Christian witness in a ‘Fifty Shades’ world

The movie release date for the adaptation of the soft-core porn novel Fifty Shades of Grey has been announced.

My bishop speculated earlier this week that so much talk by church folks about gay marriage might be a cover to avoid talking about heterosexual sins. It is a fair point. So let’s talk.

Here’s the United Methodist Social Principle on Sexual Abuse:

Violent, disrespectful, or abusive sexual expressions do not confirm sexuality as God’s good gift. We reject all sexual expressions that damage the humanity God has given us as birthright, and we affirm only that sexual expression that enhances that same humanity. We believe that sexual relations where one or both partners are exploitative, abusive, or promiscuous are beyond the parameters of acceptable Christian behavior and are ultimately destructive to individuals, families, and the social order. We deplore all forms of the commercialization and exploitation of sex, with their consequent cheapening and degradation of human personality. To lose freedom and be sold by someone else for sexual purposes is a form of slavery, and we denounce such business and support the abused and their right to freedom.

We call for strict global enforcement of laws prohibiting the sexual exploitation or use of children by adults and encourage efforts to hold perpetrators legally and financially responsible. We call for the establishment of adequate protective services, guidance, and counseling opportunities for children thus abused.

A fair argument can be made that the book’s content and the book itself violate this social teaching of the church. The book was the fastest selling paperback of all time, creating a new market for “Mommy porn.” The movie will undoubtedly be heavily advertised and make millions of dollars.

What should United Methodist pastors and laity do about this reality? What is our witness in the midst of this kind of culture?



2 thoughts on “Christian witness in a ‘Fifty Shades’ world

  1. John, sometimes your difficult to answer questions re: religion and social issues challenge me to the point I’d almost welcome a theocracy.
    Of course that would be the easy way out.
    I do know that just as my hands mirror those that nailed Christ to the cross, so also my lusts and desires are responsible for pornography and sexual slavery.
    The answer always starts with individual repentance and a new orientation.
    Only by God’s Grace.

    1. Thanks for writing, Steve. Your call for individual repentance is certainly the traditional Christian response. But it feels like so little. I wonder what those Christians in Corinth did and felt as the orgies were going on all around them.

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