I’m Sick Of Fifty Shades Of Grey

BattleofthesexesNo, I haven’t read the book or seen the movie. But pretty much wherever I turn, someone is commenting or writing about it. I’ve ignored most of the blog posts and comments. The nightly news continues to report the box office success of the movie, and mentions it for who-knows-what-other-reasons, though, so it’s hard to be oblivious to the phenomenon.

I’ve seen comments from some, shocked that Christians would even consider watching the movie or reading the book. Again, I put on my blinders and ignored the issue. It’s hard for me to imagine Christians walking into a movie knowing full well that they’d be seeing explicit sex, and not just the regular titillating copulation scenes. This movie was about sex involving bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism, better known as BDSM.

But now we have to talk about it. Endlessly. Some decry the moral collapse of our society that allows such a movie to make it to the big screen as if it is just any other film for adults.

Others blame a patriarchal society for creating the atmosphere in which this kind of book and movie could reach such a popular level. Still others apparently blame the rejection of patriarchy for this “edgy,” explicitly sexual movie.

The whole thing is actually a symptom, not a disease. It’s evidence, as if we needed more, that God is giving us over to our own desires.

I don’t have to see the movie or read the book to know that the relationship this story shows is contrary to what God desires for us. Scripture talks about a husband and wife submitting to one another, about the wife being subject to her husband “as is fitting in the Lord” (Colossians 3:18), about the husband showing his wife honor “as a fellow heir of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7b), about both of them being “harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit” (1 Peter 3:8).

The greatest problem with a movie or book that puts bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism into the public arena as if this is a normal option for couples, is that it contradicts God’s word. It sells a lie.

And it’s no surprise that this lie is once again an attack on the proper relationship God intended for marriage. Marriage is a unique picture of God’s relationship with His people. He, the head, sacrificing himself for the Church He loves, even as the husband is to be the person in his home taking the responsible position as he unselfishly gives to his wife to express his love for her.

It’s the most brilliant, beautiful symbiotic relationship ever conceived. If only we humans didn’t think there was something we could do to make it better—like emphasizing a wife’s submission over and about the husband’s love for her. Or like tossing out a wife’s submission as archaic, or any number of other changes in what God told us was His standard for marriage.

And now we have the contradiction of His standard, shown on the big screen for all to consider as an option. I don’t pretend to understand it.

All I know is, God doesn’t let us down. His ways are true and right and good. They lead to joy and health and wholeness. Taking a path that’s headed in the opposite direction of God’s way can only lead to sorrow. How could it be anything else.

The prophet Isaiah warned Judah what going their own way would bring:

As they have chosen their own ways,
And their soul delights in their abominations,
So I will choose their punishments
And will bring on them what they dread.
Because I called, but no one answered;
I spoke, but they did not listen.
And they did evil in My sight
And chose that in which I did not delight (Isaiah 66:3b-4).

The crazy thing is, there are good marriages with a husband and a wife who both believe God’s word and work to follow what He says. Those are the stories that are joyful and uplifting (here’s one by InsanityBytes: “My Invisible Husband”).

These stories don’t get made into movies any more, though. Our society wants more thrills; a greater, more explicit, visceral experience. Here’s what one writing instructor said was part of the success of Fifty Shades Of Grey:

Once the reader/viewer is taken into that world, it all becomes astoundingly VICARIOUS.  It takes us somewhere we haven’t been before, to which will (for some) never go, or (for some) you desire to go, and for others, are afraid to go yet curious about, and and when you get there it is a literal, visceral, passionate experience, as shown the story’s “red room of pain” scenes. (Larry Brooks,“What You May be Missing about ’50 Shades of Grey’ “

That’s what our pleasure-seeking culture has come down to. We want relationships like the roller-coaster ride instead of the ocean cruise. We want the X-Games version of “love” instead of a team rowing in tandem.

But underneath our search for some sexual thrill greater than the last one is this unspoken belief that God’s way simply isn’t good enough. And that’s the real problem. People going to watch kinky sex is simply a symptom.

So, yes, I’m sick of hearing about this story, more so because of what it means for our society, because of how it shows our disregard for God and His word and way.

May God have mercy on us. He can bring revival, which we desperately need. He can forgive and wash us clean. He can restore a right spirit within us. May He be at work in our culture to bring us back to Him.

The Proverbs 31 Woman

woman-praying-840879-mThe Bible is really ahead of the times. Some people think of it as a bunch of fairy tales, others that it “contains” truth. The Christian understands that the Bible is God breathed, even as Man himself was God breathed in the beginning. So it should come as no surprise that the Bible addresses things for which we need guidance in the twenty-first century.

I doubt if the people back in Solomon’s day were engaged in gender wars or that there was a lot of confusion about the role of men or of women. Yet here at the end of Proverbs is this amazing chapter detailing attributes of “an excellent wife.”

I remember a good number of years ago that the Proverbs 31 woman was who we women were all studying to become. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be excellent in our role in the home?

But then someone—I forget who—came along with a counter. This new view sort of mocked the Proverbs 31 woman by making a caricature of her getting up early, buying property, making the family’s clothes, procuring their food, and on and on. The way this person laid it out, it was so obvious that NO woman could ever do all the stuff the Proverbs 31 woman was supposed to do.

And yet, fast forward, a few decades and lo and behold, women in our culture are expected to do all the jobs the Proverbs 31 woman was doing.

So is Scripture giving us a blueprint for how to live? Not in a legalistic way—and that may have been the problem with the earlier approach. Nevertheless, it does portray women in a positive light—not as drones or slaves trailing their men by ten paces with heads covered and faces veiled.

Instead, the specifics mentioned about the relationship with this wife and her husband are two: he trusts her and she does him good, not evil.

The rest of the chapter details things she does to care for her household, to work as a businesswoman in the community, to help those in need, to be prepared for the future, and to pass on to others what she has learned.

Only toward the end does her relationship with God surface, but it appears to me to be the foundation of all else:

Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates. (vv 28-31)

The recognition she gets from her husband and her children, augmented by the praise she receives from others because of her works of kindness, generosity, and all the rest, are a direct result of the fact that she fears the LORD.

By implication, she also is not wasting time on being a charming person or trying to enhance her beauty. Those things are deceitful—here today, gone tomorrow. But the qualities of character and the service to her family and community—those things last.

The bottom line is this: in today’s gender wars, the Proverbs 31 woman gives us a pretty great model to pattern our lives after. She is hard working, focused on others, and motivated by her reverence for God.

For these things she’s called excellent and she receives praise from the person who she’s closest to: her husband. Her children will also express their gratitude for her, and all the good she’s done others will reflect favorably on her.

Proverbs 31 is not a schedule of a woman’s day, as some might have tried to make it in the past, but it certainly outlines the principles that can guide a woman through the rough gender-war waters of today.

In truth, it’s not so different from love God and love your neighbor—just a little more specific.

Published in: on February 5, 2015 at 5:50 pm  Comments (2)  
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