was at a conference not long ago and heard an uppity speech about the
uselessness of the romance genre. You can be sure the
speaker’s—ahem—“mindset” sparked numerous negative emotions in the
minds and hearts of authors like me who write romance for a living. But
how to counter such arrogant prejudice without underscoring his
so-called theories about the genre?
I prayed and prayed, and today,
while going through a typical delivery of reader mail, the answer came:
“I was a backsliding Christian
until I read Suddenly Reunited. Gabrielle reminded
me so much of myself, and her problems mirrored my own! What joy to
read that she solved her problems by turning to Him. It made me want to
go back and read all five books in the series. Thank you for helping me
find my way back to God!” (Lisa E., Alberta, Canada)
“My pastor and his wife were a
little upset that after trying and trying to help me deal with my past,
a line from one of your books opened my heart back up to Christ. Bless
you, Loree, for writing Love Finds You in Paradise,
Pennsylvania!” (Julie D., Atlanta, Georgia)
“I get so excited every time I
hear a Loree Lough book is about to come out because I know God will
speak to me through your characters in surprising ways. The
Wedding Wish was no exception. I laughed and cried and felt
touched by God!” (Jeannine B., Russell Springs, Kansas)
“You have shown me through your
characters’ struggles that anyone can overcome anything by the grace of
God Almighty.” (April Kewer, Scottsdale, Arizona)
“I love that your stories are
about things that seem to come straight out of today’s headlines, and
how your characters overcome obstacles without being weak.” Colleen
Anderson, Fort Wayne, Indiana)
I could quote from more letters,
but I think you get the idea.
Let me paraphrase that speech,
delivered in a very public forum: ‘Romance’ is a simplistic genre,
written by hobbyists and gobbled up by bored housewives, that’s a waste
of time for the reader and the writer, and a misuse
of spiritual muscle.
me when I say that those present got more than just a li’l bit fired
up! Between us, we’ve read the Bible a couple hundred times, and we
remember all to well the story from Genesis, where God put Adam
together with Eve . . . and didn’t give up on man-woman partnerships
just because the silly broad partook of forbidden fruit. Instead, He
taught the couple how to communicate in loving ways. Did they encounter
roadblocks and pitfalls? You bet, but He got ’em through every rough
patch because He is the God of relationships!
Every one of God's children
finds Him in different ways, at different points in their lives, for
different reasons. If you’ve known me longer than five minutes, you’ve
likely heard me say that I’m not the type who’s equipped to visit
deserts and jungles spreading His Word. But because He does expect me
to spread His word, He blessed me with a gift for storytelling.
Specifically, stories that unite hearts and lives and put people back
in touch with their Maker. That is my God-appointed ministry.
my readers need help
getting through a crisis. Perhaps they’re hurting after the loss of a
loved one. They might be angry at God for some painful stuff that has
touched their lives. Or they’re sick. Or lonely. Afraid. And blaming
God for whatever it is that’s hurting them.
Everybody knows somebody who,
for any one of a thousand reasons, has hardened his or her heart
against our Lord. And, oh, but aren’t they tough to reach! Fire and
brimstone sermons only add height and breadth to the walls they’ve
built between themselves and the Almighty; self-righteous, judgmental
missives underscore their imagined “proof” that God doesn’t care about
them or what they’re going through. The Bible, at that point, is the
last book they’d pick up, let alone read!
Enter the Lord, in a quietly
surprising way . . .
Sometimes He reaches them
through poetry. Other times with song. And a whole lot more often than
that speech-maker dude would like to believe, God reaches His
children’s hurting hearts through the pages of romance novels.
The message of that so-called
“literati” and others like him who have convinced themselves that what
they write is far superior, has more merit, and is more pleasing to God
than “simple little romance stories”? That mindset is arrogant at best,
egotistical at worst and certainly not borne of Christian love!
During His years on earth, Jesus
told dozens of simple little stories, and each changed hearts and
lifted spirits. Those of us who serve God by writing romance have
nothing to be ashamed of! We’ve humbly answered His call and willingly
do the work He’s asked us to do.
I think it’s time for the
“literati” to ask themselves what Jesus, Son of the Creator of
relationships, thinks of romance novels!
And in the meantime, I hope
they’ll excuse me, because I have a couple
hundred letters from readers to answer, each expressing gratitude to
the Creator for showing them a new way to find Him.