Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
February 12th, 2015 by Joel Watts

the better 50 Shades of Grey

50 shades of grey

I am not queasy about onscreen exhibition of physical love — within certain parameters. Nor am I against including the passion of love in stories — sex, geez, I mean sex, people1 — when it is necessary to the story. And sometimes, it is front and center.

The upcoming release of the 50 Shades of Grey movie, however, is not one of those. It includes a story about a woman manipulated by a sadist. It involves torture for the sake of torture. It is not about love or finding oneself, or even exploration. It is about exploitation.

It is not romance of any sort.

660-50Shades-NatlCtr

On the other hand, there are tasteful displays of sex on screen that intrigue me. One of them is the first one. Yesterday, Time.com featured it and did a write up about it. It is below.

Not only is this artistically done, it is done in such a way as to focus on the woman and her enjoyment. Frankly, it is one of the best “sex scenes” on screen.

Christians aren’t called to dismiss sex, just make it better. When I see people boycotting 50 Shades of Grey, I see a lot of them doing so for the right reasons and that tickles my fancy.

But, friends, draw a line. Don’t dismiss all dramatizations of sex. Some are beneficial to the enterprise.

  1. sexy-sexy time, the deed, “it”, romp time, hump day, the no pants dance, mattress dancing and a lot more.
Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Comments

7 Responses to “the better 50 Shades of Grey”
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  2. Know More Than I Should says

    When presented in the context of early 20th to early 21st century entertainment, Fifty Shades of Grey covers all the bases.

    In the tradition of The Color Purple, there’s portrayal of a wicked man taking advantage of a presumably innocent woman. Well, at least it’s not a slasher film!

    For those enamored with the movies made under constraints of the early to mid-20th century Motion Picture Production Code, there’s the illusion of spanking.

    Then, for those attuened to films released under the late 20th century Motion Picture Association of America film rating system, there’s sex.

    There’s something for everyone. What’s not to like? On the other hand, what’s there not to hate? Take your pick.

    Meanwhile, clergy tend to not like anything that explores unsettling issues in a sexual context. Blame it on Augustine.

    Almost six decades ago, preaches were up in arms with the release of Peyton Place. Never mind that it was produced when the Hays Code ruled Hollywood with an iron hand. According to the pulpit set, the movies was nothing but sex, sex, sex, and more sex!

    Actually the truth was, although less sensational, none the less disturbing. The film touched on subjects that much of America wanted glossed over. Among them were sex education in schools, a successful single mother with an illegitimate child, egregious religious hypocrisy, teenage rebellion, premarital sex, and incest inspired homicide.

    Oh, and long after its critics have been planted six feet under, Peyton Place is still attracting viewers.

    Along with other evidences, Fifty Shades suggests that post-millennial America may be rediscovering spanking. Much like Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, although panned by conservative critics, the Fifty Shades genre may be developing a cult following.

    After all, history clearly shows the fastest way to promote something to youth is to condemn it. Thus, the movie may cause young people to read the far more explicit book!

    • “there’s portrayal of a wicked man taking advantage of a presumably innocent woman”… Gee, sounds like the Old Testament.
      Feed my sheep. Don’t tell them who or how to hump.
      BTW, I certainly wouldn’t watch the movie. I like comedies or SciFi. And I don’t like R ratings anyway. But I also do not like being told what to do. You are given a brain, NOT a Book.

      • Know More Than I Should says

        Your comment about not liking “being told what to do [how to think, etc.]” may touch on a fatal flaw in the American system. From church to juries and schools, so much of the society is predicated on sitting still, shutting up and listening to experts.

        At the same time, more people are asking questions or pointing out things they don’t like. They’re noticing the experts don’t always agree with each other. Neither are they always correct.

        Meanwhile, there have always been those with a penchant for grasping the reigns of power. They thrive on controlling the masses. All the while, rebellion underneath makes the world go ’round.

  3. Know More Than I Should says

    Is it possible that Fifty Shades of Grey, the newly emerged Christian BDSM movement, gay marriage, and a renewed push to deregulate of business all spring from the same anything-goes libertarian movement?

    Although seemingly disparate, all of the above share a common thread that they undermine the traditional status quo. While not usually a fan of conspiracy theories, I nevertheless find the coincidental emergence neatly dovetails into libertarian philosophy.

    Furthermore, if true, I cannot help but wonder what, quite likely authoritarian, hand is poised to take advantage of a reshuffled deck of cultural cards.

    This question becomes all the more troubling considering an egregious concentration of wealth in the hands of just a few individuals able to control the levers of power through virtually unlimited campaign contributions.

    In turn, this is exacerbated because research suggests deep-pocket donors to political campaigns, such as the Koch Brothers, tend to have more extreme views than either voters or the politicians they slipper-horn into office.

    Meanwhile, lurking in the background, is a state of perpetual war, domestic spying, and persecution of whistle-blowers for simply revealing the truth.

    None of this bodes well for the future.

  4. Know More Than I Should says

    For what it’s worth, the answer to the answer to the question posed in the first paragraph of my previous post is the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP.

    Even if you’ve never heard of it — which most readers probably haven’t — the TPP may very well be the beginning of a one-world government. Think of the TPP as NAFTA on steroids.

    Worse, according to information thus far leaked, the TPP has the potential for superseding what’s left of the rule of law in the United States today.

    This would make the TPP what conservatives once feared about the United Nations. Only, as reportedly written, the super-secret TPP puts power in the hands of corporations rather than nation states, i.e. countries.

    Thus, corporations may very well be poised to be in the same position as the Medieval Catholic Church.

    Will all this come to pass? Frankly, I have no idea.

    However, existence of the TPP could explain why, despite promises to the contrary, the Obama administration has become more secretive than the previous Bush presidency. It would also explain the preoccupation with beating down rebellion in the oil-rich Middle East.

    Western history records two other attempts to create a one-world government. Both were thwarted by religious opposition.

    The existence of that history might very well explain whole denominations being cleaved by a divide and conquer strategy.

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