Three Cautions In Redeeming Love
I want to talk about three primary cautions or theological problems with Redeeming Love. The first is spiritualizing soft pornography. There’s no question that the sexual content in the novel qualifies as soft pornography. If it were put on screen, which it now has been put on screen, it would still qualify as soft pornography. As a woman, whether or not you personally struggle with erotica or with the scenes, it still matters objectively, if as a Christian, you should be watching those. Something I often encourage women when I talk to them about this, something to think about, is if this scene were filmed, and it were taken out of the context of the story, and you found it on your husband’s laptop or your boyfriend’s laptop, how would you feel? Would you still justify it? Would it be okay? These are questions that we have to ask. One of my cautions with Redeeming Love and books like it, because there are quite a few books in that kind of genre is the spiritualization of soft pornography. We’ve already talked about the verses of why this is a big deal. So, I’m not going to revisit that, but it’s something that we need to be aware of, and need to be conscious of when consuming this material.
The second caution or problem that I see with this book and others like it, is the romanticizing trauma. In the book, there’s an element introduced that’s not in the Book of Hosea. It’s the fact that, Angel, the main character was abused sexually as a child. This is a major trigger warning as well. I would add this small caveat too. When older Christian women or spiritually older Christian women are recommending this book to younger Christian women, it’s really important to be aware of their abuse history before you do, because this book can be extremely triggering to victims of child sexual abuse. And that’s something that you’re going to hear when I read the submissions regarding the book at the end of this episode.
In a world, that’s driven by aesthetics, and it’s ridden with anxiety and depression caused by childhood neglect and abuse, there’s a new trend that has emerged, typically on TikTok, it’s called Traumacore. Now, Redeeming Love predates this by about two decades, but the launch of the movie is actually very well timed or worse timed depending on how you view it, with the launch or the advent of Traumacore. Traumacore is an artistic form of processing for victims of childhood trauma, but it’s followed by many people who have not experienced extensive trauma for the aesthetic or the relatability of it. It’s very dark, I don’t recommend looking it up. But there are some objective articles out there, you can read that I will include one in the show notes that I thought was a little bit safer to read, that kind of show what Traumacore is.
Well, Redeeming Love would not classify as true Traumacore, and I’m not saying that it is. For people exposed to Traumacore, or who are operating in that mental space, Redeeming Love’s narrative fits very well, because Angel experiences childhood rape and then is turned into a prostitute and struggles with hopelessness. There’s this element of that darkness that is also present and very prevalent in Traumacore, which is followed by many, many people, especially in Gen Z.
Angel then meets this man, Michael Hosea, who thinks she’s beautiful just the way she is. And there’s a heavy emphasis in the book and in the movie on Angel’s beauty, physical beauty, this is also going to be a player, and another thing we have to talk about a little further on. While the analogy is supposed to be reflective of God, many people really will struggle to create this connection without additional damage to their understanding of trauma, sexuality, sin, redemption, and theology. In fact, some women have come away from the book with the super idealistic idea of a physical man who will rescue and love them the way Michael Hosea does. Instead of translating the idea just to God, it’s instead translated to a human man and hoping for a man to rescue them from their trauma history. When that does not happen, there is a lot of disappointment and hurt compounded by consuming this material.
Romanticizing trauma or using trauma to further a fictional plotline, this is common in all books today, I would say, a lot of popular fiction books today. But in a Christian book that’s saying this is based on Scripture, this is reflecting a true view of God, that’s a really dangerous game to play.