(NY Times On Religion) Novels Pillorying the Black Church Find Readers in the Pews

Kimberla Lawson Roby stood near the pulpit of a Baptist church in this Atlanta suburb one Saturday in late August, giving her testimony. She spoke of infidelities, mistresses, blackmail, out-of-wedlock children and extravagant spending. She did so as neither minister or worshiper, but rather as a novelist telling scores of rapt fans about her fictional characters.

…for the past 13 years …[she has been] writing a series of novels built around an African-American pastor, the Rev. Curtis Black. The series, now numbering 10 books, has sold well upward of one million copies, and several titles have made best-seller lists.

Besides being a commercial phenomenon, Ms. Roby’s books represent a theological and cultural one.

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