when i first read fifty shades of grey, the movie was already in the process of being made. i thought, why wouldn’t i go see a movie based on a book i read? i mean, that’s what people do, right? you read ‘lord of the rings’ you go see the movie. you read ‘something borrowed’ you go see the movie, etc. at first, my only reservations were whether or not i’d be going to see an x-rated film with my friend and a bunch of other people, who i considered “too young” to see it.

memories of twlight swirled in my head. the constant giggling, “ohhing” and “oooing” at almost every scene making me want to scream, “ugh- just shut up already!”

i said, “this is a mature movie! it needs a mature audience.” and then i tried moving on with my life while i waited patiently for the movie to arrive.

in the last couple of weeks, i’ve read almost everything i could get my hands on about fifty shades. no, i’m not obsessed. i’m intrigued. i’m interested in all the views on this topic. nothing sets up a heated debate like sex or politics. it’s truly fascinating to see how heated people become.

as the opening night of the movie draws near, i’ve been feeling a mess of emotions. i’m both excited and worried to see how the screenwriters wrote the characters. when there was talk of making this movie in two versions, nc-17 for mature audiences and rated-r for general the publics viewing, i became even more worried. one thing’s for certain, i am not into seeing an nc-17 movie.

in fact, i would actually prefer the movie removed as much of the sexual content as possible. i mean, the lifetime channel seems to do a good enough job insinuating sex without having to show the actual activities. i think my imagination is better than any actors portrayal. but, that’s just me.

i know. i know. the book is erotica. lots of people are only going to see it because it’s the “porn that’s okay to admit you watch.” but, i like the series not for the erotic nature of it, but for the depth of the character, christian grey. sure, the author wasn’t the best writer. sure, christian grey isn’t as nearly dark and deep as heathcliff, from charlotte brontes’ novel wuthering heights. but his story is interesting none the less, and pulls at the heart strings.

i wonder what seeing this movie says about me, as a christian woman. will my friends and family judge me? will the christian community say, she’s not christian enough? or perhaps, she is just struggling with sin still?

this got me thinking about temptation.

when we talk about defeating temptation we often talk about removing the temptation all together. for instance, whenever people go on diets you hear them say, “yep! i decided today is the day, so i removed ALL the “bad” food from the house. it’s just easier that way.”

there’s nothing wrong with doing it this way. some people may even loose the amount of weight they wanted to by doing this. but, does this ever truly get to the root cause of this individuals need to eat these types of foods? does removing the temptation ever give you the strength to over come it?

when my husband first asked me out on a date, i was ecstatic. i couldn’t wait to get all dolled up. i wanted him to be blown away by my beauty, as most ladies do. i wore my favorite shirt and jeans that flaunted only the best parts of me. i jazzed up my eyes with some pretty shades of purples and pinks. threw on some pink blush and lipstick and felt pretty. my husband dressed in his sunday best.

i thought everything went great, but the following day i had a disturbing conversation with him. he told me he thought i looked beautiful the other day but, he thought it would be ‘better’ if i didn’t wear clothes like that or put on as much make up. he said when i dressed the way i did it made it hard for him to not think of me sexually.

. . . {insert folding of the arms movement} . . .

i considered myself pretty modest compared to the way other girls dressed. this came to me as a shock. but more importantly, i was offended by him asking me to not tempt him. i was offended by him asking me to modify myself to make him more comfortable. he was asking me to remove his temptation so he could see me the way God intended him too.

now, before we all get mad at my husband, my husband was simply believing a lie that many people believe. a lie that perpetuates rape culture in so many ways. the belief that what i wear is directly correlated to the behaviors of other people. now, we both look back on that moment and laugh. he actually enjoys it when i get all dolled up or put on make-up. he likes me to be me. he loves me for me. make up or no make-up, in a dress, or sweatpants.

but what does this have to do with fifty shades of grey? since this book is erotica, the question remains on whether or not this movie will be soft core porn. there are some people who believe this movie will perpetuate rape, sexual violence, and indoctrinate our women and children to engage in abusive relationships and godless sex.

as i mentioned in my post the other day, i believe this movie has the potential to make all of the above happen. but if we’ve ever taken an economics class then we all know that demand drives up supply, not the other way around. porn isn’t the problem. porn is the symptom. we need to treat the infection. but how? oh, what i wouldn’t give to be in the garden of eden where temptation never existed.

wait. . . temptation DID exist?

adam and eve lived inside the garden with temptation. the forbidden fruit was inside THEIR home. even God Himself didn’t remove “bad food” from the His home. adam and eve likely saw this fruit on a daily basis. they were tempted constantly. they gave into temptation only when presented with a lie. a lie that said God was holding out on them.

we were never without temptation.

but isn’t that the whole point? to be tempted, but choose God?

as i continue to contemplate what i means if i go see this movie, i’m reminded that temptation only has the power i give it. if i don’t see this movie, which movies are okay for me to see? you may say disney, but have you seen the dresses these female characters are wearing? not to mention the story lines always implying women are incapable of doing anything other than look pretty and wait for prince charming to come and rescue her? sure, there’s no violent sexual activities shown, but disney movies don’t exactly scream womens’ equality, either.

many abc family shows are out. the sexual content in our tv shows directed towards youth is far worse than anything i remember watching as a teen.

my point is, we see sex and sexuality on a daily basis. i read and see news stories of sexual assaults and murders weekly. magazines are infiltrated with images of women as objects and play things for men. believe me, i see the value in avoiding pornography. i see the value and importance in making sure our kids have the right idea of what sex is, and who created sex.

i see this as a moral dilemma. i see this as an opportunity to check in with God. i see this as an opportunity to bring a voice that has long been gone in this fight for sexual justice. our culture needs to loosen up on our restrictions when it comes to expressing our sexuality, or we will continue to fight the symptom of sexual sin.

pornography won’t leave until we stop giving it the power we’ve given it.

porn doesn’t cause rape, but it certainly impacts it. it certainly destroys the way God intended sex to be. it certainly changes our brain chemistry. it certainly causes depression and eating disorders in women. it certainly gives a false representation to what sex is. it certainly makes individuals desensitized to seeing violence against women. rather than fighting about the negatives of porn, let’s talk about the positives of sex. let’s make people want to have consensual sex more than watch non-consensual sex on the computer screen.

let’s not blame fifty shades of grey for perpetuating rape culture or increasing mens’ desire to act violently towards women. let’s not assume all women enjoy being slapped and controlled like the character in this book does. let’s take this as it is. a movie. a form of entertainment. a symptom of a larger issue in our spiritual lives.

my desire is to stop arguing over whether or not seeing a movie is giving into temptation and rather begin a discussion on how to cure the root cause of sexual sin.

are you with me?