Unless you have been living under a rock you know that 50 Shades of Grey is a movie that is coming out on Valentines Weekend and a best-selling book about a sexual relationship.
Sex is a word that causes lots of different thoughts and emotions for people. For some the emotion is exciting or intimate, for some it’s shame. The emotion for others is abuse or heartbreak -it’s hard to be neutral on the topic.
Sex in Church?
Some people will feel that it is not right to talk about sex in church. If that’s you, I respect your opinion but I strongly disagree. Here’s why: Sex and sexuality are everywhere in our culture: TV, movies, music, books, advertising, the internet and all forms of social media. We’re bombarded with sex and it’s confusing. Somebody has to talk about what the bible says. You won’t hear it in school, you won’t see it on TV, where are you going to hear it if not in church? So we are going to address a topic that God is not shy in addressing.
Whether married or single, we are sexual beings and we either recognize and nurture our sexuality or deny that we have desires. Many Christians respond to their sexuality with a mixture of denial, judgment, fear and guilt.
God has other plans for our sexuality. He could have made it like clipping our fingernails but he didn’t. He’s the one that created our sexual organs, the nerve endings, the passion, the drive, and ecstasy involved in sex. Solomon writes unashamed instructions for his son to enjoy his wife, body and soul.
“Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love” Proverbs 5:18-19
God is bold about sex. He’s also bold in explaining when sex is most exhilarating: between one man and one woman who are committed for life. Monogamy provides the space for marital passion.
With the Fifty Shades movie coming out Valentines weekend, and E. L. James’s Fifty Shades trilogy topping the New York Times’s bestseller list, I think we can safely say that sex and sexuality are a hot topic.
What’s the book and movie about?
The author of 50 Shades of Grey, E.L James explained on The Today Show, “I put all my fantasies, out there.” Her fantasies include her male lead, Christian Grey, suggesting a contract of sexual bondage, dominance, discipline, female subjugation, sadism and masochism (BDSM).
I do not condone the actions or behaviors in the book or the movie for the following convictions I have:
- Genesis 1:27 teaches that men and women are made in God’s image; this means that all we do, including our love-making, should tell the world the truth about what God is like.
- Genesis 3 introduces the roots of what we’ve come to call the gender war where man is judged to rule over women (Gen 3:16), and we’ve been attempting to dominate each other ever since. This isn’t the way we were created to be.
- BDSM includes humiliation and domination, practices that are at odds with the way we were created as equals and at odds with honoring our spouse’s bodies as temples of God’s Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:18-19). For more about BDSM, see a good article here.
- Our bodies are as sacred as our souls; our bodies belong to God first (1 Cor. 6:19-20) and then our spouse (1 Cor. 7:4). There are some things we shouldn’t do to a sacred vessel.
I have hope for all interested in the topic of sexuality and relationships. Especially those who have been harmed, shamed or confused like me and many others in our church. Like Jesus at the well, I hope we can point them to living water.
In our series, here’s what we will NOT do:
- Condemn the book, movie or its makers.
- Judge any of the book’s readers or movie’s attenders
- Use shame or guilt at all, only forgiveness, hope and restoration.
What if we saw Fifty Shades as an opportunity instead of a threat?
You don’t have to read the book to enter into this opportunity and hear how men and women want to share their stories of sexual desire and frustration. The fields are ripe right now. Fifty Shades of Grey means we can talk about another model of sexual pleasure, one created by a God who made our sexuality.
Remember, God is not embarrassed by our sexuality, nor is he embarrassed to tell us good and harmful ways to live as sexual creatures.
Solomon knew that when he said to be exhilarated with our spouse’s love. Solomon knew these God-given desires can be most satisfyingly met by our spouse, with his body and soul in our bed.
And that is worth talking about. I hope you can join in the conversation.
Additional Sources and Reading: