supposed to show real life, normal people seeking God and trying and failing and repenting and resting in His grace and trying to become more like Him. And then some people aren’t Christians. Their relationships certainly aren’t going to always be God-honoring, and you can’t have the expectation that they will. Their standard of morality is different. *shrugs* That’s just my personal opinion, though.
As a side note, I’ve read quite a bit of Christian romances in previous years. I used to love them. Now…not so much. I find them unrealistic, focused on the physical rather than the emotional and spiritual connection, and shallow, and they make it seem like love fixes everything. No. God is the only Healer. The people have gotta grow apart from each other and grow closer to God and generally deal with their deep issues before anything is gonna work out. Otherwise, the issues are gonna cause a lot of problems in the relationship. And I hate missionary dating (even though I used to write it because I didn’t understand that it was bad), *especially* when the deeply Christian character finally decides to give the non-Christian character up, but then suddenly the non-Christian accepts Christ, and then the Christian is like oh yay now we can get married because obviously we’re at the same spiritual levels and he’s gonna be a perfect person now that he’s a Christian. 😛
I crush readers' souls like grapes.September 20, 2018 at 10:28 am #48394Cassandra Hamm@cassandraia
@princess-foo I agree about the physical attraction thing. No one will always look perfect, even the most beautiful of people. XP And when you love someone even when they don’t look their best, that is much more powerful than falling for the person who always looks flawless. I also love that idea–how you grow more attracted to people when you love them more. 🙂
I crush readers' souls like grapes.September 20, 2018 at 11:47 am #48404
@cassandraia Big thumbs up to everything you said.
So I actually just read through Song of Songs to see if there were any good principles to glean from it.
I would like to make a controversial statement: the (rightful) goal of romance novels is to explore romance.
Shocking, right? 😛 It’s debated though, I think, because romance is sometimes confused with pornography.
On romance vs erotica. I actually heard Song of Songs referred to as erotic recently and I had to scratch my head and think about that for a moment.
For reference, here’s how my computer defines erotic: relating to or tending to arouse sexual desire or excitement.
This is tricky. I suppose based on this definition, Song of Songs actually could be considered erotic, but at the same time, I don’t feel that is the best description. The poem is primarily focused on the emotional longing between the two lovers. All the more intimate details point to this primary reality. Also, the poem is relatively euphemistic and/or general. At the same time, let’s not downplay that physical attraction is a very, very central theme of this poem.
Application #1: romance and sexuality are not inherently unorthodox artistic elements.
Application #2: romantic elements differs from pornography primarily in having the focus of everything being on an idealistic attraction and fanatic loyalty.
I would also like to insert a personal opinion that the fact that the lovers act within moral bounds has a profound impact on the mood of the more erotic portions. This one intellectual factor is, if you will, the tiny white checker that shifts the whole dynamic of the Othello board. I will lower case title this application #3.
Finally, the great hallmark of the Song of Songs is its moral nature. It is not just some fanciful diversion, it has (I believe) three primary lessons it frantically tries to drive home.
- Purity before marriage is vital and rewarding.
- Marriage should bind couples together, truly as one.
- Intimacy should be enjoyed.
This leads to application #4: do not use romance willy-nilly. Please. It deserves better. Have a grand purpose in mind.
Okay, that actually wasn’t the final point. The final point is my first point.
Application #5: the goal of the romance genre is to explore romance.
The moral of Song of Songs is like the channel that directs the water, the romance is the flowing stream itself. The moral is the hammer, the element being explored (romance) is the swing behind the hammer. Without the romance, the nail isn’t driven in. I am confident about this because romance is not an intellectual idea, it is an actual emotion. Therefore, it cannot simply be addressed as an intellectual idea. If it is, when someone encounters real romance, they’ll forget everything they ever learned! (Well, at least they’ll struggle…)
And let me reemphasize that in Song of Songs, romance is portrayed as a very positive thing, not just a tool for the moral, although it is a tool for the moral.
So what I want to see is some very real stories about people with romantic attractions who are struggling to figure out what to do. I want to see their doubts and insecurities. I want to see where they are excessive or too cool. I want to understand their happiness or their sinking regret as if it were my own. I don’t want a guidebook, but I do want a very real journey with lessons along the way. And while I definitely don’t want erotica, I do want to feel excited for the characters.
Personally, I want to see lots of basically good (though not cookie-cutter) models, because I think those are rare in our society. Besides, they’re happy and I guess some stories need to be that way even if I’m not very good at them. 😏
That said, there’s definitely room for tragedies. (I like tragedies. 🙃)
I’m also going to tag @josiah on this, because I think he has some opinions on it.
👖 🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢September 20, 2018 at 11:49 am #48405September 20, 2018 at 12:14 pm #48411E. Grace@emgc
Those are some excellent points. I think I should take a moment to mention that I’m only 15, and I have had no romantic relationships whatsoever before. I mostly based my answer on what I’ve learned through the example of my brother’s and sisters’ relationships.
You’re absolutely right. No relationship is perfect. There are going to be struggles. And it is important to make what we write realistic and relatable to our readers, since I’m sure many are going through hard and broken relationships.
And thanks for your input! I can’t say that I entirely agree, but God leads each of us in different ways. I just think that the only point in having romance included in a Christian novel is to show a godly example- even if your characters are in a broken relationship, they’re still going to learn in the end, right? That’s all I was meaning.
Thanks! It’s nice to hear other people’s opinions on this subject. And I’m still learning myself. 😊
"True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less." - C. S. Lewis
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