Last week I found myself trying to explain the Twilight phenomenon—the books, the movies, Stephenie Meyer, and Robert Pattinson—to coworkers over lunch. It seems the whole thing can be summed up in one word: obsession. Bella and Edward, the two main characters, obsess over each other. Readers obsess over the books. Fans even obsess over the actors who portray the main characters in the film adaptations. The one obsession that seems to be missing: Christians have remained surprisingly silent on the wildly popular series. As the last breaths of the Harry Potter outcry echo faintly in the distance, Christians haven't had a whole lot to say about Meyer's story of vampires and the girl who loves them. Some have come out against them (Chuck Colson and Al Mohler) and others have embraced them as a tool to promote evangelism and abstinence.
Yes, there's an abstinence message to be found, technically. Author Stephenie Meyer, a devout Mormon, keeps her characters intact until their wedding day. But their reasons for abstaining are purely practical—Edward fears that his super-strength (a characteristic of Meyer's vampires) will crush or possibly even kill Bella if he relinquishes his carefully-maintained control around her. But, as Carrisa Smith notes in her review of Twilight at Christ and Pop Culture, it's unlikely a teenage reader might connect with this reasoning and therefore decide to apply the principle to her own life. Last week I spoke with Beth Felker Jones, an associate professor of theology at Wheaton College and author of Touched by a Vampire: Discovering the Hidden Messages in the Twilight Saga. It was this obsessive nature of the book (and its fans) that first drew her to the books and inspired her to ...1
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