Wednesday, July 10, 2019

"...and You'll Only Drink Milk From a Christian Cow"

I've made discoveries of heretofore-unknown-to-me literary genres at Half Price Books before:

"Men Who Lost Their Shirt", for example, was apparently a well-defined subcategory, if you'll excuse the obvious pun.

Yesterday, while dropping off another load of books, I wandered the aisles and stumbled across this:

"Those books were almost certainly printed on electric-powered printing presses," was my first thought, followed by "And the covers sure are colorful and decorative...", those being attributes that the Amish aren't generally known for embracing.

It turns out that the novels aren't written by the Amish, nor are they written for an Amish audience. Instead, they are targeted at a fairly specific demographic, over-50 Evangelical women, offering a chaste romance tale with a happy ending and in a setting guaranteed to have nothing pornographic or impure, like an uncovered ankle.

It's a weird kind of cultural appropriation that nests inside the larger movement of Christian fiction, which is a thing that, like Christian rock* and Christian video games, allows one to line the pockets of fellow believers rather than heathens**.

I'm not sure how I feel about that stuff, looking back. I'm sure much of it is well-intentioned, but a lot of it seems like an attempt to pawn off substandard dreck knowing it will be bought by a ready-made captive audience if you slap the "Christian" label on it.

*Somewhere around here I have a Petra album...Beat the System, on vinyl...that I stood in line at the local Christian bookstore to get autographed as a teen. I remember the band members seemed so edgy in their parachute pants...

**This line, like the title of the post, inspired by a Steve Taylor song...