Amber Belldene (Episcopal priest, romance writer) recaps the “God and Sex” panel she was part of at the Romantic Times Convention in New Orleans.
Here are the broad topics covered, along with a quote from each:
The erotic writer at church:
Another member of the audience shared she penned her first erotic romance while employed as a lay professional at a Catholic Church. When her book sales took off, and she quit her day job to write. At her farewell party, the parish priest announced her success and everyone embraced her. She sold many books that night, and she’s still a member of the parish.
After a round of cheers, Christa (Soule) added that churches have a responsibility to develop open, sex-positive cultures because of the history of sexual abuse in all denominations.
The religious in erotic books:
Tiffany Reisz expressed her opinion that the absence of religion in romance and erotica is unrealistic. All people have religious convictions, including atheists. When we face challenges, choices, and death, we all consider our beliefs and we often pray. Yet all of this is missing in the books being published, and that leads to flatter, shallower characters.
Theology and Ethics:
Amber shared about the book From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity, and its exploration of the roots of very strict Christian sexual values in the Roman institutions of pederasty and slavery. Even if the ethics the early church developed in that context no longer apply perfectly in ours, the history suggests that at the core of Christian sexual ethics lay respect, freedom and consent.