Christian women, Movies, Throwback Thursday, Women

Throwback Thursday ~ Fifty Shades of No Way José

With the second of the Fifty Shades trilogy, Fifty Shades Darker, releasing in theaters tomorrow (Feb. 10, 2017), it’s prudent to refresh our memory on the Christian woman’s response to movies like these.

50shadesLooking for something else to do tomorrow night? Try one of my 50 Alternatives to Fifty Shades over at Satisfaction through Christ.

Originally published February 6, 2015

no way jose

As you’ve no doubt heard, the movie Fifty Shades of Grey is releasing next weekend. Valentine’s Day weekend. Isn’t that a little like picking Pearl Harbor Day as the release date for a movie celebrating kamikaze pilots, with veterans as the target audience?

But perhaps I’m getting a little ahead of myself. If you’re not familiar with the subject matter, Fifty Shades of Grey is a film adaptation of the novel by the same title written by British author E.L. James. Girls Gone Wise posted an excellent report on the book here in 2012, and summarizes the storyline thusly:

“The books in question are erotica that explicitly describe sexual bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism (BDSM). The story follows an unfolding affair between a recent college graduate, the virgin Anastasia Steele, and handsome young billionaire entrepreneur, Christian Grey, whose childhood abuse left him a deeply damaged individual, and who enlists her to share his secret sexual proclivities. Steele is required by Grey to sign a contract allowing him complete control over her. Because of her fascination and budding love for him, she consents to a kinky sexual relationship that includes being slapped, spanked, handcuffed, and whipped with a leather riding crop in his ‘Red Room of Pain’.”

Let’s set specifics, such as “How much nudity does the movie show?” aside and look at the bigger picture:

Is a movie (or book) that romanticizes and normalizes abuse-infused sexuality something that Christian women should be viewing and supporting financially?

Imagine this book and movie didn’t even exist and some man-on-the-street reporter walked up and asked you that question out of the blue. What would your answer be? Then imagine he turned to Jesus, who just happened to be standing right next to you, and asked Him the same question. What do you think His answer would be?

Well, you might not be sure about your answer, but we can find out Jesus’ answer by looking at His Word:

1. No, because it’s blasè about fornication.

Be honest- did the fact that the two lead characters aren’t married to each other even register a blip on your radar? No blip here, initially, I’m sorry to say. I know it’s just sooo yesterday to say that sex outside of wedlock is a sin, but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever and HE says that’s what it is. It’s a sin He died to pay the penalty for just like murder or rape or stealing, and to treat fornication as not only normal, but a given (Think about it- how many copies of the book would have been sold if it featured a married couple?) is a slap in the bloodied face of our crucified Savior.

2. No, because it approves of perversion.

BDSM has been around for a long time, but in our culture, it has been relegated to the shadows, locked away out of sight, and not talked about by the vast majority of marginally moral society, because, with God’s law written on our hearts, we know it’s wrong. Grey takes BDSM out of the stock room, removes its plain brown wrapping, and attractively arranges it in the center showcase. “It’s fine! It’s a healthy expression of sexuality! It’ll spice up your love life– just look how playful and romantic it can be!” Romans 1:32 is not amused.

3. No, because it embraces violence and humiliation.

God is not a God who engages in violence and the humiliation of others to gratify Himself. That is cruelty. God is a God who loves us so much that He allowed His Son to be subjected to violence, humiliation, and cruelty in order to forgive those who commit the sins of violence, humiliation, and cruelty. God is good. God is kind. God is patient and loving. To embrace the antithesis of these characteristics is to embrace all that God stands against.

4. No, because it tells men a lie.

God tells men to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Christian Grey (can I just say, I hate that this guy’s name is Christian, since his actions are so un-Christian) loves himself and uses a woman to gratify his own selfish desires. God tells men that, in the same way that they do not abuse their own flesh, but nourish and cherish it, they are to nourish and cherish their wives. Christian Grey nourishes and cherishes his own flesh and abuses the flesh of his woman. God tells men to be understanding with their wives, to honor them, and to respect that they are physically more delicate than men. Christian Grey only understands himself, dishonors his woman, and disrespects her physicality in order to fulfill his own base proclivities.

When Christian women clamor for Grey matter and support it with their pocketbooks, it sends the message to men that Christian Grey’s lusts and behavior are not only acceptable, but what we want. It tells them Grey’s way is good, cool, and cutting edge, and God’s way is sissified, frumpy, and out of date. It sells men a lie.

5. No, because it dims your light.

You don’t hear it much any more, but when I was a yoot, we were frequently asked, “If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” It’s not that the things we do make us Christians or even prove that we’re Christians, but rather that, if we’re Christians, the things we do will necessarily differ from the things lost people do because the Holy Spirit lives within us, conforming us to Christ’s image.

Does your life look any different from an unsaved person’s life? Because of your love for Christ, it should. We are ambassadors for Christ to a lost and dying world. Our every move preaches a silent sermon to them, showing them what is right in God’s eyes and what is wrong, what is Christlike, and what is not. If you do something, it must be OK with God because you’re a Christian, right? How can we be an example to the world if we look just like them? Jesus said, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) Is your light shining brightly, or are you allowing it to fade into the darkness? How would going to see Fifty Shades of Grey make your light brighter?

6. No, because it’s time to put your money where your mouth is.

You believe the Bible, right? Of course you do. You’re a Christian. Well there’s more to it than that. God doesn’t just call us to believe His word, He calls us to submit ourselves to it and obey it. That means there are going to be some things we want to do -that we feel like doing- that we’re simply going to have to deny ourselves out of a greater desire to obey Christ and to represent Him well. Can you go see Fifty Shades of Grey and obey these Scriptures?

Ephesians 5:5-12:

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.

Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Colossians 3:2-3,5:

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God…Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

 

I’ll ask again: Is a movie (or book) that romanticizes and normalizes abuse-infused sexuality something that Christian women should be viewing and supporting financially?

Scripture seems pretty clear that Jesus’ answer would be no. What will your answer be?

Sin, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ The “Forbidden Fruit” Fallacy

Originally published February 20, 2015ff1

You’ve heard the old adage: “forbidden fruit is sweeter.” When people use this phrase, what they mean is that if you tell someone he can’t have or do something, he’s going to want to have or do it all the more just because it’s forbidden.

I heard this little cliché several times last week on blogs, on Facebook, in discussion groups, etc., in reference to the deluge (yes, I contributed to it) of Christian blog and press articles decrying the movie Fifty Shades of Grey, and discouraging Christians from attending. Apparently – and I can see where they’re coming from, a little, I guess – some folks felt that the strong, repetitive, and biblical stand against Fifty Shades turned it into a piece of forbidden fruit that a) actually informed Christians (who would have been otherwise oblivious) that this movie even existed (Really? People are tech savvy enough to be on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, but they were completely unaware of this movie? Ok, I suppose it’s possible.) and b) made Christians want to go see the movie because of its verboten status. The implication was that, if Christians went to see this movie, it was the fault – at least in part – of Christian writers who had warned against it.

Seems reasonable, right?

Until, that is, you start looking at this line of thinking a little more closely through the lens of Scripture.

Pop quiz: What does the phrase “forbidden fruit” allude to?
a) prunes
b) Snow White’s poisoned apple
c) the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Eden

Please tell me you answered “c,” because, if you didn’t, I might have to sit down and cry. When God put Adam in the Garden way back in Genesis 2, He said, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (2:16-17) Fruit. Forbidden. Boom.

Notice that God is the One who forbade Adam from eating this fruit. God’s way, throughout the entirety of Scripture, is to warn the people He loves of the dangers and consequences of sin, not to remain silent and keep His fingers crossed that they don’t stumble into a pit. God didn’t stick the tree in the middle of the Garden and say to Himself, “Gee I hope Adam doesn’t notice this tree and eat from it, but I’m not going to mention it to him because I’m scared that I’ll make him aware that it exists, and that he’ll want to eat from it just because I said he can’t.” Uh uh. God pointed it out and said, “No.”

And let’s take a gander at something else in this story. What caused Adam and Eve to eat from the tree? Was it God telling Adam not to eat from it? No. If that was all it took, why don’t we find Adam eating the fruit immediately after God told him not to? Why didn’t Eve immediately eat from the tree upon learning from Adam of God’s prohibition against it?

Because the warning is not what led them to sin.

We don’t see Eve lay a finger on that fruit until Satan enters the picture. He tempted her, and she gave in to sin.

james-1-13-15

It wasn’t God’s fault for putting the tree there. It wasn’t God’s fault for warning them. It was Adam’s fault and Eve’s fault for being disobedient.

And giving in to sin is still our fault today. If you went to see Fifty Shades of Grey, it’s not God’s fault for allowing the movie to exist. It’s not some Christian blogger’s fault for making you aware of the movie or warning you not to see it. It’s your fault. You were tempted. You gave in to sin. (The good news is that if you will repent, God will graciously forgive you.)

As Christians we are to be imitators of God. “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:6) That means that when we see sin that could easily ensnare our brothers and sisters, we don’t turn our heads. We don’t mind our own business. We don’t keep our mouths shut to be polite. We do the same thing God did time after time in the Bible. We run into the fray to rescue those we love.

And we are not to blame if there are those who choose to charge headlong into sin rather than heed the alarm we sound.

Faith, Sin

The “Forbidden Fruit” Fallacy

ff1

You’ve heard the old adage: “forbidden fruit is sweeter.” When people use this phrase, what they mean is that if you tell someone he can’t have or do something, he’s going to want to have or do it all the more just because it’s forbidden.

I heard this little cliché several times last week on blogs, on Facebook, in discussion groups, etc., in reference to the deluge (yes, I contributed to it) of Christian blog and press articles decrying the movie Fifty Shades of Grey, and discouraging Christians from attending. Apparently – and I can see where they’re coming from, a little, I guess – some folks felt that the strong, repetitive, and biblical stand against Fifty Shades turned it into a piece of forbidden fruit that a) actually informed Christians (who would have been otherwise oblivious) that this movie even existed (Really? People are tech savvy enough to be on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, but they were completely unaware of this movie? Ok, I suppose it’s possible.) and b) made Christians want to go see the movie because of its verboten status. The implication was that, if Christians went to see this movie, it was the fault – at least in part – of Christian writers who had warned against it.

Seems reasonable, right?

Until, that is, you start looking at this line of thinking a little more closely through the lens of Scripture.

Pop quiz: What does the phrase “forbidden fruit” allude to?
a) prunes
b) Snow White’s poisoned apple
c) the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Eden

Please tell me you answered “c,” because, if you didn’t, I might have to sit down and cry. When God put Adam in the Garden way back in Genesis 2, He said, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (2:16-17) Fruit. Forbidden. Boom.

Notice that God is the One who forbade Adam from eating this fruit. God’s way, throughout the entirety of Scripture, is to warn the people He loves of the dangers and consequences of sin, not to remain silent and keep His fingers crossed that they don’t stumble into a pit. God didn’t stick the tree in the middle of the Garden and say to Himself, “Gee I hope Adam doesn’t notice this tree and eat from it, but I’m not going to mention it to him because I’m scared that I’ll make him aware that it exists, and that he’ll want to eat from it just because I said he can’t.” Uh uh. God pointed it out and said, “No.”

And let’s take a gander at something else in this story. What caused Adam and Eve to eat from the tree? Was it God telling Adam not to eat from it? No. If that was all it took, why don’t we find Adam eating the fruit immediately after God told him not to? Why didn’t Eve immediately eat from the tree upon learning from Adam of God’s prohibition against it?

Because the warning is not what led them to sin.

We don’t see Eve lay a finger on that fruit until Satan enters the picture. He tempted her, and she gave in to sin.

james-1-13-15

It wasn’t God’s fault for putting the tree there. It wasn’t God’s fault for warning them. It was Adam’s fault and Eve’s fault for being disobedient.

And giving in to sin is still our fault today. If you went to see Fifty Shades of Grey, it’s not God’s fault for allowing the movie to exist. It’s not some Christian blogger’s fault for making you aware of the movie or warning you not to see it. It’s your fault. You were tempted. You gave in to sin. (The good news is that if you will repent, God will graciously forgive you.)

As Christians we are to be imitators of God. “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:6) That means that when we see sin that could easily ensnare our brothers and sisters, we don’t turn our heads. We don’t mind our own business. We don’t keep our mouths shut to be polite. We do the same thing God did time after time in the Bible. We run into the fray to rescue those we love.

And we are not to blame if there are those who choose to charge headlong into sin rather than heed the alarm we sound.

Entertainment, Movies

50 Alternatives to “Fifty Shades” ~ at Satisfaction Through Christ

50shadesAs you’ve probably heard, the movie Fifty Shades of Grey is opening in theaters tomorrow. It’s not a movie we at Satisfaction Through Christ recommend you see, so we thought we’d provide you with some ideas of things you and your husband, kids, friends, or church family can do together instead.

Here are 50 alternatives to seeing Fifty Shades of Grey. Have fun!

Ladies, smut does not a happy Valentine’s Day make. Try one of these fun alternatives from my new article over at Satisfaction Through Christ instead!

What are your plans for this weekend?

Christian women, Movies, Women

Fifty Shades of No Way José

no way jose

As you’ve no doubt heard, the movie Fifty Shades of Grey is releasing next weekend. Valentine’s Day weekend. Isn’t that a little like picking Pearl Harbor Day as the release date for a movie celebrating kamikaze pilots, with veterans as the target audience?

But perhaps I’m getting a little ahead of myself. If you’re not familiar with the subject matter, Fifty Shades of Grey is a film adaptation of the novel by the same title written by British author E.L. James. Girls Gone Wise posted an excellent report on the book here in 2012, and summarizes the storyline thusly:

“The books in question are erotica that explicitly describe sexual bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism (BDSM). The story follows an unfolding affair between a recent college graduate, the virgin Anastasia Steele, and handsome young billionaire entrepreneur, Christian Grey, whose childhood abuse left him a deeply damaged individual, and who enlists her to share his secret sexual proclivities. Steele is required by Grey to sign a contract allowing him complete control over her. Because of her fascination and budding love for him, she consents to a kinky sexual relationship that includes being slapped, spanked, handcuffed, and whipped with a leather riding crop in his ‘Red Room of Pain’.”

Let’s set specifics, such as “How much nudity does the movie show?” aside and look at the bigger picture:

Is a movie (or book) that romanticizes and normalizes abuse-infused sexuality something that Christian women should be viewing and supporting financially?

Imagine this book and movie didn’t even exist and some man-on-the-street reporter walked up and asked you that question out of the blue. What would your answer be? Then imagine he turned to Jesus, who just happened to be standing right next to you, and asked Him the same question. What do you think His answer would be?

Well, you might not be sure about your answer, but we can find out Jesus’ answer by looking at His Word:

1. No, because it’s blasè about fornication.

Be honest- did the fact that the two lead characters aren’t married to each other even register a blip on your radar? No blip here, initially, I’m sorry to say. I know it’s just sooo yesterday to say that sex outside of wedlock is a sin, but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever and HE says that’s what it is. It’s a sin He died to pay the penalty for just like murder or rape or stealing, and to treat fornication as not only normal, but a given (Think about it- how many copies of the book would have been sold if it featured a married couple?) is a slap in the bloodied face of our crucified Savior.

2. No, because it approves of perversion.

BDSM has been around for a long time, but in our culture, it has been relegated to the shadows, locked away out of sight, and not talked about by the vast majority of marginally moral society, because, with God’s law written on our hearts, we know it’s wrong. Grey takes BDSM out of the stock room, removes its plain brown wrapping, and attractively arranges it in the center showcase. “It’s fine! It’s a healthy expression of sexuality! It’ll spice up your love life– just look how playful and romantic it can be!” Romans 1:32 is not amused.

3. No, because it embraces violence and humiliation.

God is not a God who engages in violence and the humiliation of others to gratify Himself. That is cruelty. God is a God who loves us so much that He allowed His Son to be subjected to violence, humiliation, and cruelty in order to forgive those who commit the sins of violence, humiliation, and cruelty. God is good. God is kind. God is patient and loving. To embrace the antithesis of these characteristics is to embrace all that God stands against.

4. No, because it tells men a lie.

God tells men to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Christian Grey (can I just say, I hate that this guy’s name is Christian, since his actions are so un-Christian) loves himself and uses a woman to gratify his own selfish desires. God tells men that, in the same way that they do not abuse their own flesh, but nourish and cherish it, they are to nourish and cherish their wives. Christian Grey nourishes and cherishes his own flesh and abuses the flesh of his woman. God tells men to be understanding with their wives, to honor them, and to respect that they are physically more delicate than men. Christian Grey only understands himself, dishonors his woman, and disrespects her physicality in order to fulfill his own base proclivities.

When Christian women clamor for Grey matter and support it with their pocketbooks, it sends the message to men that Christian Grey’s lusts and behavior are not only acceptable, but what we want. It tells them Grey’s way is good, cool, and cutting edge, and God’s way is sissified, frumpy, and out of date. It sells men a lie.

5. No, because it dims your light.

You don’t hear it much any more, but when I was a yoot, we were frequently asked, “If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” It’s not that the things we do make us Christians or even prove that we’re Christians, but rather that, if we’re Christians, the things we do will necessarily differ from the things lost people do because the Holy Spirit lives within us, conforming us to Christ’s image.

Does your life look any different from an unsaved person’s life? Because of your love for Christ, it should. We are ambassadors for Christ to a lost and dying world. Our every move preaches a silent sermon to them, showing them what is right in God’s eyes and what is wrong, what is Christlike, and what is not. If you do something, it must be OK with God because you’re a Christian, right? How can we be an example to the world if we look just like them? Jesus said, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) Is your light shining brightly, or are you allowing it to fade into the darkness? How would going to see Fifty Shades of Grey make your light brighter?

6. No, because it’s time to put your money where your mouth is.

You believe the Bible, right? Of course you do. You’re a Christian. Well there’s more to it than that. God doesn’t just call us to believe His word, He calls us to submit ourselves to it and obey it. That means there are going to be some things we want to do -that we feel like doing- that we’re simply going to have to deny ourselves out of a greater desire to obey Christ and to represent Him well. Can you go see Fifty Shades of Grey and obey these Scriptures?

Ephesians 5:5-12:

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.

Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Colossians 3:2-3,5:

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God…Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

 

I’ll ask again: Is a movie (or book) that romanticizes and normalizes abuse-infused sexuality something that Christian women should be viewing and supporting financially?

Scripture seems pretty clear that Jesus’ answer would be no. What will your answer be?