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The Gospel According to Twilight: Women, Sex, and God - Elain A. Heath As a Christian who thoroughly enjoyed the Twilight Saga both the books and movies, I was really interested in reading this book. I was a late bloomer as far as the Twilight mayhem goes, only having been introduced last year and I was hesitant at first for many of the same reasons as the author of this book, Elain A. Heath points out. I gave the excuse of, "I don't "do" vampires." "What message of love is it sending to girls?" "Christians shouldn't read books like this." etc. Completely judging a book by it's cover and ignoring the gentle encouragement from my Christian friends who made promises like, "These aren't your regular vampires." "Read it, you'll love it!" I finally decided if THEY read it and survived then maybe I would give it a shot too. It's just a story after all..so I read them. All 4 of them. In 5 days. What was really shocking to me was that I wasn't a "reader" before then (outside of my daily devotional and the occasional Bible Study). What I found in the books was nothing like what Ms. Heath found apparently. For one, I wasn't looking to find Christ in Twilight. I was looking for a story, a work of fiction. I don't think it's prudent to approach every book with the intention of finding Jesus in it because chances are, we won't. We might find characters who reflect Him or the qualities of Him (Carlisle's compassion, Esme's unconditional love, etc.), much like people in real life do but unless you're reading a story of His life, chances are you'll be letdown. I believe that while God calls us to be discerning, we need to be careful that in our efforts to do so we don't allow ourselves to become cynical, always seeing the negative in everything. I felt like Ms. Heath deferred to the negative a lot in this book. Sometimes to the extreme. She focuses a small amount of time on the positive attributes of the Saga but when she delves into the negative, it appears she got stuck there. Her views tend to take a strong feminist tone as well.One example is when she claims that "The theme of violence against women at the hands of their intimate partners runs throughout all four Twilight novels..." "Most disturbingly, Meyer treats this theme in ways that normalize such violence." pg 32 Huh? Did we read the same books? I'll agree that Alice, Rosalie and Esme all had things happen to them in their former lives but only Rosalie was the one who came close to being a victim of a violent act by intimate partner (and his friends). Using the honeymoon scene between Edward and Bella as an example of this is taking it out of context because his intention was never to hurt her, unlike when Rosalie's fiance raped her. She spends several chapters focusing on how violent and abusive the character of Edward really is (she explains that this was downplayed in the movies) and claims he's really not just a lovesick, overly protective boyfriend (he IS a vampire after all) but a sociopath who should be every parent's nightmare. (Keeping in mind that this is a work of fiction and he is not real.) My biggest issue, as a parent was that he was sneaking into Bella's bedroom at night. I actually loved that he was the one who kept insisting that they wait to have sex until after marriage because it's rare these days that the guy is one saying, "No." I guess from a feminists point of view though, this was just another way for him to exert his control over her.Heath also claims that Jacob and the rest of the Quileutes are nothing more than pedophiles as exhibited my their clans "imprinting" practices. Yes, whole idea of imprinting on a baby or toddler is a little creepy but again, it's a work of fiction and I would've never gone the pedophile route. It seems a bit extreme to me.Her feminist views are also apparent when she criticizes how the roles of the rest of Cullen women are portrayed. Esme in particular takes a verbal beating in this excerpt, "Esme is a gentle mom who cooks delicious foods for others and likes to refurbish historic homes. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for being a great mom and having architectural appreciation. But this is a traditional, overly domestic stereotype of an upper middle-class white woman. Wouldn't Esme be more interesting if, for example, she worked for immigration rights, or if she were a beekeeper? What if she wrote best-selling novels about vampires? Wouldn't readers be able to identify with her more and look up to her? She has all that undead time on her hands. Couldn't she do something rewarding and useful in addition to taking her of her family, all of whom are perfectly able to care for themselves because they are immortal adults and the world's deadliest predators?" pg 44-45Ouch! I happen to identify with Esme because I am white, I am a mom who has chosen to stay at home, cook for my family and others (regardless of their age or undeadness), serve in my church and even educate my children at home. It would seem that traditional equates to uselessness and unrewarding to Ms. Heath. I don't know Ms. Heath but if that is how she really feels, it is bothersome and not just to me but to many other fans of the Saga too.The Gospel According to Twilight seems to take a lot of liberties with the Twilight Saga and how it can relate to the true Gospel of Jesus. I think that anyone who chooses to read this book needs to do so with a grain of salt. The Twilight Saga is not the greatest book ever written nor is it the perfect example of life, love, marriage or family but it's definitely not the worst either. It's a work of fantasy, fiction, meant to entertain. Discernment about what we read is important but it is possible to go overboard in the dissection of a story too. Even one about sparkly vampires.