Sex sells, and while we can take steps as parents to guard what comes into our homes, we cannot, unfortunately, completely isolate our children from the avid sexual images around them.
Fifty is only going to make this worse.
We need to be prepared.
The rulebook that navigates my life as a Jesus follower is that of the Holy Bible. For most of my readers, you too also have that compass. Yet I understand there are many people who do not live their life under that constitution, and I have many amazing friends who are of no faith or of a different faith. I must be ready to take a stand in this conversation. We (you and me) must be wise, educated, and engaged to speak into the movement, and we need to have more than Bible verses under our belt. We need to be able to discuss, dialogue, and challenge our culture as to why we think these books and what they stand for negatively impact our communities. We need to be able to explain why this book is not good for the soul, why it will harm your marriage instead of help it, why a carnal pleasure for a moment is not worth the lasting psychological harm.
To read some secular critiques of the trilogy, check out these articles: Dr. Drew Pinksy: “Dr. Drew: 50 Shades of Grey Pathological, Poorly Written”; Whitney Frink of Acccess Hollywood over at MSNBC “Is 50 Shades of Grey Sending the Wrong Message?”; “Avflox” of Blogher who likes BDSM “The Troubling Message in Fifty Shades of Grey”; Avital Norman Nathman over at HLN “Women Deserve Better than 50 Shades of Grey.”
Within the church, we need preparation. We need Biblical reasons for why we shouldn’t follow the mainstream culture on this one. Don’t assume people in your church know why these books are unhealthy.
You can draw a hard line, from the pulpit. Shut down any infiltration of this book into your programs or school or small group discussion. Do an ‘anonymous’ survey asking if they have read, are reading, or know of women reading Fifty. Based on the results, consider a little pamphlet, newsletter, or Freedom in Recovery type class you could offer.
You can write curriculum. Write it now. Teach parents of kids in your youth group (those that you can) how to talk with their kids about sex, purity, sexual culture, and healthy sexual relationships. Host forums and Q & A’s. As you teach the parents how to talk to their children, you can also educate the parents themselves).
You can train up your small group leaders on what they should do when Fifty comes up (because it will come up). Be aware that there are women in your pews reading these books in secret (just like there are closet alcoholics and anorexics and nonChristians) and some women reading them openly without seeing any harm in them.