If you keep up with me on Facebook, you might have noticed I recently posted an article written by Melissa Jane a few weeks ago entitled “50 Shades of Magic Mike (In Which I Am Very Uncool)”.
I need to explain something here.
If you’ve been hanging out around these parts much, you know that I’m an avid reader and I devour books – if it were up to me, I would do nothing but hang with my crew and read nonstop. End of story.
Last spring, our family purchased a Nook Color for my mother. Like most Baby Boomers, my mom is a little, shall we say, timid with all things “technology” so I decided to configure her new tablet and show her how to download a book.
“Oh, Natalie, put that new 50 Shades of Grey book on there. I keep hearing about it,” she said.
So being the good daughter that I am, I obliged and didn’t think of it again.
Until a few of my friends were talking about how good it was.
Curious, I decided I should probably check it out – after all, I can’t resist a good pageturner.
I downloaded it that evening and began to read. And read.
Oh my stinking heck.
I’m not a prude and I don’t wear denim jumpers and feather my hair. But this? It just didn’t feel right.
And the worst part is, I kept reading. It’s true that I heard that “still small voice” telling me to watch what goes in but I justified it in my mind because I knew in the end, they got married and had two babies.
Which is good and all. But it’s still not OK.
So I quit reading and laughed hysterically at the phone call I received from my mother three weeks later.
“Natalie? Oh my goodness! That book you downloaded for me is just…” she exclaimed.
“I know, Mom” I said, cutting her off midstream, not really wanting to have this conversation with my mother nor her with me.
“50 Shades” went viral and now it’s literally everywhere.
I’m not going to regurgitate what Melissa Jane said because she said it better than I could. What goes in is what comes out – oftentimes without us even knowing we’ve been affected.
But last week, Jill Savage, CEO of Hearts at Home and someone I greatly admire, wrote two posts entitled “50 Shades of No” and it stirred so many responses she posted a follow-up called “50 Shades of Experience” (which, might I add, Melissa Jane’s and Jill’s posts are so worth your time).
Jill and I chatted for a bit at the She Speaks Conference and she shared that the follow-up was written because she was criticized for making a judgement without having read the book.
Her response was enough – maybe she hasn’t read 50 Shades of Grey but she’s read similar titles and they all have the same effect.
But here’s the deal: I have read it.
And yes, the brutal and violent sex bothered me. And yes, it glorified “of the world” behavior and His followers (including me) were duped.
However, what bothered me the most was the way in which the female lead character, Anastasia, was made out to be Christian Grey’s personal Jesus.
He was abused and neglected as a child. He had major intimacy issues. He wanted to hurt women because of the unresolved pain from his birth mother. He hated to be touched because his mother’s pimp used to beat him. And at just four years old, he stayed with his mother for a day or two after she died because no one cared enough to check-in.
I’m fully aware he’s a fictional character. But there are people just like him all over the place.
Anastasia Steele isn’t the one that has the power to free the captives or bind-up the brokenhearted. She didn’t give her life for him and she isn’t free from sin herself.
And so what bothered me about 50 Shades of Grey wasn’t why it bothered everyone else (though THAT bothered me, too).
It was the suggestion that a person, a human bound-by-the-flesh, could offer a very broken man what only Jesus can. Freedom. Love. Healing. Forgiveness. Grace. Mercy.
No mere mortal can fill a God-shaped hole.
Instead of debating this topic and arguing over who is right, I choose instead to pray for all who have read this series to realize who it is that proclaims freedom for the captives and binds-up the brokenhearted.
And It’s not Anastasia Steele.
Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. – Psalm 146:3
On Friday, I’ll post some other great summer reads so be sure to check back!
What are you reading this summer?
P.S. Please don’t send me hate mail telling me I’m a hypocrite and as a Christian woman, I should be ashamed of myself. I’ve taken it up with Him and we’re all good. Because, again, of Jesus.