Friday, February 13, 2015

Let's Talk About . . . 50 Shades of Grey

Ladies (and guys to, for that matter!), we need to talk about 50 Shades of Grey.

It seems like my social media feeds have blown up with comments and articles and other blog posts about what we should think or feel or do about the movie that releases this weekend. I hesitated to say anything because I don't feel that I have anything new or particularly profound to add to the discussion. However, in the event that YOUR social media feeds haven't blown up in the same way that mine have, I felt like I should say something.

Friends, I am begging you, pleading with you . . . PLEASE DO NOT GO SEE THIS MOVIE. I'm not out to wreck your weekend or judge you or make you feel guilty about your curiosities of such a talked-about movie. No. I say this only because I care about you.

If you don't know anything about the books or the movie, great. You can skip this post. But if you do and you're curious or you're thinking about going to see the movie this weekend or wondering if there's really so much wrong with it because it's just for entertainment after all, can I just remind you of a few things?

Love does NOT involve stalking a woman. Love is NOT manipulation. Love is NOT exerting authority and influence to get your own way. Love does NOT pervert God's good gift of sex and twisting it to suit only one person. Love is NOT about domination. Love is NOT even only about sex. Love is NOT violent—ever . . . even if there is a "contract" in place. (And just for the record, women and children sold into the sex trade often have contracts of some sort as well.)

The Bible says this about love:
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (1 Cor. 13:4-7)
Does that sound like whatever you've read or heard about Christian Grey? No? I didn't think so.

There is nothing good about this movie, and nothing good can or will come from you watching it. Again, I am begging you: PLEASE DO NOT GO SEE THIS MOVIE.

Lest you think I'm just trying to ruin your plans for a romantic night with your guy or a fun weekend with the girls, may I offer a few alternatives?
  • Looking for a romantic movie without all the garbage? What about Old Fashioned? It releases this weekend, and looks absolutely adorable! (I love this trailer!)
  • Or perhaps you could show your honey how much you love him and offer to go see a movie that HE wants to see! Perhaps American Sniper or Unbroken would appeal.
  • Maybe you choose to set the scene for a romantic date night or a fun girls night by staying home and having a movie marathon of some favorites. Order pizza, pop popcorn, and watch one movie right after the other. Or you can catch up on one of your favorite shows . . . Downton Abbey anyone?!
  • What if you just turned the TV off altogether? Go grab a hot chocolate and take a drive. Or snuggle on the couch and just catch up on life. I found this list of 20 questions to help you reflect on your year. It's just February, so it's not too late to do a little reflection as a couple or a family.
  • Tired of sitting around after a long week at work? Take a hike. Play on a playground. Go roller skating or bowling. Mini golf anyone?
Who says you have to be super romantic on Valentine's Day?! Not me! Isn't the point just to enjoy time together? So grab your valentine and savor the day . . .  and celebrate your love for one another.

A lot of people who are way smarter than me have had a lot to say about this movie over the past few weeks. Here are a few of the articles and posts that have been extremely helpful in discerning how to biblically think and express my thoughts on this movie.

"Sin that looks and feels like pleasure is only a poor shadow of something much more intense and satisfying." -- Marshall Segal, Desiring God, "Fifty Shades of Nay: Sin Is a Needle, Not a Toy"

"It is a complete lie that going to see the movie will help your marriage. And an even bigger lie is that it won’t affect you it all. Because it will. The things that you see cannot be unseen. The feelings that you experience from being entertained by those scenes cannot be unfelt. And if marriages aren’t under enough pressure already, going to watch pornography is only throwing gasoline on relationships experiencing fire from all directions." -- Becky Thompson, Scissortail Silk, "Christian Women and Christian Grey"

Christians shouldn’t try to “redeem” 50 Shades of Grey. We should not get cutesy and advertize a new sermon series on “50 Shades of Grace.” We should not give both art and holiness a bad name by thinking that somehow something as dark as 50 Shades is worth viewing or worth reviewing. -- Kevin DeYoung, The Gospel Coalition, "No Grey Area"

" 'Pornography is anything we use for sexual titillation, gratification or escape – whether it was intended for that purpose or not.' . . . Have you considered the fact that when you view pornography you are complicit in sexual trafficking? Yes, whether the individuals depicted are actors or real people, or if they are appearing willingly or by coercion, your presence, attention, and payment all combine to make you a willing consumer and market expander of the ever-growing and always exploitative pornography industry." -- Walt Mueller, Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, "Fifty Shades Today . . . A Plea to Christian Parents and Youth Workers"

"The bottom line: the ideas of Fifty Shades of Grey are dangerous, and can lead to confusion and poor decisions about love. There are vast differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships, but the movie blurs those differences, so you begin to wonder: what’s healthy in a relationship? What’s sick? There are so many shades of grey…I’m not sure. Listen, it’s your safety and future we’re talking about here. There’s no room for doubt: an intimate relationship that includes violence, consensual or not, is completely unacceptable." -- Miriam Grossman, MD, "A Psychiatrist's Letter to Young People about Fifty Shades of Grey"

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