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“Isn’t that an oxymoron?”

By Davalynn Spencer

“No, you moron. It isn’t.”

I’d like to say the above response to the title question is from a salty character in one of my novels. It’s not. It’s from a pile of words in the back of my brain that didn’t make it past my teeth because I was biting my tongue.

Good thing.

Last year at a social gathering I met a general-fiction author who writes for the secular market. We talked books, promotion, and the pros and cons of traditional and indie publishing.

Then he asked what I write.

“Inspirational romance,” I said, lining up my artillery.

As expected, he sneerked. That’s a cross between a sneer and a snicker. “Isn’t inspirational romance an oxymoron?”

What a setup for a pithy reply.

Though it is more blessed to give than to receive, it is easier to take when it comes to offense. Believe me, I wanted to take a big chunk, and I had to pummel the idea into oblivion.

Consider, for a moment, the secular author’s belief that inspirational or godly ideas and morals cannot coexist with romance. That the two oppose one another, as in sharp and dull in accordance with the Greek definition of oxymoron.

His assumption revealed what he thought he knew about romance and what he didn’t know about God.

Obviously, romance is not everyone’s first choice of fictional reading material. But neither is any other genre. What about action-packed thrillers or murder mysteries or suspense or fantasy or young adult or you-name-it? Had the man never read a redemptive (inspirational) novel of any flavor?

Probably not.

Clearly, he and I came from two different worlds. His mockery over a plate of hors d’oeuvres stirred me to defend myself and my work. However, defensiveness is not attractive. And isn’t my job as a Christian fiction writer to attract people to the gospel?

How I accomplish that attraction varies from situation to situation, but that evening, a quick and simple explanation proved more appropriate than a tirade or sermonette.

A better writer than I encouraged believers to live wisely among nonbelievers, and to keep conversations gracious and well-seasoned.

So much of my time is spent with Christian writers that I forget about other authors with different world views. When I meet those who belittle my efforts or beliefs, I must choose between taking offense and giving grace.

Hopefully, I will leave a good taste in people’s mouths after they visit with me. And leave the biting comebacks with my molars.

Bestselling author Davalynn Spencer writes Christian romance with cowboys and teaches creative writing at her local junior college. She has a background in journalism and rodeo, and makes her home on Colorado’s Front Range with a Queensland heeler named Blue and two mouse detectors, Annie and Oakley. Visit Davalynn on her website at www.davalynnspencer.com.

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4 Responses to “Isn’t that an oxymoron?”

  1. Beth Vogt says:

    So well said, Davalynn. I have no doubt you could have taken the other writer on in a battle of wits and won, but that’s not the point. And, as you also reminded us, we can spend so much time with like-minded writers, we develop tunnel-vision — and a bit of defensiveness, if we’re not careful.

  2. Thank you, Beth. And yes, defensiveness is a subtle enemy of our outreach.

  3. Great post. It is so easy to fall into the trap of snarky comebacks. But we can’t win that way. This way, maybe you gave him something to think about…if he has something to think with. oops. I didn’t not say that out loud, did I?

  4. Thank you, Patricia. And you’re right – snark is so fun, but in the real world it has a bad aftertaste.