Down to a couple of months now. Whether a conversation with your son or daughter, a comment from a neighbor or a sexually charged hangout with several people in the break room, Fifty Shades of Grey is cutting a huge swath through culture. We need new categories- ways to talk about broken sexuality and the fuel that propels runaway bestsellers
Although the movie, based on the best selling fiction series, is deeply troubling, a broader perspective adds to the confusion. Don’t you find it strange that at the height of the feminist movement, we’re all scrambling to Wiki to help define the BDSM acronym? How are concepts like sexual bondage, masochism, dominance and submission not only allowed to exist, but found embedded in the fastest selling paperback in history? I’m going to say that again; Fifty Shades of Grey is the fastest selling paperback of all time. Even more head-scratching is the agreed upon fact that from a literary standpoint it’s junk. Poorly written. If Bill Clinton was writing the review he’d say, “It’s not about the grammar, stupid.” So, why?
Dr. Larry Crabb calls it a “woman’s core terror.” Others try to explain the runaway best seller as a woman’s chance to explore her gender shame in private (some predict that 50 Shades is responsible for sales of up to 15mm e-readers so women could read in anonymity).
Check out this quote from Crabb:
“Inviting, and no one comes. Opened, and unentered. Nourishing, and people go elsewhere. Relational femininity is risky. A devastating conclusion seems unavoidable: relating as a feminine woman is a stupid attempt to reveal beauty that does not exist.” (Fully Alive, 92)
We begin to see why a poorly written, plot driven paperback may resemble a rocket shot to the moon. It tapped into a culturally explosive, point-in-time sensitivity.
But that may not be the…..rest of the story:
An indie-movie, conceived nearly 15 years ago, will also make its way into theaters in February. To be specific, it opens on Valentines Day 2015. The same day as Fifty Shades of Grey.
I was invited to a private screening of Old Fashioned a few nights ago, with a hundred others. You’re going to like this movie for two reasons: 1) it exposes the core issues of our broken sexuality and 2) it’s extremely well done. Dozens of LOL moments erupted from the crowd followed by sobering moments that captured the essence of our mistakes and regrets.
But here’s where things get crazy weird. Or better put, here’s where those with certain lenses will witness a God-sighting. The indie film was never intended to go toe-to-toe with the giant. It just happened when social media did its thing: David v. Goliath. Then, Time Magazine. Then, Yahoo. And so on….
Our upcoming conversations may revolve around a woman’s core terror. Does she find herself invisible? After opening herself up to a marriage which never comes, after being vulnerable in a marriage where the husband refuses to notice, or after admitting a deep longing for her father’s elusive attention, how does she deal with that terror? How do the two opposing movies handle the topic?
One explores the darkly decadent and wildly bizarre while the faith-based film (Old Fashioned) chronicles the struggle of broken sexuality within a love that has been fashioned and is old. Notice the invitation below, how God desires our imagination to flourish:
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19)