I know I have said it before, but I am going to say it again: I love to read.
Love, love, love.
And I read all kinds of books.
On my list of books to read just this year are two biographies, two parenting books, four memoirs, two books about church ministry, three classic novels, eleven contemporary novels, a cookbook, and a book about politics.
It all interests me. It all enriches me. It all helps me to be a better writer.
I don’t even mind reading books in which I disagree with the author. In Acts 17:11, Luke writes that the Christians at Berea “examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” That’s how I approach most of the books I read. I discern what the author is trying to say, and I hold it up against the measuring rod of the Bible. “Test everything,” Paul reiterates. “Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22)
For this reason, there are very few books which I avoid; in fact, if you tell me I should not read something, I’m usually that much more likely to read it. I can be stubborn that way.
But I want to explain to you why Fifty Shades of Grey is different, at least from my perspective.
Allow me to frame my explanation through the biblical examples set for us by Joseph and Daniel. Both were taken as young men from their homes, and forced to serve pagan rulers in foreign cultures. But Joseph was such a good manager, he quickly rose to the head of Potiphar’s household. Daniel was also talented; he was specifically chosen for his aptitude in the classroom, and was educated in the literature and language of Babylon.
These men did not run from knowledge, but they knew where to draw to line.
Daniel “resolved not to defile himself,” while in the courts of the King of Babylon (Daniel 1:8) and Joseph, when presented with the opportunity sleep with Potiphar’s wife, literally ran from temptation (Genesis 39:13).
From what I understand about the book, Fifty Shades of Grey opens wide the door into someone else’s bedroom, and invites you and me inside, where all that await us are explicit images and thoughts, the kind against which God’s word specifically warns us:
- “Flee from sexual immorality.” (1 Corinthians 6:18)
- “Any who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)
- “Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality….”
- “Whatever is pure… think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
- “It is God’s will… that you should avoid sexual immorality.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3)
- “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immoralilty, impurity, debauchery….” (Galatians 5:19)
You see, once those words are in my head, I can’t un-read them.
So this is where I am drawing the line. I will not read Fifty Shades of Grey.
For more on why I don’t think you should read it either, you can check out these terrific posts:
Not As Grey as You Think by Brianna at Just Showing Up
50 Ways Porn Might Be Sneaking into Your Church by Dana Gresh
50 Shades of Magic Mike by Melissa Jenna