Following are reader responses to the Marriage Memo of June 18, 2012, “Fifty Shades of Caution,” by Dave Boehi. You can read additional comments at the end of the online article.
1. I totally agree with you. Thanks for the warning about this book. I haven't really heard much about it until I recently read comments on a friend’s Facebook page declaring she would NOT be reading the book & gave a link to information from a Christian woman's perspective about the book. I was shocked at the comments people gave whom claim to be Christians.
Although, to me, their responses showed they must have conviction & were trying to justify their decision to read it. I believe the Bible is very clear that we are to flee even a hint of sexually immorality; therefore anything involving sexual acts of any nature outside the confines of marriage is wrong. My marriage has been affected by pornography so I know firsthand the effect that can cause on a marriage. It is very painful, and I do agree with you that this book is no different than what porn is for a man. I would not want to allow Satan to trap me the way he has trapped my husband in the past; therefore, this book is definitely not for me or anyone in my household. Again, thanks for the information!
2. I heard so much about the book so being an avid reader I considered purchasing a copy. However, I check to see what a book is about and I was quite surprised about this 50 Shades of Grey. I agree the subject matter could lead down that slippery slope towards trashy novels and porn. I had no interest in the book after I investigated. You are right on point with your comments. I will share your remarks with the women in my church, our director of Christian Education and the Pastor.
It’s funny that this subject should come up … I heard about the book from many friends and decided to start reading it too see what all the fuss was about … in the beginning it was intriguing … then as I approached the middle of the book I started to feel uncomfortable reading it … had mentioned that to a friend and she shook it off as though I need to let go of my prudishness … well needless to say i did not continue on to finish the book, it just didn't feel right to me. So funny how God justifies my feelings by receiving this email.
4. Thank you so much for this article that provides great truth and insight. I recently have been told about this book by a few friends and encouraged to read it during my down time this summer. While on vacation I visited a book store and remembered their recommendation. I looked for the book and quickly learned how popular it is by the fact that it was sold out. However, one of the sequels was available so I picked it up and read the cover. I was somewhat shocked just by the outside cover and all it alluded to within the pages. I randomly flipped to one page and did not even finish the first couple of sentences. Needless to say, I do not have any desire to read the books.
5. I have a counseling background but currently do not practice; instead I choose to be with my four daughters right now. I do teach adjunct at a local university and one of the classes I teach is Marriage and Family. I speak openly about pornography and how it is something both men and women are prey to. The class as a whole typically does not anticipate where I go with this as they assume I am referring to pictures.
However, I tell them that ladies are just as susceptible but from a mental image, not so much visual. God created us differently and men do respond more to visual stimulation which is where the basic thought of pornography comes into play. However, women were created to be stimulated more through our minds and this is where pornography can grab us with erotic love stories. Though it is never one's intention (the same said for a man), a woman quickly develops an unrealistic expectation of what a physical relationship should be with a man and is greatly disappointed when the mental image is not met. Thus, she plunges herself more into romance novels which further tears her apart from the relationship with her husband that God intended.
My students are shocked when I present this to them as most have never had it spelled out to them this way. So few of the female students have ever been discouraged from reading romance novels.
While I was at the store, I ambled through the fiction section and was greatly saddened by the amount of similar books I could quickly find. We, as women, feel betrayed and angry when our husbands look at other women in magazines or the internet but rarely see that the same should be said of our husbands when they see us feeling our minds with such unrealistic and unholy things.
All this to say, I so greatly appreciate you sharing your experience and your perspective. It may be part of the top 3 NY bestsellers but I will not be one that supports it being there.
6. Thanks for the thoughts on this book. I've heard a lot about it in different social circles and although I had already basically made up my mind not to read it, I appreciate the reinforcement of why. It's always nice when the Christian community speaks out about something like this, rather than everyone just looking the other way!
7. I agree 100%. "What does light have to do with darkness?" We must stand firm in all things we do, even in or own home.
8. I thought this was an excellent Marriage Memo and the timing was perfect. I lead a women’s group in my church and last Wednesday evening we got into a pretty good discussion surrounding the topic of this book. Let be clear to say that I have not read the book, and before last week I thought it was some new show that people were talking about.
One of my closest friends received the book as a gift from a family member with a note that said she had to read this book. She loves to read, and she saw some of her friends posting messages on Facebook about how great this book is. She did a little bit of research with her friends and found out what this book was about and decided not to read it.
Another close friend of mine that has struggled with pornography in the past informed me this book comes up on her e-reader as a suggested book to read, but said she read the first 2 sentences of the “What this book is about” section and instantly decided not to purchase it.
I brought up the topic in our women’s group at church and I was amazed at the number of women that have been invited into a book club just for the purpose of talking about this book, and who were invited by Christian friends. They said they heard that it was helping their sexual desire towards their husbands. It was a discussion that started out as calling for us women to be the kind of woman in Titus, and being careful not to get ensnared by desires of the flesh that will only satisfy worldly desires. It ended on a negative note for the first time in five years. I was told that I was being too judgmental about a book that I had not read.
I am thankful for the timing of this Marriage Memo and the blog link was also really good.
9. I have read the books. As I began to read I was a bit disgusted but as the series progressed, the wholesome, pure Ana helped Mr. Grey heal and develop a "healthy relationship". I am not a fan of that type of lifestyle but I also feel that what a consenting couple does in their own privacy is between them. Who are we to judge another sexual acts?
I am a Christian woman who is a social worker. I have learned that my personal biases cannot affect how I help my clients. These books have enlightened me to the pains that people may have and life practices they develop due to their childhood experiences. I read many books and research topics about drugs, sex, the LGBT population and others so that I can be knowledgeable to be a productive worker.
I could talk about this in great length and discuss the pros and cons of the book. The bottom line is that it opened my eyes to what I am sure many people have experienced in their lives that I have been sheltered and protected from. We as Christians are never to judge anyone and I am sure that I will work with many people like Christian Grey and I now have an insight to how I can empathize and help those individuals.
10. Thank you for this article. All the women at my gym are buzzing about this book. They are loaning it to each other & telling (very specifically) how it affects them. I knew just from their descriptions that this was not something that I should read. Thank you for shedding light on the sinfulness and dangers of this book. I know many are falling in to this willingly.
Amen, I have no desire (pun intended) to read what sounds like another assault on our values and invite more sin into my life. "For I know the plans I have for you," Declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
11. In response to your marriage memo, Fifty Shades of Caution, I must say I am a little bit disgusted by all the fervor over these books. I am a librarian in Iowa, so it's the topic of many discussions recently, including more than one staff meeting. Reading fiction books in particular is generally simply for entertainment. How can a woman of faith entertain herself with that kind of material? In order to avoid "censorship", most libraries cannot deny a 12-year-old girl who comes into the library the right to read that book. Fortunately, ours is a small town and we aren't nearly as worried about censorship as the bigger libraries. But as a parent, would you seriously want your pre-adolescent or adolescent daughter, or son for that matter, reading this kind of material? (Because if they have a library card, they may already be reading it) And if not, then how can you justify it for yourself?
Most women would tell you they don't like their husbands putting up calendars with half-naked, provocatively posed young women. How is reading this any different for women?
Thank you for your encouragement for women and men. In future articles you may wish to considering some statistics of the % of men/women who struggle w pornography. 85-95% of all men and 45-65% of all women including Christians, Pastors, etc. Such information brings to light the intensity of the problem in our society.
Thank you again and may God continue to fill your heart w encouraging words of wisdom to share.
12. I agree 100%. I have sin when I read over half of the first book of Fifty Shades of Grey. It was very easy to get sucked into the book. It's everywhere, it’s easy to read, and it’s most talked about. My husband struggled with a porn addiction for many years and beat it in January 2011 and here I was reading this smut and actually telling him about it, and each time I did he would just turn his head and say, "Do you really think you should be reading that book?" as he was reading from his Bible.
It wasn't until 3/4 thru that I told myself NO I should not be reading this kind of book. Deleted it off my tablet, asked God for forgiveness and picked up my Bible. It can be a tough fight for some woman and I assume just as tough as the porn addiction my husband had beat. So for now we are both winners.
Thank you so much for writing this! I completely agree with you, and have been disgusted at the amount of people I know that are talking about and reading this book.
13. I do feel tempted to read this book...because everyone else is. Silly reason,right? I just keep reminding myself that some friends of mine said how poorly it is written as well as knowing that I shouldn't read it. Thanks for the encouragement to stand firm.
As one who has struggled with an addiction to romantic fiction, I have come to believe that this genre is the female version of pornography. My husband dealt with an addiction to pornography and, after reading more on the subject because so many men of our acquaintance--Christian and non-Christian struggle with this issue, I see many of the same factors in operation here.
I would love to see some--ANY--research that has been done on this subject as I feel it is a danger to women and their relationships that is very rarely recognized much less discussed. It sets women up for failure and disappointment as very few real men will be as "perfect" as the fictional characters (even when presented flawed they are made to appear romantic). The enemy will continue to push this button for years after you walk away from it and will continue to plant negative thoughts about your spouse. It takes much effort to continually "take every thought captive" in this area but it is most necessary.
14. I can't begin to imagine what would happen if women became as deluded about sexual perversion as so many men are. For the sake of our Lord and of our families, the real truth needs to get out.
Thank you for addressing this! I have had a real concern about this and how Satan is using this to destroy marriages the same way that pornography does! People think because they aren't looking at things that it is okay. Another concern I have over it is teenage girls reading it. Thank you for all you do!!
15. Thank you so much for writing this! It is sad to see all of my sisters and friends running after this book to be in the discussion.
16. Thank you for addressing this topic. I did see a conversation just a few days ago on Facebook, in which women were bragging up "Shades of Grey." It was the first I had heard about it. I wasn't really sure what some of the comments were referring to, but I sensed that it was not a God-honoring book, as words "pornography" and "dominance" were mentioned. It caused me to wonder why some of the women that are Christians were planning to read it. Your column has given me a better understanding of what the book may be about, as well as a Biblical perspective on the type of behavior ensued.
17. I thought this info was great, there are women I work with in a beauty salon who are reading and talking about this book, they had told me I needed to get it or read theirs when they were done ... I'm glad for this email so I won't have to waste my time on reading trash!
18. Loved this article! Thank you for being so clear about God's plan for sex in marriage, and for putting the "black and white" in this area for women. FamilyLife has been such a blessing in our marriage, thank you!!
19. I agree 100 percent. I heard an interview with the author and knew right then that Fifty Shades of Grey was not a book I would read.
20. Great! A topic that really needed to be addressed! Thanks.
21. I had not even heard of this book until Friday and was so glad to see that my advise to the 2 young moms lined up with your views, and , more important, with Biblical ideas.
It saddens me to know that this is the kind of literature we are filling our minds with
Thank you for all your work on these articles. I forward them to many young moms and couples in our church
22. You are a man, but you are right on with this issue, Dave!! I remember being introduced to paperback romance novels by 'school friends' when in jr. high school and it led to a "chapter" of my life where it was hard to focus on right thinking and pure thoughts, and this was only solved by seeking the forgiveness of the Lord and getting rid of those books. We do have a great God!
But I would caution others that it is too easy to become dissatisfied with your life, especially by comparing your spouse to these impossible romantic fantasies, and we are called to be grateful and content with one another, and recognize our spouse for the gift that they are in our lives, and basically put God on the throne of our lives instead of sensual gratification being most important.
23. I’m a Christian woman and I read all three books. I personally don’t think there is nothing wrong. As a matter of fact my husband is reading it now and our marriage is getting closer with each other, something that was gone for so long.
24. Thank you and Family Life for once again standing strong on the only principals which never fail: the Word of God! Thanks, too, for being a warning beacon for unsuspecting women. As moral values continue to shift we need more people willing to speak up. Of course this downward moral spiral is nothing new. Anyone who has studied or read about the Roman empire already knows where this path leads if history does in fact repeat itself.
As a former guest privileged to be in your radio broadcast, regarding the flip side of this very issue, my heart breaks. Though my book, Hope After Betrayal, deals with the pain of a wife being betrayed, the damage to a marriage is certainly the same. What feels significant is that women believe they are somehow immune to the dangers of filling their minds with evil. I would like to say I'm shocked, but the philosophical supports, double standard, and justifications, for this type of material were put in place long before the words of "Shades of Grey" were ever penned. The women's movement has systematically devalued and belittled the role women were created to fill in the home.
For the past 30 years women have been fed a constant diet of marketing, books, litigation, TV shows, and movies with the same themes: "Men are stupid and need to be led by women. They are dogs and only think with one organ, other than their brain. They are no help around the house. Women are the truly enlightened and superior because they give birth." I don't see a true desire for equality, instead feminists have settled for creating equal opportunities to do the same selfish things that men do. Women's lib has become more about women using their sexuality as a weapon to hold men down. We want to stand up and put our six-inch stiletto in the backs of as many men as possible. It sounds like this book, gives women more of what they have been clamoring for--Sex in the City, Desperate Housewives, and GCB's. No, I haven't read it, but I don't need to drink poison to know it kills.
The enemy will always lead us to self gratification. It's the only lure the temporal has. Sadly, selfishness is short-lived ultimately leading to isolation and pain. God is the only one who satisfies the soul and answers the hard questions of life. "Do I have value? Is there a purpose?” and “What do I do with all the pain?" In Christ alone is our value, because the God of Everything said, "I love you." God alone created and can guide us into our individual purpose. And even while we were yet broken and messed up, He reached down to pay the price in our place and He alone can carry and heal the pain. What's even more amazing, He can use it for good, I know this very well.
25. A very good article. We haven’t read the book but as marriage educators and counsellors, the temptation is there. Your insights should be enough for thinking Christians, and even non-Christians who believe in the sanctity of their marriage, to bypass this book for the right reasons. Keep up the great work and keep the articles coming – they are very helpful to educators like ourselves.
26. Excellent! As I read your article, I wanted to tell you about Dannah Gresh's blog, and was delighted to see that you included the link. Thank you for speaking out on this topic. Thank you for Family Life!
27. Thank you so much for the encouraging message about not reading fifty shades of grey! I have felt pressure from my friends over the past few weeks to read the series, but was pretty positive I didn't want to. This email confirmed my decision and was just the encouragement I needed at just the right time. It also made me aware that I should encourage others to guard their hearts and minds and marriages by not reading the series or other similar books. Thank you for all that you do!
28. God bless you all for this healthy warning that you are spreading around. This is so important.
29. Thank you for writing about this and telling us what the book, "Fifty Shades of Grey" is about. I heard some women at my workplace, which is a professional health clinic, talking about it, but didn't know anything about it. I don't read much fiction anyway. It's a real shame and eye-opener if any Christian woman or girl would spend and waste her time reading such a book.
I agree with what you and the others quoted in your article say about it and marriage. When someone reads or watches this kind of material, it just drags them down into the muck that Satan would like us to indulge ourselves in and either makes us feel guilty or deadens our conscience.
A book I would recommend reading to any Christian woman or man, which I just started reading after joining a new study class at church, is "Radical" by David Platt. If we think or want to be true followers of Christ, like many in other countries are having to do in secret or risking their lives to do, read and think about what he says. It's true that we may think we are Christians in our culture, but would we be able to have the courage to be in other countries or cultures. Have we molded and made our Christianity to what we think it is, instead of what God wants us to be?
30. I think you are right on target! Thank you for writing this
31. Thank you for writing this. I really hope lots of women (& men) will read it. I have heard of the book & have heard enough comments to know for a fact that I do not want to read it. Thankfully, I have not be invited to participate in any discussions about it either. I would have to just state that I don’t want to read it & walk away. Please continue to write to us (& for us). We do read the emails & appreciate them very much.
32. I totally agree with everything you have said on this subject. I have Christian friends who are reading this series and bragging about how much sex they are having with their husbands. One of them is even going to read it to her husband. It makes me think of Eve taking the fruit and then giving to Adam. I sent the friend an email and had an attachment of another Christian article that was giving a Christian perspective on the books. I told her I thought she might want to read a Christian perspective on the books. She was very upset and said she was still going to read them to her husband.
I really feel like our relationship was already strained lately, but I felt that I must tell her somehow that it wasn't right. I would want her to tell me if I was on a path that could come between me and God. Thank you for speaking out on these books. Very sad that Christian women are allowing Satan the chance to make them think "Did God really say?".
Thank you. This is a topic I have struggled with for a long time. If I read a "romance novel" but am only with my husband is it wrong? I think so. As stated, the only person that should "turn me on" should be my husband. If that is not the case, we need to work on something. Thank you again.
33. I am so glad you wrote an article on this book to caution women from reading it. I, too, saw it all over the place, in stores, Pinterest, etc. and that people said it was the best book of the year and all of that. So, I googled it to see what it was about … boy was I surprised.
I saw comments about the book being extremely sexual and was immediately assured NOT to read it. I don't know everything, but I have had experience with people with sexual addiction and so I am aware that books like this are like female porn...and to stay away!
However, if women haven't seen the pain and destruction that porn causes for men, they might not think it’s a big deal to read the book. I am glad you wrote the article to educate Christian woman to consider these things...the verse about thinking about pure things definitely makes the decision pretty clear. Thanks again and keep doing what you do! My husband and I appreciate your Marriage Memos!
34. I am a Christian woman who has read 2 of the books ... I agree, it is rather taboo for the Christian community … but here's a question I have … not trying to defend my actions, but not really certain that they are "bad" actions if the effects are non-existent. Christian women are urged not to read such material, as it is harmful to our marriages, so I have for the most part honored what I've been taught. So I'll start of by saying I don't make a habit of reading romance books, but occasionally I do find it relaxing to lose myself in such a book (not as sexually explicit as Fifty Shades!) (maybe 1 or 2 a year at most) …
The difference between a woman (at least myself anyway) and men struggling with pornography and lust, is that for a man, it seems to be such a controlling temptation and addiction that continuously comes back to haunt him and is always "driving" for more. As a woman, I am not wired that way, I can separate myself from the story and do not struggle with the material that I am reading … I don't find myself attracted to the main character, or wanting my husband to behave, look, interact, etc. like the character in the book, or change in any way because of what I've read. The book did stir desire in me, (it is littered with sexual scenarios between the two characters) but my desire is only for my husband, we have been married for 15 years, happily and have both always been sexually satisfied with only each other … I did not fantasize in any way because I read this book.
It really is very different for women. I was intrigued by the book for the relationship aspect and to see his "demons" being healed and his unhealthy desires leaving him as he falls in love with this "normal" woman (it's the romantic aspect of the book that usually draws women)...
I haven't read book 3, I've had every opportunity to if I wanted, it's been about 3 months since I read the first two, but the drive or desire is not even there, I was in no way "controlled" or "needing" to read more ... as it could be for a man with such or other material … please know I am not trying to defend in any way, I just curious if it is really fair to compare a man watching pornography and woman reading romance novels...
35. Thank you for this. I was thinking of reading this book solely bc it was so popular. I had no idea what it was about but it's popularity should have been a red flag in itself. Anyway thank you for saving me from purchasing ungodly material. I typically research before I buy so I might have found out on my own but if I'm lazy or in a super busy time in my life I'll just order and regret it later.
No regrets for me. I'm not buying or reading the book. Thank you for a fantastic article. I forwarded it to my mom.
36. Thank you so much for the wonderful article. I have rejected even looking at this book, but it is hard when so many outside influences are bombarding you – including other Christian women. I will stand firm and not allow myself to be caught up in all the hype.
37. This is great information. I wish every young woman and women in general could receive this advice. I am sending it on to my daughters and hope they will share it with there daughters.
38. Wow! I so needed this one. I have had girlfriends asking me about this book and whether they should read it or not. I felt like a prude in a sense but I brought up many of the same points to them that you included here. This affirmed in me my decision to avoid this book and encourage my Christian friends to do the same. Thanks so much for your insights--very helpful.
39. I appreciate your comments on this book and how I need to be watchful and stand firm in faith. What does a woman do if her partner/spouse doesn't want/desire to be intimate? My husband and I seem to have the completely opposite relationship of most women I know. I want to be with my husband, but he never does--always an excuse I'm tired, not now--or just rolls his eyes at me. I could cry ... this September we will be married 15 years, we have 2 beautiful children (twins age 9). This has been going on the majority of our marriage, especially after going through 5 years of infertility and having to do in vitro. I know my husband loves me.....I just constantly feel rejected? I have read books like this and only feel more frustrated, so I know now to stand firm in faith. Satan sure gets his dirty hands into everything doesn't he?
40. All I can say is, "Bravo!" I hadn't heard of this book or author but one of my Christian friends/authors/blogger, Dawn Marie Wilson, had placed a similar post on Facebook about it warning women that we avoid the popular view to read it. I commended her for her stance. I sent her your article to encourage her since she had had some uncomfortable moments prior to posting. Thank you for standing in the gap for women and men today who need a compass in our sexual lives!
41. THANK YOU!!! I was shopping in Costco the other day and they had a huge pile of this book. I stopped to look at it since I've heard so many people talking about reading it. I almost bought it not really knowing what it was about. Your article made me so very thankful to the Lord that I did not buy it!!! Thank you again for your indepth article about this book. I'll be able to warn others when they ask me about it!
42. I honestly could write a book like that!! I lived a liberal, promiscuous lifestyle for many years in my youth, teens, 20's, 30's, and a few of my 40's. I loved the Lord but didn't KNOW Him, and struggled with sexual sin even though I'd battled and won (with His power) eating disorders, drugs, alcohol, I still couldn't shake the desire for sex outside of marriage. I went through 4 marriages, many other short- and long-term relationships, I began to repent, grow closer to Him, and put aside my human appetites, my need to be wanted and loved by whomever, whenever...and finally found THE man that God wanted for me; my current and forever husband and mate and lover. God heard both of our cries and put us together in a really wonderful way.
No, we don't have a perfect marriage nor love life. Sometimes we fail badly at it, haha, but we both have come from similar lifestyles, backgrounds and pasts and we both desire to please the Lord, one another, and raise our children to know the difference. We are as honest as we can be with whomever asks about our lives, past and present, except of course, for details.
I am happy to say I am free of all that the enemy wanted to destroy me with and I continue to work daily on my relationship with Christ, with my spouse, with others (boundaries, etc.) and forgiveness of others who had hurt me and repentance for hurting others.
43. Thank you for addressing the 50 Shades of Grey issue that seems to be catching so many women. My group of female friends doesn't fully understand why I refuse to read it, but I agree with you wholeheartedly about allowing the wrong messages into our minds - something I have spent a significant amount of reflection time upon after leaving a very abusive marriage.
I think there may be another issue with this series of books. The 50 Shades story was originally written as a piece of FanFiction based on the Twilight novels—books that were intended for teens, and was available on the Internet to read for free under the title "Master of the Universe." The history/back-story of these novels may make this series more visible to teens. I am concerned that the message in this 50 Shades series l is very dangerous to teens beginning to develop a sense of what a dating relationship means, and could lead to a higher propensity to accept and/or allow abusive behavior. Jean Kilbourne has done quite a bit of work researching and exposing the messages we are all receiving every day about women and teen girls through various forms of media, in her "Killing Us Softly" series. The problem seems so big, and these messages are just about everywhere we go, but knowing God's truth and recognizing the false messages as just that - false - can make a big difference.
44. Thanks for this issue. I got wind of 50 Shades of Grey from a couple of my family members without any detail other than it was on the best sellers list. I went on Amazon and reviewed the book as well and decided this was NOT something I needed to read as a Christian and especially as a wife. It is unfortunate, that some wives are vacillating with the idea of whether to read this or not. I truly believe that their time would be better spent investing in their spouses than opening the door for sin ease its way in. There are some ungodly spirits behind 50 Shades of Grey and I’d rather not take the chance of any of those spirits taking hold in my marriage.
45. Thank you for writing about this! So much attention is given to men and their temptations with pornography but not much is said for the women who are tempted by erotic (“romantic”) fiction. Perhaps society, even the Christian community, deems romance novels as less harmful but they are not! Dwelling on the romance of others can set up unrealistic expectations of wives for their husbands—to be sexy, strong lovers who will sweep them off their feet as their every need is somehow amazingly divined and fully met. And men aren’t the only ones who deal with the temptation of lust!
I think each of your points was spot-on and Spirit led and it sounds like the good beginning of a new book! Women too need to be challenged to stand firm, avoid temptation, be in the world but not of it, and strive to not let peer pressure or their own lusts tempt them away from their husbands and their loving Savior. Thank you again for standing up for what is right!
46. Glad you asked for a response because I really wanted to respond! I really wanted to say thank you for bringing this up. I just recently had two people ask me if I'd read the book. After the first person asked me I admitted that I really didn't know a lot about it. Then an article came out in the local paper titled, "fifty shades of green" and talked about how the adult stores in NJ have been picking up business because of the book. I then had a better idea of what the book was about. Still, after the second person asked me I gave it a thought and put it on my mental list of possible summer reads, I was going to check with my sisters to see if they had started to read them. Well, I am glad you sent out your letter because I know the problems of pornography and I want nothing to do with anything related,
I am always so thankful for your articles which offer insight and wisdom in regards to Christian marriage. I especially appreciate your boldness in writing this article. Although I did not know what the book was about, I have heard a lot mentioned about it. I'm so grateful for your willingness to speak the truth and warn people about the dangers of such influences. It saddens me to think of how many people are falling into this sinful trap. If given the opportunity, I will pass along these words of caution. Thank you for being salt and light!
47. Your timing with this article is particularly interesting to me because of a conversation I was involved in this past Friday night.
Our small group had a "Girls Night Out" at one member's home and this topic came up. Of the 10 of us, 7 admitted to already having read the first book and elaborated on the fact that there are supposed to be 2 more to follow, etc. I had heard of the name, but honestly had no idea what it was about. As they began to tell me about it, I was FLOORED. I could not believe that they were justifying reading it and actually talking about it and "dumbing it down" to make themselves feel better.
I was one of 2 girls that voiced a negative opinion on it.....about 4 others were too intimidated to say anything. I went away feeling embarrassed and deeply saddened by the conversation we all had. I guess I was just really surprised that it did not seem to be that big of a deal to a few of the girls....especially that particular kind of sexual content. Please hear me when I say that I am a sinner just like all of them and I have areas where I need to be more disciplined and focused. I do not pretend that I am better than them or more godly......In this case, it was a "no brainer" for me. Thanks for addressing this issue. I am glad that we share the same opinion on this topic and it is more evident to me now than ever that this needs to be addressed by our churches as well. Thanks for the ministry that you have and all that you pour into the mission of trying to keep marriages together.
48. bullseye and amen
49. Thank you for sharing this info! I'm sending this to the women I lead in Bible study @ church right now! Thanks, also for holding us all accountable!
50. Thanks for the article on Fifty Shades of Gray. I saw the 20/20 interview with the author several weeks ago and was quite appalled at the whole thing. The most shocking statement the author made was along the lines of, “I hope my teenage sons don’t read it. I would be really embarrassed.” I thought, who is she kidding? One of the hottest books on the market and she doesn’t think her sons will read it?!
51. It is very encouraging to hear someone disagree with reading this book. I work at a hospital and all the nurses I work around have been raving about this book and asking if I have read it. I of course say no I have heard a little about the context and have no desire to waste my time with such garbage. Perhaps I was a bit harsh, or so they thought but garbage is exactly what I think of these books. One of my good nurse friends fell into the trap of curiosity and began reading to just see what everyone was so obsessed with. I am happy to say not far into the book she told me she had come to her senses and stopped reading it. I am grateful she did not continue reading it and pray that others will do the same or even better not start at all.
52. My answer is: when a man and a women come together with the mutual intention to show their love for each other tenderly, with the energy, that is the vibration, of love, they connect with one another and with our Creator God.
If the energy is that of self-pleasuring, lust, it is as far away from God as one can get. I pray that my Husband would read all of your words of wisdom, and stop looking at porn. So far, he justifies it, he simply likes to look. I continue to pray.
53. So glad you addressed this! I am appalled & surprised that so many women are reading this. I read the summary on the back of the first novel & knew to stay away. Thank you so much :)
54. I completely agree. We are to guard our hearts…and sexual immorality is the only sin we are not told to stand and fight. From it, we are to FLEE! And note, it doesn’t say, “actively having an affair.” It says “immorality.” And if your mind is involved in sexual relations outside your marriage, you just have to ask yourself: isn’t that immoral? (And would you think it was if it were your HUSBAND doing the thinking?!)
I can’t remember where I heard it: a psychologist compared “bodice ripper” novels to pornography, saying that they are the SINGLE greatest threat to marriage she sees because they set up unrealistic expectations for our husbands. The guy in the novel knows just what to do and when; it’s the emotional equivalent of unrealistic-looking women in porn.
Thanks for the article. It explains FOR me why I don’t read, watch, or listen to such things. It just doesn’t fit into “whatever!” (Phil. 4:8)
55. I agree with your assessment and have found that I have erotic thoughts after viewing some television scenes. We don't realize that our spirit is sometimes penetrated by this material, especially when we have not guarded ourselves against it. By the way, your writings and ministry are so powerful. Do you have any diverse material or conferences for single women. I am a 45 year old Christian, professional, African American woman who has been divorced twice if this information is helpful.
56. Awesome article about the stupid (thanks for letting me be frank) tool Satan is using in America these days. WE deal with so much Moral Failure that I’m thankful to pass this on to many!! I’m going to point others to in our FB page. Satan works to steal, kill & destroy (John 10:10) in areas of emotional, spiritual and physical unity and openness in marriage. It just makes me cringe to know about this book. Our 18 year old daughter Emma, is working part-time at Target stores and she says they can’t seem to keep it on the shelves. She hates seeing women buy it every day.
57. THANK YOU for writing this email. Almost all of our female friends are reading this. My wife has stood strong and refused to read it but this is definitely something we both needed to hear to confirm what we were thinking.
58. I think you are spot-on. In my younger days, I was a huge lover of pornography as presented in materials like Playboy, Hustler, et al. They certainly turned me on, but sure did nothing for my marriage. I'll let it go at that. Today I am in my early 60s, and through the grace of Good, have become much wiser - and stronger.
59. Aside from this blatantly sinful book (I really don't think this book deserves any more comment), written by a secular author, I have seen the negative effects of the popular "Christian" romance novels. This is where the desire to even consider a book such as this begins. Sure, these seem innocent and they are not usually overly graphic, but they still strike up feelings and desires for something one does not have and in effect, makes you desire the man in the novel under the guise of wanting her to notice him or marry him. It leaves you wanting more, as shown by the intense desire of church women and girls just thirsting (lusting) after the next in the series.
You may never hear any other women saying negative things about these books. They either don't see it or do not want to admit what they really result in doing to them. It is only the very beginning. I find these novels very distasteful (and sinful) on so many levels. Even though these types of books were (and perhaps still are...I don't read them) popular in church circles and within my family, I chose to throw out all of the ones that I had been given and I will NEVER let my young daughters read this type of book.
I will warn them that they are not truly Godly material to fill their minds with. I have never regretted throwing them away. I have told my husband what they contain and what they put into a female's mind. He agreed with me that it was good to have thrown them out. I count these in the same category as books like Harlequin romance (you can see enough on the cover to know it is no good) and Danielle Steele (which I inadvertently was introduced to through a library order mix up as a young teen...Yikes! I returned it promptly with a letter), etc.
I find that some of the covers to these supposed "Christian" romance novels are similar to those secular books that I have already mentioned. You can find them and see them promoted in ANY church library as being good and wholesome. That is wrong! You can DEFINITELY tell a book by its cover in a lot of these cases (although not all...some look innocent), just as you can many of the popular movies and popular books of today. You have to really be blind (aka have a seared mind) to God's guidelines to accept the evil in some of those when it is apparent by the depictions of demons, demonic eyes and otherworldly creatures on the cover or in the ads.
For example, I am sure that you are familiar with many (and most likely will disagree with me here, as they are widely accepted in Christian circles)...Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, Star Wars and Star Trek, and so on. The Narnia series is also dangerous, because it introduces children to evil in a very subtle, acceptable (which I don't understand why it is so) form. The Bible is what is true and inspired. Many will say about this series "...just a book...It isn’t real, after all, it’s just fiction...it parallels the bible...but C. S. Lewis wrote it." thinking that this gives it credibility. What they neglect to acknowledge is that it mixes in mythology and introduces children to evil and makes them hunger for more of the same.
Walt Disney features are full of these subtle and not so subtle things, but we have been conditioned from childhood to overlook it. I was a faithful Disney watcher in my childhood years, but am very careful to screen anything that my children watch or read now that I am a parent. It starts even more subtly than most people think. It is in this same category of hidden sinful dangers. These desires start out as seemingly innocent curiosity...sometimes pushed on children by adults, but we need to protect our children from the very beginning...and we as parents need to guard our minds against even these "hidden" things.
I have a sister who faithfully devoured all of the "Christian" romance novels that she could get ahold of. To this day, she is still looking for the "perfect" man...one who is not real and one whose wonderful traits are those from these novels. Her view of what the "perfect" man for her has been severely tainted by these books. Her desire is for something that is not attainable. I for one have read a few of these books in my very young teen years because they were the thing to read and were given to me as presents by various family members. I know what ideas that they truly put into a young (and older) woman's mind, and they are not God honoring. I was not impressed, even as a young single woman with the content, thoughts and desires these put into (or awakened in) me. I was glad that I took action and threw them away, and instead, waited for God's design for me...not one of fiction. Satan works in lives by putting something very subtle in from of our eyes...calling it "good and wholesome," then a little worse, then a bit more, conditioning our minds (and, being scientifically proven...searing them...as the Bible states), so that we will be willing to engage in further sinful activities with less guilt...even if it doesn't go further than our minds. It is still sin and it is still wrong. It affects those who read more than some want to admit. By writing your article, you will get many hateful responses. These will be from women who have gone down that path of, well, it is Christian, it is "clean" it is good...to reading novels of this sort. The appetite only grows once you start down this path (no matter if it is a book of a sexual nature or one of mythical/Satanic substance) and it is a very dangerous one.
Those who sin love to have company. I am always hesitant about anything popular, book, movie, or otherwise. It is always my first red flag. I take a step back and try to examine, with biblical principles as my guide, why it is so and why everyone just HAS to read or see it. If it doesn't measure up, it is not to be viewed by me or any member of my family, even when others say how wonderful it is and dismiss our concerns as overkill. God's ways are narrow and it is of utmost importance to see to it that we abide by the guidelines that He has given us. Sometimes the cover, as I said before, tells the true story...but the observer's mind is seared and they no longer have the ability to separate right from wrong, good from evil and so starts the downward spiral.
I appreciate the verse that you included in your article. One that we use as our guideline for EVERYTHING that we do here is James 4:17. Our children know it well, as we discuss it and its implications in all situations, often. It is not a well known and recited (and if it was, not a well liked or followed) verse, but it is a very all inclusive, very cutting one, getting to the heart of every decision, action and thought. It reads: "Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin." This verse covers all.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share with you what my view is of not only this book, but the popular books and movies as well. They go together as whatever we see and hear affects our minds in either a Godly way or sinful way. I only wish more women saw it this way.
I would like to thank you for the work you do and the free advice and encouragement that you send to my inbox so often.