Friday, February 13, 2015

Why All The 50 SHADES Articles Are Making Me Sad

            I am sad today. Not because it’s Valentines Day and I don’t have a date. Not because I accidently left my milk sitting on the counter last night. And not because 50 Shades of Grey is coming to theaters.
            No, I’m saddened today by some very hurtful articles being posted about a very real thing. I am grieving at a beautiful opportunity to show love and engage community being lost by a subculture’s internet campaign.
A few years ago, I borrowed 50 Shades of Grey from a friend. More accurately, I borrowed it on a Kindle so I could read it without “Porn, Porn, Porn!” being screamed at me if anyone saw me with hard copy of the book. The words “Porn, Porn, Porn!” were actually screamed at me by a close friend when I expressed a curiosity about reading the books.
            I did not tell her when I started reading the books and we never discussed it again.
            In other words, I was completely shut down in my ability to have an intelligent conversation about the books, and her outcry did not deter me from my intent to read the books.
            That was my very real experience with what is being shouted from every other Newsfeed on my Facebook today.
            And that makes me sad.
            Those who think 50 Shades is trash and are calling for a boycott are a minor subculture as indicated by the millions upon millions of books sold.
            There are millions and millions of people who purchased the books, loved the books, and are planning to see the movie this weekend.
            They are not reading your articles.
            They are continuing to scroll down when those articles pop up on their newsfeed.
            Side note: as someone who has actually read the books, I am amused at how many people have written LONG articles and obviously have not read the books.
            Call me a stickler, but I often feel it’s better to form an opinion once you’ve actually done your research.
            Granted, I can have some sympathy for organizations who specialize in sexual abuse, using this as a catalyst to launch a campaign of awareness. I am all for  supporting these causes and must lend my voice to their campaign.
            That’s not what I’m talking about.
            What I’m talking about is the Noisy Gong and Clanging Cymbal that is shutting down wonderful opportunities to engage our neighbors—the neighbors secretly reading 50 Shades on their Kindles for fear of being burned at the stake—in conversation.
GUYS! I’m imploring you! We have this amazing, open door to talk with people who enjoy the books and learn about their hearts and what’s going on in their lives. I am just so sad that this door is being slammed by our efforts to crucify a NON CHRISTIAN author who wrote FICTIONAL books that have appealed to an extremely wide NON CHRSTIAN audience.
Sex isn’t even the real issue here.
Most mature believers don’t need to be told when something like Christian and Anastasia’s relationship is unhealthy.
We know.
That’s why I don’t get why we are writing articles to ourselves.
Because, seriously, we’re the only ones reading them.
Think about this: Some of the people who are crying against the disgustingnesss that is 50 Shades are the same people who record episodes of Criminal Minds on their DVRs. I’m not trying to draw comparisons, I’m just trying to encourage us to think about our approach to popular culture. 50 Shades doesn’t get a special badge of hatred simply because it has more sex than Twilight. (Hypocrisy Alert: Twilight wasn’t boycotted and in some cases it had a reason to be).
I really hate to say this, but it’s Harry Potter all over again.
Now, since I have read the books and since I’ve already begun drawing comparison there is NO WAY these books will ever be Harry Potter.
Just saying.
Just in case anybody was confused.
Just remember the huge campaign to boycott Harry Potter and that turned out to be a lark.
Will we ever learn?
So all I may have done is add another gong to the viral clamor on the internet. This might be a total waste of cyberspace. But I couldn’t let all these things slide by without mentioning my thoughts. If you are a fan of the boycott and are one of the people who feel strongly enough to post an anti-50 Shades article, know that I love you and would love to engage you in conversation—even if you strongly disagree with me.
We can do that, because neither one of us want the gospel to be clouded by our lack of love and our extension of grace to one another.

I’ll just depart with one final thought. There are many different reasons why these books are so popular. I think our time would be better employed graciously wondering why and reaching out to anyone who would like to provide an answer, even if, especially if, that person is an avid supporter of the books. And lets not dismiss their answers with cries of “Porn, Porn, Porn!” before they have even finished talking.

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