I’m a non-confrontational person. I love a good debate, though I’d rather watch one than be involved in it. So as all of this 50 Shades stuff has taken over my Facebook timeline, I’ve glanced through the comments to see how many are “for it” or “against it.” Like I said, I love watching a good debate. But, after reading one person’s comment posted beneath a fellow Christian romance author’s link against the book/film, I could no longer sit quietly. This person compared 50 Shades of Grey to Christian fiction. My heart lurched as I realized how confused people are over this issue. Therefore, I’m jumping in—heart first.
I’ll begin by sharing the book’s Amazon description for those unaware of what this book is about:
When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.
Next, I’ll share the person’s direct comment from Facebook (they will remain anonymous).
“I have read the books and I have to say it’s not abusive against women and I have found that people that say it’s abusive against women obviously haven’t read it. It’s a consensual relationship, with light BDSM and ultimately it’s a love story. It does have a ‘Christian’ theme of redemption, which is a theme found in many of the Christian books I’ve read and enjoyed. Besides the fact it’s fiction. I understand that we’re all entitled to our own opinion, but why do people feel the need to criticize those that enjoyed the books? Especially when so many say they’ve never read the books and really can’t comment on it factually.”
Since I had no idea what BDSM is, I (carefully) looked it up.
D= discipline, dominance, and submission.
S= sadism (*the condition in which sexual gratification depends on causing pain or degradation to others; the enjoyment of being cruel).
M= masochism (*the tendency to seek gratification from inflicting pain on others or oneself).
I trust I don’t have to explain how these terms are “played out,” and I’ll move on.
“I have found that people that say it’s abusive against women obviously haven’t read it. It’s a consensual relationship, with light BDSM.”
Just like you can’t be a little bit pregnant, there’s no such thing as light abuse. A man can slap a woman across the face, degrade her with his words, or beat her within an inch of her life, and it’s all still abuse.
“Love worketh no ill to his neighbor…” Romans 13:10.
As for “consensual,” in some situations abuse is permitted even if it isn’t “agreed upon”. Either way, BDSM in a sexual relationship is completely unbiblical. Christ died to save us from bondage. Man and woman were created to help and complement each other, not to bind and dominate in a hurtful degrading way.
“Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24.
One flesh. Equals. Helpmeets. Enough said.
“…it’s a love story.”
“Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth (boast) not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity (sin), but rejoiceth in the truth.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, emphasis mine)
50 Shades of Grey is not a true love story.
“It does have a ‘Christian’ theme of redemption, which is a theme found in many of the Christian books I’ve read and enjoyed.”
**Redemption is the act of redeeming or atoning for a fault or mistake. Okay, perhaps at the end, Christian Grey regrets his actions. That’s good, but in Christian fiction, our characters don’t stop at being sorry. Let’s dissect the second part of the definition—the state of being redeemed. To redeem is to buy or pay off; clear by payment. Could Christian Grey buy or pay off his past sins? No. Only the blood of Jesus can do that. That’s redemption!
Authors of Christian romance don’t just stop at happily ever after. We give you happily ever after for all eternity by showing our characters’ redemption through Christ. A love that lasts forever.
“I understand that we’re all entitled to our own opinion, but why do people feel the need to criticize those that enjoyed the books?”
None of the posts encouraging people to boycott the 50 Shades of Grey book and film are criticizing the readers. They’re bringing light to the subject matter of the storyline and the sad fact that Hollywood promotes such behavior.
“Especially when so many say they’ve never read the books and really can’t comment on it factually.”
She’s right, I’ve never read the book or seen the movie, but let me put it this way: I’ve never dabbled in witchcraft or murder, but I don’t have to do those things in order to know they’re wrong.
When it comes to sin, there are no gray areas. Only black and white. Christian fiction encourages readers to connect to the characters and their journey through emotion—not lust and arousal. We strive to leave our readers with a message of hope that goes beyond human love. Does this mean Christian fiction is nothing but cardboard cut-out characters who’re perfect and don’t have sinful tendencies? Absolutely not! Those characters are as human as you and me and deal with tough issues. They’re just written in a way to point the reader to Christ.
If you’re not a reader of Christian fiction, I encourage you to give us a try. Entertaining reads that truly satisfy the longings of a woman’s heart.
*information obtained from http://www.sexuality.about.com
**reference from http://www.dictionary.com
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/free.digitalphotos.net
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~Candice Sue Patterson is the author of Silver White Winters and Bright Copper Kettles, both contemporary romances in a Christmas setting. She lives on a hobby farm in a restored farmhouse overtaken by books. When she’s not tending to her chickens, splitting wood, or decorating cakes, she’s working on a new story. You can find Candice on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Find out more on her website.