Tag Archives: 50 Shades of Grey

Experiencing the Black and White

black and white

I recently wrote a post about 50 Shades of Grey (you know, like 5156872154 other bloggers. Between that and my American Sniper post, well, you’re welcome, movie industry).  I wrote about the things I wished people would do before seeing the movie, hopefully giving rise to some serious consideration on the part of the reader to avoid the movie (and the books) altogether.

I read a lot of posts similar to mine, asking women in particular to stay away from the movie.

And I read a lot of posts on the opposing side, stating that it was just “love story” and those of us avoiding the movie just needed to get over it and accept it.

And one theme seemed to ring true throughout several of the posts I read that supported the 50 Shades franchise– that my “religion” hindered me from making sound judgement of the whole ordeal.

In fact, it was even suggested that “religious” people were incapable of making sound judgement against the 50 Shades franchise because we hadn’t experienced it.

In essence, the world is not black and white, but instead several shades of grey…maybe more than 50.

From these bloggers I read that if I want to truly understand the people around me, I have to make myself willing to experience and test everything in order to be able to accurately identify the black and the white and all shades of grey in between– in order to be able to identify the harmful from the harmless.

I have to experience sin in order to be able to identify it.

In order to know that the 50 Shades books are filth that will destroy relationships and a morally-based view of sex and love, I need to read them.

Let’s apply that logic to other things.

In order to know that an affair would destroy my marriage, do I need to have one?

In order to know that stealing isn’t okay, should I take what isn’t mine?

In order to know that abusing my children will hurt them, do I need to hit them?

In order to know that murder is wrong, should I kill someone?

It would appear that based on this logic, it’s the outcome of the action that decides whether or not the action is morally reprehensible.

See, people like me, the “religious” types, believe that it’s the heart motivation to commit the action, not the outcome, that labels whether or not the thing is sin.

Sin is a word that most people don’t like nowadays. We live in a world based off of instant gratification and the idea that we must do whatever makes us happy–we want to feel good all the time. It’s all about how we feel. And we want to feel good All. The. Time. We want to do whatever it takes to make us happy, even if that means what we’re doing might be harmful in the long run, or even the short term.

As long as it makes us feel good. Sex. Drugs. Abortion. Taking what isn’t ours. Demanding what we don’t deserve. Hurting others as long as we’re not hurting ourselves. The list goes on and on.

Here’s the thing, friends– I can recognize sin by the motivation behind it. The motivation behind 50 Shades of Grey is nothing more than lust. It’s not a love story; it’s a lust story. I don’t need to read it to know that.

The root of all of this sin is simple: pride. We believe we’re better than we are. We believe that we can live outside of the black and white–somewhere in those shades of grey.

But this world IS black and white.

We’re stained, dirty, dark; covered in the muck of this world. Myself included. I’m no better than anyone else, whether I consider myself “religious” or not. Although I try daily to emulate my Christ, I’m not perfect and I never will be.

He, on the other hand, is perfection in radiant white, spotless, blameless–wholly complete and unchanging– and without pride.

The world in its broken state is the darkness, while He, the Savior of the world, is the Light.

No matter how good we try to be, no matter how much we want to think we are better than someone or something else, no matter how much we excuse our lifestyles or choices, no matter how many nice things we do, nothing we do will ever be good enough.

And that’s where the beauty of His cleansing grace comes in.

snowHe washed away all of our stains with his blood– he cleaned all the black and all of the shades of grey. He made us white as snow through his sacrifice. Praise Him and hallelujah!

The only thing we need to experience is the beauty of his mercy and grace– the only thing we need to accept is the forgiveness of our sins. 

We don’t have to experience sin in order to know it’s wrong. But we do need to experience Christ– and when we do, we’ll know just how right he is.

This is my prayer for you today, friends: that you will experience him and find that living in His light is so much more fulfilling than any shade of darkness could ever be.

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7 Things To Do Before Seeing 50 Shades of Grey

50 shades

Although it seems that I’ve been posting about movies a lot lately (okay, this is only my second post about movies this month, but still…that’s more posts than I usually devote to movies), I promise, this is not turning into an entertainment blog.

I guess it’s just that the movies that have come out lately have snagged my attention, and for one reason or another, compelled words.

And today’s topic? 50 Shades of Grey. Of course. Isn’t this the only thing people are talking about right now?

The movie is about to hit theaters and, if anything like the book(s), will be wildly popular.

That makes me sad.

Let me be totally transparent with you from the get-go. I haven’t read the books, nor do I plan to. I will not see the movie.

I could devote this entire post to the reasons why I’ve chosen not to read the books or see the movie. I could tell you all about the Biblical reasons and how I believe that sex belongs only in marriage, but there are a zillion posts out there that have pretty much said what I would say, like this one, written by a pastor and literary agency mate of mine. Read it. It’s full of truth and grace.

You’re going to make your own choices about these books and movies regardless of what I have to say, but I hope you’ll briefly consider a few things—things I think you should do before you go see this movie.

  1. Consider whether or not your movie ticket dollars could be better spent.

Instead of paying for a ticket to this movie, perhaps you could put the money toward bills that need to be paid. Maybe it could go toward groceries or clothes or something else in your life. Perhaps you could be a blessing to a stranger today and use those dollars to “pay it forward” while you’re out and about—purchase the order for the person behind you in the drive-thru, etc. Maybe you could give the money to charity for a cause worth fighting. Check out WorldHelp’s child sponsorship program. Do something with the dollars that will either make a positive difference in your life or the life of someone else.

  1. Talk to your spouse or significant other.

The vast majority of ticket holders for this movie will be women, so ladies, I’d like to challenge you to have a real conversation with your husband or boyfriend about this movie—about how they feel about you seeing it. Does your husband support you? Is he aware that this movie promotes graphic sexual situations based on pain as gratification? Have you discussed with him the reasons why you enjoyed the books (I’m assuming you did if you want to see the movie) and why you want to see the movie? I want you to consider how you might feel if your husband went out to see a graphic sexual film because he was “turned on” by the premise or by one of the characters. I think you should discuss this with your man and give him the opportunity to share with you any feelings he may (or may not) have on the subject. Open conversation about difficult topics is a positive attribute of a strong relationship (something I think the characters in the 50 Shades story-line sorely lack). PS, check out one of my favorite relationship bloggers for more.

  1. Consider how seeing the movie (or reading the books) will have a positive impact on your life.

Will seeing this movie, in anyway, make you funnier, more intelligent, more compassionate, more aware of others, kinder, more devoted to helping people, or set your mind, in any way, on positive things that will help you grow spiritually?

I think we can ask ourselves the question above about a lot of forms of entertainment to help us weed out things that fill our brains with garbage, taking up the room we could be devoting to things that help us grow as humans; things that connect us to other people, not in a way that makes people appear as sexual beings, but as human beings with brains, hearts, and souls that are valuable to humanity and precious to God.

  1. Question your definition of love.love

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day—the day when all the world gets mushy and gushy about love. And yet, while we’re all thinking about hearts and cupid and giant teddy bears and boxes of chocolates, too many people are walking around saying that the relationship portrayed in 50 Shades of Grey is a love story. I disagree wholeheartedly.

Love is not someone who spends lots of money on you.

Love is not jumping into bed with a person you hardly know.

Love is not sexual gratification from pleasure in pain.

Love is not one person’s needs being met at the expense of another’s.

Love is not sex slave and dominant.

Love is not sex.

Love is not what this movie is about. At all.

Love is commitment. Love is devotion. Love is a man who makes a woman feel like a princess and a woman who makes a man feel like a hero. Love has nothing to do with money. Love is beautiful and kind and patient and not prideful. Love is sacrifice. Love is what a strong marriage is built on, and most strong marriages have very healthy and not-at-all boring sex lives.

Before you see this movie—question whether or not you’re justifying by calling this a love story.

  1. Invite your grandma.

I’m not even going to tell you to consider what Jesus would think if he was with you in this movie because folks, he IS with you in the movie. God is everywhere and He sees all things. That being said, I want to just encourage you to invite your grandmother to go with you to see 50 Shades. Would you feel comfortable sitting by grandma during “those scenes?” If not, question why you’re comfortable going at all.

  1. Read about how the actors feel about the movie.

This article was interesting. It appears that the actors from this movie don’t even like each other and also disliked pretty much everything about the movie. The actor playing Christian Grey mentions that he had to take a long shower after filming before he could touch his wife and young child, presumably because he felt dirty from filming. Gotta wonder why that sort of filth would appeal to anyone. (However, if they truly hated it all that much, I have to question why they’d sign on for it at all.)

  1. Consider some alternatives.

There are tons of movies that you could watch that are far more romantic than 50 Shades of Grey will ever be, because unlike 50 Shades, they are actually romantic, not just about sex.

A few suggestions: Becoming Jane (one of my favorites), Austenland (hilarious!), A Walk to Remember, The Princess Bride, Say Anything (my husband’s suggestion), Emma, Pride & Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility (yeah, I love Jane Austen), P.S. I Love You, The Vow, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (a classic fave), The Notebook, Dirty Dancing, etc…there’s a VERY long list of alternatives.

I’m not asking you to agree with me that 50 Shades of Grey is not a good movie for anyone to see and could actually do harm to your relationships and your outlook on love, marriage, and healthy sex.

I’m just asking you to do the things above and see if you might decide that you have better things to do with your valuable time and money.

Share with me: What’s your favorite romantic movie?

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