Sister to Sister: Fifty Shades: Five Excuses…Ten Reasons

Unknown-7Shocking is what it is to absorb the conversations among some of those who wear the name of Christ…women who see nothing wrong with being entertained by the erotica fiction of the 2011 romance novel and the new movie, “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I do not have to read the books or see the movies to know that Christian women have no business anywhere near the “Grey” zone. Here are five of the top excuses for partaking in the evil of a blatantly pornographic form of entertainment:

  1. “It’s literature…a literary phenomenon.” Yes. It is. The original book has sold over 100 million copies, making in excess of 95 million dollars for the author. A sad commentary on our culture.
  2. “Just because I watch it doesn’t mean it will affect my behavior or my thinking.” Studies have already been done. One at Michigan State University found that women who have read the book are more likely to have abusive partners, be binge drinkers, and participate in unsafe sex, and eating disorders. I’m not sure if women who do these things are more likely to love the movie or the other way around. But, either way, the study results, in themselves, wave a big red flag to people of morality. It’s like the Good Book says: “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).
  3. “I’m just curious.” You could follow the link below if you’re curious about the content. My friend, Tom Holland used to say “You don’t have to stick your head in a trash can to know what trash is.” You will, for the sake of curiosity, put some images in your head that are not erasable.
  4. “I want to make our sex life better.” Would you like for your husband to work to make your sex life better by watching pornographic videos? Perhaps he does. If so, how does that feel to you? Besides, pornography does not enhance sex in the long run. It destroys relationships and cheapens what God has sanctified. The trump card is that it’s a clear violation of God’s commands. (Matthew 5:28; Titus 2:3-5)
  5. “It’s fun.” At least you’re being honest on this one. Sin is selfishly pleasurable in the short term. Satan loves this reason and, truth be told, it’s probably the reason we make up all the other excuses to sin.

And here are ten of the top reasons you should stay away from “Fifty Shades.”

  1. BDSM. If you do not know what that is, you may be fortunate. It is “Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission, Sadism, Masechism, all of which are strong thematic elements in the movie. It is a portrayal of a perverted attraction to an extremely sexually abusive man who keeps Ana, the main female character, in sexual bondage using abuse, expensive gifts and confidentiality agreements.
  2. Your money. Do you really want your movie/book dollars to be included in the 95 million-plus that E.L. James has made/is making from her self termed “expression of a mid-life crisis”? Do you think God is pleased with that sort of stewardship?
  3. Christ is coming back. Do you want to be reading/watching “Fifty Shades of Grey” when He does return? And, if not, then are you okay with Him seeing you read/watch from His seat beside the throne?
  4. Your children. This movie is phenomenally huge. The book, sadly, has become the #1 seller in the world. The book has also now surpassed Harry Potter as the fastest selling paper back. It became the first book ever to sell  more than a million copies on Amazon Kindle.  James was named by Forbes as the 2013 best selling author in the world. Your children, even if they are small or not yet born, will likely one day hear about this book and ask if you have read/seen “Fifty Shades”. Do you really want them to know that you have? If so, you are not the kind of parent I’d hope you want to be. You should love your children enough already to be protective of your influence over them. (Kids have a way of thinking that, no matter what it is, if Mom and Dad have done it, it must not be too bad.)
  5. The rating. The film has an R rating for strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language. Christians cannot claim ignorance as they go to see “Fifty Shades.” We have been fairly warned. And when the movie industry puts out a rating because content will be offensive to some audiences, which audiences do you think those would be?…Christians, maybe?
  6. The woman who wrote the books (i.e. thought up the perversions of plot and sexuality) is also working as a producer of the movie. The movie promises not to be better or tamer than the book.
  7. The male lead in the movie, Jamie Dornan, actually visited a sex dungeon in preparation for his role as Christian Grey. Right. This is for Christians?!
  8. Producers are also planning a release of an NC-17 version of the movie, which will include more of the sexual content. (hard to believe there could be more.) They are doing it because   “the fans want it dirty.” Do you want to be a part of such a fan base?
  9. Evangelism: Do you believe, should your lost friends know about your viewing of the movie, that it would enhance or damage your ability to bring them to a life of purity in Christ? Which?
  10. Scriptures. Commands. Just a couple, though numerous ones come to mind. Philippians 4:8 Whatever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report. If anything is virtuous or worthy of praise, think on these things.” Imagine these words appearing at the bottom of the movie screen during a trailer of “Fifty Shades.” Would those words “fit” there? Would they, in any sense, be descriptive of this movie? What about I Thessalonians 5:22?—“Abstain from the very appearance of evil.”  This book…this movie, my sister friends, is evil come to your community.

Information obtained from www.covenanteyes.com/…/50-fast-factsfiftyshades-grey/.

Sister to Sister: Pornography Use = Fornication? (Recommended Reading from Christian Courier)

Woman-cryingSeveral times in the past few months, I’ve been asked to state my thinking on the popular (and really pretty recently contrived) idea that if my spouse has used pornography, then I am biblically free to divorce and remarry since Jesus said in Matthew 5:18 that a man who looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery already in his heart. So if my husband has been involved in the sin of lust, he is thus an adulterer, and I may, with God’s approval or sanction, divorce him and marry another.

I was answering this question yesterday with what I consider to be three valid objections to the idea that pornography use frees people from marriage vows and, as usual, I was struggling through the meticulous process of writing succinct sentences in a  logical  form.  I came upon this article by my brother, Wayne Jackson. He does not struggle with succinct sentences or logic. I want to recommend this for your reading today: https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1371-is-lust-the-equivalent-of-fornication

When you are finished reading, gather your children or grandchildren close around you and, once again, put into their hearts the importance of finding faithful Christians–people whose hearts are ever tender toward the Word–for their husbands or wives. So many problems that Glenn and I encounter as we speak with couples could have been avoided if His people had been more serious about spiritual things and more selective in the dating and marriage process. It is specifically important that our girls make sure they are not making marriage vows to men who are involved in pornography. (I know that sometimes the problem begins after marriage, but very often it is a hidden problem through the teen years.  I also know that sometimes it is the wife who is the pornography user; but still, the problem is far more common among men.) It’s enslaving and tormenting. It regularly wrecks homes. It is adultery of the heart. But it is not the act of fornication of Matthew 19:9.

Correspondence with a Broken Heart

The following letter came to me yesterday in response to Monday’s blog post. I’ve already prayed for this sweet sister. Will you pray for her, too? I’m praying for all of us that we may learn valuable lessons while we may have time to avoid eternal tragedies. I give you her letter with her permission:

Cindy,
I read your “Average Joe in Europe” and wanted to comment about what I learned from a “converted” Muslim to Christianity about three years ago. It was from an interview somewhere that I found on the internet. He said that the reason that Muslims think that they need to come to America and take over is just what you said – they see America as a “Christian” nation, a nation that must be like the TV shows, “Dallas”, “Soap”, etc. that his family saw when he was a teen before his family came to America. They equate Christianity with America, and America with the TV programs they see. “Such immorality! Such lies! We must go and punish those who profess they know God who live like this,” was their thinking, he said. Ironically, his family escaped his country to come to the freedom in America. Do you know how he was converted to know Christ (albeit in a false church)? Not by the daily conversations he had with his high school Christian friends; not by “observing” the life styles of Christians, but by reading A FEW verses in Matthew. From those few verses, he knew his Muslim teachings had been a lie about Jesus. He began to study the word of God on his own. Imagine that, to simply read and learn the truth FROM the Truth. He said that he told his father that he was a Christian, and that he fully expected his father to kill him in his bed before morning, but morning came and he was alive.

I’ll try to find it again. Though, I doubt I can.

Can I tell you something else? My family is gone to hell. Including me. I learned today that Husband has been on some porn junk, though he says “it’s wrong”. He went to nude beaches on an island he had to go to … long story. I mean, he has been baptized, but is basically, “unchurched” (my term for not attending worship for a very long time), so no real surprise. My older, “goodly” girls, as you once called them, have both left the church (beyond “unchurched”), and I must admit, lately, I have such hateful feelings toward Husband. I know the reality of that sin. We cannot love God and hate our brother. Hate and Heaven are not together. Timidly, I agreed to marry this man that I couldn’t think of a way to get out of the relationship, and my parents, whom I obeyed all my life didn’t say a word of advice to me about it. If my dad had said one sentence to advise against marriage to him, I would have ended it then, and I waited for that sentence. It never came. I think my parents were of the popular opinion that children are old enough to make up their own minds when they are old enough to leave home and go to college. Now, we have daughters that, one did not enter her marriage pure, and the other will not. Both are or will be married to atheists. Can that be possible????? My whole life of training them to be faithful Christian women was a waste. Don’t quote Proverbs 22:6 either. I failed that verse somewhere. I didn’t train them right somewhere, and I think I know the weak spots that failed them.

Just a story for you to warn women and girls not to take the path I have taken, but of course, if you have some words of encouragement and verses of hope, I would love to hear that.

signed,
______________________

So what is it we can learn from this sister who has opened up the recesses of her broken heart today? Here’s a partial list for us all. (I also responded to her personally.)

1. As already stated, the media in America routes rather than reflects our moral condition.
2. America’s moral condition is a large factor in her weakness or strength before the world.
3. The gospel still is the power of God to salvation (Romans 1:16).
4. The gospel is simple, especially if left undiluted by false teachings of men.
5. When we forsake the assemblies of the people of God, we become weak and fall into other sins.
6. Children desperately need two faithful parents in order to maintain a strong faith. Statistics work against them in other cases.
7. The father’s role as the spiritual leader in the home is extremely crucial in the spiritual development of children.
8. There are certain sins that make the distinction between hating the sin and hating the sinner a difficult, albeit necessary one.
9. Pornography destroys relationships. It destroys homes. It hurts children. It is of the devil (Matthew 5:28).
10. When parents can see that their child is about to marry someone who will effectively lead her to hell, they should step in and do all within their power to keep that from occurring.
11. Though inserting godly counsel, for parents, is a tough thing to do, children generally long for parents who set boundaries, maintain discipline, and then, through the “marrying” years, are watchful for their souls.
12. Children are still children, in many respects, at age 18 in America, today. They still need parents and they often still need systems of punishment.
13. There are plenty of atheists in the world today and the devil would love to use them to pull your children from the Lord. It is very important that you include apologetics along with the staple of the Word in your daily family Bible times. (I DID say DAILY family Bible times. I hope that is a given.) Apologetics should begin at age 6 months!
14. There is a real sense in which we are wasting time parenting if our children grow up and leave the Lord.
15. Time is of the essence for parents. There may come a day, young parents, when you would do anything to go back and redo the year in which you find yourself right now. But opportunity, once past, is forever gone. It has no apron strings. Redeem the time.
16. As long as there is life, there is hope. We should never give up on family members who have left the Lord.
17. Sometimes we come to points in life in which we cannot control what anyone else is doing/choosing, but we can still control our own personal choices. Never compromise faith for family.
18. Prayer is always the most valuable resource that we have.
19. All of us have made mistakes. It takes an humble heart to be willing to admit them and it takes a great deal of compassion to bare them so that others can avoid them.
20. Honest evaluation of “weak spots” is learning. We can all do a lot of that along the way.

What if it was “Magic Mary?”

“Surely not!?” That was my response when a friend mentioned to me that she was hearing sisters in the Lord as they discussed their positive impressions after seeing “Magic Mike,” Hollywood’s new release about the boozed-up summer of four male strippers. Can it be?…Can it really be that women who sing “More Holiness Give Me” on Sunday morning can be standing in line on Friday night to watch a sex-saturated portrayal about men who take off their clothes and have sex for cash? Can it be that moms who at least pay lip service to the desire that their children grow up with pure hearts can somehow think this desire is consistent with a hankering to go see this pornographic production of the devil’s minions? Can it be that the info section on one facebook page can say “Christian” beside “Religious Views” and “Magic Mike” under “Likes” ? Seriously? Sometimes, when commenting on a movie Christians should oppose, it’s helpful to look it up on screenit.com to make sure that we all know ahead of time exactly what we’re opposing (or in other cases what we’re headed to see.) This time, I’ve heard enough in casual conversation about one aspect of the movie: theme. I do not need to even go to screenit to know that this film is not what a Christian woman would want to watch.

Picture yourself overhearing this conversation between your husband and his co-worker:

Your Husband: Have you seen “Magic Mary” yet?
His Co-worker: No, is it good?
YH: Is it good!? It’s Gisele as a stripper! What do YOU think?
HCW: I don’t think I’d probably go to sleep in that one (laughs).
YH: You should go…just sayin’…but probably not with your wife.
HCW: You want to go see it again on lunch break when we work third shift next week?
YH: I’m in, but it won’t be a very productive afternoon when we get back. Oh man… yeah, I can see it again.

I crafted that conversation to be about as benign as any you could hear between two men who were planning to go watch a pornographic film on lunch break. In real life, the language would probably be more “descriptive” and the comments more detailed. But, really….How would you feel, Sister, about your husbands plans and desires? How would you feel about your relationship with him? How would you feel about yourself? Just how would you feel when you went to bed with this man that evening after accidentally overhearing this conversation?

Here are just a few of the Lord’s insights about “Magic Mike.” Amazing how relevant God always is:

Flee from sexual immorality (I Corinthian 6:17).

Abstain from the very appearance of evil (I Thessalonians 5:22).

Whatever things are pure…If there’s anything virtuous or praiseworthy, think on these things (Philippians 4:8).

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you…(Ephesians 5:3).

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire …(Col.3:5).

…And I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced (II Cor.12:21).

Have I put to death what is earthly and carnal in me or is God mourning because I have not repented? If I call myself His, but am not putting to death the carnal, I may be putting to death afresh the Son of God (Heb. 6:6).

The lust problem that is destroying families in ever larger numbers in our churches is not funny. It is not entertainment fodder for Christians. A claim to be a Christian and acclaim for “Magic Mike” are polar opposites. They surely don’t belong on the same facebook page.

Spiritual Pornography?

It’s heartbreaking to work with couples who are dealing with the problems that pornography brings into a relationship. Lack of trust, jealousy, feelings of worthlessness,  guilt, lust, and uncertainty about the future are all a part of the grim picture that accompanies it. What is most surprising to me is that there are people, some even “experts” who would have us to believe that the use of pornography is not a bad thing…maybe it’s even a good thing, and healthy for marriages. This is preposterous and anyone who is God-centered at all in his thinking reckons the loss that  accompanies the use of pornography as being profound in its ramifications. Often, when adultery is traced back to its insidious roots, pornography was involved long before the actual adulterous encounter. Jesus, of course, called this looking and lusting adultery of the heart (Matthew 5:28).
When studying James 4 recently, I pondered the obvious truth that, as members of the bride of Christ, we can commit spiritual adultery by our entanglement with the world. Notice the first six verses of this very serious discussion:
1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?
2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.
3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us?
6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
These verses made me think about how a member of the body of Christ might make God jealous in the same way that I might provoke my husband to jealousy—the kind of jealousy that is normal in a husband. What if I were to talk negatively about Him to people outside the family? What if I were to break my appointments with Him? What if I were to make fun of Him and laugh when others made fun of Him? What if I did not want to share generously with Him of my time and money? What if I enjoyed being with others more than I enjoyed His company? What if I did not take the time to read what he wrote to me or to respond when He gave me a gift?  You can understand readily, especially if you are married, how we can begin to court the world rather than being faithful in our marriages to Christ. 
But then I thought about the sin of pornography and how that, long before a spouse forsakes his wife, he may look at other women with passionate desire. He may lust for another woman. He may be busy facilitating his adultery before he knows the woman with whom he will one day commit the sin. 
Do we sometimes do that spiritually? I mean long before a person actually leaves the Lord for the world, does she sometimes look at the world with passion and desire? Does she place the lure of the world right in front of her eyes? Does she gaze longingly long before she become a full-fledged friend of the world? I believe we often do this through our entertainment choices. Are you looking with favor on that which is enmity with God? I think when we choose to be entertained by movies, television shows and music that are filled with profanities, obscenities, lasciviousness, fornication, homosexuality, adulteries and/or uncleanness, we are allowing ourselves to gaze on that which is off-limits to the bride of Christ. The more we gaze, the more comfortable we become with these desires for the world. The more we look, the more we want to look and the more anesthetized we become to the shock factor that sin should bring. Soon, just as a pornography addict is a short step from adultery, we are a very short step from committing the overt sins of the world–spiritual adultery. That which once entertained us becomes less something we watch and more something we do. 
Being entertained and aroused by looking at pornography often leads to the commission of the overt sin of adultery. This destroys marriages and families.
Being entertained by the sinful things of the world often leads to all kinds of worldly alliances and actions. This destroys our relationship with God and our relationships within the family of Christ. Is this spiritual pornography? I think so.

Can You Help Me?

It’s official. Statistics reveal that the use of pornography is as American as baseball and mini-vans. It’s a multi-billion dollar business. The 2006 revenues of the sex and porn industry in the US were bigger than the NFL, the NBA and the Major Leagues combined. Worldwide sex industry stats for that year show sales were at 97 billion. For a perspective, this compares with Microsoft sales of 44.8 billion that same year (Internet Filter Review/ Blazinggrace.org). But I don’t have to tell you this. You know someone (likely lots of “someones,”) who has been deeply affected as a part of what is arguably Satan’s biggest success story of this century. He leaves no stone unturned. Counselors tell us he’s getting 8 out of 10 college guys now and Christian Universities are not exempt. In 2006, 50% of “Christian” men admitted having an addiction to pornography according to a ChristiaNET poll (Marketwire.com/Blazinggrace.org). Our preachers, elders, husbands and congregations are often hurting because of this amazingly potent and destructive addiction that, for too long, we have failed to address. Jobs are lost, divorces occur and eternal death is the victor in too many of these cases. Children, as always, are among the innocent casualties.

One of my assigned topics for a large Seminar Series called Polishing the Pulpit this year is “Helping a Loved One with a Porn Problem.” Here’s what you can contribute to help others who are in the grip of this evil mind master. If you have seen success through a particular program, would you email me and make me aware of your recommendation? If you have found a wonderful internet filter, would you also recommend that? What have you done to protect your teen boys from the danger of porn? Are there books or other resources that have helped you as a wife or mother to intervene and rescue? I want to be able to give as much information that’s truly helpful as possible. I do need your input within the next five days and I will, in turn, include these recommendations in an upcoming post. If I can be praying for someone you know who is falling prey to this insidious agenda of Satan, please make me aware of that, too.

You may post to my facebook page, email me or send me an anonymous letter (or signed one) to Cindy Colley, c/o West Huntsville Church of Christ. 1303 Evangel Dr., Huntsville, AL 35816.

Would you also pray about this class and all of the others at PTP? This large learning arena brings the potential for a phenomenal amount of widespread evangelism, growth and encouragement for God’s people. Prayer is key to maximizing this potential.