Thursday, February 12, 2015

50 Shades? Not Today

Recently a teen wrote. Struggling with feeling beautiful, she feared no one would desire her, leaving her to die a virgin. This fear was so great she was contemplating action that'd fly in the face of her own beliefs if a boy “wanted” her.

Cultural influences have equated experiencing sex with the fulfilled life.

And can we blame her? They are making sexy ads on Celebrity Apprentice in hopes of getting charity money. Katy Perry is wearing some kind of sheer icicle thing we are supposed to label a dress on the Grammy runway. And, tonight, midnight showings of Fifty Shades of Grey will hit the theatre. The predicted sales for the weekend are a whopping $60 million dollars. That is A LOT of Valentine’s dates.

I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t read the books. I have no desire. However, my work beckons me to approach the topic with food for thought for singles and marrieds alike.

I’ve done my research. I’m saddened by what I read.

While the argument will be made that these are “only” books or “just” a movie, there is no denying  there must be reason behind the call to “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure” (Phil 4:8). We were created a hormonal people and we respond to what we see, entertain, and act on.

My dear speaking friend and co-author, Pam Stenzel, warns, “Your most important sex organ has nothing to do with what’s below your belt. It’s your brain.”

There are reportedly 20 minutes of graphic sex scenes, making up for about 1/5 of movie time, not to mention “romance” that inflicts pain in this film.

So what do we need to consider?

For the singles, watching this will undeniably mold perception of what intimacy looks like. I shudder at the thought of emails to come in the days ahead. God created sex to be a beautiful, sacred gift between husband and wife. A “one flesh” experience that only seeks to honor the other and, in it, creates a unique knowingness special to the covenant relationship. There is no room for violence in this plan. There is no room for minimizing one to an object in this plan. There is no room for using sex as a means to selfish benefit. That is not a patient and kind love (1 Cor 13:4).

And for the marrieds. We have the ring and the right boundary but we need to stay in the right experience. Stick with me through a little hormone lesson. Men release vasopressin, a hormone that bonds the male with what is in front of him. Partners, pornography, and graphic sexual movies threaten the ability to bond exclusively with his wife. Females release oxytocin, sometimes called the "bonding hormone," a beautiful thing if you are hugging someone you love or nursing your infant made less lovely if you are gluing yourself sexually to someone not fully bound. And, let's be honest, to think that couples are going to leave this film and have authentic desire for each other is denial. The spark will come from what was seen and the marital bed experience built on shallow remembrances rather than genuine respect for the spouse’s temple.

Ultimately how you handle this film in your home and the parenting of your kids is yours. We all make choices and live with the good and bad that comes of them. But I pray you will carefully consider what image you want to paint of love before you and/or your children gussy up for your special Valentine's night out.

Teens/singles, if your date wants to take you to this, it is time to ask yourself some important questions. If this doesn’t align with your character values, do you really want to be with this person in the first place? Dating premeditates marriage and you need to be selective now to have the person you want in the future. Plus you need to be the type of person you hope to find. Does viewership devalue respect for yourself and your future spouse? Pick up Nobody Told Me. Lifelong love looks different and it can be yours.

Marrieds, love each other well. We all know that marriage is hard work and we need to be intentional to choose honor for each other to withstand the threats of this world.

Real fulfillment comes not in an act, but in the One who shows us how to love.

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  1. Hi Melissa - I found you on the Missional Women Faith-Filled-Friday posts. I also wrote on Fifty Shades this week. I am glad to find others who are encouraging something better than abuse and violence as a weak/distorted substitute for true love. May God use your words to urge someone away from this film and into the hope of a lasting and fulfilling love.

    1. Thank you! Be blessed in your writings and encouragement to others as well.

  2. Thanks for sharing your heart! I couldn't agree more!


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