By Kristin Bonham
I have to admit that until a few weeks ago, I was out of the loop about the NY Times Bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey. Since then, I have talked to several women who have read it or have been drawn into conversations about it… Apparently, it’s the hottest thing this summer and a “must read”.
In the author’s website description, here’s the quote she leaves you with, “the Fifty Shades Trilogy will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.” Wow. I have had experiences that I wish I hadn’t, seen images I wish I hadn’t seen, and I don’t want anything that will stay with me forever, especially erotic fiction.
For the month of July, the Beautiful Blog will be all about Sex. Women will be telling their stories and we pray you will be inspired and given hope. We are not judging anyone who has read the books. We are here to tell the truth and the truth comes best from real people with real stories who have been restored and healed by a Real God.
The Beautiful Staff agrees that the following article from Dannah Gresh articulates well why we are not reading Fifty Shades of Grey and why you should steer clear of it too.
I’m not reading Fifty Shades of Grey.
by Dannah Gresh
I wasn’t planning to announce this, but I can’t help myself. I told my husband, Bob, that I didn’t really want to get involved. But then, I found out my girlfriend’s 70-year-old mom has her name on a long wait list at the library to borrow Fifty Shades of Grey. And then my mom told me that a relative I love and respect for her strong faith had already devoured the book. She regretfully “can’t get the images out of her head.” So, here I am. In an attempt to keep the images out of yours, I’d like to explain to you why I’m not reading Fifty Shades of Grey.
Reason #1: Let’s start with the facts. Fifty Shades of Grey is classified as erotic fiction. According to one online dictionary, this genre of literature is defined as that which has “no literary or artistic value other than to stimulate sexual desire.” I’ve been studying what God says about sexuality for fifteen years. According to Him, there is only one who should stimulate sexual desire in me: my husband. Since that’s God’s plan for my sexual desire, anything other than my husband creating arousal in me would be missing the mark of God’s intention. (Translation: it is sin.) Jesus said it this way: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” The same is true of a woman looking at or reading about a man. Reason #1? I believe reading erotica is sinful.
I guess I could stop there, but it won’t be enough for some of you. So let’s go to reason number two.
Reason #2: The Bible has said for thousands of years that lust is hurtful and harmful. Guess what? Biopsychologists and others are studying the effects of lust, pornography, and erotica on the brain and the body. They are finding that the Bible was, in fact, right. Over time your body becomes conditioned to self-stimulation and gratification. It’s not just a preference. It’s physiological. The lust cuts a literal pathway in your brain tissue that’s kinda like a rut. A rut you better be prepared to get stuck in. While at first a little bit of erotica might give you a taste for your spouse, overtime that rut reminds you how great you are at self-stimulation and how powerful your imagination can be. You’ll become less interested in real sex with your husband. (Both SELFmagazine and The New Yorker ran articles on this phenomenon in recent years. They both suggested that if you want to have a great sex life, you better push pause on porn!) The fact is, erotica robs you of real sex. It’s not good for your marriage or future marriage.
Reason #3: OK, we’re girls. And, sadly, a few of our guys have looked at porn. How’d that work for ya? How’d it make you feel? Did it cross your mind that you could never compare to the perfection created by lights, camera, and Photoshop? Well, he can’t compare to a plasticized, vanilla interpretation of manhood either.
Reason #4: Do you know what BDSM is? Bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism. If you don’t know what those words mean, be glad. If you do know, you should understand that the most damaging part of Fifty Shades of Grey is that God created sex to be a partnership that’s fueled by love and self-giving, not pain and humiliation. It’s not just that this book misuses sex, it redefines it into something evil and transgressive as the lead character dominates in a hurtful manner. How women can enjoy that, I can’t understand! But I do have a theory. It seems to me that in our emasculating culture there is a hunger so great for strong men that women will stoop to Bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism for just a taste. Do yourself a favor, don’t!
You might be wondering if I’ve read the book. I haven’t. I don’t need to. There are many things in this world I need not partake in to discern that they are going to be harmful to me. God has given me more than fifty shades of truth in His Word and when just one of them is in conflict with my entertainment choices, I choose to pass! To be clear: I wouldn’t drive my Envoy into the front of an oncoming semi-truck any more than I would open the pages of Fifty Shades of Grey. I love my marriage, my God, and myself too much.
If your heart resonates with mine, please take a moment today to post these words on Facebook or twitter: “I’m not reading Fifty Shades of Grey.” If you have friends who need help understanding why, send them to this blog. I’d be happy to explain.
You can see Dannah Gresh’s original post and comments here.
Kristin is the women’s ministry director for Grace Family Church. She’s been married to Chris for 24 years and is mom to Taylor, Abby, and Casey. She loves the beach, New York City and traveling with Chris to anywhere tropical. She collects books and reads some of them. Her favorite part of the week is Sunday lunch with family and friends around the table.
I read Dannah’s blog entry several weeks ago. It was the first time I had heard of Fifty Shades of Grey. Her thoughts resonated with me and I came away with no desire whatsoever to read the book(s).
It led to an interesting conversation with my husband about things we let into our minds and the effects we can’t even comprehend being purposed within us by an Enemy who is much more clever and beguiling than most of us could fathom. We’d be much better served by reading the Song of Solomon–words we can joyfully hope will stay with us forever.
This all makes perfect sense,but what about those of us who are single? (there’s a very high percentage of singles at GFC) It would be nice to get that perspective since we are not looking at this from an ‘adultery’ point of view. It seems most topics are focused around the married population.
Thanks for your comments Lisa and Rosa. We have single women who write for the Beautiful Blog and they will be contributing in our July posts. Our single and married leadership agrees that this book series is a danger for any woman to read whatever season of life they are in.
Great post!! (I don’t attend GFC). However, as a christian single, this applies even equally. We know that we don’t need to create stimulation other than maybe enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning. We are to be holy because God is holy, so what I choose to watch, listen, choose as friends, read – is a big deal to God. Do my actions reflect christ-like character? That question applies to any status. I wish I knew 20 years ago, what I know today as a single. We as christians need to be careful what doors we open, single or married. Be careful what you are curious about. (It is the little foxes that spoil the vineyard.) To be blunt, the book title should really be “50 shades of demonic activity”! Lets see how that would sell on the NYT best seller list. When you open the doors to this type of material, you are allowing an open door to the enemy. Those open doors give permission for the development of “stronghold” attachments. Hence this is why we have porn addiction among other things. Any singles out there?? I hear ya! Please seek a christian mentor, your pastor or other spiritual mature leader that can address this more in detail. Search the scriptures – its clear how we are to live. Col 3:5 “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” …For those who have read the book, God’s grace is deeper than anything we can measure. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin – there is no condemnation in Christ. Repent, change direction and seek Jesus with your whole mind, heart and body. God Bless 🙂
I agree! Thanks for sharing!!!
Here, Here!!! Thank you for your sound, and biblically truthful words. Very timely, as there are movies just coming out that this applies to as well.
I find the “We’d be much better served by reading the Song of Solomon” comment humorous. Just because it is very old erotic lituature does not make it any better. One could just as easily lust after that strong male character. Even though scholars suggest that it is an allusion between God and his people, I don’t even want to be tempted.
Just as you suggest, I think we should control what we read, we don’t want other points of view to enter our minds. They could stay in there forever and hurt.
Whether you’re a Christian or not, elevating BDSM as a “relationship” just seems crazy. In a time when our culture finally recognizes the need for women to escape unhealthy, domineering and dangerous relationships, why would any educated, compassionate person praise a book that condones it? Ugh.
Besides the well-stated reasons above, here’s another great reason not to read the book. It’s just bad writing. If you don’t want to crack into it to see for yourself, just visit Amazon’s review section.
Thanks for the heads up. As a Christian mom of five, I have overheard co-workers talk about this and have to admit I’ve pondered reading it to help spice up my marriage. After reading this post however, I can definitely find other ways and don’t need to bring this kind of filth into my home to do so. Thanks for the good example!
I am 78 years old. I read the Bible for Fifty Shades of Love.
I was surprised (pleasantly), when I visited a secular website a few days ago, to see a discussion of this book that included comments, ALL of which showed disgust with the themes in this book. The post was for teens on how to “cope with hearing their mothers discuss 50 Shades”– and how to change the subject to avoid hearing it. Interesting, huh? I don’t recall while reading the comments seeing one single post in favor of this book or anyone thinking it’s cool to read. There is hope yet!