The best-selling book “Fifty Shades of Grey” has become one of the most controversial books in recent years, especially appealing to women. It has been eagerly welcomed into the mainstream of popular literature, even though it is classified as “erotica.” Coined “mommy porn,” it is a sexually explicit story involving sadism, masochism, bondage and other deviant sexual practices between a young woman and a businessman. (Porn differs from erotica in that erotica has a story arc as well as character and plot development.) There are a multitude of reviews, blogs, and articles written from a Christian perspective regarding this book, all extremely helpful in understanding its insidious danger. We at Flourish want to specifically urge ministry wives to respond to this phenomenon and to guide women to a clear biblical understanding of this book.
Do not be so naïve to think that the women in your church aren’t reading Fifty Shades. They most likely are, but probably won’t mention it at Bible Study! If they aren’t reading it themselves, I can promise you they know women who have. Don’t be afraid to bring it up when you have the opportunity—I imagine you will find it is quite a conversation starter. As a pastor’s wife, the women in your church need to hear your take on the cultural influences they deal with, especially ones that are so blatantly evil and destructive. Your informed perspective can clear the muddy waters for women who are deceived into believing this book is innocent fun.
There are several “talking points” that need to be explored in determining a biblical and spiritually mature response to this book. Why are women vulnerable to this type of literature anyway? What are women looking for in a relationship with a man? Why is Fifty Shades so dangerous? What does Scripture say about what we put in our mind and how it affects our behavior and thought life?
In my view, one of the strongest cases against Christian women reading this book is the argument for the purity of the marriage relationship. Women claim that reading this book has “spiced up” their sexual relationship with their husbands. But this kind of literature does not lead to intensifying romantic love, but rather leads ultimately to dissatisfaction and disrespect. Marriage is honorable among all and the marriage bed is to be undefiled—by body or by mind.
Paul warns us about this in 2 Timothy 3:6-7: “They (godless people) are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.” May the Lord deliver us from being “weak-willed” and gullible women. We pray he will give us wisdom, grace and spiritual understanding as we speak truth to other women, and to ourselves.
Susie Hawkins lives in Dallas and has been actively involved in women’s ministry as a pastor’s wife, author, teacher and volunteer. This article first appeared at the flourish.me blog, an online community for ministry wives.