Spring Run Presbyterian Church

5 Thoughts about 50 Shades of Grey

5 Thoughts about 50 Shades of Grey
by Andrew Conrad

Confessions first. I have not read the book. In fact, I usually skip books and wait to go see the movie. I am going pass on this movie. There comes a point when one has to exercise self-control over curiosity. I have read several articles about the film. Consider these 5 thoughts about 50 Shades of Grey.

  • Curiosity and ecstasy will lead many people to see 50 Shades of Grey and will put around $50 million in Hollywood pockets on opening weekend just in the U.S. The old adage is true – “sex sells.”
  • This film will cause controversy. It is already banned in Malaysia. There are groups other than religious groups leading the call for boycotts of the film. A campaign (#50dollarsnot50shades) has been started to give the $50 you would spend on tickets and food to a women’s shelter instead. They say, “Hollywood doesn’t need your money; abused women do.” The campaign is backed by US National Centre on Sexual Exploitation, Canada’s London Abused Women’s Centre, and Stop Porn Culture. A spokesperson told the Washington Times that real women “don’t end up like Anastasia; they often end up in a women’s shelter, on the run for years or dead.” (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/feb/2/fifty-shades-of-grey-targeted-by-domestic-abuse-pr/?page=all)
  • Since “sex sells”, and the nature of film is often to creatively express and explore ideas, the lines keep getting blurrier. Robin Thicke wrote a song called Blurred Lines which was full of degrading and discriminating ideas. It was reported that the song promoted a “rape culture” which led 20 universities in the UK to ban the song from their campuses. Even though the recent Rolling Stones article was fabricated, there is a real problem with sexual assault on college campuses. In fact, one was reported last night on the news. We have a short memory as a society. Once a line is crossed we look for another blurred line and it desensitizes us to real issues in our culture which leads to my 4th
  • I saw a powerful commercial during the Super Bowl against domestic violence. We do remember all the outrage from inside and outside the NFL over domestic violence this year, right? Or did the Super Bowl make us think ‘deflategate’ was the more important thing? I thought we, as civilized people, were ready to take a stand against domestic sexual violence. Or are we not that civilized yet?
  • I realize some will say that this film does not promote sexual violence. They will say that it is about a consensual relationship between adults. Consensual is a term that helps establish legality (though not always as in the case with a minor and adult in a sexual relationship). But even if it is legal does consensual always equal healthy? If two people consensually agree to create a meth lab does it remove all fire and health hazards?

When will our culture say enough is enough? Jesus taught us to love one another. The very premise of his teaching was his own sacrificial love. Love denies oneself and gives for the good of another. It is not one in which we dominate another for our pleasure. It seems to me that if we create blurred lines around what self-giving love is then we lose the very nature of love itself. One of the most well-known expressions of love comes from the Bible in a letter written to the people of ancient Corinth. He encourages them toward the higher virtue of love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

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