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. . . .