crayonsAre you a book person or do you prefer movies? I honestly enjoy both. Obviously, when I read the book and see the movie I am going to prefer one over the other, usually the book.

I like the creative license a book gives me to make the characters look the way I want them to look and the scenery painted the way I see it in my mind’s eye.

There’s a book that stirred up quite a controversy when it released in 2011, Fifty Shades of Grey. The conversation is being revisited because of the movie by the same title set to release on February 14, 2015. I find it rather ironic that the movie is set to release on Valentine’s Day, a day set aside for people to express their true love to one another.

There are many people, some Christians included, who have raved about the book and are eagerly anticipating the movie and have been chatting it up on social media. I can’t quite wrap my head around it. Oh, I totally understand why those who aren’t Christ followers are drawn to it. I would expect nothing less, but Christians?

Based on the little I’ve seen, which was plenty, both the book and movie are nothing short of pornography. Now before I get stoned by the followers of Fifty Shades of Grey, let’s look at a non-Christian, objective point of view.

Webster’s Dictionary defines pornography as:

movies, pictures, magazines, etc., that show or describe naked people or sex in a very open and direct way in order to cause sexual excitement; the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement; material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement; the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction.”

It’s pretty black and white, with no gray area for debate, Fifty Shades of Grey qualifies as pornography. I won’t even get started on the connection of pornography to sex trafficking. We don’t have time or space here to cover that discussion. If you’d like to learn more, go here, here and here for starters.

As Christians we are called to abstain from immoral behavior. In Colossians 3:5, Paul says,

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”

In Ephesians 5:3, Paul says,

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” [emphasis mine]

Basically, Paul is saying, if in doubt, don’t!

This morning I was reading in Ephesians 4. I was rocked by the Message translation of verses 17-19,

And so I insist- and God backs me up on this- that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.”

The books in the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy have sold over 70 million copies. I’d say that’s a crowd.

Sadly, some of those purchases were made by people who identify themselves as followers of Christ. They’ve been drawn in by the enemy. They’ve been lured and the didn’t even see it coming. The enemy is the craftiest of all creation [Genesis 3:1]. He makes it his number one mission to reek havoc wherever he can, especially in the lives of believers [John 10:10]. The sad reality is pornography, in any form, damages the life of the viewer/reader and their relationships.

Romans 12:2 tells us how to avoid this attack,

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Again, don’t go along with the crowd. Be willing to be different. Be willing to take a stand. Be willing to say no.

Philippians 4:8 challenges us,

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable– if anything is excellent or praiseworthy– think about such things.”

I’m not suggesting the only book you read be the Bible, although you wouldn’t be harmed in doing so, but be careful what you fill your mind with because the old Chinese proverb will become your reality:

Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.” [author unknown]

Before you think I’m uptight and need to relax, read this quote from E. L. James’ own website [which had a 17+ button you had to click before entering her site]:

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.”

Sound familiar?