Friday, December 08, 2006

Redeeming Love

Okay, here's the question of the day. Have you read Francine Rivers' book Redeeming Love, and do you think it's appropriate for young (unmarried) ladies?

First of all, I love this book. It's one of my favorites. But I have seen it being recommended for teenagers, and I have serious qualms about that.
It is a Christian book. A retelling of the book of Hosea, set in California during the gold rush. A man led by God to marry a prostitute and show her Christ's love. A story of redemption.

There are no explicit scenes in this book, but it is definitely dealing with sex and prostitution and the intimate side of marriage throughout. It is not the least bit offensive to me, but I believe in guarding the purity of young minds and not leading them in directions they are not ready for. I run a sort of lending library to my young friends, and turned down a 16 year old's request for this book today. She told me that a pastor's daughter at her school had the book, had read it, and had a waiting list of friends eager to borrow and read it. That didn't change my mind, but it did make me wonder. I suggested to her mother that she read it first and decide if she found it appropriate for her daughter.

I grew up in a very sheltered home. I didn't date - wasn't allowed to. But I also chose innocence for myself. I chose to remain ignorant of many things until I had a reason to know them. And I am glad of that decision. On the other hand, I realize that most girls cannot be this sheltered from outside influences and it is far better to be taught things from the right perspective by your parents, than to learn things elsewhere. I will also say that while I had never read secular romances, I was (and still am) a serious romantic, and devoured any Christian love stories within reach. And I wonder what type of daydreams are really appropriate for a young lady that is wanting to keep her mind pure. I have never found any of these books to be a stumbling block since marriage, but I have often wondered how to make good judgments for my own girls as they grow older. I don't want to be ridiculously overboard with caution, but I'm just not sure that being "clean" and Christian automatically makes it appropriate.

So tell me what you think about this topic in general, as well as this book in particular.

And after all of that, I'll leave you with a favorite thought from Redeeming Love.

He watched Susanna pace back and forth, plans gushing forth like a fountain. Angel was laughing and tossing in her own ideas, one on top of the other. They were both so beautiful, it was hard to look at them. Light shining in the darkness.
Jonathan closed his eyes. Oh, God, it's not the way I had things planned.
But then, what of real, lasting value ever is?

I just was reading the reviews at Amazon when I created the hyperlink and many people were recommending it as required reading for teen girls to see what a godly man and marriage should be. In contrast to what the average teen is bombarded with from Hollywood and attending their local high school, this might be true. But then, I'm not sure that I want to rear average teens. I'm pretty far from the teen phase, though, and if I've learned anything from being a parent, it's to never say that I or my child will never do something. Because you haven't been there yet, and your perspective is so different. So tell me what you think...


Anonymous said...

Just ran across your a Mom of 2 young girls....I try not to stress over their futures BUT I am already blown away by what the oldes finds out at school and YES even at church. I'd much rather her not "find these things" out that way and have to come ask me, but how do you know when they are ready to know about some things? I guess we just continue to keep God first in our lives and homes and trust he will guide us and them.

Hannah said...

Well, if it's any help, Mom said that I could read it when I turned 16. Of course, I had read the Mark of the Lion series (which are pretty much the same)when I was likr twelve.

Hannah said...

In addition to that last comment, Mom didn't know about the Mark of the Lion series.

Kim said...

Hi,Alicia! Thanks for this! I have not read this book,but have had it recommended for my 14 year old....I had my reservations. I have reservations about a lot of things,but especially christian fiction *love* stories. My daughter reads a lot! I mean,ALOT and I sometimes have trouble finding her things to read....Thankfully her American Literature library and Lamplighter books keep her pretty busy this year...I just have a slight caution with themes of romantic love at this real need for it, a young adult it may be okay....Honestly,I'm just not sure how I feel about it. I don't read Christian fiction myself,but my mom and sister do. they always try to give us books like that. We just try to choose really good books with different focuses.

Just my thoughts! I like your thoughts on this.

Alicia said...

Anonymous- Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts. I think parenting must have been designed to keep us on our knees.

Kim- I saw that suggestion on your blog a while back. I couldn't decide how to refute the comment without being rude, but decided to address it here in the future since the whole issue is a question worth wrestling with. I'm glad that when I get to the teen phase, I'll have a godly mother like you to gain wisdom from.