Pure and Lovely?

How do you write a post that you know may upset some of your friends? I guess you have to weigh out the possibility of giving offense with the love and concern for dear friends and acquaintances, and really, the culture, that led you to writing the post in the first place.

Over the past few weeks I’ve watched a few phenomena sweep through the pages of social media and swirl around in discussions with friends and strangers.  The first two that come to mind are 50 Shades of Grey and Magic Mike.  I haven’t read Shades and I don’t plan to see Magic Mike, which I understand releases in theaters today.  This is why….

First, before people start pushing the “she’s just being judgmental” button, I want to make a distinction between two different types of judgement.  There is a difference between comparing truths and making distinctions about things and condemning a person.  So considering that I’ve compared truths and made distinctions to arrive at my conclusion as to why women, and especially my Christian sisters, shouldn’t read 50 Shades or go to Magic Mike, than yes, by that definition, I am being judgmental. But I am being judgmental of the books and movie, NOT the dear ladies engaging in one or both.  I am not condemning you for choosing to get involved with either of these examples nor am I  judging your soul,  just to be clear here.  I just want to share my heart out of concern for women.  (end disclaimer- and for a great post on judgement, click here).

Anyway…I’ve read many thoughtful, well-written posts by friends and strangers alike on Fifty Shades of Grey, and shared one or two of these on Facebook.  I’ve read through the comments on these posts, both pro-Shades and anti-Shades.   I haven’t read the books because, first and foremost I strive to go by the Philippians 4:8 guideline “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” I don’t always succeed but it is a wonderful tool against which to measure entertainment.  Secondly, do I want my husband engaging in porn?  No, of course not.  Then why would I engage in what basically amounts to pornography for women? 50 Shades is called Erotic Fiction for a reason.  It has graphic, extended sex scenes. It is designed to stimulate sexual lust, and uses bondage as one of the main vehicles for stimulating lust.  Christian women, we were designed to be stimulated by our husbands, and our husbands only.  If you are unmarried, then these books will awaken desires in you that are not meant to be awoken yet.  And if you are married, please do not use these books as a way to “spice things up”- using erotica/porn is actually proven to become an addiction in part because, like drinking too much with an alcohol addiction, your brain chemistry is altered and you end up craving more and more of it to reach the desired effect.  Focus on your husband- and focus on creating intimacy, not just sexual fulfillment!  For more on this in more detail, click here and here.  I’ll stop listing reasons here, as I’m going to give you one more link that shares much more eloquently than I can on the subject, and that is here.  This last one is especially for my sisters in Christ.

Magic Mike is a bit more subtle, ironically, given the fact that via a heavy ad campaign and social media, Channing Tatum’s physique has been emphasized heavily and at the speed of a viral youtube video.  I’ve seen pins on pinterest tongue and cheek asking God to make Magic Mike in 3D, or thanking Him for the casting decisions.  One of the newer ones is making the rounds on Facebook stating “I want to see Magic Mike for the compelling line, said no one, ever.”  And really, therein lies the issue.  I haven’t heard one woman say that she is going to see this movie because the storyline is so captivating.  And while women are being honest about their reasons for going, I’m afraid Christian women in particular have bought into the lies of our culture that argue this is harmless fun, and that women should get together and go out and enjoy watching these half-naked (and probably more than that) men on screen.

The appeal doesn’t escape me, of course, because of course I get it.  I get the need for women to go out for ladies’ nights out, the appealing thrill of seeing these handsome guys in this kind of movie…but.  The need for caution and the fact that this movie does not qualify for the Philippians 4:8 guideline I mentioned above cancels it out for me.  It isn’t pure.  It isn’t honorable. Sure, there are apparently cautionary tales, such as a longing for a stable relationship and consideration of life outside of being a stripper, but the tale is muffled by the excess of male flesh ((and apparently many of the strippers go on to great success in the movie so that kind of cancels out any realization Magic Mike may or may not have anyway).

And I have to link the movie with 50 Shades at least in part- both are, in essence, pornographic.  Good ol’ Merriam Webster defines pornography as “the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement”.  Both Shades and Mike qualify.  You can’t tell me that neither of these aren’t intended to cause sexual excitement.  Ladies, do we want our husbands looking at pornography?  Do we want our husbands fantasizing about other women instead of us?  My answer to that is a very loud, resounding “NO!”  If this movie was about women strippers, or porn stars, would we be okay with our husbands having a guys’ night out and going to see it?

We have become so accustomed to seeing and hearing about sex that I’m afraid Christians have a hard time looking less like the culture and more like Christ.  Movies like this definitely do not help, as they appear harmless fun but end up doing more harm than good.  Guard your eyes, your hearts, and your marriages.  Please, just take these things into consideration and pray about it.  And if you aren’t a Christian, please also think about the danger of pornography and it’s less than innocent affect on you and those you love.  And pray for me as I fight to think only on those things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellence, and anything worthy of praise– because in today’s culture, it is a fight indeed.