I know talking about this will spark discussions for and against what I want to say and I welcome both. Recently, someone loaned me 50 Shades of Grey by E. L. James. Not knowing what I was getting myself into I read a few reviews on the book and opened with caution. At first, the book was riveting. I love a good romance. It was fun and playful to remember the feelings of first falling in love. Boy meets girl. Boy pursues girl. Girl daydreams about boy and on and on.
Within the turn of a single page, however, the book takes on a dark, twisted, and distorted view of relationships. I am not known for my ability to stomach harshness, crudeness, or vulgarity so it is no surprise to some that this book would not be on my top ten list of must reads. In fact, I ended up turning to the last two pages of the book to see how it ended and gave it back to the person who loaned it to me without finishing it.
What I did read from the book is enough to have based an opinion. I fully believe in the sexual unity of a man and wife according to God’s word and believe that it is a gift meant to give pleasure and for our personal enjoyment. I do not believe that it is meant for abuse, domination, submission or unhealthy fantasies.
The characters in the book are Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. Christian’s good looks and what some may call “charm” instantly rivet Anastasia. She craves to know more about him. His success, intelligence and good looks make Anastasia feel like a giddy schoolgirl because his interest in her, regardless of the warning signals that she feels within, make her think she must be important to have his caught HIS eye. As their “relationship” begins to grow, so does the dark and mysterious ways of Christian Grey.
My intent is not to give the book away for those that have not read the series. However, I do want to point out a few things that made my decision to put the book down emanate.
1. If sex was designed by God for a man and wife’s pleasure, this book quickly knocks that down. Two people who barely know one another engage in borderline abusive sex.
2. God created man and woman equally in His image. This book takes the role of submissiveness to a whole new level by making the act of sex what a man DOES to a woman, rather than an act of love given from a man and woman to each other.
3. God made woman to bring out the best in a man and to be his partner. Grey’s acts of dominance, requirements of discipline and obedience, and complete control over every aspect of Steele’s life are forms of abuse to make Steele feel she can’t live without him.
I am not naïve enough to believe everyone will agree with me or that my review will make someone who is intent on reading it, stop from doing so. However, I want to caution my Christian friends who want to read this book. I believe that with the right frame of mind, it can be read. The only way it should be read is cautiously and with the intent to form an opinion to share with our culture in hopes that it will bring someone to Christ.
We all have needs and desires that we seek to fulfill in ways God did not intend. This book, I feel is a danger to the single woman who wants to remain pure and the wife who feels her needs are not being met by her spouse. There is a reason we have wants and desires that we seek temporary fulfillment for. Because deep down we know our every need cannot be met by anyone or anything. That is where I encourage each of you to look towards God. He designed and created us and only He can satisfy completely. And His love is not abusive, nor is it dominant or penalizing.
Rachel W. Clark