Friday, February 13, 2015

Why the 50 Shades stuff is making me crazy....

Christians often get a bad rap for being "against" stuff.

Whether a particular brand of Christianity opposes dancing or alcohol or tattoos or certain kinds of music or Democrats,  being anti-things is a one-size-fits-all label the culture seems to have given Christians.

Sometimes, for good reason.

But it's a frustrating premise to have to overcome when interacting with people.   Even on the campus where I work, where people have known me for years, that anti-stuff label is hard to overcome.   Just this week a Freshman revealed she'd gotten a tattoo and was sure I'd disapprove.  I looked at her over the top of my pierced nose and asked,

"What world would give you the idea that I'd disapprove of a cross tattoo??"

"I don't know....".

 I know.   It's because I'm a Christian leader, and her view of Christian leaders is that they are always opposed to stuff.

Which is why I'm struggling to know how to talk about 50 Shades of Grey.   (No, I haven't seen it or read book, but I've read enough - and not all conservative, Christian perspectives -  to have a pretty clear understanding of the premise).

And it's not because I'm against sex.  I happen to think very highly of sex, which is the reason why the 50 Shades craze saddens me so much.  So rather than emphasizing what I'm anti, let me tell you what I'm PRO.

I am PRO sex.
I love sex.  I'm all for it!  I think sex, in the right context, is one of the most fantastic, sacred, intimate things a couple can share.  Outside of marriage, however, it has the potential to be a painful, complicated, confusing mess.  

I am PRO women.
The college women I work with are brilliant.  And compassionate.  They have aspirations and dreams to change the world.  The are beautiful and hopeful.  And more and more, by the time they get to the University, many of them have been wounded deeply.  Some have been wounded by fathers and grandfathers and other family members whose understanding of love has been distorted and perverted.   They've dated men who treated them as conquests or conveniences, rather than as children of the most high God.    Often, these men have had their understanding of sex and relationships shaped by magazines, movies and websites from an early age.   For many, it started with a simple image, but quickly spiraled into more graphic and more perverse kinds of fantasies.  And while the amount of shock value it took to give the same payoff increased more and more, finally, the line between reality and delusion got blurred in the face of their addiction.

Statistics among college women currently report that 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted during their academic career.   Any movie that makes sexual abuse or assault look exciting or acceptable is an offense to the women who have or will experience such a violation.

I am PRO wholeness.
For women.  For men.  For families.  For marriages.  And the problem I have with books and movies like 50 Shades of Grey is that plays into a lie that instant gratification and selfishness in relationships is what will bring the most satisfaction.  That's crap.   Respect, selfless love, trust....those are the things that bring health and wholeness to a relationship.

For my college girls....
The 50 Shades of Grey movie isn't harmless fun.   It's degrading to women.  It's pornography, and any woman who has caught her boyfriend or husband looking at porn will tell you that it's not an innocent, benign activity.  Marriages have been ruined, families destroyed, individual men and women made slaves to the ever-increasing need for more.  It's not the perfect Valentine's Day movie and I would question any man's motivation to take you to something that glorifies a man dominating and abusing a woman.

A blogger friend of mine summed up my feelings about 50 Shades best:

"If you are a Christian, you have no business seeing this movie.  If you are a feminist, you have no business seeing this movie. If you are a Christian and a feminist, you really have no business seeing this movie."

But it's not because I'm anti-anything.   It's because I am PRO-something better.

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