Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Are there really shades of Grey?

Our minds are just as susceptible to what we put into them as our bodies are. No, that's not quite right. Over time, I can improve my health after a week of unhealthy eating. It's very difficult to do the same for your mind.

You see, when you watch something, or read something, or surround yourself with certain types of messages, they do more than momentarily entertain you. You can't unread a book, or unwatch a movie, or unhear a word. Over time, we become desensitized to the message of the media we are consuming, so that what we may have once shied away from reading or watching, or been more discerning about becomes something that's just "not a big deal". 

Now, I want to be clear here. Freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom to print or publish, read and engage are wonderful freedoms. But they are heavy freedoms. They don't let you sit idly by and blame someone else for what you have chosen to consume. Freedom means just that. You. Have. To. Choose. 

You have to take responsibility for what movies you watch, books you read and jokes you laugh at just as much as you have to take responsibility for your actions towards others and the way you spend your time, or money.

I read the books. It's not something I'm proud of, and if I could unread them, I would. I would happily go back to that time when I didn't see that bit of the darkness of humanity. Not so I could live in a bubble, but so that I wouldn't be encountered by images from the books from seemingly innocuous, everyday things. It's been two years since I read them, and it's something I don't think about very often any more. But that doesn't mean it doesn't pop into my head sometimes. And I wish it wouldn't.

You see, for the longest time, it didn't occur to me that what I read could be harmful. So I read pretty much everything I encountered, under the guise that no reading material was better than any other. But that's not exactly true, is it? Certainly some material is better than others, or we wouldn't have "classical literature". We wouldn't have "Great Books". If what we read didn't matter, then, why bother to read at all? Certainly we can read for entertainment. But therein lies the dilemma. Is all entertainment justified? Is some entertainment better than other forms of entertainment?

So... before you head out to watch "Fifty Shades" next weekend, just consider the message it's sending. Really, truly consider it. Consider whether that message is one you really want to have in the back of your mind. Because it is your choice. And, as with all choices we have to consider the consequences. Is it worth it? 

I could point out that the premise supports domestic violence, promotes a rape culture and promotes an unhealthy relationship style. But I don't think that's even the biggest thing at stake here. Because if that were the only problem with this series, then it wouldn't have as much of a draw to it. No... instead, I'm asking you to consider its worth. What do you actually get from watching the movie? Talking points? The status of having seen the "in" movie? To escape into a different world with different troubles even if in doing so you open up your mind to that very world? To a different view of yourself and others than as a beloved sons and daughters of God? Is that what you really want?

Given all the other things you could spend your time and money on, is that really a choice you want to justify to yourself later? To God?

It's your choice. But consider it.


  1. You are right on target. We don't need to fill our minds with thoughts and images that turn us from the love of God and away from our authentic selves which are made in God's image. The world has temptations enough without seeking them out. Great article Susan.

  2. Thanks, Bob! The last part you said about not needing to seek out temptation is so very true!