Fifty Shades of Shame

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Stories about sex have been around since Genesis was composed. Tales of how sexual trysts turn lives upside down and bring about consequences never dreamed of can be found throughout the Old Testament. There is even a fairly sexy story that suggests that physical love stirs our spiritual selves called the Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs) in your Bible. So, there’s no use in getting prudish about a story involving sexual plotlines.

Many years ago when I was a preacher in a small town in the Mississippi Delta a movie came out about a house of ill-repute in Texas that the religious leaders were threatening to shut down. It was a musical that poked fun at the sexual mores of the day in a light hearted way. It did not address the pain and suffering brought about by those caught up in the sex-for-money world that is a serious issue. It didn’t intend to address that issue. It was a scenario for a laugh. And some old ladies at our church went to see it – much to the consternation of some of the older men who tried to make a big deal about the lack of good judgment of the sisters down at church. Knowing who those sisters were, those brothers didn’t stand a chance – but they tried.

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I’ll admit I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey. The series of books is by E L James, a woman whose author website is for age 17+. (I didn’t click through, the F word is prominent even on that first page. I hate to think of 17 year olds reading that filth, but I’m sure many do.) The books are popular enough and have been around long enough that the plot is now widely known. Torture, domination, and sexual violence is seen as acceptable because the poor fellow has been through so much. Maybe if this woman allows herself to be abused in such a way she can help him change. (Sorry if that was a spoiler for you … it’s a thin plot anyway, you can probably guess it from the advertisement!)

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The National Center on Sexual Exploitation is appealing to people to donate to Domestic Violence Shelters instead of going to this movie. No doubt this movie is gaining this attention because the books are so popular (100 million copies sold worldwide) and the expectation is that the movie will be a big hit. But I wonder at the young people who are reading / viewing this kind of story. Are young women facing loneliness being influenced to see abusive relationships as acceptable? The stories of abused women returning to abusive husbands is legendary. Does a movie like this give a sense that this is ok?

You may not agree, but to me there is a world of difference in a farce musical about a whorehouse and a story of torture and abuse being presented as true love.

I guess there is no end to stories about sex and dirty movies. But when one is so popularized and accepted on the mainstream, we should say something. Let each individual discern their path forward. Believe me, I don’t think my blog post is going to keep the masses from attending such fare. But Christians, we need to think. One would hope that Christians would stay away, but why am I doubtful about that?

#fiftyshadesisabuse   #fiftydollarsnotfiftyshades

JD