Living Faith: ‘Fifty Shades,’ bunco prompt moral dilemma
By Roxane B. Salonen
The game of bunco moves fast, with numerous rotations and time for only brief conversations during each round.
Our time together this year rolled around just a couple days before Valentine’s Day. I was in a light-hearted mood as we prepared to start another set, and not prepared for what was coming.
“So, who’s all going to ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ this weekend?” asked the sweet woman across from me. She and some friends had planned a girls’ night out to see the movie on opening night, and she couldn’t wait.
A million thoughts rushed at me as I sat, frozen, my eyes large and mouth shut. Do I mention that I’m boycotting the movie? The setting didn’t seem right. I couldn’t force out the words.
Thankfully, another mother at our table of four chimed in, saving me by admitting she’d read the book but had been disappointed, and wasn’t at all moved to see the film.
“I think it would be awkward,” she added, naming something hard to articulate, perhaps, but astute nonetheless.
“Ding! Ding!” The bell at the head table indicated it was time to start rolling the dice.
The conversation was over, but far from ended in my mind.
Over the weekend, I continued reflecting on the film, which is breaking records for proceeds and audiences, and began zeroing in on three different factions of people at play.
The first are those, like my bunco friend, who are eagerly devouring the books and film, not fully aware. Caught up in a well-plotted marketing scheme, they’ve missed the deeper implications of a story and series that promotes abuse and a false, dangerous vision of sexuality.
Then there’s the porn industry, which, right now, is happy as a fresh crop of clams. They know they’ve duped the culture; the success of this book and movie is proof. I’m imagining now the top dogs partying in their penthouses, dollar bills showering down like confetti.
And finally, we have those of us who try to discern the culture’s offerings through God’s eyes. As the morally sensitive of the bunch, we’ve seen this coming and grieve the damage that’s been done and has yet to occur because of these tainted messages.
We ache for those who didn’t see it coming, because we did.
“You’re just uptight,” some say. But that’s not it. We’ve either been hurt or know others who have, and we’re incensed. Alert to and troubled by the toxic messages of sexuality gone awry, we want to help educate – for the benefit of others.
My children were very young when I first realized what I was up against. I immediately began arming myself to help my family move through the confusion, but the onslaught had already begun, and grows more insidious every day, some days overwhelmingly so.
Above all, “Fifty Shades” and its explosion points straight to our brokenness as a society, but I’m convinced that if more knew of God’s vision of human sexuality, the momentum for this film would slither away in an instant.
Thankfully, God has given us the means for addressing all the issues that plague our modern society. Included in our ammunition stash are written works that profess and uphold the beauty of sexuality as the gift from God that it is.
They include “Theology of the Body Explained” by Christopher West; “On Human Life” by Pope Paul VI; and even one by our own, the Rev. Matthew St. John of Bethel Church, Fargo, “Crazy Sex: Embracing God’s Best in a World Gone Crazy.”
It’s not too late to discover human sexuality through God’s eyes, a vision that comes with a guarantee of completely satisfying, straight-to-the-soul fulfilling, unabashed bliss.