Saturday, February 14, 2015

50 Shades of Porn: A Post for My Christian Sisters

Hello Christian sisters.

I do believe this will be the first time I've written directly to women, but it's Valentine's Day, so what better time.

Well, it's become quite consistent now. I see women who are old friends from school, from church, and women at work talking about it. They've been passing the books around, swooning about the movie, and are setting up girls' nights out to see it.

50 Shades of Grey. I remember when I first heard my sister scoff about it and I had no idea what it was all about. “It's nothing but erotica” she said. “I can't believe my friends are reading it.”

I've often heard that women are tempted with sexual sin in a drastically different way than men. “Women tend to be tempted emotionally, whereas men are tempted visually” is usually the kind of thing you hear. While I know there's some truth to this, I've never entirely bought into the dichotomy, mainly because I've never found it to be true in myself. I find the emotional and physical desires for relationship tend to rise simultaneously in the depths of my soul.

Because of this, I'm no longer surprised when I hear that the porn industry has a growing audience among women.

That said, I see a very different challenge rising in our culture for Christian women. Where we men generally have to call porn what it is when indulging in it, women are now being offered the opportunity to indulge in temptation while giving it a different name. I believe at one point I heard one critic call 50 Shades of Grey a “tasteful love story.”

As a man who has had the porn industry take numerous bites out of his soul, there is a very pointed anger that arises in my heart when I see my sisters taken captive in this way. Indeed, the lines between Hollywood and the porn industry are growing increasingly blurry.

As a man who continuously fights this battle, I need to know that not only my brothers, but also my sisters are fighting along side me. If I fail in some measure, I need to know that I am not the only one who sees a reason to get up and fight tomorrow.

The devil is a liar. A mighty good one at that. With the release of 50 Shades of Grey as a movie, many of my Christian sisters are now under the impression that they can step into a theater to see it and call it something other than a surrender in the midst of a war.

As a man striving to look like Christ, the last thing I need is another excuse to compromise. The last thing I need is to look at my shortcomings and call them anything less than a betrayal of the beauty of the gospel.

Nothing makes me loath my own failures in this area more than having to look at you, my sisters, knowing that, in my heart, I've treated you as less beautiful and less valuable than you truly are. But now, in the midst of that battle, I see many of you treating yourselves that way without my help.

Many of you are swooning over a story that glorifies your objectification. You pass books around that make innocence something to be mocked, and depravity something to be celebrated. You are setting up girls' nights out to see images that you would rightfully be disgusted with your boyfriends and husbands for viewing.

I don't write strong words like this because I am immune to temptation, but because I am undeniably aware of my incredible weakness.

Sisters, if you're considering reading these books or going to see the movie, please don't. Don't surrender in the midst of war. If you already have, I know that in your heart of hearts you feel the shame that is in it. A shame that many men and now many women have experienced.

There is grace for you in the gospel. There is grace for all of us. Because of the cross, Christ has taken our shame. Not only that, but we now carry the beauty and righteousness of Christ. We can let that truth cause us to get up and fight another day, even if we have failed today.

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