Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fifty Shades of Compromise

There's this book. Maybe you've heard about it.

It's called Fifty Shades of Grey. It is the newest bandwagon fiction trilogy on the market.

At my local club wherehouse store last week, I saw stacks and stacks. There must have been 100 copies, showing how prepared a major store wants to be for the landslide of buyers they're expecting.

I heard it talked about on morning news. I heard it mentioned on the radio. It's being discussed in womens' chatter all over town. I've heard it's even all over Instagram. Movie rights are already arranged. And why all the fuss?

Because it's racy. Very, very racy. I'd use the "p" word, but I'd rather avoid hits on my blog from those who are seeking such material online. It's not surprising to me, at all, that a book of this nature exists. Naughty books have been on the market for centuries. Sin, in it's various forms in our culture, is not surprirsing to me.

But I was surprised to hear that some Christians, women who are daughters of the King of Kings, are reading it.

I'm not going to belabor the point, or go into what exactly this book is all about. Honestly, I don't want to know the details. I was tempted to flip through it at the wherehouse store, but I stopped myself. I remembered such things are not for me, for God's people. That is not to say that I'm not all for steaminess in my own bedroom, with my own husband. In fact, God is all for it too. But He is not all for me reading about other people's sexual affairs for entertainment, fiction or otherwise.

You can gather it's general content from the buzz. Amazon's summary for the first book in the Fifty Shades triology ends with this telling statement:

"Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever."

I don't doubt that it's true. Christians should ask themselves if the content of erotic fiction is what they want to obsess over, be possessed with, and have etched in their memories. Because the Bible is pretty clear on this kind of thing. Ephesians chapter 5 says:

 "Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 

Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret."

(vv.3-12, NLT) 

I don't take God's words here lightly. As Christians, we are set apart and we are to live our lives worthy of our calling, which means those lives should look different from the lives of those who are not following Jesus. One of my good friends shared that her Christian friend recommended the book to her. Full of grace, her answer was, "No, I'm not going to read it, and I don't think you should be either."

I so admire my friend's courage. She is an example to us all. Like her, if you call yourself a woman of God, if you are seeking to align yourself with His values and His priorities in this world, if you have any witness whatsoever with non-Christians (which you undoubtedly do), don't read it. Just don't. Such things have no place among God's people.

And if you're feeling brave like my friend, in grace and love, hold your sisters in Christ accountable too.
{Philippians 4:8 print found here by blossom & vine}

For a more thorough review of the 50 Shades series from a Christian perspective,
check out Erin's excellent post here.

In response to some comments, I wrote a follow up post with some clarifications here.
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45 comments:

  1. Thank you!! So glad to see someone standing up against this book. I didn't really know much about it till I was getting a haircut a couple weeks ago and over heard some women talking about it at the salon. Then I started seeing it pop up all over twitter and blogs.

    It's true, books like these have no place in our lives. As Christian women we need to be set apart. Thanks for reminding us of this truth! :)

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  2. Thank you for this! I have been quite surprised at the number of women I have heard who are reading it - that I never thought would read something quite like it.

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  3. I don't really know anything about these books other than the general consensus is they are very racy. I think these words you've shared here are the truth spoken in love with grace and can be applied to so many things we let ourselves fall into that we should have no part of.

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  4. thanks for this, leslie. i admire YOUR courage for posting this! every woman needs to read this post. like, now. : D

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  5. I'm sad at how quickly followers of Jesus exchange His glory to act like those in the world. I love that you wrote this post, Leslie. Thanks for being a voice for God's truth. I pray God uses your words to challenge and convict.

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  6. I didn't know anything about these until this weekend when my aunt told me she was reading them and what they are, and also that they are poorly written. But she is still reading them. All I could think was, what a waste of the time God had given me. You nailed it my friend. We are meant for better things.xoxo

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  7. Thanks for this! I have been feeling very torn as I did not know much about the content but have been hearing all the buzz...thanks for your input - I've been set straight!
    I'm a new follower of your blog & just love it! =) Thanks for your transparency & your heart! <3

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  8. i just want to add my .02 on this. i think a lot of christians try to be "relevant" or don't want to look prudish.

    but - as i'm learning - there is SO MUCH LIBERATION in self-control. people think there's freedom in being able to say "yes" to everything, but it's so much more liberating to be able to say "yes" OR "no" to things.

    anyway. i've noticed a few blogs i follow are writing about this series.. i'll pass. :)

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  9. Just stumbled on your blog today. Great post. I have been amazed at how much reading even fiction can affect your view point on the world. And how little people think it affects them. Again great post

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  10. Thank you for your post! You are a brave Christian woman and we need more of this, rather than praise for smut!

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  11. I hope it's ok, but I want to share this post. :0)

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  12. a to the men. love you sisterfriend.

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  13. amen, leslie.
    thank you for taking such a stand on this!
    so encouraging!!!
    xo

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  14. Leslie, isn't it sad we live in a world where you're considered brave for speaking out about what's right? But it's true, you are singing the truth. It's difficult being a Christian writer, especially as a male. But it's women like you that give me great hope to add take away value to books, not just simple pleasure.

    Thanks.

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  15. Very well written. I myself was tempted to leaf through the book but immediately thought, I'm not the type of person that is going to read that anymore - I'm a Christian now. Earlier in my life, I might have picked that up and read it. But I immediately realized that THAT kind of book isn't going to do anything for me positively or for the Lord either. It isn't going to help me grow to be a better person.
    I actually read a bad secular review about it (or heard it) that it was really to violent anyway. Women are against violence in relationships and this book showcases it.
    Honestly, I think some people just try to be "cool" by reading it.

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  16. Amen & AMEN! Jesus should be our obsession. It is so easy to be sucked in to the lures of the enemy. He is against us. Things like these books have no place. NO place in our homes. Thank you for this.

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  17. GREAT GREAT POST!!!!! I see so many bloggers who say they are Christians reading this book! It will not be read in our house!!

    p.s. I love that print!! & I'm sharing this post!

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  18. Never even heard of this one, but I'm never really on trend with books either. Thanks for the warning.

    The other day I borrowed a book from the library and got about half-way through and began realizing it felt defiling. So I exercised some self control and took it back to the library before I could change my mind. It was freeing. :)

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  19. I'm an avid book worm, and started the first in the trilogy before I had heard about it on any social network sites. I got half way through and threw it away. I'm not religious, but I do believe that some things are not fit for any decent person to read, and that was one of them. If someone tells you that reading it will change your life; they're wrong. I don't remember a single thing I read, it was that forgettable. I'm glad to see other people who are against the 50 Shades bandwagon.

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  20. yep!!!
    we have to hold each other accountable. when we see someone falling we need to point them to the King.
    great post friend.

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  21. THANK YOU for posting this! This is a perfect response to a book that I have felt pressured to read more than once.

    As believers we have to encourage women not to read this, and I am so happy to see someone speak truth about this kind of book.

    xo

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  22. Emily Woodside5/23/12, 11:52 AM

    A girl at work sent me electronic copies of the books. I have not even begun to read them because I do not feel right about it. I haven't had a reason to or a need to. When she started telling me what they were and what happens in them, I was actually embarassed.

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  23. Very well put, amen!
    Stopping by from Call me blessed :)

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  24. hey leslie :) this is such a great post. i have to say though that just last night i did pick up this book at b & n and flip through. really why i did it was because i have heard so much buzz about it wanted to see if it was really THAT bad. i feel like as Christians we can sometimes take a stand against something and not even really know the whole picture. but i can say after flipping through just a few pages, i was totally disgusted. from the first time i read that scripture about steering clear of sexual sin because it's a sin against your own body, i've totally understood that. it is. sexual sin is something that wraps itself in your brain. i don't consider myself a prude. i'm not opposed to a margarita by the pool or dropping a swear word here and there, but there is a line...and i would consider myself "prudish" when it comes to books like this. thanks for speaking up. :)

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  25. Very well said and very much needed to be said. Thank you for being bold.... It's really our reasonable service as believers and may we all follow your lead.

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  26. Amen. Thanks for sharing a warning and supporting scripture.

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  27. yes yes yes! it breaks my heart to see christian women devouring this book and defending it! yuck!

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  28. Amen. Praising the Lord for a bold sister in Christ.

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  29. AMEN! {can't have too many of them!!!}

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  30. Thank you for your post on this. I needed this!

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  31. LOVE that you are holding fast to your Christian values. But your last sentence is what stood out to me:

    "And if you're feeling brave like my friend, in grace and love, hold your sisters in Christ accountable too."

    Judgement is a very slippery slope. If we call our sisters in Christ out for reading this book, do we also call them out each time they engage in gossip, tell "white lies" to spare someone's feelings, abuse their bodies with sugar, drink too many glasses of wine at a party, and oggling the "hot delivery guy" when they are married? Yikes - when our friends tell us that their husbands watched "Skinemax" or looked at a provocative pictures in a magazine (or heck on the cover of some) do we call those husbands up to "call them out"? Sometimes it is hard to discern that is a "splinter" and what is a "plank". Judgement is its own "grey area".

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  32. What an awesome post! I have heard so much about this book too but have not had any desire to go down that path either. Kudos to you!!

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  33. Thank you for posting such a wonderfully written post! I too have been shocked who I see has been reading these & even some of my closest friends have been "sucked-in" and laugh at me when I express how ungodly & immoral I believe such things to be.
    It was so refreshing to read your post!

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  34. I won't read it because not only do I have no interest in reading "P", I also think morally what she has done as a so called writer is wrong. It's fan fiction, which is essentially ripping off someone else's work, story line, characters, etc and just putting her spin on them. Last I heard that was called plagiarism. So not only is she writing smut, but it's basically stolen content that she put her smut spin on. Plus, from reviews by people I actually trust, it is just horribly written! And of course, we as Christian women shouldn't read it anyhow ;) Just thought I'd give another view point on why women should stay away :)

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  35. I needed to read this post; as a woman who's been tempted to pick up that series, this has been a blessed conviction. Thank you!

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  36. This truly resonates with me!

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  37. Great post, just discovered your blog today. I made the decided a few years ago not to read filth like that. You know what they say garbage in garbage out. I want everything I read and do to be a reflection of God. Keep up the great work. God bless.. :)

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  38. Excellent commentary on a 'secular' trend that is trending right into the church! Thank you for speaking to this so well.

    s

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  39. high five! thank you for speaking truth into this generation even if it's unpopular. we're not called to be popular..we are called to be holy (set apart).

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  40. thank you for sharing such a great response to this new pop culture "it" book. xo

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