Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey

has anyone heard of this book? it's new and i've seen a few things floating around on the internet about it. i was talking with one of my friends yesterday who said that a book club she knew of was about to start it.  so in light of the recent 'book crazes' including Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games, I though I'd just google it to see what it's all about. and what i hit upon was not just disheartening but downright offensive, perverted, and sad. it's considered to be what's called "mommy porn"...and this label was not given by the Christian realm but the secular one. Even they recognize that we (as women) tend to gravitate to the 'perfect romantic fantasy' craftily construed within our sinful hearts & minds. I read an overview of the book here and a worldly review of the book here (not for children. but it does illustrate that even the world recognizes it to be 'hardcore lady porn' and a grittier version of the "Twilight-style" literary genre so quickly becoming fascinatingly addictive to female readers of all ages). my friend (mentioned above) also said she researched it to find out if it was something she wanted to read and discovered that it contained elements of sexual bondage, manipulation, and other things I'm not going to mention on my blog. i think you get the point. for most books, it's probably wise to at least read the cliff notes before you write a 'review' of it but for this kind of book, it seemed pretty clear that this was not beneficial for my thought life, my emotions, my marriage, my walk with the Lord. 

now before you think i'm just stomping on my little soapbox about godly living, please consider that the Bible kinda makes no bones about what it means to pursue holiness. it's not to 'better ourselves', to make us look better in the eyes of others, or to gain 'proper standing' before God or greater approval from Him. Now, it's about a love relationship with the Savior and a growing desire to live with His face filling our gaze. when it becomes about US, it's called 'legalism' - a gross stench in the Father's nose. But when we are walking by the Spirit, in the Word, and lifting up our hands in worship unto the Risen King, we don't want to grieve Him. We don't want to dabble in the dark evils of worldliness. We don't want to fill our hearts & minds with junk like this. yes, i said it - that book, from all appearances, is 'junk' for our souls. I don't have to read it to figure that out - just check out the link above and i think you would agree with me. perhaps this post is going to offend some of you who have read it and found it captivating or you're considering reading it due to its growing hype. I want to lovingly challenge you to just pause a moment and pray about it. that's all. not telling anyone what to do - not my place. only the Holy Spirit can do that...but are we listening? 


below are a few lines from the book review link above that gave me goosebumps:

"a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating"

a) don't we have enough tragedy daily occurring within our world at the hands of selfish men who sodomize, victimize, enslave, rape, and ruin women because these men have perfected the art of being alluring, manipulative, and "beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating"? i mean, really. do we need to read about it as entertainment, too? i think not.

b) kinda reminds me of the enemy of our souls ~ Satan. the Word says he's clothed in light and has the appearance of an angel. He also loves to play intimidating mind games with us if we're not on guard. Proverbs 4:23 says, "above all else, guard your hearts for it is the wellspring of life."

"romance, suspense, erotica"

a) romance? no, lust. suspense, perhaps. erotica? what does that mean? i didn't even want to type it in my google search engine so as not to run the risk of porn sites popping up. again, i think we all get the point. 

b) it bothers me that this author (or whoever put this website together) used the word, "romance". it breaks my heart that so many young women have no clue what true romance is. the truest romance begins with a wooing of a wandering heart by a Man who proudly wears two deep scars in His palms. click HERE to read more about it. the shadowy expression of this romance is then represented in all its earthly glory between a man and a woman covenanted before a Holy God to love one another at their best, at their worst, at their lowest, through the joy & pain of life, with grace, forgiveness, steadfast loyalty, sweet friendship, and faithful (Christ-based!) commitment. Romance is the older gentleman i once heard a pastor speak of who would get up at 4am every morning, drive the long distance to his wife's nursing home with his Bible, candy, and a brush in hand. Reading to her, singing over her, stroking her hand, brushing her fine snowy hair, crying inside at her lost eyes looking straight thru him. Loving her to the very end even when she had long forgotten who he was, what he had once meant to her....yup, that's true romance gals. let's not forget it. 

Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

 a) demons? no thank you. need to control? again, why do we need to read a fiction novel about a man with an insatiable need to control for entertainment. we have to be honest with ourselves and ask, 'why?' and 'will this benefit my emotions? my relationships (specifically marriage)? my heart??

b) daring? that's not daring. that's simply giving into our sinful passions & desires - being daring is crying out to a holy God who made us and passionately loves us because of His Son's perfect sacrifice on the Cross. being 'daring' is saying 'no' to elicit passions, to temptation, to affairs. that's true dare...

c) secrets? the Word says that the evil ways of man are cloaked in darkness (paraphrase). Evil directly relates to isolation, secrets, deceit, darkness.

d) her own dark desires? again, our hearts are dark & sinful enough and desperately in need of Christ's continual presence, in need of daily repentance/forgiveness. do we really need to concern ourselves with reading about a fictional character's "dark desires"? 

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

these lines speak for themselves. got chills when i read them for the first time.

Christian Grey

i may be wrong but, somehow, i don't think the book's main antagonist "Christian" was given that name by accident. I'm going to take it one step further...switch his names around and you get "Grey Christian". now granted, the color "gray" is spelled with an "a" but think about it...if we are honest w/ ourselves, we are fine w/ being "gray Christians" ~ not white, not black, content to fade into the background, to kinda dabble w/ the world, to be comfortable. Jesus said in Revelation 3:16 ~
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

He's not looking for apathetic, comfortable Christians. He'd rather have you in outright opposition to Him than claiming to be a believer and living like the world. sobering.


I write all this because i felt a burden upon my heart to share with anyone willing to read, but specifically to my Christian sisters (some of whom have posted on their fb walls or other social media that they are reading this book). please don't think i'm preaching at you or talking down to you. I've been there. in fact, let me share a little story with you...

a few years back, I borrowed a book from the library that had come highly recommended by a Titus 2 figure in my life - a godly, 'older' woman whom i love & respect very much. She raved this author and had read most of her books. I was excited  to dive into it. I love mystery novels (well, Agatha Christie & Dorothy Sayers - try to be careful about the author) and thought this particular book/author would be right up my alley. at first, it was great. wonderful character development, excellent writing...but the more i got into it, the darker it became. it outlined a cold, calculated murder and got into the mind of the killer. I was 'captivated' and 'hooked' (the things of this world tend to do that to us). Then one day, while i was reading it, the still, small voice of the Spirit said very clearly, "You need to stop reading this book and return it right away."

I didn't obey. 

a few nights later, I woke up to a demonic spirit in my room. i won't go into all the details and i'm certainly not writing this to give any creedence to Satan and His minions or to try to persuade my readers with empty sensationalism but it did happen and it was real. I began to speak scripture aloud and plead the blood of Jesus. I stood firmly upon God's Word and commanded it to FLEE in Jesus' name and it did. but I know that the Lord allowed it to visit me, if you will, to open my eyes to the very real spiritual world in which we live & operate every day. Ephesians 6:12 says:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

i also know that God allowed me to have this experience to show me that i must listen to and listen for His voice and obey it immediately. there are real consequence when we disobey our Father. yes, we can repent and be totally forgiven but why not heed His Spirit's promptings to stay out of sin in the first place? He graciously gives us that opportunity. I am right now really praying about the books, music, tv shows, movies and other stuff like this that we have in our home. I certainly don't want to fall into the snare of gross legalism but i also want to pray that the Holy Spirit would help me to grow in holiness, to obey Him, to get rid of worldliness as He points it out to me (and yes, that does mean perhaps throwing out books - been there, done that! - not having celebrity gossip magazines lying around, not watching certain movies, not watching certain tv shows, etc. may we have hearts that cry out to be pure vessels for Jesus, captivated by His gracious LOVE for us that we wouldn't want those things anymore. It's all about the heart. and i would gently challenge you today to take a look around your home - and pray. He will be faithful to meet you and your family, right where you are at. our homes are a gateway - we can open them up to darkness that leads to death or the light of the Spirit that leads to life (verse about that HERE). 

HEREHERE are great messages about demons, our hearts & homes being a gateway for good or for evil, and more about spiritual warfare. We live in a dark world, we have sinful hearts that are 'prone to wander'. If we are believers and followers of Jesus, we are now He precious Saints (though we will still struggle with the presence of sin until heaven, the power of sin has been broken through Jesus' finished work on the Cross). 

Romans 6:11-18

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness,but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Slaves to Righteousness

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey —whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

What are you allowing yourself to be a slave to? 
the things of this world?
 or to Christ?


Ash said...

thanks for posting this Lizzy...I have been thinking about this alot too! Many of my co-workers are head of heels for this book. pray that the spirit will give me wisdom and grace when these "topics" arise at work. XOXO

Sarah said...

This is a great post Lizzy. I have to say I haven't really heard of the book but thanks for doing the research for me so I'll have a bit of background when it gets popular here too...

A great encouragement to us to keep figuring out how to be in the world but not of it and think about setting ourselves apart in really practical terms. This has been something we have been talking about a lot in our church community group and I think you really expressed it well.

I love, love, love to read but I have been a lot more deliberate in my choices of material lately so I was so encouraged by what you were saying here - thanks!

Sarah Scripture said...

Very encouraging. I have also been hearing about this book. It shows where our culture is heading, and it's not an easy world for women right now. Thank you for the reminder to guard our minds and hearts.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this wise advice. My book club is reading this book this month and I had already decided not to read it....for a variety of reasons. I was starting to question my decision....feeling like a bit of a prude. Your post helped to encourage me that my decision not to read Fifty Shades was appropriate. I do still plan to attend my book club. Please pray that I can humbly explain why I chose not to read this book and that my dear friends would respect that decision. Thanks again for your post. LCB