This Sunday, my rector sermonized on romance novels. No kidding.
He said his wife has been watching the Twilight movies and now wants to read the books. That got him thinking about shapeshifters -- vampires, werewolves -- and how they related to Jesus being the pascal lamb and also the shepherd. He compared that to his own role in our church. Sometimes, he's the sheep. Sometimes, he's the shepherd. And sometimes, he's the wolf who'd like to bite off the heads of some of the sheep. (Did I mention our sermons often include jokes? They do.)
Then, he mentioned that he realized that Twilight movies were "chick flicks." He didn't mention romance by name, but that's what he was talking about. What's more, he demonstrated that he really "gets" the purpose of romance novels.
In our rush to produce pages, get published, do promotion, and all the other things that our careers involve, we often overlook the real message of romance. That is that the power of a woman's love can tame the most dangerous creature on the planet, the human male. The way Father Mauricio put it was "I love you. Calm down." Our stories aren't about the sex, although that's fun. They aren't about crackling dialogue or wicked plot twists. They aren't about character arcs or the hero's journey. They're about the healing power of love.
I don't know if Father Mauricio's wife told him that or he figured it out himself. He might. He's an insightful guy who spends a lot of time thinking about love. It's his occupation, after all. God's love -- "I love you. Calm down." Jesus's message -- "I love you. Calm down."
In any case, my jaw just about hit the back of the pew in front of me. He gets it. He really gets it.
So, I finally screwed up my courage and told him when I greeted him on my way out of the church. "I write those books." He smiled. "I write the really steamy ones." He laughed. "I'm glad I finally came out to you." He gave me one of his big laughs -- the kind that fill the whole church. I wish I'd told him about my writing an age ago.