I was talking to a friend who is also in ministry the other day and the question came up about whether Christians should go see the movie “50 Shades of Grey“? I had been pondering the thought in my head since seeing the popularity with the book series and knowing that it was not all nonChristians contributing to it’s popularity.
Here are my five cents…
- Why are we discriminating against this one movie? It seems that there are a lot of erotica movies and books on the market yet this one has been targeted because it gained worldwide popularity with book sales. If we are going to hold Christians to a higher standard in their reading and movie watching, shouldn’t this apply to all genres that would seemingly conflict with the teachings of Jesus – including movies depicting graphic violence?
- Why not view the movie? Ok, I know you may be a little confused with that question but why not use the movie as a teaching tool to examine what has become acceptable in society, how this acceptance has contributed to some of the relationship woes in our lives and begin a constructive dialogue about fixing the problem.
- Is this a female centered issue? This deals a little with my thought in #1 but it seems that the chief complaint that many people have deals with how the woman is portrayed in the movie yet I haven’t heard as many complaints about the perversions within men with money and power.
- Does this movie appeal to some of our innermost desires? I have not read the books but it seems that the fantasy contained within the narrative may be something that many fantasize about – men having the money and power to seduce a woman thereby gaining complete control over her, women having a man with the money and power to persuade her to step outside of her comfort zone and try things that she never imagined. Has the movie/book gained so much popularity because of this appeal? Are critics mad because they refuse to acknowledge how this movie brings out desires they would prefer to suppress.
- Is it wrong to fantasize as long as we maintain perspective with reality? There is quite a bit of debate regarding some of the shows on television and whether Christians should watch them because they are not constructive in our Christian thinking and living. However, some question why they can’t just be entertained for a few hours of their day without the heaviness of judgement. Although many adults may fantasize about the lives they see on television and movie screens, most are mature enough to realize that they can’t carry those behaviors into their every day lives. So they question the harm in a mental escape for a few hours per day.
I don’t think that there will ever be a concise answer from all the Christians in the world but I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. I am sure you can tell that I am not opposed to those who want to see the movie seeing it. I know that I probably won’t go but I am in no position to judge the decisions of others. That may be their sin but sin is sin and I have my own sins to atone for without the luxury of judging the severity or even existence of sin in the next person.
In the third chapter of the book of Daniel, a story is told of three men who refused to worship their king (notice the lowercase of the word “king”) and the golden idol that he created because they recognized God as being their true King. They proudly told the king that they did not fear his punishment because they knew their God would deliver them from this circumstance. Because of their stance, their punishment was to be tied up and thrown into a furnace heated seven times more than it would have normally been heated. While in the furnace, the king was told that there were four (notice four, not three) men walking around, inside the blazing furnace, unbound. Upon seeing this, the king called the three (back to three) men to exit the furnace. As the king and his officials gathered around the men, they noticed that the men had been untouched by the blazing furnace, except for the straps that bound them.
I hope you all can see where this is going. Many people look at me and my life and think that I have a great life. I do, but only because of my faith in a God whose grace and mercy ensure I don’t look like what I’ve been through. Some days I feel like I have been through hell and back because of the demands of my clients, the attitudes of random people I encounter and even dealing with my own self-talk. It is at these times, that I have to remember that God walks with me and talks with me when I put my faith in Him. A lot of us look like the hell we are going through because we have little faith. We only want to praise God during the good times and wonder why He forsakes us when things go wrong. God allows us to suffer to test our faith. He wants to know if you truly believe or if you are just a Convenient Christian.
We are bound to a world of sin and misery yet freedom can be ours if we place our faith in God and take comfort knowing that He is with us during our good times and bad. You will never be placed in a situation that won’t make you stronger, if you (this is important) decide to walk in the light. It is so easy to get caught up in all of the things that go wrong because let’s face it, life is rough. However, walking in the light, finding the good in every situation requires that we change our lens and retune our focus.
I don’t look like what I’ve been through. I still walk around in the furnace (everyday life) but I know that God is going to deliver me from whatever is thrown my way. I don’t feel the scorch of everyday life because I am covered by grace and mercy. Ask yourself today… do you look like what you’ve been through? Can people look at you and tell you can’t afford to pay your bills? Can they see the lust in your eyes for someone that will never be yours? Can they sense the bitterness toward the world in the venom you spew with every word? If so, you might want to examine whether God is in your furnace or if you are allowing yourself to be scorched for no reason. God doesn’t want any of His children to suffer but He will allow things to get a little heated in order to strengthen our faith. Do you look like what you’ve been through?
Special thanks to Rev. Dwight Guthridge for bringing this passage and perspective to my attending during a worship service in Dallas TX.