Calling all fans of the The Bachelor and The Bachelorette — Krista Phillips has penned a fun and faithful romance inspired by the seriously addictive franchise. Of course, fans of The Bachelor are familiar with the show’s sometimes sordid plot lines, which got us wondering — is it possible to honor your Christian faith while participating in a reality dating show? Author Krista Phillips answers this question and explains how her characters kept the faith in her new Inspirational Romance, The Engagement Plot:
I think we can all agree that dating twenty-five people at the same time with cameras rolling and getting engaged to “the one” on national TV immediately after breaking up with the runner-up…is an unconventional way to find your mate.
Most of us will also conclude that it is completely, utterly ridiculous.
I met my husband in an unconventional and “ridiculous” way myself. Not on a reality TV show, but in an old-school Internet chat-room when I was seventeen. We got engaged the week after I graduated high school, having only “seen” each other three times. Eighteen years and four children later, we’re still as much in love as we were back when our kisses were of the XOXOXO variety.
So I’m a fan of exploring unconventional meetings.
Yet reality TV dating such as on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette doesn’t seem very conducive to the Christian faith. With free-flowing alcohol and the casual sex associated with the “fantasy suite,” how can that be an environment a Christian willingly puts themselves in? And how could a Christian author use it as a backdrop for a novel?
I can answer the second question easily. Jesus hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes, so when I felt God stirring this story in my heart, one with a backdrop of reality TV dating, I couldn’t very well tell him no. In fact, my all-time favorite Christian novel is Francine River’s Redeeming Love, set with a backdrop of a brothel. So I wasn’t worried about using an unholy setting to tell a story of forgiveness, grace, and God’s love in the midst of our mess.
The first question is a little harder, and not one I can answer. I didn’t write The Engagement Plot as an endorsement for or in condemnation of The Bachelor/The Bachelorette. I wanted to tell a story about, right or wrong, one woman who went on such a show, who aimed to stay true to her faith in Jesus even in an environment that held her values in distain.
There have been Christians who have done the “real” show. Sean Lowe is the most well-known and successful. In his I Am Second video, he talks about his experiences on the show, about God opening the door for him to be “The Bachelor.” At one point, he says, “It’s unnatural to date twenty-five women at one time, and…a lot of the time it felt wrong. I wrestled with it quite a bit, thinking—you know, I’m pretty sure God opened this door, but what if he didn’t? What if it’s just an opportunity that came about and what if I’m actually harming my testimony by going on a show and dating multiple people at one time…? What if people look at me and say, ‘This is what’s wrong with Christianity. Look at this guy. He’s professing one thing, but he goes on TV and he’s doing the opposite.’ That was a big fear.” But then he also talks about how he met his wife Catherine on the show, and how their vow to wait until they were married to have sex was questioned and made a spectacle of. He also talks about how it became a big part of his testimony.
I remember watching those interviews, on places like Jimmy Kimmel Live!, hearing Sean talk unashamedly about his faith in Jesus and his desire to wait until marriage for sex. If I could’ve high-fived or given a fist bump through the TV, I would have.
Did God call Sean (or any other Christian) to be on the show? I have no idea. I’m not God, and I don’t pretend to be. But I do know God is faithful and is in the business of redemption, and has used even a TV show like The Bachelor to shine the love of Jesus to many.
One of my favorite moments in The Engagement Plot is about three quarters through the book. Hanna’s best friend gives her some great advice, and I’ll leave you with that here:
“God’s given you a platform, whether you like it or not. Get over the fact you made mistakes. Repent and move on. It’s not about you anyway. It’s about bringing God glory.”
The Engagement Plot is available in digital and print now. Digital copies start at $8.93, grab yours here: Amazon | BN | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo. If more inspirational books will brighten your day, be sure to stop by our Everything Inspirational page.
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