Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey. . . . Deconstructing the Buzz. . . or, What's a Christian To Do???

The chatting-behind-closed-doors about the latest cultural literary phenomena is making its way out into the open. Yesterday's blog post on that heretofore dirty little secret known as the best-selling Fifty Shades of Grey generated loads of responses (phone calls, emails, comments, im's, a Skype session, water-cooler talk here at the CPYU office, etc.) reporting on completed and ongoing conversations regarding the book. The content and passion of those conversations indicate that there's disagreement and even confusion out there regarding reading the book and assimilating or using the book's content in one's life. While all the buzz about Fifty Shades of Grey might be unique to women at this point, don't for a minute think that men are immune to the same kinds of issues. (Haven't you ever heard men justify the use of pornography as a "marital aid"????). And if we really want to, we can reason away our faith and justify almost anything without even knowing that's what we're doing. . . and I'm wondering if that's not happening here. My conversations with some confused/concerned youth workers who know the book is circulating among youth group moms leaves me wondering what's really going on.

This morning I've been trying to sort out the response to yesterday's post. I can't help but think that we all need to take a deep breath and think about Abraham Kuyper's amazingly-accurate summary statement regarding the Lordship of Christ over all of life, including our thoughts, our reading, and our sexuality. It serves as a helpful and ever-present reminder for me in every nook and cranny of my own life. Kuyper said this: “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, 'Mine!'” Then, we need to think about what's Christ's emphatic claim means for how we engage with Fifty Shades of Grey (or any other book, film, TV show, etc. for that matter) and those trying to sort our their own response.

Today, I'd love to hear from you regarding the buzz around Fifty Shades of Grey. We shouldn't at all be surprised by the book's draw. But is there something surprising about the book's draw among Christian women. . . both young and old? What is happening or not happening in their lives that makes the book so attractive? Have we failed to teach discernment and if so, what do we need to do to reverse this trend? Am I making something out of nothing? Go ahead. . . . comment.

I'm not so sure that the biggest problem here is the book Fifty Shades of Grey. This kind of stuff has always existed and in a broken world, and sadly it will continue to exist. Our greater concern should be in regards to the widespread appeal and the ready acceptance, and even the willingness to engage in secretly reading the book. . . an indication that the reader knows that there's something that's just not right about what they're doing. We're now talking about mainstream stuff. This isn't some dark corner or fringe. And as one who studies youth culture I wonder. . . . what will middle school-aged readers do with this? Or, what will this do to middle school-aged readers. The most pressing issue is the heart that's drawn to and shaped by this stuff.

One last question. . . does anyone know why the self-centered and sexually dominant main character was named "Christian"?

Here's an interesting little clip to get you thinking. . . .

7 comments:

KTElltt said...

"The most pressing issue is the heart that's drawn to and shaped by this stuff."

You hit the nail on the head in that one sentence. This thing could be argued all day long, and probably will be. At the end of the day, though, we wrestle most deeply with and justify that which would show us that something is wrong with OUR hearts.

Ian said...

Philppians 4:8

If Christ is Lord, and we belong to Him, Body and Soul in life and in death as the Heidelberg Catechism reminds us, then there is nothing that is not under his sway.

The above verse must be the test that we apply to the things that we let into our minds.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I admit it. I am serious. Please help me out here. I am totally baffled. I cannot for the life of me see any justification for a Christian woman(or man) reading these books. What in the world are they using as their justification?

Jolene @ The Alabaster Jar said...

Is the Enemy luring us in on this book? Be careful little eyes what you read!http://www.joleneengle.org/2012/05/be-careful-little-eyes-what-you-read.html

Pearl said...

"The most pressing issue is the heart that's drawn to and shaped by this stuff." I wholeheartedly agree.

I'm concerned for the middle school child who comes from an abusive situation and carries baggage into their adult sexual life. Reading this darker stuff can be a sign that it is condoned.

Maybe it's just curiosity that tempts the Youth Group mom into peaking inside. But, curiosity is also condoning the book through money. The most sensitive place to hit the pornographers (whether images or print), isn't between the legs, it's in their wallet. If editors see success in gaining a female audience through this kind of writing, we've just hit the tip of the iceberg.

I've written a post with similar topic at: http://www.oysterbed7.com/2012/05/libido-boundaries.html

Amanda Lowe Schulze said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. As a Christian woman, I have been contemplating whether it's "okay" for me to read this book. Logically, I know that if I'm so much as questioning it, it's not a good idea.

Mallory said...

I'm just going to share some verses from Philippians.

7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

My husband pointed to these verses early in our marriage and said to me "You don't want me to look at porn for a good reason, right? Well, what's the difference between me looking at porn and you READING porn?" Completely changed the way I viewed books with sex scenes in them. God created a woman to be more emotional and more in her head about sexual things. Men are more visual. By reading these books, you are establishing a sinful thought life. Which, I personally think, women struggle with more than they're willing to admit. You take a book with sex scenes, where a woman can put HERSELF into the female lead and it can create lots of problems.

I don't understand how a Christian woman could look at this book and go "Sure, this seems like something I should read."