Posts Tagged ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

fifty-shades-darker-photoIn order to make your Valentine’s weekend complete, cinemas will be releasing Fifty Shades Darker – the second installment in the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise.  I know, what more can Christians say about Fifty Shades of Grey?  Post-after-post was written last year as the initial installment hit screens and shattered box-office expectations (it grossed well over $500 million).  Christians rose up and covered the blogosphere with heavy admonitions urging Christians to abstained from the film, which I couldn’t agree more.

As one may wonder what more could be said about this film, I also wonder what other perversions could be written to stretch this story out for a sequel.  How could author E.L. James get darker in this next installment?  How in the world could she make a trilogy out of this?  I think the answer lies in the heart of humanity.

The Depths of Darkness

The verse that continues to run through my mind is found in Paul’s letter to the church in Rome.  As Paul is discussing those who refuse to see God as he’s revealed through creation, we read that God gave them over to their unrighteousness (1:18-28).  From there, Paul moves into a list of evils manifested in humanity’s denial of their true Creator, and he tells us it resulted in people being “inventors of evil” (1:30).  Perhaps we could say that they thought of new and creative ways to experiment with their depravity?

On the one hand, I am baffled by a sequel to a literary-porn novel, but, on the other hand, I completely understand it.  I realize that just when I think I’ve mined the depths of human depravity, I stumble upon another crevice that sinks deeper into darkness.  A place that finds new idolatry, wickedness, and perversion previously unthinkable.

Here’s a good dose of reality: Those perversions are in your heart and mine.

I have not seen Fifty Shades of Grey and I have not read the books, nor do I plan to.  I am thoroughly convinced the films are sinful and no Christian should view the movies or read the novels.  The truth is, however, I don’t need to read or view them to fill my heart with perversions – perversions are already in my heart. 

Jesus Christ was very straight-forward when he explained to his disciples that it is not what is outside of us that makes us wicked, but what is inside of us (Mark 7:14-23).  Therefore, Fifty Shades Darker would only feed the darkness that is already present in your heart and mine.

What About Young Minds?

Without a doubt, couples will flock to the darkened theaters and carry the darkness of the film into their own hearts, minds and bedrooms.  In short, they will feed the lusts that plague the hearts of every fallen human.

Here’s the thing, though…not every viewer of Fifty Shades Darker will be an adult.  It is no surprise that teenagers and pre-teens will find their way into the theater and behold erotic images their minds won’t be able to process.  They will learn sex from Fifty Shades Darker. 

So, as these curious hearts and minds wonder into the theater, what sexual “truths” will they learn?  Since many teenagers are taught about sex from Snapchat, Instagram and Google, what else will Fifty Shades Darker teach them? 

Here are just a few ways in which their hearts will be poisoned:

Pain is pleasure – I have no statistics to back this up, but I would imagine whips and handcuff sales increased after the release of the first film.  I don’t know much about the stories, but I know Christian Grey is into perverted sex acts that involve elements of torture.  Young minds will equate this with normal sexual behavior.

Sex has no boundaries – Not only will the boundaries of normal sexual decency between a man and a woman be absent, but I would imagine that marriage is nowhere to be found in this film.  Monogamy will be discouraged, sleeping around encouraged and experimenting normalized.  Young minds will be discouraged in the wrong ways, encouraged in the wrong ways and buy into a new normal that is anything but.

Darker is better – The sexual respect between husband and wife that God encourages in the marriage bed, is replaced with practices unthinkable to previous generations.  The dark sex acts of the film will merge with the sex acts most teenagers are viewing on their smartphones.  The sum total of these pornographic images will raise a generation of teenagers to think the darker they go, the better.

Monogamy is foolish – God defined sex as one man and one woman in marriage.  Anything outside of that is not sex, but sexual immorality, perversion, and fornication.  He did that not to confine our joy, but to increase our joy.  God knew that any perversion of this monogamous relationship would be foolish, but mankind is claiming God to be the fool.  Young minds will see God’s sexual ideal as old-fashioned, close-minded and just plain crazy.

Sexual entitlement – God is the Creator of all things and he is the one who gets to tell us the rules.  Our culture, however, sees itself as sovereign over sex and it can do whatever it wants with sex.  Teenagers will not learn that sex is a gift from God that should be stewarded by humans.  Rather, they will be taught that sex belongs to the individual and they can use it for their own selfish desires in whatever way they want.

It is true that we must flee sexual immorality (1 Cor. 6:18), but living in today’s culture makes that seem like an impossibility.  Sexual immorality is everywhere we look.  And, if we could look into the contours of humanity’s heart, we would find it there.  Truth be told, every human is sexually broken.

Therefore, we must pray for our hearts.  We must ask the Spirit to incline our hearts towards what is pure and good when it comes to our sexuality.  And, we must be filling our children’s hearts with biblical truth about sexuality in the midst of a culture screaming falsehoods.

Recently I bashed The Longest Ride for simply being porn for teenagers.  That is, the film doesn’t seem to contain much explicit content; therefore, they rely on the implicit – mixed with the fallen human heart – to produce sensual material teens and pre-teens can watch.

This got me to thinking about the definition of porn.  Pornography carries with it the connotation of ‘cheap’ or ‘low quality’.  However, with the release of Fifty Shades of Grey and TLR, I think we’re seeing a different quality of porn being released.  I’m not saying these movies contain any quality worthy seeing, I’m simply saying the box office has realized that there’s money to be made off of material that’s pornographic.

Porn seems to be saturating more and more of our culture and the statistics of porn consumption are staggering (One study shows that the annual consumption of pornographic videos comes to 11 videos per person on earth!!).  Because of this amount of consumption, movie-makers understand that there’s a market for this sort of thing.  Therefore, we have FSG, TLR and Magic Mike, as well as, it’s sequel being produced.  While all of these films may break away from certain conventions that apply to porn, they’re still taking certain recipes of porn.  However, a new recipe seems to involve adding a bigger budget and notable actors/actresses; making it a different quality.

It’s going to be interesting to continually see the effects of pornography on the wide-release films in the cinema.  Will we continue to see ‘quality porn’ being released at the local cineplex?  I’m confident we will.  Let me know what you think.


[NOTE: This was originally published in June of 2012, but is being re-posted to foster thoughts about the up-coming release of Fifty Shades of Grey.]

Yesterday we considered many thoughts that surrounded the movie Thor, centering on lust. Is it okay to watch a scene that highlights a certain actor’s – or actresses – physical attributes? Does it bump up too closely to lust? In my opinion, the scene from Thor was designed to make you do so, and other similar scenes do so as well.

These thoughts came about from a post I read on Facebook, the rise of female pornography addiction, and the release of Magic Mike. Here is the synopsis of the film: A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women, and make easy money. Classy! I promise to stick to some of the same concerns from yesterday and stay away from the question of, why Steven Soderbergh is continuing to throw away his career by making bad movies?

I guess this is the main question I have with the release of Magic Mike, is this a preview of what’s to come? Will films like this become common-place because of the rise in popularity of female porn?

I may be wrong, but I cannot think of a film that has marketed male nudity this explicitly, at least in recent years. The content says “brief graphic nudity”. Some may think, ‘at least it’s brief.’ Yes, but it’s still graphic. This film is dangerous for at least two reasons.

First, the cast is made up of notable actors. Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey are guys that have catered to girls idolatry of love in many romantic comedies. Now, they are going to be leaving little to the imagination in MM, but women will flock to the theaters.

Secondly, the story seems to follow your typical romantic-comedy plot. Rom-coms usually depict rank fornication, but do so in a cutesy way which sells tickets. And even though the story of MM follows male strippers, the added rom-com subplot makes this pill easier to swallow. It makes porn seem cutesy.

To me, a line from the film sums up everything. Dallas (McConaughey) is giving his fellow narcissistic strippers a pep talk and states, “You are the husband she never had.” This statement is wrong on so many levels, but let’s just pick one.

Husbands and wives make a vow before God that death will be the only thing to separate them. Because of this covenant, the man commits to the wife and visa versa, no matter what. In light of the current discussion, this means the wife holds the husband as her standard of beauty – not some stripper.

And this is the true danger of films like this, creating lustful covetousness of a fantasy. You see, many men and women can remain in a marriage, while fulfilling fantasies through movie stars and make-believe characters. The new, exceedingly popular, pornographic novels Fifty Shades of Grey have proved that. Walt Mueller, President of Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, recently wrote an article about the literary porn phenomena. Read what he witnessed at the book table at Costco one afternoon:

A younger woman was holding the book and pondering the purchase. She had an inquisitive and slightly guilty look on her face. An older women standing nearby happened to see the same inquisitive and guilty look and decided to engage the younger lady in conversation. . . . a conversation that pushed the latter to a tipping point. “Thinking about reading it?”, the older woman asked. “Yes, but I hear it’s a little dirty,” the younger woman replied. At that point, the young woman’s husband appeared behind her with their cart. Noticing her husband was now privy to the conversation, the young woman turned a little red and muttered something about her husband showing up. . . as if the conversation needed to come to an end. She looked like a guilty kid who had been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. The older woman. . . probably in her mid-60s by my estimation. . . looked at her, gave her a little wink, and said, “It’s ten dollars well spent.” With that, the young woman placed the book in her cart. . . . and I watched her exchange a sly little smile with her husband. That was an interesting mentoring moment that says a lot about who we are and what we’re becoming as a culture [read the full article here].

One can never point out the deceitfulness of our sin enough. Whether it’s Thor with his shirt off, Magic Mike struttin’ his stuff, Twilight vampires glistening in the sun, or new explorations in bondage from Fifty Shades of Grey, we must be cautious of toying with our sin. Remember, sin wants to destroy your marriage, lead you down a path of adultery, and, ultimately, drag you to hell, so be wary of the lie it’s telling. Should you go see Magic Mike? Will it help you appreciate your husband? Will it cause you to lust? You might not have to search your heart too long on this one.

grey26f-1-webThe trailer to this movie was released last week, so I figured some thoughts would be appropriate. I thought about coming up with ‘fifty thoughts’ for Fifty Shades of Grey in order to have a catchy title, but I couldn’t think of a greater waste of time pondering fifty thoughts about a filthy piece of trash like this film (can you tell where this post is going?).

From the outset, let me go ahead and tell you that I have not read the book and I will not see the movie.  I know many would use this to discredit me, but I think this argument is no longer valid because of a little thing called The Internet.  You can read and research a whole lot about something without having to read the book or watch the movie.  Without a doubt, one gets a greater understanding of something by actually experiencing it, but when depth and substance are lacking from a story there’s not much to experience anyway.  So, here are five thoughts:

  1. Scripture Alone:  Scripture begins with, “In the beginning God” [Gen. 1:1] and many have said these are the four most significant words in history.  They tell us many things, but one thing they tell us is the fact that God is in charge.  He’s always been in existence, he was before all things, he created all things out of nothing, and he dictates what his creation will do.  When  it comes to sex, we don’t get to do what we want.  Therefore, Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele are spitting in the face of God and perverting his invention.  What does that say for those of you who’ve read the book?
  2. Faith Alone:  Because of the fall of mankind, we place our faith in everything but God.  We place our faith in money.  We place our faith in food.  We place our faith in friends.  We place our faith in sex.  Now, nothing is wrong with enjoying any one of these in a proper perspective, but a misplaced faith ends up in misplaced worship – God alone deserves that.  Fifty Shades of Grey, however, makes sex the ultimate thing and worships it.  I will say that the story seems to accurately portray what happens when anyone or anything receives the worship that is due to God – perversion.  Grey is so obsessed with sex it becomes something demented.  Sadly, many who have read the book have gone down this demented path and have adopted these practices.  Even more sadly, husbands and wives will go see this movie together and will worship this ideal and become more discontent with one another.
  3. Grace Alone:  God doesn’t owe us a thing.  The fact that you’re breathing right now is solely because God allows it.  When all of life is grace, it’s difficult to draw attention to one aspect to appreciate.  However, sex communicates a great deal about God’s grace.  The simple fact that God gives us any pleasure is remarkable.  We sinned against him.  He would be perfectly just to make all of our food bland, remove any beauty from all creation, take away emotions, the list goes on-and-on.  One clear thing Scripture communicates about sex is that God commands husbands and wives to make it a common practice – God is so harsh. [1 Cor. 7:5]  Again, God would have been just to make sex the most boring, laborious chore – but he decided to make it pleasurable.  Christian and Anastasia (as well as the readers) see sex as something deserved for their own self-centered motives.
  4. Christ Alone:  As strange as this may sound to some, sex communicates a lot about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Once again, God designed sex as properly practiced between one man and one woman in the context of marriage [Gen. 2:15-25].  This marital union points us to our union with Christ.  Therefore, whenever there is sexual distortion, there is a distortion of the gospel.  Fifty Shades of Grey distorts the gospel of Jesus Christ for your own sinful fantasies.  Why in the world would any Christian seek to see a movie that deliberately distorts the gospel for their own entertainment?
  5. Glory to God Alone:  God is Creator and his fingerprints are all over creation.  The creation – because of God’s fingerprints – displays glory because God is glorious.  Therefore, each of us are glorious in various ways, but we turn into glory thieves because of our sin.  We attempt to highjack the glory that is due to God.  E.L. James (who wrote the novel), as well as, the actors and filmmakers are attempting to steal glory from God’s creation.  Whether it’s in the act of sex, the naked bodies of actors, or the selfish fame they are all longing for, Fifty Shades of Grey illustrates selfish people pursuing their own glory.

There are some books and movies that should simply be avoided and Fifty Shades of Grey is easily one of those.  Unfortunately, I’ve heard many Christians are reading, or read, the books and I know many more will see the movie.  While I know there is a character named ‘Christian’ in the movie, those displaying true Christian character will abstain.